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Error on 1000 Tenge bill in Kazakhstan?

26 june 2014, 23:42
Kazakhstan banknote with a nominal value of 1000 tenge. Photo courtesy of nationalbank.kz
Kazakhstan banknote with a nominal value of 1000 tenge. Photo courtesy of nationalbank.kz

Turkologist, Doctor of Historical Sciences Talgat Zhumaganbetov from Aktobe claims he has found an error on the 1000 Tenge bill, Tengrinews reports citing Diapazon. According to the historian, a stone head depicted on the new bill does not belong to whom it is purported to belong - Kul Tigin, a famous military figure of the Second Turkic Khanate.

The historian told the newspaper that he felt an urge to make the announcement after watching a video on the Internet that showed careful preparations of the new 1000 Tenge bill. "I am outraged that they used someone's image without consulting turkologists first. This subject is taught in Japan, USA and Europe. They will scoff at us, because it is our history," Zhumaganbetov said.

According to the historian, in order to understand that the head is not that of Kul Tigin, it is enough to have a simple understanding of who the Turkic people were [not to confuse with Turks who inhabit the present day Turkey]. The religion of the Turkic people was Tengriism, or Tengrianism, which centers on god Tengri – the god of Sky.

Tengriism is known for the cult of hair. On the epitaph to Kul Tigin, it was said that God Tengri grabbed Kul Tigin’s ancestor Bumyn and his wife by the hair and put them onto the throne. Therefore, it was believed that the longer the hair is, the better the relationships with the gods are. Men braided as many as 40 dreadlocks, grew long beards and mustaches. Whereas the sculpture of the head found and depicted on the bill has no hint of a beard or a mustache.

Zhumaganbetov believes that the 1000 Tenge bill depics a woman. “We do not know what was this woman's name. We believe that it is Kul Tigin’s wife or his counselor’s daughter, the famous man Tonuykuk [the name of the counselor], who came from ashide tribe. But it is in no way Kul Tigin. The mistake on the bill is obvious to all turkologists. It is very unfortunate that they [the producers of the bill] didn’t consult the experts before printing and disseminating the bill,” he said.

It is worth noting that there is no full consensus among historians on whether the head depicts Kul Tigin but it is accepted as historical truth by many of them. 

The 1000 Tenge banknote was issued by the National Bank of Kazakhstan on December 12, 2013. It is styled in yellow and brown colors. The depiction of Kul Tigin is on the obverse side of the banknote along with Astana’s "Kazakh Eli" monument and flying doves. The banknote has been named The Banknote of the Year by the International Banknote Society contest (IBNS) in early May this year.

Writing by Dinara Urazova

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