Saturday, November 24, 2012

Ivan the Terrible - and Tatar boots

Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan on November 16, 1581
Ilya Repin 1885

 "Although Repin strayed away from painting historical episodes, he completed Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan in the genre. This painting depicts the historical 16th century story of Ivan the Terrible mortally wounding his son in Ivan in a fit of rage. By far the most psychologically intense of Repin’s paintings, the Emperor’s face is fraught with terror, as his son lay quietly dying in his arms, blood dripping down the side of his face, a single tear on his cheek. Repin began thinking about painting this historical episode after the assassination of Alexander II. In an attempt to recall other bloody episodes of Russian history, he painted this piece as a as an expression of his rejection of violence and bloodshed. "

The lower part of Ivan the Terrible
Viktor Vasnetsov, 1897

Bulgari Style

The making of various articles of leather is an art for which the Tatars and their ancestors the Bulgars have long been famous.  The method for preparing the leather and the style of the leather articles themselves known as "Bulgari" were familiar in Europe, Asia and even China.  Russian princes and czars were delighted to used Tatar leather articles...

Nowadays especially popular are the boots with leather inlaid national ornamentation, slippers, and women's shoes in the same style.  In the art salons of Kazan you may encounter also cushions in the leather inlay reminiscent of old time Tatar interiors.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tatar Clothing Blog

Tatar Clothing (Tatarskiy Costume) in Russian
35 postings so far on this blog and we're excited for more more more!

Volgo-Kama Bulgaria - Kazan Khanate

Volgo-Kama Bulgaria
A Bulgar state made up of Finno-Ugric and other peoples from the Volga-Kama region, which existed in the Middle Volga region and the Kama region in the 10th to 14th centuries.  The capital city was Bulgar and from the 12th century Bilyar.  Trade with the Arab Caliphate, Byzantium, the Eastern Slavs and others. Military and trade rivalry arose with Kievan Rus and later with the principality of Vladimir-Suzdal.  Conquered by the Mongol-...(Batu Khan) in 1241.  In the second half of the 13th century Bulgar and Zhukotin principalities were established but these were destroyed by Timur in the 1390's.

Kazan Khanate
A state in the Middle Volga region (1438-1552)  which separated from the Golden Horde.  It's capitol Kazan.  The population consisted of Kazan Tatars, Mari, Chuvash, Udmurt, Mordovians and Bashkirs.  It was the last fully independent state entity on this territory (modern Tatarstan). From 1487 to 1521 it was a vassal of Russia and from 1524 a vassal of Turkey.  As a result of Russia's Kazan campaigns (1545 to 1552) the Khanate was eliminated and the Middle Volga region attached to Russia.

Feride Visits




We were fortunate enough and just after Bayram to have a visit from Pop singer Feride, of "Feride and Alsu".  She, along with her husband/manager made the long-distance voyage from Kazan to entertain a room full of appreciative, and instantly adoring fans.  Somehow Alsu was not able to get her visa together, but that is alright.  Feride sings really well. Her husband plays well.  All in all a beautiful concert and lovely all around.
At times, it feels as if the Tatar language and culture are in a state of dissipation, under threat, at risk.  Events such as this concert help to restore the faith in our future and to invigorate our passions for everything Tatar.

Tatar MTV

Streaming video by Ustream

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Wenceslaus Hollar - Men of Tartary

Hey!  These aren't the Tatars of Tatarstan, but interesting nonetheless.  Western China?

Six Turkic Songs







Tatars - Soviet Union : A Country Study 1991

Three major Tatar groups reside in the Soviet Union:  Volga Tatars (the overwhelming majority of all Tatars in the Soviet Union), Crimean Tatars, and Siberian Tatars.  Most are descended from the Turkic-speaking Bulgars who came into the Volga-Ural region in the seventh century and the Kipchak tribes who invaded the area as part of the Mongol Empire.  From the thirteenth to the fifteenth century, they were part of the Golden Horde.  In the fifteenth century, the Golden Horde broke up into the Kazan', Astrakhan', Crimean, and Siberian khanates.   The Volga Tatars, the descendants of the Kazan' and Astrakhan' hordes, were conquered by Russia in the sixteenth century.  The Siberian Tatars were incorporated into the Russian Empire later that century, and the Crimean Tatars were incorporated at the end of the eighteenth century.

