“TUĞ” As a Turkish Hegemonic Symbol from the Altay to the Alp Mountains
(53rd Annual Meeting of the PIAC, St. Petersburg 2010)
“Tuğ” was an element which rulers used in Turkish states as a symbol of domination. It appeared in the oldest Turkish states and kept its existence until recently.
“Tuğ” (tail bunch) used to be made from the hairs of the horsetail. A certain amount of hairs of a horsetail were placed on a stick after being painted in red. A fringed cap made from thin black and white hairs was put onto it, too. On top of them a gilded copper ball and sometimes a crescent on the ball used to be placed. The ball used to symbolize the sun, the crescent used to symbolize the moon and the hairs used to symbolize the rays of sunshine.
In addition to its dating back to ancient times as a domination symbol, “Tuğ” has been used as an important symbol in various political entities in an extensive area ranging from Asia to Europe. After the Huns, it maintained its existence as a hegemonic symbol in the Göktürks, Uygurs, Karahanids, Seljukids, Ottomans and other Turkish dynasties.
“Tuğ” came into existence first with the Huns. Although there was a long interval afterwards, Europeans encountered Turkish “Tuğ” in Ottoman period again.