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Issues of Studying the Function of Signs Resembling Tamgas of the Kazakh Medieval Nomads

Journal: Povolzhskaya Arkheologiya (The Volga River Region Archaeology) (Vol.4, No. 34)

Publication Date:

Authors : ;

Page : 66-80

Keywords : archaeology; Kazakhstan; Middle Ages; tamga; sign; tamga studies; tamga usage; nomads; Turkic people; khanates;

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The article considers the functional purpose of signs resembling tamgas of the Kazakh medieval nomads. Today, scientists from Kazakhstan and foreign scientists are studying the system of tamga formation by people inhabiting Kazakh steppes since the ancient times. Year by year scientists reveal new movable and immovable monuments with images of tamgas belonging to the different periods of history. Among them the most distinguishing ones are the tamgas of the Middle Ages. During the Middle Ages complex ethno-political and socio-cultural processes took place there – Western Turkic, Turgesh, Karluk, Oguz and Kimak khanates as well as state formations of the naimans, karakhans, kereits, zhalayyrs and kipshaks were founded and disintegrated. It is known that the nomadic ethnic groups of the Middle Ages had independent tamgas, both tribal and derived from them, as well as family and personal, which showed their status in society, the right to property, etc. Tamgas were used to mark weapon, coins and items of household and clothing. Almost all objects were marked with tamgas, tamga practically was used a tool of management, i.e. it was a sign of statehood, ancestral affiliation, private property, and was also used as a memorial text, a talisman and, perhaps, "to give an individual a special status". Tamgas are said to be an ancient prototype of modern legal acts regulating public relations.

Last modified: 2021-01-05 19:28:25