Our old beliefs immortal on stones

The first man who informed scientific society about the existence of images on rocks in Azerbaijan territory is well known archeologist I.M.Jafarzadeh.(1.7) While he researched in Qobustan- settlement situated near Baku in 1939, he found hundreds of such images and explained them due to the science (2.304-311).
By his leading, the expedition of History Institute of Azerbaijan National Scientific Academy found 2500 image on 750 rock and stones, also 30 imaged rocks in neighbor Shikhqaya and Sonqardag. Now more than 6 thousand of old images on hundreds stones and archeological monuments were found and learned in Qobustan, Boyukdash, Kicikdash, Cinqirdag-Yazilitepe, also in Shikhqaya territories. (3.130).
Well-known Russian scientist Formozov discovered two cultural layers while researching rock images of Middle Stone- Mesolithic Period in Boyukdash: 1st cultural later involves the first Mesolithic period- 12-10 thousand years BC , the 2nd cultural later involves the last Mesolithic period- 10-8 thousand years BC (4.5).
There are bull images which is long about 2 meters belong to the last period of middle Stone age in Qobustan. These images were drawn realistic, with counter lines. You can see them in eastern part of stone number 42 which situates above and in cave side of the stone number 29. The power and grandeur of bulls are expressed in those images. (4.15).
Most of researchers relate bull figures and images found in Karabakh (Khocali-Gedebey monuments) during archeological excavations with old Oguz and their old mythical imaginations.
For example, historic- ethnographer Qoshqarli noted in his “Azerbaijani’s material culture” book due to “Oguznameh” that, Oguz khan who is the mythic ancestor of Oguzs was born from the marriage of Moon and Bull. That is why; the horns of bulls which are imagined on bronze belts are described as half-moon (5.24). I. Avsharov who noted that the animal images and zoomorphic elements painted on material cultural monuments found in Azerbaijan territory have an important place in old mythology, also added that some animals were like totem of old tribes and families.
“As you see, belief in bull has important place in belief system of Azerbaijani’s old habitants. That is why, most of figures found in Khocali-Gedebey monuments are in bull head forms. Such figures were found in South Azerbaijan and in North Caucasus territories also. Due to Russian scientist Avdeyev, belief to bull was spread to Caucasus and East in old times. Even we know facts that bulls were buried with special ceremony and respect in Azerbaijan territory. For example, archeologist Resler met such graves during excavations in Khocali kurgans. A symbol of the whole Moon circle disc was attached to the head of bull buried there. (5.24).
Well known turkolog scientists S.Tolstoy, N.Bernshtam and A. Bekmiradov also told that oguzs had special totem relation to bulls since old times. (6.34). those scientists related to the bull images painted and these words written in “Oguznameh: “They said all right. His sign is this”. (6.124).
The blue bull described in the first line of first page of Uygur version of “Oguznameh”, is presented as ideographic sign, picture of Oguz khan the ancestor of Oguzs. This image cannot be accepted as an illustration to the text. Because it is presented as inseparable compound part to the text and are not the same with the words of Oguz khan in text. Oguz khan’s words are different in the text:
“Again once upon a time, The Moon khan’s eyes smiled, he had a son. His face was blue. His mouth was red like flame, eyes were motley, hear and brows were black. He was more beautiful than angel….
.. His legs looked like bull, his waist looked like wolf, his back looked like sable, his breast looked like bear” (6.124).
As you see, here they speak about boy and his image is different from the real image. It means, bull image is only ideographic expression of “Oguz” word. That is why, scientists Ebulfez Huseyni and Zelen Yampolski told that bull images in Qobustan were painted by ancestors of Oguzs. Here the conversation is about pictographic text, image-text. Petrogliph named “7 beauties” proves this. (4.17). you can see 8 women with big bull background in this pictogram. Here Bull presents Oguzs nation, 8 women present 8 Oguz generations. If consider that the first tribes were formed in Mesolithic period and women leaded those tribes (7.24) we can say openly that here the conversation is about the big tribe which expresses the joint of 8 Oguz generation, the expression of that tribe.
In Orkhon-Yenisey texts there are information about Ucok, Onok, Onuygur, Otuztatar, Ucoguz, Altioguz, Dogguzoguz, Uckarluq and Sekkizoguz generations. So, there is such sentence in east side of “Moyonchur” monument: “Sekkizoguz, Otuztatar did not stay but came… “(8.150).
Gemiqaya images wituated in Ordubad region territory are very important in order to learn our old beliefs immortal on stones. We can see the signs of belief of magic of our ancestors. Due to the notes of art critic Nasir Rzayev as magic has deep roots in our old culture, folklore, its traditional signs came to our period. Those signs brought words to our language in order to bewitch alive and not alive creatures, to bewitch the events happen in nature, agriculture life and in daily life:
“Different forms, fragments of witchcraft rituals were applied in Azerbaijan territories until last days. We can show some witchcraft examples in hunting, cattle-breeding, tillage and so on. Hunter says these words while targeting hunt in order to make the next hunt successful:
Hash went
Hush went
This arrow
Shot you.
Cattle-breeder ties a knife or scissors to the rag and says these words in order to guard cattle from wolves:
“I closed the mouth of wolf” (4.27)
One of the well known witchcraft folklore spread wide in Azerbaijan is “Close wolf mouth” witchcraft. It is interesting that, an image met in Gemiqaya images is about the close wolf mouth witchcraft. In petrogliph you can see a wolf, a sheep and the image of string which has clew in the beginning among them.
The importance of this petrogliph found in Gemiqaya is that the word version of the image came to our period:
Closed the mouth
Of the wolf”.

