Balbal is a stone statue dedicated in honor of the deceased warriors. It was connected with veneration of ancestors in Turkic culture. In Kyrgyzstan they were found almost all over the territory but were mainly scattered along the Chui valley and Issyk Kul basin.
If we talk about background of history of Turkic people, briefly it will be the following: Turkic dynasty was established by Bumyn in 552 and occupied a huge territory from Mongolia through Central Asia to modern Iraq. To Istemi, brother of Bumyn, whose rate was in Talas, there came ambassadors from Byzantium and Rome to get support from Turks. The Suyab was the capital of the dynasty which is near Tokmok town now. In 603 it was split into Western and Eastern states. The Yenisei Kyrgyz people fought with them in the struggle for the hegmonia in Central Asia, but were defeated and had to pay taxes until 820 before the Uigur statehood came to power. You can learn about this and more about warriors of Turkic tribes when visiting Historical Museum in Bishkek or Burana complex near Tokmok, where balbals can be found.
As for their appearance, usually balbals are smaller than natural sizes, about 1 meter in height at the tallest. They have a bowl or a dagger in their hands symbolizing that they died in a battle for Motherland. In their backs one can notice buckles tied to pigtails probably illustrating their rank and earrings in their ears. Such balbals were found on top of kurgans (burial mounds) with a few big boulders surrounding the place where deceased was buried. It is interesting to know that balbals were made for female warriors as well, which brightly reflect the social balance between man and woman of those times.
If you want to learn about history of Turks and balbals more, rent a car and visit Burana complex where you can find a big collection of them in the open area. However, this complex is always included in programs in case you travel with a group in an arranged tour to Kyrgyzstan.
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