Pins with figurines from Mаrgush


Throughout centuries the Turkmen culture became an integral part of spiritual values of mankind by its perfection, natural particularity. We can see it by the finds that have been found out as a result of excavation carried out in historical monuments and by written sources. Appreciation of ancient cultures of Margush, Jeytun, Nisa by world scientists has shown a high significance of Turkmen culture at the international level. At the prosperous epoch of the powerful state, thanks to tireless care of the honourable President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, the museums, which are one of the basic directions un the field of culture are modernized and improved, for the values connecting the past of the people with today, are considered to be the basic treasure of museums.

The history continues to surprise us with extravagant values. The pins exhibited at the State museum of the State cultural centre of Turkmenistan, in the section devoted to the Margush country amaze with their refinement. Unlike modern pins, they remind awl or a needle by their top part decorated with various pictures. We will be very near the truth if we name the figurines attached to the top of pins, the perfect sample of a sculpture. Masters from Margush, basically, depicted animals in various poses. These tiny figures are the unique works of art, made by the sculptor, who has learnt all refinements of his skill. The majority of figurines is made of gold, silver and bronze. These graceful figures, which make modern sculptors to think about a technique of their manufacturing and give special colour to history of our culture.

A pin with a fastener (inv. №1813/14), on top of which which parts is represented the laying calf (15mm), has been found in one of tombs of prospective imperial necropolis of Gonur, capital of Margush state. Not far away from this silvered bronze pin has been found other oblong pin made of iron. It was intended to pin up hair. Well-known archaeologist V.Sarianidi, who has devoted a considerable part of his life to studying of Margush country has noticed, that it was the first iron product found in Gonur, that it was made of meteoric iron that such phenomenon rather seldom meets in archaeology. On the top of this pin are fixed the gold image of new moon and the eight-pointed star formed by eight petals. Use of these images in our modern state symbolics means, that they have a deep sense. Therefore, they have been very popular among our ancestors in III-II millenia B.C. You can see this pin in the exposition of museum.

Among petals of the eight-pointed star inherent in this pin, have been found tiny figures of gazelle (inv. №1503) and a lion (inv. №1504). The figurine of gazelle of gazelle has length of 1 cm and is made of gold. Gazelle it looking in the sky. Despite of the diminutiveness, each curl of a horn of gazelle, even muscles of its body, a small tail, eyes, ears are well noticeable and made with the big skill. The figure of the lion, which length of only 7 mm is even more amazing. It is made of turquoise. The lion is preparing for a jump. Its mouth is opened, it stands on powerful paws and the tail is clamped between hinder legs, and ears are pricked up. According to the conclusion of scientists, such graceful and tiny figurines, concerning the Bronze Age, have not been met in any of the ancient centres of the Orient earlier. In spite of the fact that in the fourth millenium B.C. have not been invented yet special tools and magnifying glasses, sculptors from Маrgush have created perfect works of art by means of a usual bronze file and a needle. Two of these surprising finds are stored in treasuries of the State museum.

Sculptors from Маrgush often represented in their works wild sheep, a deer, a lion and an eagle. Pictures of these animals meet not only in the form of figures on the tops of pins, but also on amulets and seals. Among the things found here there is even the cosmetic bottle made in the form of wild ram.

On the top of one of the pins found in ancient Маrgush (inv. №1285), is fastened a little gazelle (18mm) with the tucked in feet. At first sight the tiny figure of gazelle is not perceptible, but having looked attentively, you see, that it, has similarly strayed from from mother and slightly having inclined a head, as though calls for help. Ability to show a thin psychological condition tells about skill of the jeweller.

A pin (inv. № 360) presented in the exposition of the museum is intended not only as a hairpin of hair or siezing a collar, it was also used as a seal. The back side of a figurine of the woman fastened to the top part of a pin was used as a seal. This figurine is made of silver. In the face of a seal is a picture of a woman in kaunakes. This garment reminding shaggy, downy dress of inhabitants of Margush and Sumerians of the III millenia B.C. A woman is represented with beautifully worn hair, sitting on an armchair (probably throne) and looking aside. This product is considered to be one of the best samples of jewellery of Margush country.

Among the archaeological exhibits found in ancient Margush, there is a small, but rather original anthropomorphous roofing of pin. Just the same pictures have been found in Bactria. One of them is fastened on the top of a pin (inv. №1866/295), presented in the exposition of museum. It looks like offensive face of a man with goggled eyes and with the combed beard with long whiskers. It is a roofing, made of silver, reminds image of Кеrsasp (Persians name him Garsasp), the hero of the Iranian myths battling with beasts and terrible monsters. There are two silver pins in the exposition near it On the top of one of them (inv. №1285) is fastened a head of wild sheep, on another (inv.1866/295) - a tiny figure of a lion.

All of the mentioned above pins are made of metal: silver, bronze, iron. What the way of metal working have used masters of Margush?

In Southern Turkmenistan in metal working, basically was used the moulding method. At the same time there was a development of new ways. For manufacturing of tiny figurines masters of Margush have started to use simple ways as pouring of metal in open forms, they also developed ways of pouring of metal in the disposable closed forms made of a material, similar to wax, and also metal pouring in the forms fixed on the end of a pin and preparation of new alloys and their processing. Manufacturing of figurines by pouring demanded laborious work. For this purpose it was necessary to do difficult work on making form and sample (model), to choose any one technics of preparation of alloys, heat of metals, their pouring, giving to ready figurines of colour and their polishing. All that demanded corresponding raw materials, specialized instruments, the equipment and, of course, high professionalism of masters.

There were also pins made not only of metal, but also from the squared bones of animals. Some of them are made of ivory, from ancient cities of Harappa area located in a basin of the Indus river. The pin made of a bone (inv.339/2), is skilfully decorated by simple carved patterns. Its top is in the form of opened palm (17mm) with adjoining fingers. Upon a closer view it is possible to distinguish joints of fingers. It would be possible to see nails also, but they were erased with the lapse of time. Roofing of other pin is made in the form of a hand with four clenched fingers and the big finger lifted upwards. Its length is 4 mm. At the end of a hand the pin is adorned by simple, intermediate, carved patterns to the middle of the pin. It is obvious, that the masters who have made these pins, possessed outstanding skill.

The state of Margush which is considered to be one of the ancient centres of culture of mankind, stores many secrets and is in the centre of attention of scientists of all world up to now. A lot of the exhibits concerning this culture is stored in the State museum.


Oraznabat Saparova

head of division of the State museum of the State

cultural centre of Turkmenistan