NEWS

An old necklace — an amulet and fashion jewellery

Women’s jewellery is one of the brightest elements of traditional culture. They performed the important symbolic functions of marking the family and social status and reflected the aesthetic ideals of the people; they were endowed with magical properties of amulets. In the late Stone Age, jewellery pieces were made of bones, animal teeth and fangs and all kinds of sea shells; they were intended to give its owner the strength and dexterity of the animal and to protect from possible attacks and troubles. It was believed that the shape determined the magical power of the jewellery. The symbolic objects, for example, fruit jewellery ensured their owner the patronage of the sun as a source of life or a link with the forces of fertility. This fusion with the forces of the Universe through magic was supposed to protect a person from any threatening phenomena or actions. Superstitions were very strong among nomads for a long time, and therefore, jewellery has been often worn as a talisman till our days. A positive perception of the magical meaning and articles contributed to their aesthetic comprehension and transformation into a decorative plane.

Stylish and inimitable

Though patterned knitting has long been known to the Turkmen people, it played a more modest role in the national art than carpet making, embroidery and weaving. It was represented most clearly in the making of ornamented socks – gulli jorap. Over many centuries, Turkmen knitters have developed their own ornamental compositions and various colour solutions, which give gulli jorap the bright national colour. Socks were knitted from homemade sheep wool yarn. Turkmen women performed all the laborious operations associated with processing wool into yarn. Previously, only natural plant dyes were used to colour yarn. Today, they are substituted with chemicals, and homemade wool is replaced with factory-made materials. In the distant past, socks were knitted with homemade wooden knitting needles; and starting from the 19th century, with iron knitting needles. However, the modern texture did not affect the ornamental qualities of knitted socks due to the combination of contrasting shades and the traditional geometric pattern. The pattern is always distinct and has many variations, like that of a carpet.

Craftsmanship that lives for centuries

President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly BERDIMUHAMEDOV: – The role of Turkmen women and girls in preserving the inexhaustible source of national cultural heritage, the history of which goes back millennia is significant and invaluable. The world of Turkmen decorative and applied arts is diverse and unique. These are world-famous handmade carpets, unique woman’s national clothes and Turkmen jewellery of perfect design. Each generation of the Turkmen people considered it their duty to safeguard this heritage. Today, the state and society have joined their efforts on this matter. The multifaceted work conducted under the leadership of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov towards safeguarding the national traditions of applied arts illustrates great respect for the invaluable heritage of the Turkmen people. Our contemporaries, inspired by the attention of the national leader to national cultural traditions, seek not only to preserve the unique national decorative and applied arts, but also to enrich it with new compositional forms and colours.

Products of Medieval Metallurgists

Metal and metalworking occupy a special place in the life of humankind; it can be said that civilisation itself evolved with the development and increasing application of metalworking. The earliest pieces of evidence of metal use date back to the Copper Age; archaeologists find the remnants of metallurgical production in the monuments of the Chalkolithic Age and the following Bronze Age. The role of metals in the everyday life of ancient people was incomparable to that which they play today. Metallurgy has made the way of several centuries from the first primitive copper wires and pendants that were very expensive at that time and serve as the earliest evidence of modest experiments in handling a new plastic resource to the wide distribution of a bronze variety: alloys of copper with arsenic, tin, antimony and lead. This was the first milestone of the metal era which humankind reached. By the Middle Ages, people had accumulated extensive experience in metallurgy. There were residential quarters of metallurgists who manufactured items of the highest quality in the territory of our Motherland, in the large cities that grew up at the crossroads of the Great Silk Road, such as Merv, Abiverd, Nisa and Kunya-Urgench. Metal (steel) weapons and armour, horse harness, construction and industrial tools and medical instruments took an important place among the products of medieval industr

Talismans from the Past

Since ancient times, when people’s dwellings were very vulnerable, when natural disasters, wild animals and enemies could easily intrude into them, people believed in higher powers and decorated their dwellings with amulets. As a rule, these “magic” items were placed at the entrance to the dwelling in order to attract prosperity, happiness, health, and tranquillity to it. Clothes also served as a protective cover, therefore, in the minds of ancient people, they not only sheltered from cold, damage, but also from prospective troubles. So, in an effort to save their home, people usually strengthened the entrance to it, by analogy with this, clothes were sewn and decorated. Amulets were located along the edges and cuts of the dress. The edge of the collar, sleeves, side seams, the edges of the shirt and the hem of the dress or gown were bordered with all kinds of sea shells, stones of an unusual shape, bright beads, and later with coloured lining and embroidery. People sincerely believed that they serve as a kind of shield that protects the soul and body from an evil eye, from the negative effects of the forces of nature and from an alien gaze.