After their conquest by Russia, the Volga Tatars were subjected to harsh political, economic, and religious policies.  Only the Tatar nobles who had intermarried with Russians and, in many instances, gained positions of power and influence in the Russian state, escaped persecution.  Thousands of Tatars were deported north to work in Russian shipyards .  Russians confiscated Tatar property, destroyed their mosques and religious shrines, and pressured them to convert to Christianity.  After a series of Tatar revolts in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the tsarist government began to change its policies.  In 1788 Islam was given official status in Russia,  and in 1792 Tatars were granted the right to trade with the Turkic populations of Turkestan, Iran, and China. 

Repressive measures by the Russian government against Crimean Tatars and Slavic immigration into Crimea forced many Tatars to emigrate.  Others were forcibly deported.  During a century of Russian rule, the Tatar population in Crimea declined from about 500,000 at the end of the eighteenth century to fewer than 200,000 by the end of the nineteenth century. 

Siberian Tatars -  mainly hunters, trappers, and horse breeders scattered over a large territory - presented no threat to the Russian state and for a time continued to live unmolested.  In the nineteenth century, many Siberian Tatars moved to the cities, seeking employment in the newly built sawmills and tanneries.  

Despite renewed harassment in the second half of the nineteenth century,  Tatars formed the intellectual and political elite of the Muslim population in Russia.  Tatars were active in the Revolution of 1905 in Russia.  they participated in the first Duma of 1906 and the Second Duma of 1907, and they were the leading proponents of the pan-Turkic movement that emphasized racial, religious and linguistic unity of all turkic-speaking peoples.

After the February Revolution in 1917, the Volga Tatars tried to establish an independent federation of Volga-Ural states.  this dream proved impossible in the face of both Bolshevik and White Russian opposition.  Instead, with the help of the Red Army, the Tatar Autonomous Republic was created in May 1920 as part of the Russian Republic.  

The Crimean Tatars' attempts to create an independent state in 1917 were also thwarted by the Bolsheviks, and in October 1921 the Soviet leaders created the Crimean Autonomous Republic.  later, however, the Crimean Tatars were exiled from Crimea during World War II and scattered throughout Soviet Central Asia. 

In the 1989 census, the Tatars, with over 6.6 million people, were the sixth largest nationality in the Soviet Union.  Nevertheless, they did not have their own union republic.  Over 1.7 million Tatars lived in the Tatar Autonomous republic, one of sixteen autonomous republics in the Russian Republic, where they had a plurality of almost 48 percent of the population.  About 1 million others lived in the Bashkir Autonomous Republic, also located in the Russian Republic, where they ranked second in population after the Russians and just ahead of the Bashkirs, a closely related Turkic nationality.  Another 2.6 million Tatars live scattered throughout the rest of the Russian Republic.  Of these, about 500,000 were Siberian Tatars living in western Siberian towns and villages.  Over 1 million Tatars - a majority of who were probably exiled Crimean Tatars - were also found in Soviet Central Asia - mostly in the Uzbek and Kazakh republics.

Each of the three Tatar groups speaks a distinct language, although all belong to the West Turkic-Kipchak group of languages.  the language of the Crimean Tatars also contains a large number of Arabic and Persian loanwords.  The Siberian Tatars have no written language of their own and use the literary language of the Volga Tatars.

