Research Article


DOI :10.26650/artsanat.2019.12.0003   IUP :10.26650/artsanat.2019.12.0003    Full Text (PDF)

Mirrors of the Ancient Turks: A study Based on Findings from Central and Inner Asia

Jale Özlem Oktay Çerezci

Among the many and varied findings from kurgans – the graves of Central and Inner Asian Turks - the placing of mirrors, especially bronze ones, is very important. Most of these mirrors were found in situ in positions such as the belt, hand, head, and chest of skeletons. This shows that these objects were used not only in daily life but they also had a place in Shamanistic practices as well as symbolical meaning. Moreover it was noted that while some of them were found whole, some were only found in fragments. The ones found in fragments were broken consciously. So this point again proves their dual-usage. The mirrors of the Ancient Turks were found in the graves of men, women, and children. We can classify these mirrors by their period, according to the form of their handles: looped handles, short handles at the rim, long handles at the rim. Some of them had no ornamentation while some of them had decorations on their reverse side. In the graves of Huns and Gokturks in particular, we observed Chinese mirrors or their imitations. Given that we think this point needs seperate research, this element was not detailed in our study. The aim of this research was to present and discuss the mirrors which originated from Central and Inner Asian early period Turkish graves.

DOI :10.26650/artsanat.2019.12.0003   IUP :10.26650/artsanat.2019.12.0003    Full Text (PDF)

Orta ve İç Asya Buluntularına Göre Erken Devir Türklerinde Ayna

Jale Özlem Oktay Çerezci

Orta ve İç Asya’da Erken devir Türklerine ait kurganlarda, mezarlarda ele geçen çok sayıda ve çeşitteki nesneler arasında tunç aynalarla da oldukça sık karşılaşılmaktadır. Aynaların, ölülerin kemer, baş, göğüs, el gibi bölgelerinde ele geçmiş olması, onların gerek gündelik hayatta gerekse özellikle Şamanizm geleneği çerçevesinde kullanıldıklarını ve birtakım sembolik değerlere sahip olduklarını göstermektedir. Onların bazen bütün bazen de bilinçli olarak kırılmış biçimde bulunmuş olmaları yine bu ikili-kullanım özelliklerini kanıtlar niteliktedir. Erken dönem Türklerinde hem erkek, hem kadın hem de çocuk mezarlarında bulunan söz konusu aynalar dönemleri içinde, kulp formlarına göre çeşitli tiplere ayrılarak inclenmiştir: arka yüzünde tutma topuzlular, çerçeveye bitişik kısa kulplular, çerçeveye bitişik uzun kulplular. Bazı aynalar sade bazıları ise arka yüzündeki tasvirlerle karşımıza çıkmaktadırlar. Özellikle Asya Hunlarına ve Göktürklere ait mezarlarda Çin aynalarına ya da bunların yerel üretim kopyalarına rastlanılmıştır; söz konusu eserler ayrı bir çalışma konusu gerektirdiğinden burada detaylı olarak üzerinde durulmamıştır. Araştırmamızda Orta ve İç Asya’da varlık göstermiş Erken dönem Türklerine ait mezarlardan ele geçen ve daha çok yerel üretim olduklarını düşündüğümüz aynalar tanıtılmaya ve tartışılmaya çalışılmıştır.


