Orteke Kazakh Art: Strings That Tie Music and Puppetry Together (Video)

ASTANA – interaction The magic of musical performances and small puppetry shows in the ancient Kazakh traditional Ortek art form. which last month was included It is included in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

The secret of Orteke’s skill lies in the skill of the woodcarver. Photo credit: Studio Mergen, ich.unesco.org.

in the hands of an expert hill (traditional Kazakh instrument) player, Inanimate objects on the surface of the drum begin their own magical dance. From a distance, performers may look like magicians Also A snake charmer blowing a flute to a wriggling snake.

Still no magic. The Orteke principle is very simple. Players control a puppet (usually a wooden goat) via strings tied to the fingers that play the instrument, most commonly a dombra. The puppets move rhythmically to the melody while playing musical instruments.

Some say that Kazakh puppetry originated from Orteke, but there are some differences. Whereas in classical puppetry the puppet actors themselves directly conduct the puppets, in Orteke puppetry the musicians conduct the person or persons indirectly through instruments.

In 1935, Akhmet Zhubanov, an eminent researcher and scientist in the field of music, published an article in the Kazakhstanskaya Pravda newspaper about the Orteke art form.

“During the play, the figures jump, turn, and make various twists and turns. Sometimes horse, male, and female figures are also used by the players. They dance to the rhythm of the music. The performers set the mood, transforming the above figures into various forms, sometimes jumping and running,” he wrote.

Zubanov mentioned Such an exquisite and unusual art form would be nothing without an equally talented dombra player. Musicians could play up to five to eight digits of the goat simultaneously, which was considered a sign of masterful playing.

However, Orteke’s puppetry has become less prominent today. The fact that UNESCO has added this genre to its collection of Intangible Cultural Heritage shows that the art form is seen as worthy of being protected and promoted in the future.

Orteke’s symbolism

Olteke absorbed the musical, playful, yet at the same time sacred elements of the nomadic tradition.according to The famous Kazakhstani theater playwright and art historian Yakin Zuasvekov-Olteke brought a wide variety of theatrical styles and a distinctive “step theater” to Kazakh folklore.

Olteke could serve as a window into the once-thriving Kazakh hunter experience, symbolizing the movement of trapped goats. Photo credit: Studio Mergen, ich.unesco.org.

The word Olteke is derived from two components. In this case “or” is a prefix and means pit, ditch, ravine, trap, grave, and “teke” means goat.

Here we see a clear resemblance to a hunting experience in which an animal (usually a mountain goat teke) trapped in a burrow attempts to free itself by jumping, turning, or performing other sudden movements. I understand.

Olteke may therefore serve as a window into the once-thriving Kazakh hunter experience.

Despite the wealth of detail behind the performance, the experience is remarkably calming and meditative, with steady rhythms that are also rooted in ancient shamanic practices in nomadic cultures..

Orteke strives not only to preserve the phenomenon of Kazakh hunting, but also to express ancient symbols in the image of animals, especially goats.

The tradition of painting animal-shaped images in Kazakhstan has an ancient history, beginning with early petroglyphs and ending with traditional Kazakh ornamentation, where goat horn ornamentation predominates.

In ancient times, the goat was a symbol of human strength, and its horns were understood to be the attachments of chiefs and mighty warriors.

On the other hand, the goat was also symbolized as the bearer of chaos in the gods. Orteke conveys the message that humans can control it, and that humans can control the goat’s “wild” nature if desired.

Puppets can be much more compelling narrators of stories than actors. Get your message across. Goats are important and popular characters in Kazakh fairy tales, often portrayed as intelligent and resourceful.

Orteke dancing adds a unique flavor to the experience of the storytelling genre.

An art form that requires all mastery

Cultural festivals are present not only in Orteke music and puppetry, but also in other vibrant elements of the production, from the making of the puppets to the selection of materials and tables.

Orteke parts are carved from wood and require skilled craftsmanship. Photo credit: Studio Mergen, ich.unesco.org.

The secret of the splendid workmanship lies in the skill of the wood carver. The Orteke doll’s joints must be movable so that the doll can jump and run like a real goat. This is achieved through the special engineering of the Orteke joints. The joint is divided into at least three parts according to the animal’s anatomy.

Previously, the moving parts were connected with gut strings. Modern craftsmen prefer to fasten with wooden rivets. The figure’s legs are loosely attached to the body and hang down. The doll is solid only in the animal’s body. A horned goat’s head is carved together. The neck is cut out separately and riveted to the body. The entire figure is then attached to steel pins.

The flat surface of the field on which the olteke dance is usually a circular or square leather membrane made of fine goat skin. In addition to their knowledge of leather finishing and drying, the nomadic Kazakhs were also familiar with leather’s acoustic properties.

Goatskin is still widely used in many cultural traditions around the world in the manufacture of musical instruments, especially drums, due to its thinness, durability and toughness. Goatskin allowed the musician to make the sound of the instrument resonant and bright and clear, while the thinness and durability of such leather allowed him to produce a wide range of sounds.

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