Signs. From petroglyph to ornament

Art is born out of life,

but with the help of the art that preceded it

André Malraux

A sign is something that originally appeared at the dawn of any civilization. It was from him that writing and fine arts originated, signs were the first means of communication of ancient people. Messages were composed of them, they accompanied man at all stages of his life, in them the ancient man encoded his aspirations to appeal to the higher powers, in them the communal worlds were manifested. The sign is exactly what gives us an idea of the world order of the ancients today.

With the advent of writing and the development of civilization, signs did not lose their significance, did not disappear from everyday life, but only transformed into other forms. For example, in an ornament. It was he who fully adopted and still uses the language of symbolism, which can be seen in the monuments of primitive art.

Symbols and ideas that have remained unchanged for thousands of years, such as the idea of a “world tree” or a “world mountain”, the sun in numerous solar signs, the inhabitants of the mountains close to the celestial world, such as argali, birds, and other symbols, can still be seen in folk ornaments.  The ideas of the ancient inhabitants of the Zhetysu region are manifested in the monuments that have survived from that era – the semantics of the Saka burial mounds and the drawings of petroglyphs found by archaeological expeditions of the Issyk Reserve-Museum in the gorges Ketmen Range.

The exhibition presented obvious semantic parallels between ancient rock paintings and traditional Kazakh ornaments, the viewer was invited to read the “messages” of ancient and modern masters encoded in signs, using clues located in the exposition. Authentic chips, as well as photos of petroglyphs and prints made during the expeditions of the Issyk Reserve-Museum, as well as artifacts of traditional Kazakh folk applied art from the collection of the Darkembai Shokparov Museum of Applied Arts were demonstrated.

The author of the concept is the head of the research department Larisa Pletnikova.