TUNCELI'S HISTORY IN STONE: A RAM-SHEEP-HORSE SHAPED TOMBSTONE AND THE BALBAL TRADITION

Abstract

Author(s): Onur KÖSE*

Gravestones, which fall into the material dimension of cultures, are very important cultural objects. They are monuments that give important information about the cultural world to which they belong, with their shapes and some symbols engraved on them, rather than the objects erected on the graves materially. Especially for the old Turkish cultural world, which does not leave much in terms of written sources, tombstones, objects bearing the traces of traditions, are first-hand sources that provide information about the character of the culture and the history of the people. This situation is valid in Tunceli region, about which there are not enough written sources.

In this sense, within our study, firstly, ram, sheep, horse shaped stones and the historical dimension of the balbal tradition were examined, then the traces of these material artifacts in the Tunceli region were examined and their historical evaluation was made. Finally, the examples and historical depths of the ram, sheep, horse shaped tombstone and balbal tradition in different geographies are discussed. As a result of the study, it has been understood that the ram, sheep, horse shaped tombstones and balbals in Tunceli region are concrete examples of old Turkish material culture elements and Eurasian animal style. Again, the similarities of the motifs on the tombstones with the works in the Central Asian geography and Eurasian steppes were determined.

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