Court art of Sogdian Samarqand in the 7th century AD

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Western wall

The eleven banners of the Western Turks

image by S. Stark (2000)     An amazing set of poles and mask-decorated round objects dominates the scene immediately at the right corner of the the western wall.


image after Al'baum, Zhivopis' (1975)     As with most parts of the western wall's right half the paintings are much decayed. Al'baums copy gives some details as well as an impression of the colours.
As we have explained in the main text the eleven banners are quite well visible. Note the two red-coloured stripes hanging down from the central pole: They mark the dominating central banner of the Yabghu Qaghan which is flanked by five plus five inferior banners. At the foot of the poles there is a heap of drums and drum-sticks decorated with masks. This completes the whole set of "banners and drums".

And now follows an example from historical reality. For the year AD 641 the Cefu Yuangui reports the investiture of the Western Turk Yabghu-Qaghan Yipi-shaboluo:

       "La quinziéme année tcheng-koan (641), le septième mois, on ordonna au général du tso-ling-kiun, Tchang Ta-che d'aller, porteur d'un insigne de délégation, conférer l'investiture au (chef des) Nou-che-pi, (tribu des) Tou-kiue occidentaux, (Mo-)ho-tou che-hou (Bagatour jabgou), sous le nom de I-p'i cha-po-lo chehou (jabgou) kagan, et lui faire présent d'un tambour et d'un étendard" [transl. Chavannes]

Comparative materials for this kind of devices come from Chinese works of art.

A second set of banners, marking the Sogdian "commonwealth", is situated in the left part of the western wall.

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