EXTENDED ABSTRACT


Among the many and varied findings from kurgans – the graves of Central and Inner Asian Turks - the placing of mirrors, especially bronze ones, is very important. Most of these mirrors were found in situ in positions such as the belt, hand, head, and chest of skeletons. This shows that these objects were used not only in daily life but they also had a place in Shamanistic practices as well as symbolical meaning. Furthermore, the loop on the reverse of the glass symbolises the gate which leads to the underworld. The mirror not only connects these two worlds but also looks into the other world, finds lost souls and protects them aganist the gaze of evil spirits. These mirrors are a kind of medium - they can provide information about the future and they also have some therapeutic properties. In some respects, they are reminiscent of Shaman drums, both in terms of form and features. Moreover it was noted that while some of them were found whole, some were only found in fragments. The ones found in fragments were broken consciously. So this point again proves their dual-usage. The mirrors of the Ancient Turks were found in the graves of men, women, and children. Later, namely in the Early Middle Ages metal mirrors became cult objects; the places where the mirrors found with altar stone and limestone fragments supports this idea. Furthermore these kinds of mirrors were associated with water by the Ancient Turks as these mirrors cast reflections as does water. As can be seen from the information above, it is possible to find mirrors from the very early periods of Turkish culture. We can classify these mirrors by their period, according to the form of their handles: looped handles, short handles at the rim, long handles at the rim. Some of them had no ornamentation while some of them had decorations on their reverse side. In the graves of Huns and Gokturks in particular, we observed Chinese mirrors or their imitations. Given that we think this point needs seperate research, this element was not detailed in our study. In the Tagar Period, we mostly see disc shaped mirrors which have loops on their reverse side, but in the forest-steppe regions these disc shaped mirrors have handles on their rim side. Theses looped mirrors were used by both men and women and carried in the purse. In some cases there was not one, but two mirrors. During the Tagar Period in particular the mirrors from the 8th – 6th BC are excessively large. The Tashtyk Period disc shaped mirrors are rimed and have spherical loops at the center. Numerous findings of metal mirror from the kurgans prove that they were used significantly during the Xiongnu Period. In this period again bronze ones were very popular. The disc shaped bronze mirrors with loops at the center, rim and border were characteristic of the Mayemir Culture (also known as the Early Pazyryk Period /Central Asian Huns/Xiongnu Period) of Gorny Altai. The Xiongnu Period mirrors which were excavated from the Pazyryk and Shibe kurgans, were mostly handled at the border and rarely had ormanents on the reverse side. However, a small selection of mirrors looped on the reverse side were found in this period. Some of these mirrors which had animal shaped handles or loops might be local products. The mirrors adorned with deer from places such as Buhtarma, Ordos, Tuva, Minusinsk Basin, Western Mongolia and Kirgizistan, support this idea. It is well known that the deer has an important place in Turkish culture and art and we see this traditional feature continuing on these mirrors too. Further evidence for this idea comes from Berel kurgan 8 - the mirror from this kurgan has a gryphon head on its handle and we know examples of these kinds of gryphons in Xiongnu art existed as horse ornaments or coffin nails. Almost all of the Gokturk Period mirrors that came from graves were found near the head of the deceased with a few seen on the belt or at the back of the horse. We have one very unique example where the head of the deceased was placed between two mirrors. In this research we wanted to pay particular attention to Chinese mirrors. Gokturks especially have strong relations with the Chinese in domains such as war, marriage, trade and etc. So it is only natural that we should come across Chinese mirrors in the lands of the Gokturks. For the Gokturk Period it should be noted that the mirrors from Mongolia and Southern Siberia were only found in women’s graves whereas a mirror from a Mongun-Tayga grave in the land of Tuva was found in a man’s grave. Our two late period examples come from two women’s graves in Astana, Kazakhstan. One of them was unearthed from Bozok Grave 4, which belongs to a Musulman woman. This is an important point because this mirror and the second example represent a transition from steppe culture to the Islamic Period. The aim of this research was to present and discuss the mirrors which originated from Central and Inner Asian early period Turkish graves.


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APA

Oktay Çerezci, J. (2019). Mirrors of the Ancient Turks: A study Based on Findings from Central and Inner Asia. Art-Sanat, 0(12), 319-342. https://doi.org/10.26650/artsanat.2019.12.0003


AMA

Oktay Çerezci J. Mirrors of the Ancient Turks: A study Based on Findings from Central and Inner Asia. Art-Sanat. 2019;0(12):319-342. https://doi.org/10.26650/artsanat.2019.12.0003


ABNT

Oktay Çerezci, J. Mirrors of the Ancient Turks: A study Based on Findings from Central and Inner Asia. Art-Sanat, [Publisher Location], v. 0, n. 12, p. 319-342, 2019.


Chicago: Author-Date Style

Oktay Çerezci, Jale Özlem,. 2019. “Mirrors of the Ancient Turks: A study Based on Findings from Central and Inner Asia.” Art-Sanat 0, no. 12: 319-342. https://doi.org/10.26650/artsanat.2019.12.0003


Chicago: Humanities Style

Oktay Çerezci, Jale Özlem,. Mirrors of the Ancient Turks: A study Based on Findings from Central and Inner Asia.” Art-Sanat 0, no. 12 (Dec. 2022): 319-342. https://doi.org/10.26650/artsanat.2019.12.0003


Harvard: Australian Style

Oktay Çerezci, J 2019, 'Mirrors of the Ancient Turks: A study Based on Findings from Central and Inner Asia', Art-Sanat, vol. 0, no. 12, pp. 319-342, viewed 7 Dec. 2022, https://doi.org/10.26650/artsanat.2019.12.0003


Harvard: Author-Date Style

Oktay Çerezci, J. (2019) ‘Mirrors of the Ancient Turks: A study Based on Findings from Central and Inner Asia’, Art-Sanat, 0(12), pp. 319-342. https://doi.org/10.26650/artsanat.2019.12.0003 (7 Dec. 2022).


MLA

Oktay Çerezci, Jale Özlem,. Mirrors of the Ancient Turks: A study Based on Findings from Central and Inner Asia.” Art-Sanat, vol. 0, no. 12, 2019, pp. 319-342. [Database Container], https://doi.org/10.26650/artsanat.2019.12.0003


Vancouver

Oktay Çerezci J. Mirrors of the Ancient Turks: A study Based on Findings from Central and Inner Asia. Art-Sanat [Internet]. 7 Dec. 2022 [cited 7 Dec. 2022];0(12):319-342. Available from: https://doi.org/10.26650/artsanat.2019.12.0003 doi: 10.26650/artsanat.2019.12.0003


ISNAD

Oktay Çerezci, Jale Özlem. Mirrors of the Ancient Turks: A study Based on Findings from Central and Inner Asia”. Art-Sanat 0/12 (Dec. 2022): 319-342. https://doi.org/10.26650/artsanat.2019.12.0003



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Submitted28.02.2019
Last Revision28.05.2019
Accepted30.06.2019

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