stelae - Maureen Costura Anthropology 150 19 November 2007...

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Maureen Costura Anthropology 150 19 November 2007 Identifying Hakkari Stelae Introduction Stelae are stone or wooden monuments that depict human figures for funerary or commemorative purposes. Decorations on these stones that range from twenty-eight inches to more than ten feet in height sometimes include the name, status, and gender of the person (Christie 277). In addition, objects such as drinking vessels, figures of wild animals, weapons, and decorative belts can often help to determine the social status of the person represented by the figure (Sevin 47-48). The meaning of some objects such as sun-discs, lotus buds, and palm trees is less clear, and the objects are believed to represent ideas of regeneration, rebirth, and ethernal life (Iron Age Funerary Stelae from Lebaon 139). Stelae carving began during the Formative Period among the Olemec; these figures represented high-ranking individuals and institutional shamans who contacted the supernatural world. Stelae were widely used in the Ancient Near East, Greece, Egypt, Ethipia, and in some parts of China. The Olmec and Maya also used the stelae in Mesoamerican civilizations (Christie 277). Thirteen stelae were found in Hakkari, which is a small town in Turkey by the Turkey- Iran-Iraq border. These stones were the first of its kind to be discovered in the Near East. On the front of the slab of stone, the individual’s face and upper part of the human (except for the legs) were carved. In addition, arms were bent at the elbows, and each figure had a belt. These belts had different patterns as well as nearly a dozen carved human figures. Another feature found on
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all of the stele found in Turkey are dome-shaped tents carved on the left and right shoulders of the figures. These may represent the nomadic lifestyle of warriors. Similarly, the presence of drinking vessels that are held tightly by the figures are carved. The purpose of the drinking vessels and the dome-shaped tents is not known and could represent a variety of different things (Sevin 47). Various animals including deer, wild goats, and leopards were found on the stelae. Some of the animals were shown in a scene where one animal is fighting another. Other scenes had a man clutching a leopard by its tail with one of his hands. Two stelae, which are believed to represent women, are very different from the other nine males. These two figures do not have any weapons, have uncovered heads, and have a necklace hanging around their necks (Sevin 47-
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stelae - Maureen Costura Anthropology 150 19 November 2007...

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