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Mausoleums of Muslim Saints near Isker


IS. V. Belich

There are considered the monuments revering by tobol tatars as mausoleums of Mussulman saints ("astana"). The author analyzes the data on the last ages about the mentioned objects, traces the more archaic, pagan elements in the given complex of ideas making a conclusion on the late inclusion of astana into the Mussulman tradition.

Kult Muslim Saints as whom in domestic ethnography it is accepted to understand "honoring of both graves, and the holy sites", mainly expressed "in the form of honoring of their graves" [Basilov, 1967, page 6; 1970], still remains in national and Islamic beliefs and ceremonies of the Siberian Tatars. In recent years even some strengthening of its value in religious life of the Tatar population of the region which is shown in reconstruction of some tombs and also in carrying out regular "days of commemorations the" local Saints gaining more mass character is observed. For example, the role of a cult of one of the most esteemed by the tobolo-Irtysh Tatars of the Saint — Hakeem of the sheikh increased, acting and newly the restored tomb of which is in yurtas Baish (Bayesh) in Vagaysky district of the Tyumen region (field materials of the author, June, 1996).

At the same time it should be noted the general process of deformation and oblivion of a cult of Saints: many characters of local Muslim hagiology are forgotten though there are concrete burials, genealogical legends — sechere remained fragmentary or in general are absent, the majority of the survived gravestones on the holy sites are dilapidated. Such situation is a consequence of the general process of the ethnocultural development of the Siberian Tatars which was proceeding in the 20th century (and during earlier period) and affected many spheres of national culture which were forced out on the periphery of ethnic culture by modern industrial society.

In this regard the present condition of study of a cult of Muslim Saints and cult monuments of this type at the Siberian Tatars can be characterized as extremely insufficient though to single questions attention in F.T. Valeev's works [1965 was paid, to page 307-309; 1993, page 169-173], V.I. Soboleva [1994b, page 140-142], A.G. Nesterova [1988, page 9-10] and also author [Belich, 1988, page 103-106; 1994, page 28-30].

On our historical and ethnographic materials and researches of the mentioned authors, such monuments in Tobolo-Irtyshsky Entre Rios are connected with places of burials of mainly Central Asian Islamic missionaries (an avliya — "Saints"; iashilar), belonging to Sufi brotherhood nakshbandiyya (hajjs, siedis, sheikhs), died here in religious and military collisions with Tatars-shamanistami during a dokuchumovsky era — at the end of the 14th century or, on our dating, at the end of XV — the beginning of the 16th centuries [Belich, 1987; 1988, page 103-106]. Graves of Saints with the constructions built over them and the territory around burials received the name Astana at the Siberian Tatars (from arabsk. astane — letters. "door threshold", "entrance to the palace").

Besides, on the basis of comparison of ethnographic materials and written sources, first of all the known translation of N.F. Katanov of two Tatar manuscripts of the Tobolsk museum published under the name "About Religious Wars of Pupils of the Sheikh Bagautdin against Foreigners of Western Siberia" [Katanov, 1903, page 133-148], verified partly sources and also the area of early distribution of Islam corresponding to territories of formation generally Tobolsk, kurdaksko-sargatsky and, perhaps, groups of the Tyumen Tatars is outlined [Belich, 1987, page 42].

At last, our further researches allowed to establish that cult monuments arose as during Kuchum's era (and the cult of Saints was him not only it is officially established, but also served as the important tool of state and religious policy), and in postkuchumovsky time, i.e. in the second half of XVl and the 17-18th centuries that corresponds to the second and third stages of Islamization of the Siberian Tatars. And during Kuchum's era this process came at the expense of the same Islamic missionaries from Central Asia and probably from the Kazan khanate, and later — on

the developed local basis within official Muslim institutes. As far as allows to judge all complex of the available sources and also works, on them leaning [Tomilov, 1994, page 160-163; Sobolev, 1994b, page 140-142; Valeev, 1993, page 169-173; Seleznyov, Tomilov, 1994, page 127-134; etc.], during these periods a considerable part of the tobolo-Irtysh and Tomsk Tatars, separate groups of bar-bintsev at which it was finally approved only in the middle of the 19th century was subjected to the massive address to Islam

In this article the author continues a research of a cult of Saints at the Siberian Tatars in historical aspect with attraction of data from literature, the published written sources and field materials.

