Pictures on monuments
Important, interesting and valuable for science part of the ancient material cultural monuments consisted of on-rock descriptions. Such pictures carved, drawn and described with paint on separate stones and rocks, cave walls, graves stones can be met in many places of the Earth. There are such kinds of on-rock descriptions in the Garabagh region of Azerbaijan, too. Majority of the descriptions consists of goats, hunting scenes, dances like yally, celestial bodies, ancient animals etc carved on basalt stones in hand made mode.
One of places of Garabagh being rich in on-rock descriptions is Kalbajar. There are on-rock descriptions in the region informing about millenniums of BC. Kalbajar ethnography and history museum has registered more than 3500 “on-rock pictures”. Slaps known as “Gobustan’s brothers” were found namely from Kalbajar mountains. On-rock pictures in places like “Soltan Heydar”, “Gurbaghalı chay (Frog river)”, “Turshsu”, “Aychınqıllı”, “Gelingayasy”, “Boyukdevegozu”, “Sercheli (Sparrow)” and etc are similar or “twins” with “inscriptions and pictures” of Gobustan. The age of the pictures on these stones is like the age of those stones. These pictures have been scraped on solid rocks like basalt. 28 stones with inscriptions and pictures brought to Kalbajar history and ethnography museum is evidence of being ancient man dwelling area not just Kalbajar but whole Azerbaijani land.
One of places with wide spread on-rock descriptions in Garabagh region is Lachin region. Pictorial stone samples engraved, carved, drawn on rocks are found in the villages of Gulabird, Jijimli, Malkhalaf, Zabukh, Malybey, Zeyva, Kosalar, Katos, Pirjahan, Seyyidler. Among these carvings plot carving and even hunting scenes with description of man, bird, animal can be found, too. In areas called Malybry, Varazugun, Mirik valley an existence of carvings of various feature and various size stone figures (round, circular, quadrangular and polygonal) is of special interest. Geometrical and other ornaments on stone, as well as engraving can be found on architecture monuments and on gravestones, too. Although many of them were carved in static conditions but among them dynamic, vital descriptions are met, too. But they were done in considerably surface, mostly in drawing mode.
Examples of original decorations carved on stones in Lachin region are found on grave monuments. There are a few groups of grave stones in these territories. Among them monuments with flat top, round, carved head stones and at the same time horizontal boxes, statues of horse, ram can be ) shown. For example swastika showing moon-stars or stripy circle etc patterns can be shown. These monuments are mainly found in Abdallar, Khallanly, Malybey, Zeyva, Garagol, Gulabird, Jijimli, Malkhalaf, Farajan, Seyyidler and Erikli areas of the region. Some motives with original plots brought to descriptive art in connection with faith of the ancient Turkic speaking tribes are found here. It includes religious ceremonies of the shamans, descriptions of the ongon bird totems appeared with zoomorphic conceptions in ancient Turkic speaking peoples.
This art works created beginning from approximately IV millennium BC till early of century in various periods attract attention with its artistry, content.
Stone engraving, carving drawing has been used widely in Garabagh in the Middle Ages. Materials being in the hand show that besides making decoration with engraving on stone, carving and drawing figures folk masters used to make sculptures of various contents.
Among plastic art works related to the Middle Ages stone man figures occupy main place. These monumental plastic art examples found around Aghdam city during recent years had caused a great interest among scientists. Among figures describing human figure monuments found in 1973 near Boyahmedli village of Aghdam region especially attract the attention.
These man figures are original plastic examples found till date in Azerbaijani territory. Despite being made in style quite different from schematic, real proportions these plastic art examples amaze a man with its magnificent view. Hands opened up, eyes of the figure have been described especially in very original manner.
Finding out such type of stone figures in the Garabagh territory is not an accidental. Sources show that Turkish speaking peoples used to put the man statue on grave of each brave man before adopting the Islam religion. It is marked that in early middle ages these statues were considered sacred and idolized in Chinese, Arabic, Middle Asia sources.
In XVI- XVII centuries plastic art examples are met mostly on gravestones compared to early times in Garabagh territory. A few groups of grave stone are met in Azerbaijan territory. The vertical head stones shaped in different forms, horizontal boxes, figured statues of horse, ram etc could be shown.
Grave stones were adorned in the different style, form depending on the status and position held in the life, society by buried person. Grave of the rich persons was worked with more decorations and fine. Grave stones especially in Garabagh differed depending on climate of the place, material used and tradition. Besides ornamental decoration on grave stones in the region during the Middle Ages adjoining plot, descriptive compositions are met, too. This type of grave stones is met mostly in the foothills graveyards of Garabagh. Majority of the plot compositions on the grave stones consists of themes representing the individual valour of buried man. For instance, on man grave stones hunting scenes and on female gravestones scenes related to carpet-making art occupy main place.
Stone ram figures have spread in Garabagh widely. Such wide spreading in Garabagh of the stone ram figures is not accidental.
Ram was a symbol of abundance and victory since very ancient times for leather used in household for many purposes, for beautiful rugs and its woolen threads.
Stone ram figures belong to different and original art styles. Stone ram figures met in the regions of Aghdam, Lachin have some specific features, too. These remember the examples of archaic art of the past.
Stone ram figures met in Garabagh show how a horse was a holy animal among people in the past.
Decorative ornaments of stone horse figures comprise of cavalry. They were carved in visible manner and consists of bridle, strap of tail from below, belly-band (straps passing under the belly) stirrup, saddle and sweat-cloth. In some cases this cavalry is adorned with pakhlava shaped, triangle, four-cornered patterns. These in general, remember bronze decorations in cavalry fixed at strap. This cavalry is interesting not just for being a work of art, but as a historical fact, because they remember cavalry found in the Scythians and other ancient kins of the Central Asia.
The end of XIX century and early of XX century is characterized with gradual declining of art of engraving on stones and disappearing. But this change was not same in all areas of Garabagh. If stone engravings found in our cities had fallen under the influence of the new style quickly, but this novelty is felt in the monuments in the far outskirts is a very negligible amount. The engraving works with progressive tradition of the past time are found in this century just in Aghdam stone monuments. This group of monuments although repeated the ornament motive and composition styles of the past time in many cases, but their technical execution compared to previous times was in considerably low level.
This kind of monuments is countless in the territories of Azerbaijan occupied by Armenians. These historical monuments, it is possible to say that have been destroyed completely by Armenian aggressors. All of these are a part of the great scale war directed against Azerbaijan by Armenia. Works carried out by Armenians in the direction of the falsifying of the monuments in the Azerbaijani territories serve to the policy of proving themselves, to create so-called “historical culture”. But many written sources in the South Caucasus, obtained official documents, archives and photos prove once again that these material- cultural monuments are connected with Azerbaijan only.