Thursday, May 9, 2013

Kazakhstan's History in Ten Panels: Panel 2--The Turkic Migration

This panel represents the migration of the Kazakhs' Turkic ancestors to the great steppes of Kazakhstan.  In the center are several Turkic scholars (an astronomer/scientist, a musician, and a writer) who represent the contributions these ancestors made to the arts and sciences. 

Notice the image of the wolf nursing the baby boy in the lower left corner--does this remind you of a famous European city's founding legend?  It looks just like depictions of Romulus and Remus that I saw in Rome.  It turns out that the Kazakhs--and other Turkic peoples--have a similar founding myth

Kazakhs are members of the Turkic linguistic group.  This group includes Mongols, Turks, Turkmen, Kyrgyz, Uzbeks, Uyghers,  Azerbaijanis, and other nations, all of whom share common ancestors from the plains of northern China and Mongolia.  The Turkic peoples migrated to the Kazakh steppes in the 5th or 6th century A.D.  Notice the representation of the yurt in the upper left corner of this panel and the mounted archers on the right.  Both of these are elements of the nomadic Turkic culture that spread across the steppes over the next several centuries.  From the 6th century until the area's consolidation under Genghis Khan in the 13th century, the Kazakh steppes and surrounding mountains were inhabited and ruled by a host of different Turkic khaganates or empires. 

This was also the period of history in which the Silk Road connecting East and West began to flourish.  The buildings in the upper right corner of this panel represent the wealthy and cosmopolitan cities that grew up along this route during this time. 

1 comment:

  1. "The Grey Wolf Legend" seems worth copying here (straight from Wikipedia, forgive any inaccuracies):

    The Wolf symbolizes honor and is also considered the mother of most Turkic peoples. Asena is the name of one of the ten sons who were given birth by a mythical wolf in Turkic mythology. The legend tells of a young boy who survived a battle. A she-wolf finds the injured child and nurses him back to health. He subsequently impregnates the wolf which then gives birth to ten half-wolf, half-human boys. One of these, Ashina, becomes their leader and instaures the Ashina clan which ruled the Göktürks and other Turkic nomadic empires. The wolf, pregnant with the boy's offspring, escaped her enemies by crossing the Western Sea to a cave near to the Qocho mountains, one of the cities of the Tocharians. The first Turks subsequently migrated to the Altai regions, where they are known as expert in ironworkers, as the Scythians are also known to have been.