[1903, page 23] the kompilyativny Tatar manuscripts belonging to Sad-Vakasa Allagulov and Kashaf Abu-Saidov's feather along with the narration about the historical events relating to 1394-1395 and connected with distribution of Islam among Turkic-speaking and partially ugroyazychny population of the Average of Priirtyshje is given in the mentioned N.F. Katanov's translation the list"... mausoleums 30 over men, women and maidens... together with their names and names of those places where they rest". The names of four "from the Saints resting on the bank of Irtysh" are high on the list told: "in Isker the respectable sheikh Aykani; in the same place before Isker the sheikh Biry (Piry); sheikh Nazar; sheikh Sherbeti; all three were brothers, from the Zen-gi-baby grandchildren" [In the same place]. Zengi-baba (Zengi b. Abdmalik, Zengi-Ata) — a name of the medieval Saint, very popular in Turkic Central Asian folklore, who was the spiritual descendant of the founder of mystical brotherhood of an iyasavy — Ahmad al-Yasavi (mind. 1166). The mausoleum of the last — the main shrine of his followers, is in Turkestan [Sukhareva, 1960, page 52]. Let's in passing notice that Bakhaaddin Nakshbandi also was ranked as spiritual descendants of a yasaviya [Trimingem, 1989, page 58]. Mazar Zengi-baby (mind. 1258) located near Tashkent [Bartold, 1968, page 142]. In beliefs of the Turkic people of Central Asia and Kazakhstan, the Volga region and Cisural area a name of this shepherdly sheikh, having imposed on ancient animistic representations, began to be associated with image of "spirit patron" ("owner") of cattle [Valikhanov, 1986; Tatars..., 1967; etc.]. In beliefs of the Siberian Tatars of Zangi (Sanga) the woman was also considered as "owner" of cows, the yard, "he lived in a shed, patronizing pets" [Valeev, 1976, page 325].

Sheikhs Biry, Nazar and Sherpeti probably real historic figures as we tried to show it concerning the sheikh Sherpeti [Belich to I.V. Kult of Saints Astana of the Siberian Tatars in the history of Siberia. In the press], are also called Zengi-baby's grandchildren. Here it must be kept in mind not literal physical genealogy, but spiritual continuity — a silsil, characteristic of Sufism [Trimin-gem, 1989]. It is specified that these Saints "in the same place before Isker" — i.e. all three in one place are buried, and "in Isker" — the sheikh Aykani. Thus, near the former capital Siberian a yurta in the past existed a little, at least not less than two, mausoleums, but one of them is presented as group burial, and another — as single. Their location on Isker, being the main administrative and political, shopping and cultural center of the khanate, and near it demonstrates that these mausoleums served as its main shrines and, respectively, the sheikhs buried in them were among the most esteemed Saints who authorized all spiritual and temporal power within this early feudal state of Western Siberia.

Researches of the last years allow to note that they in 17 of 30 cases of data stated in manuscripts Vakas and Kashaf's Garden find perfect analogies in modern ethnographic materials (tab). However we did not manage to confirm data concerning sacred burials near the ancient settlement of Isker: apparently, names of the first four from the Saint sheikhs, as well as the place of their burials listed in manuscripts, in live national memory did not remain. But there can be doubts in reliability of the data which are contained in manuscripts. In this regard there is a question: whether there were in general any Muslim cult constructions around medieval Isker?

The archaeological works which are carried out at different times by M.S. Znamensky, V.N. Pignatti, V.P. Levashova, B.B. Ovchinnikova, A.P. Zykov on the Kuchumovy ancient settlement do not allow to answer with definiteness this question. In the Siberian chronicles Isker's description is absent. We need only to assume that during Isker (Kashlyk's) existence as the operating early feudal city [Sobolev, 1988, page 52], in particular during Kuchum's government, in it the mosque had to be. It is possible that at the mosque existed and mav-

we have no sols with ashes of the sheikh Aykani, but enough convincing archaeological proofs.

Nevertheless V.I. Sobolev, based on materials of excavation of V.N. Pignatti of 1915 and, in particular, the description "findings of the settled pise-walled arch put on the beams two about an arshins high which decayed nowadays... and two holes, with a diameter over a sazhen everyone, with a manhole among themselves" from which exit conducted to the showered coast of Irtysh [Pignatti, 1915, page 13] sees in these remains base traces from cult constructions [Sobolev, 1994a]. Being guided by the same description of V.N. Pignatti, A.G. Nesterov considered possible to connect the remains of the settled pise-walled arch directly with ruins of the mausoleum of the sheikh Aykani [Nesterov, 1988, page 10] though anthropological material in this place of excavation was absent.

Without going into detail, we will note that both V.N. Pignatti's opinion, and data provided by it cannot unambiguously demonstrate existence of cult buildings. But the fact that in medieval Isker the mosque nevertheless was should not cause doubts. As indirect confirmation serves the drawing with its image to Kyzyl-Tura placed in the Remezovsky chronicle [Article 16; Miller, 1936, page 176] and also the mosque remains found by Miller in the Kaurdatsky jail [Elert, 1990, page 118]. Whether there was in a hansky rate Aykani's mausoleum — as perhaps as and it is improbable.

