The most ancient jewelry to survive up to modern times was found in burial sites from the Stone Age and is 50 thousand years old. But at that time, jewelry was not only for beauty, but also because people thought that the ornaments protected them against curses and evil powers.
The majority of Kazakh jewelry was intended for women, but men’s jewelry, while not as diverse as women’s, greatly surpassed them in value. For instance, a horse’s tack was called “the wing of a man” by the Kazakhs.
Since ancient times, the people of Asia have solemnly believed in the magic power of rings. Every woman was obliged to wear a ring. The Kazakhs used to say “A ring must be on the finger so that the food will be pure”. Women routinely wore three or four rings. On holidays elderly women wore large name rings.
Different forms and designs on jewelry could allegorically deliver good wishes. A guard ring in the form of a bird beak was given to young men going to war with the wish of a safe return home. Portrayals of birds are often encountered on the adornments of Kazakh people. The bird symbolizes freedom, happiness and kindness for the Kazakhs.
The double ring of a mother-in–law which was worn on two fingers, symbolizes the close relations between two families. The mother of the bride gave this ring to the mother of the groom with the wish of well-being for the new daughter-in-law.
In connection with ancient religious beliefs of people crescent-shaped earrings were popular in the past and they are still popular nowadays. This was also true of the other symbols from space such as the sun and stars.
In western and southern Kazakhstan shekelik( temporal jewelry) were widespread.
A shekelik consists of two suns linked by a chain decorated with little clinking pendants.
Bracelets were also very popular. They were worn on one or on both wrists. Finger-ring sets fastened by chains to the bracelet are called bez bilezik.
Among the adornments there were special ones which were worn on the neck. They are called tumar. The tumar was supposed to play the role of an amulet. A special compartment within the tumar contains pieces of paper with surahs from the Koran, sea and river shells, an owl’s feathers or a camel’s wool.
Sholpa and shashbau are national elements of a woman’s jewelry. It was believed that the sound of the ringing which the silver coins in the sholpa and shashbau made during walking could say a lot about the character and disposition of the girl.
Silver clasps, clothes clips and buttons were decorated with precious stones. Kazakhs called them “eyes”, they were supposed to have magical all-seeing power. Kazakhs handed down silver jewelry from one generation to the next: from mothers and grandmothers – to daughters, granddaughters and daughters-in-law. Even nowadays you can come across a young woman wearing grandmother’s bilezik set of rings connected to a bracelet or silver earrings.
Ø Choose the correct answer:
1. The majority of Kazakh jewelry was intended for ….
a) men b) women c) both men and women
2. A horse tack was called ….
a) the head of a man b) the hand of a man c) the wing of a man
3. Every woman was obliged to wear ….
a) earrings b) a tumar c) a ring
4. Women routinely wore …
a) one ring b) two rings c) three or four rings
5. The bird on jewelry symbolizes ….
a) strength b) wisdom c) freedom and happiness
6. Bracelets were worn ….
a) on the left wrist b) on both wrists c) on the right wrist
7. Adornments worn on the neck were called ….
a) sholpa b) shashbau c) tumar
8. Precious stones in silver clasps were called ….
a) eyes b) sparkles c) stars
The life of nomads was always accompanied by music. They were creative people and used every material in making musical instruments. There was enough of such material in the steppe – reed, wood, leather. Also bones of animals, cattle's hoofs, and simple clay were used. Among the folk musical instruments which were especially popular dombra, kobyz, sybyzgy, dayylkaz, syrnai should be named. The music was divided into songs and instrumental one (kyuis). The kyuis usually accompanied the beginning of the meetings of the kins heads. The shepherds accompanied herds of sheep performing kyuis on sybyzgy (a kind of wind-instruments, like a flute). The warriors entered the battle to the sounds of dauylkaz (a beat-instrument).
The songs sounded in campaigns, at weddings and parties of young people. Akyns (singing poets) performed songs to the accompaniment of a two-string dombra. There were often contests (aityses) at the family or kin events, celebrations. Different performers participated in them:akyn (poet), zhyrau or zhyrshy (epos or legend teller), anshi and olenshi (singer), kyuishi (instrumentalist), yertekshi (a fairy tale teller), ku and sykkakoi (humourist, imitator). The contests between the professional artsmen obliged them to improve the performing mastership systematically. They had to be in the centre of events in order to react to the important themes in people's life. People added honourable prefixes «sal» and «sere» to the names of the most popular authors. One of the famous kyuishes (the kyuis performer) of the XIX centery was Kurmangazy Sagyrbayev (1818-1889). A famous composer, founder of the national instrumental music, he was characterized by his unique, bright, creative play on dombra. While working at the performing mastership he reached the highest levels in art. His kyuis reflect steppe sounds, smells and colours. His famous kyui «Sary Arka» performed at the international contest by the Kazakh Academic orchestra of folk instruments was awarded with a reward and glorified the name of Kurmangazy and all Kazakh people. Akhmet Zhubanov (1906-1968) continued Kurmangazy's work. His best works are «Abai» symphony, «Kurmangazy» opera. He collected and carefully kept Kazakh folk melodies and songs. One of A. Zhubanov's pupils is Nurgisah Tlendiyev (1925-1998). It is a bright name in the modern musical life of Kazakhstan. At the age of 14 Nurgisah became a conductor of an orchestra. Since that time he has made 400 orchestra preludes, plays, music for 20 films.
Among the famous singers of Kazakhstan, the first and still shining name is Kulyash Baiseyitova (1912-1957). She was the country's pride and fame, he won common recognition. She was called a nightingale of the Kazakh folk. She was awarded state reward for playing the part of Sarah in the opera «Birzhan Sarah» by M. Tulebayev.
Another famous modern actress and singer whose name is connected with classical music is Bibigul Tulegenova. Her splendid mastership of voice, charm, ability to change immediately have been attracting spectators for many years. The inimitable talent won all the people's recognition.
Ø Answer the questions:
1. What was material which nomads were used in making musical instruments?
2. What were the folk musical instruments popular?
3. Who was the famous kyuishes of the XIX century
Ø Match the sentences:
1. The kyuis usually accompanied the beginning of
the meeting of the kins heads
2. The warrior entered the battle
to the sounds of dauylkaz
3. Akyns performed songs to the accompaniment of
a two-string dombra
4. One of the famous kyuishes was
5. A bright name in the modern musical of Kazakhstan is
6. The famous singer of K. the first and still shining is
7. The famous modern actress and singer whose name is connected with classical music is