In 1989 over 83 percent of all Tatars and 96.6 percent of those residing in the Tatar Autonomous Republic regarded Tatar as their native language.  A high percentage of Tatars were also fluent in Russian.  The educational level of Tatars in the Soviet Union varied.  Tatars living in their own autonomous republic or elsewhere in the Russian Republic were not as well educated as the highly urbanized ... Tatars who lived in the Soviet Central Asian republics. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Tatar/California Friendship

At the last Bayram I noticed that the flag of Tatarstan, in a friendly gesture,  reached out towards the flag of California to "hold hands".   California is a welcoming place with sunshine and friendly people from all over the world.  

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Nomads + Networks at Smithsonian - Ancient Kazakhstan

Our snooping around Turkic Washington DC continues with this incredible exhibit at the Smithsonian on ancient Kazakhstan. We were able to snap a couple of pictures before we noticed that photography was not permitted. The security guard noted that the ancient "altar pieces" resembled "animal crackers".

Tray with figures of seated man and standing horse
Issyk, Semirechye/Zhetisu (almaty region), 5th-3rd century BCE
Central State Museum, Almaty

Thousands of petroglyphs or "stone engravings" have been found chiseled into the rock surfaces of mountains and hillsides in central, southern, and eastern Kazakhstan.
They often depict horses, camels, animals with horns, human figures wearing animal masks that might illustrate ancient myths or rituals.  These large mysterious stones may have marked special locations, such as watering holes or sacred sites.  Although it is difficult to assign a date to them, petroglyphs certainly were not new during the Iron Age.  More than five thousand petroglyphs have been found at Tamgaly; northwest of Almaty.  It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2004.

Almaty region, 2nd-1st millennium BCE
Museum of Archaeology, Almaty

 This gold headed figure is actually quite small, about 7 cm. in height.

The language of the Kazakhs belongs to the same family of Turkic languages  as the languages of the Kirgiz, the Uzbeks, and the Turkmens.  Kazakh, a unique language with Arabic and Tatar elements, became a literary language in the 1860's.  Until 1926, Kazakh had an Arabic script; from 1926 until 1940, it had a Latin alphabet; and since 1940, it has had a Cyrillic alphabet.  In spite of the significant numbers of Russians and other nationalities in the republic, the Kazakhs have retained very high usage of their own language.  In 1989 about 98 percent of the Kazakhs living in the republic regarded Kazakh as their native tongue.  Of the non-Kazakh residents of the Kazakh Republic, only 1 percent could converse fluently in the Kazakh language.  (1991)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Tatars and Education - history notes

“Rather than resist, the middle classes became the bearers of a new cultural and political consciousness. Since the early nineteenth century the University of Kazan had been the principal center for the communication of Russian culture to Tatars and Kazakhs, and after the middle of the century the Russians vastly expanded their educational effort. Nicholas II'minskii created schools which would give Tatars a Russian and European education, imparted by native instructors using native languages. While some Tatars resisted this program because they feared forced Russification, and some Russians were concerned about an education which would encourage national languages and separatism many Tatars welcomed the new education as a means of spreading modernism and of entering into the life of the Russian state.

In Turkestan, Russian education came to Muslims as a result of different policies. Here Governor-General von Kaufman decided to create schools for Russian settlers (1876) which had no religious or confessional bias, and wait for Muslims to voluntarily enroll and adopt a superior Russian civilization. In 1884 the first Russian native school to teach Russian language, arithmetic, geography, history , literature, and other secular subjects in the morning, and Muslim religion and local language in the afternoon, was founded. A small number of schools sufficed to create a cadre of Muslim translators, teachers, and intellectuals. Generally, however, Muslims found them unsatisfactory because of their poor teaching of Muslim subjects and the fear that their children would be weaned away from Islam. By 1917 Muslim education was still mostly in the hands of the “ulama”.”

However, Russian conquests and colonization led to the development of a native bourgeoisie, and Russian education favored, as in colonial situations the Muslim world over, the emergence of a small intelligentsia. Under the influence of Russian education, and of new ideas from Turkey and Iran, this intelligentsia began to demand reform of Muslim practices, self-improvement, cultural enlightenment, and eventually, political autonomy. Some of the new intelligentsia stressed national development, some religious reform. After the turn of the century there would be advocates of socialism as well.

