Thursday, December 01, 2011

Tamgaly Rock Art

Whether because of (quite plausible) shared ancestry or (more I would think) the "Darwinian" demands of environment, climate, and materials, both rock art and vernacular architecture resemble each other in central Asia and the dry west. Compare Reid's images below to these from Tamgaly, in the dry steppes a couple of hours north of Almaty in Kazakhstan.

The site:

A similar local site- basalt, stone cairn "wolf watchers", petros nearby...

Hagay and his cousin with panels (Asian T shirts-- don't ask):

More panels, some separated by hundreds of years or more-- this is a palimpsest, not a unified work.

The horned horse, which Gorbatov painted-- we both saw saker falcons there...

The enigmatic Sunhead-- similar images exist in America:

There is half a book's worth more to say, one I hope to write eventually. Meanwhile Reid probably knows more than I do. For a good overview read Renato Sala's account in Kazakhstan by Dagmar Schreiber. Not only is he my go- to guy on the subject; it is the best book, and full of work by Kazakh friends of Q.

Soon: architecture (Canat to Kazakhs: "Stev lives in a Kazakh house-- he even puts plastic on the windows!")

And re Sala: an Almaty- based Italian archaeologist and the leading expert on rock art, he is still very Euro-- shaven headed and stubbled, kissing his fingers through a haze of Gauloise smoke: "..and the women here are so beautiful, no? Jengiz or Stalin or somebody must have killed all the ugly ones!"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Definitely enigmatic. What has always intrigued me about rock art is how the vast majority of it is so emphatically pictorial, even when the stone can be reasonably linked, as some of the late Pictish/early Scottish works can be, to individuals who employed scribes. Clearly, these images had meaning beyond simple whimsy, yet we can only make educated guesses. How easily communication is broken when the language is lost!