Majestic image

Majestic image

Turkmenistan the golden age:

Ovez Gundogdiyev,
the Institute of Archeology and Ethnography of the Academy of Sciences of Turkmenistan, Professor

Tens of hundreds of statuettes of feminine idols, belonging to various historical epochs, have been discovered on the territory of our country. These were the goddesses of fertility, hearth, and keepers of settlements. They managed storms and precipitation, mountains and plains. There were special idols for every city, dam, every field of the farm and even for separate kind of work tool.
With the spread in Central Asia of Islam in VII century, cult of goddess never disappears but only transforms. Memory about custom to carry the images of goddesses has been preserved in the name of women’s adornment “heykel” (in Arab “altar”, in Central Asia “statue”). In Turkmenistan, “heykel” is called a leather or cloth bag, where probably, the statuette of goddess and presently, the charm –prayer was put in. Now, it is possible to meet everywhere “dagdans” – amulets made of wood and featuring human figure especially feminine. Women’s silver adornment ‘asyk’, which shape copies in detail the shape of terra-cotta goddesses from South Turkmenistan dated to II century B.C., also drew attention. The images of women are met on the pendants “shelpe”, adornment “goza”. But on the large brooch “gulyaka”, we see slit, visually reminding women’s figure. Feminine temporal pendants “adamlyk” and “tenechir” in whole diversity, unusually exactly reproduce the image of great goddesses of antiquity.

Adornments of Turkmen, which remind the military armour of Amazonians, can also testify about conservatism of Turkmen jewelry articles. Girl’s skullcap (tahya) with silver dome and sharp canopy (gupba) copies the steel helmet. Pendants in the form of slices (chekelik), which protect the head from two sides, are fastened on sides of this “helmet”. Back of the head is covered with the thick ornamented slice and pendants “enselik”. Round boxes (bezbent), reminding the military shield, cover the girl’s shoulders behind. Neck and breast is protected by the sun-shaped disk – ‘gulyaka’. The heavy silver hoop – ‘bukaw’, fastened in front by wide slice with cornelian insets, is often won on the neck. Among breast adornments, it is worth mentioning ‘chapraz-changa’. It consists of several lines of pendants sewn on the cloth and covering the breast till the waist. It is not difficult to notice resemblance of ‘chapraz’ with the military cuirass; and finally, the bracelets – ‘bilezik’ that cover the hands from the wrist till the elbow. They are so heavy that it wouldn’t be overstatement when compared with the military armour.

If we look intently at faces of feminine goddesses and rulers depicted on ancient Near Eastern relieves then we will be able to find closer analogies of their suit in modern cloth of Turkmen girls. Statutes of goddesses found in Turkmenistan and dated to the Parthian period (III-II centuries B.C.) testify that already in that epoch, the cloth of women formed its majestic smart style. For example, high headgear, which virtually has no difference from modern tiara-shaped headgear (boric) won by Turkmen women after marriage, gives direct parallel in iconography of the Parthian statuettes. Another headgear of the Turkmen women –being the wedding one broadened in upper part and adorned with numerous silver pendants also reminds the headgear depicted on statuettes of goddesses of II-I centuries B.C. from Merv. It was won with robe-shaped head tippet (purenjik), having false sleeves. Such head tippets are shown on the images of the ancient east goddesses. Design of embroidery on purenjik (stylized tree) and particularly on robes – chyrpy adorned with stylized ornament and solar symbols also indicates connection of Turkmen women’s cloth with the antique cult of fertility.

All these make us to think that the echoes of worshipping the goddesses in Turkmenistan have been preserved till our days. The preserved imaginations about patronesses of rain clouds Mamaka, women and children Parau Bibi, women’s distaff ‘Ashe-Patma’, spirits-peri and others can serve as conformation to this fact.

So, owing to conservatism of the elements of suit and adornments of Turkmen girls, we have an opportunity to follow the ancient roots of the Turkmen people, whose history traces back to centuries. …