Mazars as memorial monuments of Karakalpakstan of the 18th – early 20th centuries
The article studies the monuments of grave architecture of the Karakalpaks of the 18th – early 20th centuries: uishik, sagana, fence and gumbez. The most common form of such buildings is a fence of adobe walls, which does not have coatings. In fact, they were built around the burial place of the deceased, while the gumbez, or domed mausoleum, was often built next to the burial place. Sagana is a closed building, built over the burial. It essentially repeats the shape of an uishik – a tombstone made of different reeds. If the sagana and the fence have analogies among the neighboring peoples – Kazakhs and Uzbeks, then the Karakalpak gumbez is a unique monument of material culture.
Fences in the region of the South Aral Sea, which includes Karakalpakstan, were formed in the Middle Ages. There is an opinion that the appearance of the Muslim mausoleum (gumbez, dome) is associated with the Arab tent "kubba" for praying over the grave of the deceased. The "mausoleum tradition" in the burial culture of Muslims spread far beyond the Aral Sea region. A special reverence for the cult of saints, strongly associated with Sufism, could be the culture of the previous period (for example, the Golden Horde), against which the construction of domed mausoleums was widely spread.
The literature also mentions another type of buildings – zhai, which, from the author’a pointof view, is an intermediate type between a fence and a gumbez. Karakalpaks call the actual fences "zhai", as among the Kazakhs the word "tam" (house) is used. Kazakh fences are distinguished by the presence of corner tops – "tort qulaq" (four ears). In the 20th century in Karakalpakstan, the most common type of tomb structures became just this type – fences made of burnt bricks with four finials at the corners. Architectural monuments as objects of the material culture of the people require special attention from both the public and the state, they need measures to preserve and protect them.
Keywords: Karakalpakstan, Mazar, Architecture, Gumbez, Mausoleum, Cult, Islam
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About the author: Makset A. Karlibaev, Dr. Sc. (History), Deputy Director of the Karakalpak Research Institute for the Humanities, Karakalpak branch of the Uzbekistan Academy of Sciences (179A, Amir Temur St., Nukus 230100, Karakalpakstan, Republic of Uzbekistan); email@example.com
Received June 5, 2022 Accepted for publication August 1, 2022
Published Online December 15, 2022