We can often meet the pair images of goat and Ursa star in ceramics and applied art examples of that period, also in on rock images in Qobustan and Gemiqaya.
In those images the Ursa star is often in form of star, sometimes cross and sometimes swastika. Such pictography examples are important because they reflects the expression of “To look like goat looks at Ursa” which is spread wide among nation. Due to the oral information of Babayev Qurban Khaneli (1959) from Western Azerbaijan, Lok village (now Vartanazor) of Megri region, male goats have sex with female goats only when Ursa star appears. That is why male goats wait this star which appears only some days in year and when it appears they stare at the star. Mus Urud also informs about the same expression and the same belief. (11.20).
Want to note that, very interesting petrogliphs were found in Megri region territory situated 40-45 kilometer far from the Gemiqaya. One of the images painted in Qarqadash Mountain near Nuvedi village is more important due to our topic. The main reason which makes the image important is that it is an example of pictographic text and turk runic text which is the same with it was found near it. That text was read by southern researcher Mensur Rehberi (9). Real sensation began after it. Epigraphic monument which is written with alphabet and known as “Orchon-Yenisey alphabet” in scientific world is like this:
Mensur Rehberi notes that, though the text belongs to old texts category from the point of linguistics, there is not any word or expression incomprehensible, the language, the phonetic compound of the text sounds with Goyturk texts.
“Text is like this:
The meaning of the text:
ONı : the fron, (it is expressed with thick vowels
UÇUK : landslide, collapsed place. Though it has different meanings in old sources, I preferred the local Turkish language and gave it landslide meaning.
eRiNÇ : let it be . Though this word is used as auxiliary verb in old Goyturk texts, it is used as independent unit here. This word also has “may be” meaning. It is formed from “ernek” roous. ( the old Uygur vocabulary)
AS : the food of wild animals. The meat given to them.
YeLiNÇ : meal . It is formed from Yelmək (DLT) verb. Here the “nc” affix serves to form the wish form of verb. It means, “be meal to wild animals”.
əSRi : leopard ( Kitab el-İdrak li-lisan el-Etrak ) tiger ( DLT ).
UDSıN : pursuit, to banish (DLT ) the wish form of swallow. It has no relation with the verb swallow in our modern language.
KaN : blood ( general turkish).
əNGRiZ : to cry . əngrəşdi- cried (DLT).
GÖÇü : the move. In today’s meaning the move of some group of people to summer and winter postures.
BoK: excrement, briquette.
eRiNÇ : let it be .
aRJuLa : Mahmud Qashgarli explained the word “arju” as jackal, and the word “arjulaju” formed from the first word as the joint of jackals around something, for example carrion.
BaRÇa : whole. The last two words (arjul barcha) makes expression and means “let jackals join on your dead body”.
Let your front be landslide, be meal to wild animals, let leopard pursuit you, cry bloody, let briquette be to your move, let jackals join on your dead body.” (9)

