Cultural peculiarities of Kazakh jewellery items and their reflection in the language
(63rd Annual Meeting Ulaanbaatar, 2021)
Nowadays reviving national culture is one of the most pressing issues in the Turkic and Altaic world. Kazakhs as many other Turkic people have lost most of their national peculiarities under the influence of the Soviet ideology. The jewellery names and their background knowledge in the national worldview determine the ethnic identity of the Kazakh culture. This lecture focuses on the analysis of the cultural peculiarities in Kazakh national women’s jewellery, sacred meanings and coding with respect to human life as well as their reflection in the language. Kazakh linguist R. Shoibekov gives an ethnolinguistic description of jewellery and points that jewellery vocabulary is the basis of a number of phraseological units .
For the Kazakh people, jewellery is a phenomenon of public life, namely, there are many traditions, beliefs, objects of art, aesthetic values, children’s education and upbringing, etc. that are connected with jewellery. Jewellery provides information about the owner’s clan, age, social status and conveys further personal information. Having the protection function, jewellery plays an important role in all important stages of a woman’s life in the Kazakh culture: childhood, maturity, marriage, etc. During our study we have considered various functions of jewellery items in a woman’s life. The data we have analysed includes Kazakh traditions and rituals, proverbs and sayings, idioms, epithets, and onyms connected with jewelry and reflected in the language.
Specific rites related to jewellery are as follows:
– Šilde suï. The water that a newborn is bathed is called “shilde suï”. Kazakh people put silver jewellery and coins in “shilde suï” for disinfection. Later “shilde suï” is stored and used for treatment.
– Tana tağar. Sewing or pinning tana (a small metal or mother-of-pearl plaque). The tradition arose to protect young children from the evil eye. Tana was tied to the arms of babies or were sewn to clothes. Tana on the child’s clothes meant to be a child as a grown-up enough to help his parents in household activities.
– Qūlaq tesu. Ear piercing and wearing earrings rite for a girl at the age of 7 or 9 means her first step of growing up and acting like a girl.
– Baiğazy beru. The tradition of giving a gift for children on the occasion of purchasing new things for them. The girls get jewellery as a baiğazy gift.
– Selt etkizer. The tradition during Nauryz holiday in spring when young men give their beloved some jewellery to expresses love.
– Sïrğa tağu (wearing earrings). Matchmaking, marriage proposal.
Here are some examples of proverbs and sayings related to jewellery:
– “Äšekeyi žoq äyel žapïrağï žoq ağašpen teŋ” (The woman without jewellery is like a tree without leaves).
– “Saqina sänge emes, tazalïqqa tarazï” (The ring is not for beauty, but for cleanliness)
– “Žuzigiŋ altïn bolğanša, Žuziŋ žarqïn bolsïn” (Let your face be brighter than your gold ring).
– “Qïzïmnïŋ qūlağïna altïn sïrğa” (Gold earrings for daughter’s ears, Dear daughter, you should pretend not to hear that!)
– Qoldïŋ säni – bilezik (Bracelet beautifies hands)
In the Kazakh culture, jewellery also carries a deep significance in showing the respect for people, maintaining good relations, and expressing good or bad news. Cultural peculiarities of jewellery are also found in other Turkic languages and cultures.
1. Šoibekov R. Qazaq zergerlik öneriniŋ leksikasï, Almaty, 1993. –190 p.