Published under the general editorship of Academician of the Academy of Sciences of the Azerbaijan Republic P.A.Azizbekova
Puhlished under (he general editorship of Academician of I he Academy of Sciences of the A/crhaijan SSR P.A. Azizbekova
The Museum of History of Azerbaijan of the Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan SSR was founded in 1920 and now ranks among the biggest Soviet museums. Its funds and collections contain invaluable treasures of the Azerbaijanian people’s spiritual and material culture.
Among the Museum’s unique exhibits a special place belongs to archaeological finds from different parts of Azerbaijan.
The archaeological monuments arc carefully preserved and thoroughly studied; most of them are on display at the Museum in the department of “Ancient and Medieval History of Azerbaijan”.
The Museum’s archaeological fund and expositions number over 25,000 monuments. Each year it receives new finds from archaeological sites. Since 1969 the Museum has been carrying on underwater archaeological excavations on the Caspian sea bottom. These expeditions have yielded numerous archaeological materials pertaining to medieval Azerbaijan. Among these the most remarkable are glazed cups and dishes with images of birds and animals and details of inscriptions in Arabic, one of which represents verse by the great Orient poet Saadi.
The rich collection of the Museum owes much credit to the founders of Azerbaijanian archaeology, and among them D.M. Shari-fov, I.M. Dzhafarzade, S.M. Kaziyev, A. Alesperov, I.I. Mcsh-chaninov. The collection contains materials from Mingcchaur, Oren-kala, Kul-tepc, Kabala, Nakhichevan, Ismailly, Yally-tepe, Shemakha, Ganja, Baku.
Among the exponents there arc numerous stone and obsidian implements from the Paleolithic, Mcsolithic, Neolithic and Acneoli-thic periods that have been found in Azerbaijanian territory.
The Museum’s unique rarities pertaining to the Paleolithic include a detail of a jaw of the Asykhanth-ropos who lived 300 – 350 thousand years ago, which was discovered in 1968 in the Asykh cave near Fizuli.
The ancient monuments of Azerbaijanian culture show that its roots lie in hoary past. Evidence of this is the cave drawings discovered in Kobustan, the Apsheron peninsula, in Kelbadzhar and Gemigaya in Ordubad district.
A special scientific interest is shown in two stone moulds for casting bronze articles, the evidence that the bronze implements and weapons discovered in Azerbaijanian excavation sites were chiefly of local make. This fact has been confirmed by spectral analysis.
The Bronze Age is depicted by a rich collection of ceramics: boot-shaped vessels, zoomorphic pitchers and dishware with while paste incrustation. Unique in design is the red clay vessel excavated near the Shakhtaty settlement in Nakhichevan ASSR. The superbly decorated kitchen utensils and jewelry of metal, stone and bone; all point to the high development of diverse crafts in the Bronze Age, and to the high artistic taste of the ancient Azerbaijanian people.
The numerous ceramic ovens discovered in Mingcchaur and other parts of the republic show that most of the ceramic items excavated in Azerbaijan were the work of local masters.
In burial grounds and sites of former settlements dating to the 4th-3rd cc. B.C. there have been discovered numerous implements and weapons of iron which according to F. Engels played a revolutionary role in social development: “Copper, tin, and their alloy, bronze, were by far the most important; bronze furnished useful tools and weapons, but could not displace stone implements. Only iron could do that…“ Tools and weapons of iron gradually began to replace those of bronze.
Among the exponents there are unique historical monuments, such as an architectural detail, a capital with an Albanian (Caucasian) inscription, discovered among the ruins of an ancient temple in Mingcchaur. Sources confirm that there had existed extensive literature in Albanian.
Attention is drawn to a large collection of lustreware and glazed ceramics discovered at excavation sites in Balakan, Baku, Barda. Ganja, Shemaha, all existing from medieval times. Glazed ceramics from these cities bears the distinctive traits of that period and embraces in terms of territory a wide range of Oriental countries. At the same time it has many local features. Many items boast a virtuoso technique and subtle elegance which make them veritable gems of Azerbaijanian applied art.
Many glazed dishes and cups bear palcographic inscriptions dating to the 9th-12th cc, the golden age of the art of ceramics. They have preserved several names of ceramics masters of those days, although unfortunately most of them have remained unknown. The remarkable works of medieval masters are eloquent evidence of the Azerbaijanian people’s original culture.
1 F. Knurls. I he ()ri|jin nl Ihr ramiU. I’n valr Prnprrl* unit Ihr Malr. M . tomgn I anguagr^ I‘uhhshinu lluuse. I’M.n. p. 264.
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