The Oldest Turkish Illustrated Documents
had the tradition to illustrate manuscripts during the cultural
periods before Islamic belief. Paper that could be rolled started
to be made in China with plant fibers in 105 B.C. No written or
illustrated document has yet been found from the time of the Chinese
Han dynasty, of Huns and Göktďrks.Nevertheless, the large quantities
of stone engravings, textiles,ceramics, works of art made of metal,
wood, leather which have survived to the present day, prove that
the above mentioned cultural circles were quite developed in other
fields of art. The oldest examples of Turkish pictures for walls
are from the 6th, 7th and 8th centuries. The withering influence
of natural conditions have prevented the survival of these first
The oldest illustrated documents on paper among Turkish tribes,
are from the period succeeding Akhuns. These documents dating from
717-719 are in Turkish, Chinese and Arabic and they belong to a
Turkish emir who battled with Moslem armies in Pencikent near Samarkand.
This prince was taken prisoner, and his palace was ruined 722. The
wall drawing are the most important part of Turkish cultural treasures.
Von le Coq who has researched Central Asian Turkish culture
writes this: "Turks have scattered all of their written cultural
products in the dusty roads of steppes and deserts while migrating
to the west." Prophet Mohammed tranquilizes the dragon on the
way of the caravan, "Siyer-I Nebi" end of the 16th century.
Samarkand was renowned during 6th-8th centuries by its drawing workshops
where illustrations on wood, plaster and leather were made. These
works influenced greatly the Anatolian Seljuk period. The most important
development of the 9th century Uygur Turks in the art of painting,
was accomplished by the painters and their school in the town of
Kizilkent. Their sense of light in pictures and their search for
the influence and impression of shadow and light, served largely
for the formation of Seljuk miniature school and canalized it. The
Tun-Huang monastery and library of Uygur Turks has a special importance.
Among thousands of books in the library there are the oldest Turkish
gilded and miniature manuscripts. The oldest wooden print and illustrated
book in the world belongs to Uygurs and is in the above library.
The date of the book is 868. Another important aspect of this find
is that some manuscripts have been written in letters same with
the ones on the Göktďrk Orhun epitaphs.