First, Sharia "disapprovingly belongs to decoration of graves and monumental constructions over them, especially to that graves served as the place of a prayer" and were near mosques [Kerimov, 1978, page 178]. Though as it is well known from history and architecture of the people of the East, these canons were often broken, generally in the Middle Ages: for example, a tomb and Ahmad's mosque it is scarlet-yasavi in Turkestan [Goldtsior, 1938, page 41]. Secondly, it is necessary to consider the small area of a rate of the khan — its citadel making in the diameter of 100 meters (50 sazhens) in which "except the khan and his surname and attendants the few other notable Tatars could live" [Miller, 1750, page 134]. The third, and the most important, the fact that, according to the established tradition of the Siberian Tatars, Astana of any given Saint in with e d and is outside settlements, as a rule at the cemetery. In any case, all recorded by us modern Astana which correspond to the mausoleums listed in manuscripts are located on necropolises. In this case mean Astana with concrete burials and the corresponding nadmogilny constructions, but not islamized subjects to former archaic beliefs which are quite often also called Astana [are more detailed about classification of cult places at the Siberian Tatars see: Belich, 1987, page 40-42]. Therefore a situation of the ethnographic present it is possible with big degree of probability to extrapolate also for Isker's functioning.

Our working hypothesis is as follows. Around Isker (Kashlyk) during his existence as the capitals of the Siberian khanate (in particular it belongs to the period after 1563) two types of the Muslim cult constructions making the uniform, but divided in space cult complex were located.

The first type is presented by the mosque which was during this period directly in the strengthened part of the settlement — its citadel. If to agree with reasonable opinion of V.N. Pignatti, "that on those places where nowadays fields of the village of Alemasovoy (the hill 6 on the plan of Isker removed by A. Davydovsky. — I.B.), on that place which the unknown fan of old times on the plan of the 60th years called the place of dwellings of soldiers Kuchumov was located the city in a true zna-

T and l and c

Tatar manuscripts Ethnographic materials

1. "the sheikh Moussa in the Heap- the aul of Kuchayalan — Moussa

Yalane" shay

2. "in Vagaya is... the aul of Baik — Kassim shay


3. "on Baishe mister the aul of Bayesh — Hakeem sha-

Hakeem sheikh" their (Hakeem-ata)

4. "at the mouth of Ishim..., in the aul of Tyurmityaki (Olla

Big Bu's settlement- Buren) — Bigach-ata with

of wounds, the mausoleum Bigach- family

at the"

5. "at the lake Lyuchyuk poch- Lechik-yurt — Nauf

muddy Nauf" (Azis Nauf) shay

6. "in Karbin the sheikh the aul of Karbino — Gumar-

Omar-Ali" Ali Shaikh

7. "in Ish-Tamale Akyl- the aul of Ishtamany — Akil-

Bibi" Bibi with the sister

word cheniya" (i.e. the trade and craft posad where the main part of the population was concentrated. — I.B.) [Pignatti, 1915, page 17], it is possible to allow existence and the second mosque.

The second type — mausoleums of Saints which had to be at cemeteries. Let's remind that such cult objects here, according to manuscripts, there were two: the first — the single burial connected with a name of the sheikh Aykani, the second — group burial of sheikhs Bee-riya, Nazar and Sherpeti. Therefore, it is admissible to assume existence in the past near Isker and two cemeteries. It is confirmed also by V.N. Pignatti's conclusions according to which "at the coast of Irtysh, on this hill (the same hill 6. — I.B.) was located the cemetery which it seems fell off also in gray-haired times why it was left; the new cemetery of the capital was arranged on the left side of Sibirki (the hill 3)" [In the same place]. In the photo which is stored in funds of the Tobolsk memorial estate from "The plan of the capital city of Iskera" (TM, rc 15672/5) removed by the unknown author in the 20th of the 19th century [Znamensky, 1891, page 8], this cemetery is designated at No. 3 (that corresponds to the hill 6 on A. Davydovsky's plan).

Whether there was at this ancient cemetery a mausoleum of Muslim "Saint" (or "Saints")? The scientists and travelers of the second half of the 17-18th centuries who visited Isker report about it nothing, and only in "Travel Notes..." I.P. Falk who visited Isker in 1771 or 1772 there are data interesting us: "In six versts below (villages Abalak. — I.B.) is Sibirki's course, on the right coast at this channel... near Gradskaya Square (i.e. ancient settlements. — I.B.) is the Tatar cemetery at which there is an ancient wooden tower concluding, according to the legend, a coffin in Saints considered Skir Stama to whom many Mohammedans were flown down before on worship" [Falk, 1824, page 394].

