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Stratum plus. 2016. No 4

A. N. Podushkin (Shymkent, Kazakhstan)

Towards Analysis and Semantic Interpretation of a Kangju Anthropomorphous Image from Southern Kazakhstan

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Pages: 55-67

The author offers a comprehensive archaeological, historical and cultural, trace-evidence, iconographic analysis, as well as semantic-ethnic interpretation of a unique anthropomorphous image on the jug used for water bearing and dining. The jug was found in the hillfort of Ushbastobe, 1st—4th centuries (valley of the Ugam river, Southern Kazakhstan). Various versions of the semantic interpretation of the image are exposed. The key interpretation of this image is farn-hvarnah (xvarənah), which is a family (clan, home) deity (worship) with plenty of functions (life well-being, health, prosperity, happiness, an amulet against evil forces and other). Iconographic roots of the studied image have some relations to Fine Art and religious beliefs of ancient Eurasian ethnicities of the late Iron Age, as well as they bare apparent autochthonous features inherent to settled agricultural population of a local mountainous area. From the ethnocultural point of view, the anthropomorphous image in the represented semantic and functional version (farn-hvarnah) is connected with Kangyuy (Kangju). Additionally, it concerns the range of Iranian-speaking tribes of Saka-Scythian-Sarmatian world, where this cult was wide-spread in antiquity.

Keywords: South Kazakhstan, Ushbastobe hillfort, 1st—4th centuries, Arys culture, Scythians-Saka, Sarmatians, Kangju, ceramics, anthropomorphous image, iconography, semantics of image, Farn (hvarnah), deity.

Information about author:

Aleksandr Podushkin
(Shymkent, Kazakhstan). Doctor of Historical Sciences. South Kazakhstan State Pedagogical Institute. Baytursinov St., 13, Shymkent, 160017, Kazakhstan
E-mail: [email protected]

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