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The Socio-Cultural İmportance Of Ram-Head Tamga
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The general characteristic of Turkish carpet-rugs is the ram-head stamp, we think. This stamp can be seen with its various styles across Turkish world. As we will review again during talking about tombstones, ram-head stamps are possible to be seen at Turkish tombstones from Japan to Anatolia as the most beautiful samples of Turkish animal figure style[1]. We know that the stamps of Oghuz tribes, are used as carpet-rug stamp as well as animal stamp, drawn to the walls of houses, to the cups and bowls, put to the garments for preventing from the evil eye and for bringing good luck and even painted on tombstones"[2]. It will be enough, it seems, are reading, for criticizing the validity of these opinions of Sümer. The most important sacrificial animals of Göktürks, are firstly horse and mountain sheep or earth[3]. According to Rasonyl, the stamps of the felt carpets of Kyrgyz those lived across Yenisey and in Mongolia for a period[4]. In the legends of Dede Korkut, narrating across Turkish Republics, the sacrificed animals are; "aygır" of horses, "buğra" of sheep, and "ram" of sheep[5]. All are the males of these species.


In Kazakhstan, Dede Korkut is called as Korkut Ata. The true grave of Korkut Ata remained under water as the result grave is built the top of a hill near river. A ram-head welcomes you at the entrance of the grave. This grave of Korkut Ata is on the road of kızılorda-Aral, from 25 kms Jusalı town (150 kms to Kızılarda) through the Seyhun river and its possible to listen the voices of musical instruments like ney, tambora, davul (drum), kopuz, tar, from the pipes near grave, according to velocity and direction of the wind.


Among the Khuns the most valuable animal to be sacrificed was the ram. Especially horse and ram of the sacrificial animals were used as tombstone among the by Turks. At the Altays, in a grave belonging to VIII and X centuries, horse found near male and ram near female[6]. As seen in this paper, Turks were not far away from figuring ram-head on different items. For example "ram-head or horn embroidery used for decorating to several items by Oghuzes, Avars, Kyrgyzes, Karakalpaks, Çuvaşs, Bulgars and by different Turkish communities with small differences[7].


As shown above, the ram-head stamp is something like the seal of the Turkish culture and still being used from Anatolia to Altays on carpet-rugs and on different tombstones. The ram-head stamps are dominant among the traditional carpet-rugs of Anatolia. These stamps on tombstones are specially exists on the tombstones of Eastern Anatolia. The last examples of ram statves are in graveyards of Tunceli province of Eastern Anatolia. It had been accepted that the ram and sheep statues in Anatolia are belonging to Akkoyunlus and Karakoyunlus. Their positions were the lands Akkoyunlus and Karakoyunlus so this supports the above idea..."[8] says an important article. Really they are supporting this idea. But how can we describe the ram-head stamps, Turkish women weaved from Altays to Anatolia and the ram-heads of Kazakhstan tombstones or the ram-head stamps across Turkish geography. So we believe that it is necessary. According to Diyarbekirli, use of ram-head at a tomb, is an evidence for the graved person`s holiness, which had been used among Turks, since the Khuns[9]. Esin also says". Of the zoo-morphological figures, the ram statues is belonging to Göktürk regions of Swet-ulan and Mongolia. It must have a special meaning that their existence on grave. We remember the ram-headed dragon figure at Tabgaç tombstone. In Seet-ulan style, a cauple of ram statues are standing in Kul Tigin complex, at the entrance of the court in which the written stone stands. These statues` property of Turkish graves stays along the direction of the Turks migration way until Anatolia by passing Mangışlak"[10]. Really it is possible to see roam-head over the tombstones of the important turbes in Kazakhstan and other Turkic Republics.


In Kazakhstan, ram stamp represent manliness, braveness, and independence. Once upon a time, the Kazak soldiers were carrying ram stamp on their shields used at knees, breastplates, and on hands. We saw this also in Manas region of Kyrgyzstan`s Talas town, at the turbe of the hero of the Manas regoion. At the shield and bow of Manas, there are ram head stamps. In Kazakstan the people call ram as "Koçkar". The head of "koçkar" is holy and also used for protection form evil`s eye. This is also used in Anatolia, particularly in black Sea region. In Istanbul, some families, sacrificed in Kazakhstan, only father of he family can pull into pieces the ram-head and distribute them to her children. If father is not home, the ram-head will wait without being pulled into pieces. But if there is grand father (ata baba) living at home or in a separate home, this means that the right belongs to him. If he allows his son (the father) can do it. If ram will be sacrificed at a funeral or at some several ceremonies (toy), this right belongs to the oldest or most regarding person of the ceremony. After he pulled out the ram-head he gives the ceremony. After he pulled out the ram-head he gives the ear of ram to the youngest person. This means "listen more, talk less". The all people take one piece from this head and this operation ends. These information give hints about the importance of the ram-head. But while asking why it is ram but not another animal, it is hard to be answered. What they say is; ram is the first sacrificial animal and the horse can not be often sacrificed animal and the horse can not be often sacrificed since it has strategically importance. And there is no much goats and cows here in this region. As a result, studies of anthropologists, archaeologists, art historians, and sociologists about ram and sheep will contribute to the social history of Turks.



[1]ÇAY, A., Anadolu`da Türk Damgası, Ankara, 1983, p. 34.

[2] SÜMER, F., Oğuzlar, Ankara, 1972, p. 206-207.

[3] DİYARBEKİRLİ, N., Hun Sanatı, İstanbul, 1972, p. 92.

[4] RASONYI, L., Tarihte Türklük, Ankara, 1996, p.42.

45 GÖKYAY, O. Ş., Ddeem Korkudun Kitabı, İstanbul, 2000, bir çok yerde.

[6] DİYARBEKİRLİ, N., Ibit, p. 92, 93.

[7] DİYARBEKİRLİ, N., Ibit, p. 93.

[8] KARAMAĞRALI, B., "Koç Koyun ve At Şeklindeki Mezartaşları", Anadolu`da Türk Mühürü, Ankara, 1993, p. 18. Ayrıca bk: Aksoy, M., Ibit.

[9] DİYARBEKİRLİ, N., Ibit, p. 94.

[10] ESİN, E., "Ötüken İlererinde M.S. Sekizinci ve Dokuzuncu Yüzyıllarda Türk Abidelerinde San`atkar Adları", Türk Kültürü El-Kitabı, Cilt II, Kısım IA, İstanbul, 1972.


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