A Mysterious Greyhound

A lightning-fast predator flies above the ground, a quick-footed assistant runs on the ground and a big-eared wretched animal is between them. This is a riddle for children that are many in folklore of our people. Everyone can easily guess these are a falcon, a greyhound and a hare. If an entertaining riddle always has an interesting clue, then it is not always easy to find a clear explanation for the no less mysterious ingenuity and insight of the graceful tazy. When Aydogdy and I arrived at the shepherd’s camp of our experienced falconer Chary aga, the summer sun had just disappeared behind the wavy ridges of sand dunes. Together with my friend, we quickly unloaded the big packages with fresh vegetables, fruit and sweets and hurried to the owner of the herd who was coming towards us. As usual, he welcomed us cordially and invited us to a spacious enclosure, built neatly from dry sandy bushes. This nomadic abode with a slight slope inward, with the walls as tall as a man, creates a quite liveable microclimate for its inhabitants. When water is sprinkled on the bottom of the wall of a summerhouse, a weak draft makes it surprisingly cool and cosy inside the enclosure.

Medieval scientists of Merv

In the history of Turkmenistan, the role of Merv as a large city and important transit trade point along the Great Silk Road is hard to overestimate. Over the Middle Ages, Merv was the most important cultural and scientific centre not only in Khorasan, but throughout Central Asia. One of the main factors of its formation in this capacity was its political significance, “Madinat Khorasan” (the capital of Khorasan) - as Merv was called by an Arab geographer Ibn al-Fakihi. The development of irrigation, construction and numerous crafts inevitably stimulated the development of the natural sciences. And it is not surprising that Merv became the birthplace of famous mathematicians, physicists and astronomers. The formation of them as scholars and the dissemination of their ideas were facilitated by the favourable cultural environment, the city was famous for its educational institutions (madrassahs) and a number of libraries with rich manuscript collections. At the beginning of the 9th century, during the reign in Merv of al-Mamun (the son of Caliph Harun al-Rashid), who gained fame as a philanthropist of sciences, many well-known Central Asian scholars worked in the city. Among them were Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi (“the father of algebra”), a famous astronomer and geographer Al-Farghani and an astronomer Khalid ibn Abd al-Malik al-Marwarrudhi. One of the leaders of the

Beneficial Material of Ancient Architects

The history of architecture of Turkmenistan is several millennia old. The evolution of local architecture techniques passed from small settlements of the first agricultural communities in the foothill zone of the Kopetdag Mountains and the temple of the Altyn-depe civilisation to the cities of the legendary country Margush and the cult complex of Nisa, and later enriched with typical solutions within the framework of Muslim culture. But even when large trade and craft centres grew along the routes of the Great Silk Road, and their look was decorated with high minarets, majestic mosques and mausoleums, having an image of a colourful oriental fairy tale, and much earlier builders and artists used material available to them to realise their plans. That was a soft and plastic, amenable to moulding and gaining strength and durability after burning material – clay. It became the basis for standard and patterned bricks, tiles and decorative elements of façades and interiors of buildings. Particularly, its widespread use can be seen in the study of artefacts of the citadel of Old Nisa. How Parthian architects took advantage of the possibilities of clay, one can see by visiting the ancient settlement of Nisa, the scientific and cultural value of which has already gone beyond national borders, which is evidenced by the inscription of the historical monument in 2007 on the UNESCO World

Outcomes of archeaological season: Unique findings and new facilities of historical landscape

Spring season of archaeologicalresearches of this year was quite effiicent in the aspect of study of itsunrevealed pages of national history, development of culture ofn our people.Restoration works have also been carried out at unique facilities of ancientarchitecture in this period. The results of recent season werereported to President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov at the session of theGovernment on June 19, which indicates important status of this projects andentire big and steadfast work in this direction in general.