The same image on rock which is near the text shows that the translation is right. You can see openly here that it is about the attack of leopards and jackals to shepherds which move from one place to other place, at the result some animals and shepherds were killed, shepherds which stayed alive after attacks tried to save themselves and animals, also we can see how leopards running after animals and how jackals join on the carrion. (9).4
Rehberi notes that here the image and text also the phonetic text style shows that, two texts with the same meaning were written there. These texts which are examples of witchcraft art also have curse meaning and are known as classic example of sorcery among nation. We can look through the text as valuable folklore example.
We can meet the texts belong to the same period on “Zaqatala rocks” images. First of all want to note that, these stones which are in Nadir Sattarov’s ( teacher in Zaqatala) personal collection, are all river stones, to be exact they consist of swelled figures (one of them is monument form) in bas-relief style. (10). they are six. Most of them are in woman form. Some of them reminds the monument of Mother God belong to Eneolit period (VI-V thousand years BC). But most of the statues are formed from clay and there is not any figures made from river stone among them. That is why we think that Zaqatala stones and also the texts are belong to Bronze period ( IV-III thousand years BC)
One of the figures reminds a woman which delivers baby. There is no doubt that, this figure expresses the goddess of deliver and abundance. We can tell the same words about the woman who hold baby in her hands. One of the texts which we want to speak about is painted on the same stone. By the way want to note that, we meet very often the same goddess images holding baby in hands found in Turkmenistan and belong to Bronze period. Archeologist Sarianidi consider that those images are prototype of St Mary with Jesus in her hand which is spread among Christians after some thousand years.

There are four runic signs here. Due to the thoughts of Marnsur Rehberi who could read that text, the first of them (from right to left) is mostly met in Orchon-Yenisey monument as phonogram and gives “b” sound. But it presents itself as ideogram in Tonquyuq monument. The runic sign which means “bash”// “bas” (head) is one of the variant which is met in Idil-Iral runic texts and in this situation is read as “bas” (head). The second sign in the text gives “T” sound. The first sign with the second one together means “basot” (helper, auxiliary and so on). The third sign gives “CH” sound and is read with other vowels which are not shown in the text as “achi” (mother). If we will join the first and second sign to the third sign we can read it like “nursery mother” and it explains the mother goddess figure which holds baby in her hands. The last sign which gives “sh” sound, due to Mensur Rehberi is an affix of coddling. (10).
There is no doubt that in this case it is about Umay mother, which is known as birth goddess in Turkish mythology. You can meet the tracks of belief that roots goes to thousand years in Orchon-Yenisey monument. So, in 31st line, in the east side of Kul Tekin monument is written: “ Umay tek ogim katun kutunqa inim Kul Tiqin at bulti”. (8.74). It means, due to my only mother Umay chatun’s fortune, my little brother Kul Tekin honored a name.”. in 38th line in the west side of Tonyukuk monument is written: Tenqri, Umay, iduk Yer-sub basa berti erinc”, (8.120).


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3. Мурадова Ф. Датировка наскальных изображений Гобустана по данным археологических раскопок // Qafqazın arxeologiyası, etnoqrafiyası, folkloru. Bakı, 2005.
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5. Авшаров И. Изображение быка на образцах материальной культуры конца Бронзового – начала Железного периодов в Азербайджане // Qafqazın arxeologiyası, etnoqrafiyası, folkloru. Bakı, 2005.
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7. Azerbaijan history. “Azerbaijan state publishing house”, Bakı, 1994, 648 s.
8. Recebov E, Məmmədov Y. Orchon-Yenisey monuments. “Writer”, Bakı, 1993.
9. Rehberi M. Unread documents of Turks. Nuvedi-Qarqadash inscription. “Olaylar” newspaper, 3 April 2012-ci il, No: 49 (2977).
10. Tuncay B.Zaqatala stones and old Turkish texts. “Olaylar” newspaper, 15-18 June 2012-ci il, No: 100 (3028).
11. Urud M. Zengezur. Bakı, 2005.

The text is about some old on rock images and tracks of old Turkish beliefs described on some archeological monuments found in Azerbaijan. It is informed about totem looks, witchcraft and worship to mother goddess and some folklore examples which carries some beliefs itself.
Key words: On rock images, archeological monuments, folklore, totem, witchcraft, old Turkish texts.

Bechtiyar Tuncay


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