The most significant of the new cultural tendencies was the usul-i-jadid, or New Method, a program of educational reform that gradually developed into a political movement. The usul-i-jadid had its origin among wealthy and highly Europeanized Kazan and Crimean Tatars, often educated at the University of Kazan, who had not only become assimilated to Russian culture but sensitive to their own Turkish and Muslim heritage and aware of their backwardness. The Volga and Crimean Tatar bourgeoisie carried the new concept into Kazakhstan, Turkestan, and Bukhara, where it influenced other Muslim intellectuals. In the latter regions, however, the impact of jadid was slight and the preponderance of educational and religious influence remained with the old-fashioned Muslim 'ulama'.

The Tatar intellectual revival began early in the nineteenth century under the leadership of Abu Nasr al-Kursavi (1783-1814), a young Tatar theologian and teacher in a madrasa in Bukhara, who proclaimed the primacy of reason over dogma. He was exiled, but his views were taken up by Shihab al-Din Marjani (1818-1889), who called for freedom of reasoning and of independent judgment in religious matters, the abandonment of the fixed dogmas of the past, a new education based on the teaching of the Quran, hadith, and the history of Islam, and instruction in Russian language and modern science. His progam was oriented toward a reform of Islamic belief and teaching and to a modernization and integration of Islam with Russian culture. Marjani thus represented a combination of the reformist and the modernist orientations.

A principal contributor to the creation of a Muslim literature which could communicate modern ideas was “Abd al-Qayyim Nasiri (1824-1904), the son of a village religious teacher, educated in the madrasas of Kazan and Bukhara, learned in Arabic, Persian, and Chaghatay, who taught himself Russian and taught for a time in a Russian theological seminary. In 1871 he left the seminary and opened his own school. Basing his work on his own pedagogical concepts, he taught not only Muslim subjects, but Russian language, arithmetic, geography, history, music, and drawing. For this enterprise Nasiri created his own texts, including a syntax for Tatars trying to learn Russian, and a Tatar-Russian dictionary. He also wrote on European sciences and published material on trade and industry. A folklorist who accumulated Tatar songs and legends, he preserved the knowledge of pre-Islamic beliefs. Though he was opposed to the conservative religious leaders and their concept of education, he was in fact a devout Muslim and published numerous religious works including studies of the life of the Prophet and stories of Muslim saints. In his own lifetime he was largely ignored, but as an encyclopedist and vulgarizer he was a pioneer in joing Muslim reform to Muslim modernism.

The most famous jadid leader was Ismai'il Gasprinskii (1851-1914), a Crimean Tatar who had a European education and worked as a journalist in Istanbul and Paris. In 1883 he began to publish Tarjuman, which became the principal expression of the jadid campaign for the modernization and unification of Muslim peoples. Gasprinskii became a proponent of the modernist rather than the reformist orientation. He argued that Muslims must borrow from the West to revitalize their intellectual and social life. While Islam could remain a philosophic and theological system, Muslim peoples had to become part of modern technical civilization. He held up the positive example of the small Tatar community in Poland which was Muslim in religion but otherwise wholly assimilated, and the negative example of Bukhara as a benighted and backward Muslim society.

Gasprinskii pioneered in sponsoring jadid schools. By 1905 Kazan, Orenburg, Bakçesaray, and Baku had become important centers of jadid education. He also tried to develop a standard Turkish literary language based on Ottoman to replace the traditional use of Arabic, Persian, and Chagatay. Gasprinskii's ultimate object was to transmit European culture to Muslim peoples and to unify them on the basis of a common language, a rational form of religion, and a shared modern civilization.