It is easy to understand that the Swedish doctor and the scientist, we will tell not absolutely well knowing Russian, obtained this information from the Tatar, using probably translation service, and was mistaken, having written down expression "Isker astana" as a name of "Saint". From I.P. Falk's description it is visible that the nadmogilny construction of "Saint" represented a high wooden design. Considering conservatism and stability of architectural canons, it is possible to consider that this tradition, without significant changes remained at the Siberian Tatars so far. Possibly, the construction which is at the cemetery in the aul of Takhtagul (Tobolsk district) is similar. Judging by the photo which is kindly provided to the author by the native of the aul A. Tashbulatov, this Astana represents the wooden construction of a hexagonal form without roof which is cut down from 15 wreaths with a door (fig).

Most likely, "Isker astana" and the Tatar cemetery mentioned by I.P. Falk were located at that time on the left coast of Sibirki, opposite to Isker — "near Gradskaya Square", i.e. on the same place which was designated by the author of the plan of Isker the 1820th as "cemetery" and corresponded to the hill 3 on the plan of 1915 of A. Davydovsky. It is confirmed also by M.S. Znamensky's observations: "Just against a well on the left coast of Sibirki there is a flat turning green platform making a mountain ledge; on the old plan (the 1820th — I.B.) this area is designated by the name "ancient cemetery": small oblong holes — here everything that it is only possible to see here" [Znamensky, 1891, page 10]. At the same time he introduced the curious idea: whether "it is the cemetery of the Russians dying on Isker" — reasoning it with the fact that, "knowing as honor Tatar cemeteries, it is difficult to assume that they left this place in such abandoned look especially as a little further, on the top of the mountain, at them ashes of some honored Saint are based; where they twice a year gather to create a commemoration from all vicinities and to pray the whole night" [In the same place].

To what time this burial ground and who put it belongs, without carrying out archaeological works with definiteness it is difficult to tell. The following remark of M.S. Znamensky is important for us: "Till May 29, 1881 there (i.e. on the place of burial of "Saint". — I.B.) stood small chapel, but this day... the Preobrazhenskiy wood and it lit up and monuments Tatar were destroyed" [In the same place]. It is obvious that under "chapel" it must be kept in mind actually the mausoleum of "Saint", and "monuments" were traditional srubny nadmogilny constructions. Whether this mausoleum was restored after the fire, it is still unknown, most likely, is not present. But it is obvious that from now on the tradition of its honoring, a long time occurring at the Siberian (Tobolsk) Tatars, begins to die away gradually and completely disappears so far.

The fig. Astana near the village of Takhtagul, winter of 1991

The field materials received by us in recent years allow to assume that around medieval Isker there was one more Muslim mausoleum. On the opposite coast of Sibirki, opposite to Isker, almost equal rectangular platform in the plan making 900 sq.m. overgrown with mainly coniferous forest was recorded. The platform is edged by a superficial rovik (0.2-0.35 m) and focused on parts of the world. From West side the rovik is adjoined by three hollows. Small fragments of modelled ceramics and also the burned brick and a clay plastering were found in a layer. On the nature of a cultural layer the monument can be dated time close to the period of existence of Isker. Excavation on the platform was not carried out. According to A.P. Zykov (the oral message, 1993), based on the description of a monument, it is impossible to consider the last the ancient settlement. In our opinion, all signs: the small area, a rectangular shape in the plan, existence of a rovik with an external shaft (observable and until now at many Tatar cemeteries), orientation on parts of the world — demonstrate in favor of its interpretation as an ancient cult monument of the Siberian Tatars. Apparently, in the past there was Astana and, perhaps, the small burial ground here. As arguments we will give examples of similar types of monuments: the tower of Tamerlan known today as the reconstructed portal and tent mausoleum Kesen the 14th century located near the village of Varna in Chelyabinsk region [Stokolos, 1962, page 21-26; Botalov, 1986, page 119]; ruins of the unknown Muslim mausoleum of HSh-HM of centuries near medieval Otrar [Akishev, Baypakov, Erzakovich, 1987, page 124-125, 220]. Further archaeological works on the above-mentioned object will allow to specify suggested.

As distribution of world religions in the environment of other people, for example Slavs in Russia, began with the capitals and the main towns, and, in fair opinion of V.I. Sobolev [1988, page 5], "in Siberia Islam first of all was approved in the capital among the local nobility. Then this process extended at the expense of the dominating top of other areas of the state".

Thus, the Muslim mausoleums existing around Isker should be carried to number of the earliest and sacrally significant cult monuments.

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Tobolsk, Tobolsk state historical and architectural memorial estate

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