The picture of camel of the historical values of ancient Margush


The eldest research officer of the State museum of the State cultural centre of Turkmenistan, well-known paleontologist of Turkmenistan Aman Nigarov has written in his article “Ancient footprints of camels” when a camel has appeared in Turkmen land, where and when it lived. In the article is said, that ancestors of camels, which are so esteemed by the Turkmens, lived 2,5 million years ago in Gavurli valley. Footprints of camels on stones are a substantiation for such conclusion. Therefore, there is no doubt that ancient camels lived in territory of Turkmenistan during the different periods.

Valuable finds and historical documents confirm, that in the II millenium B.C. in state of Margush there also were Bactrian camels. During the excavation of tomb where were buried a man and a woman, in capital of Margush Gonurdepe, near a head of the man have been found presented him personal effects - silver and faience bracelets, comb made of an ivory, a faience turtle armour, a silver wine-glass and bronze vessels out. Among them there also was a pin (11,5х3,8сm) with the picture of a going camel. The two-humped camel made of silver, from a near to a head hump sticks out an edge of pin. If we take into account, that the pin was under a chin of the man, it is easy to guess, that it has been attached in a collar of his clothes. This pin is not only a jewellery, but a work of art where the tiny figure of a camel is attached to a fastener of the pin. It shows, that the camel was not only a domestic animal, it was attached importance

Surprising samples of the finds connected with a camel, are presented in the part of the exposition devoted to the state of Margush at the State museum of the State cultural centre of Turkmenistan. There are some exhibits with the picture of a camel among them. In a secret place of cemetery of Gonur has been found out the valuable treasury of ware. Among 24 kinds of ware found there 5 are made of copper and bronze, 17 - from silver and 2 - from gold. Among them especially differs a big glass of the cylindrical form made of silver. The relief image of two confidently walking Bactrian camels shows honour and the respect rendered by the ancient artist to this animal. These historical artefacts made with fineness is possible to in a treasury of ancient school of art. At the bottom of a glass and all other silver vessels is represented the profile of a two-humped camel. On some vessels above or below picture of a camel there is a bow-shaped triangle. Probably, the bow is the seal of the master, who has made these vessels or a brand for a camel. The well-known archaeologist V.I.Sarianidi has noted: “ The picture of a camel on vessels testifies that this animal took the important place in a life of ancient inhabitants of Margush. It is also important to note the following, pictures of camels are rather relative, they are drawn only by several strokes. It shows, that nobody gave meaning to perfection and beauty of these images, they were purely symbolical. And it testifies that a camel took the important place among fire worshippers”. People started to depict a camel have begun not without purpose. If we address to records of the Avesta, the camel was one of the most esteemed animals among early fire worshippers. Probably, it is connected with a name of prophet Zarathustra (a word-for-word translation of a name of Zarathustra means “the owner of yellow camels" or "a man with an old camel”) and became the basis to esteem a camel as a sacred animal.

The attention of visitors of a museum attracts ainteresting stone amulet found during excavation in settlement, named Togalak 21 (it was also used and as a seal). The amulet is made of a camel, which turned a head back and licking the hind leg. The amulet is interesting that has pictures from three sides - a face, back and bottom. On a face there is a relief detailed picture (prominent) of parts of a body of a camel. The plume on a head of a camel, adornament of both humps with a special body cloth, means that it was used during celebrations. The back part of an amulet is flat, on it is engraved a thematic composition (sketch), unfortunately, only one part has remained. In the centre of composition there is an image of spitefully lowing bull who has raised his tail up. From above three birds(probably, eagles) dive on a bull. There has partially remained picture of feet of a man (maybe, acrobat), who jumps behind a bull.

In the bottom of the amulet is represented hunting archer. In this scene are depicted a ram clambering on mountain, a hunting dog pursuing it and strongly drawn bow with an arrow. The Margush master, who has brought the method of engraving on a stone to perfection, used three sides of a stone and has represented a multisubject scene.

There is a bronze handle of a mirror among archaeological finds of museum. Those years inhabitants of Margush used ground flat bronze instead of a mirror. For some such mirrors have been made bronze cases. Peculiarity of a case in storehouse of museum (measurement 37x19 cm) is that its handle is formed by two thin, long tubes. The picture of a Bactrian camel is located approximately in the centre of handle.

There is surprising clay vessel in the form of a camel, found in Gonur I (measurement 30x29 cm). Probably, that it was intended for storage of a liquid and contains about 1,5-2 litres. It is obvious, that the vessel is not intended for daily use, for it is thin and fragile. Most likely, that it was made for use in the ritual purposes.

Some clay figures of camels are presented in section of Margush. Each of these archaeological finds contains the valuable historical information about that period. One of the main task of museum workers is a studying of this information and its popularization among the next generation.



Oraznabat Saparova,

head of division of the State museum of the State

cultural centre of Turkmenistan