Tatar merchants and intellectuals introduced the jadid schools to Tashkent and Bukhara where they were taken up by local cotton merchants and money lenders who had a Russian education or had been exposed to Russian ideas. Tashkent schools and the Turkestan Native Gazette, and official government publication produced in literary Uzbek with a Russian translation, were the main vehicles for the spread of interest in modernization. Stimulated by the Iranian revolution of 1906 and the Young Turk coup of 1908, Bukharans themselves founded additional schools which emphasized religion and provided supplementary studies of Russian language, arithmetic geography, physics, and chemistry. These contrasted with the reformist schools in Crimea and Kazan, which stressed secular rather than religious instruction. In 1910 a new society called the Union of Noble Bukhara was founded to print a journal and distribute literary materials. These Yeni Bukharlar (Young Bukharans) included intellectuals of merchant and 'ulama' background, many of whom were educated in Istanbul. They combined Young Turk-type reformism, Tatar jadidism, pan-Islamic, anti-Russian, and anti-feudal sentiments.

The leading ideologue of the Bukharan reform was 'Abd al-Rauf Fitrat'. He argued that Muslim civilization in Bukhara was in decline and that the conservative 'ulama' were responsible. The 'ulama', he argued, had distorted the teaching of the Prophet, put Islam at the service of the privileged classes and made it hostile to progress. He was equally opposed to popular religious practices and the worship of saints. He argued that the regeneration of the Muslim community would depend upon a new understanding of Islam which rejected ignorant leadership and blind fidelity. Fitrat believed that the regeneration of the Muslim community could only be realized by a spiritual renovation of individuals, based on a reformed education, and by a social and political revolution which would bring an end to foreign domination and to a corrupt political elite. He was the first Bukharan thinker to emphasize political action and to propound an Islamic identity based on the concept of vatan (fatherland) and millet (nation).

The jadid movement in Tsarist Russia was similar to reformist movements in other parts of the Muslim world. In social origin it was a movement of intelligentsia drawn from bourgeois and merchant strata of society, a movement not of a displaced but of an aspiring political elite. While it echoed 'ulama' reformism by its emphasis upon the Quran, Sunna, and itjihad, jadid appears primarily as a modernist movement which attempted to transform Islam into another version of modern technical and national civilization. In this respect it seems closer to the modernism of the Ottoman empire and Sayyid Ahmad Khan in India than to the refomism of the Sufis.

Cultural concerns, moreover, soon led to politics. Within the jadid movement, and alongside of it, the Tatars began to discuss their political identity and to debate whether Tatars were Turks or a separate nation. Emigrés in Turkey took the pan-Turanian view that Tatar, Turkish, Mongolian, and Finno-Ugaric peoples formed a single nation glorified by the conquests of Attila, Chinggis Khan, and Tamerlane. Tatars within Russia generally held that Tatars formed a distinct nation (millet), and aspired to assimilation into Russian society. They demanded individual equality of Muslims with Russians and imagined a future of cooperation between the two peoples. Rashid Ibragimov imagined a Russian-Muslim federation on the Austro-Hungarian model. Socialist ideas also began to spread among Muslim intellectuals in Kazan, Kiev, Tiflis, and Orenburg. Being a dispersed population without much hope of territorial separation from Russia, Tatars were most likely to affirm pan-Islamic or pan-Turkish causes.

(we don't have a source for this...)

Nureyev - by Jane Wyeth

Crimean Tatars 1834

Freer Gallery - Silk Road Treasures

As we continued our hunt for Tatar Washington DC, we were delighted to find treasures of the Silk Road at the Freer Galleries.  The Freer Galleries / Museum is part of the Smithsonian complex.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Tatar Cabinet Portraits

Tatar Alphabet - Cyrillic

А а Ж ж Н н У у Щ щ Ә ә Җ җ ң Ү ү ъ Б б З з О о Ф ф Ы ы В в И и Ө ө Х х ь Г г Й й П п І һ Э э Д д К к Р р Ц ц Ю ю Е е Л л С с Ч ч Я я Ё ё М м Т т Ш ш


Tugan has a great dictionary.
Russian - Tatar
Tatar Russian

They are here

татарский язык