By Laman Ismayilova
Stone is considered to be one of the most ancient and precious gifts to humankind.
The Stone Age marks a period of prehistory in which humans used primitive stone tools.
The earliest stone toolmaking developed by at least 2.6 million years ago. Tools and weapons crafted from stone include hammerstones, choppers, etc. Dwellings of primitive people were also made of stone. Stone artifacts tell anthropologists a lot about the lifestyle of early humans.
Stone also played great role in development of human ability of painting and as well as aesthetic taste. In Azerbaijan, the history of stone-made monuments with a decorated surface goes back to deep antiquity.
The ancient samples of stone paintings made by engraving, hewing and scratching have been discovered in Ordubad (Gemi gayasi), Absheron (villages Mardekan, Shuvalan) and on Gobustan rocks.
Gobustan's rock carvings attract special attention of scientists for rich theme, artistic peculiarity and the quantity.
Gobustan is home to one of the world's largest ancient petroglyphs collections. Settled since the 8th millennium BC, the area contains more than 600,000 distinct paintings, going as far back as 20,000 years to as recent as 5,000 years ago.
More than 3000 pictures of men, animals, domestic implements, kin pictures drawn by primitive stone and metallic tools have been found here.
Most of the rock engravings depict primitive men, animals, battle-pieces, ritual dances, bullfights, boats with armed oarsmen, warriors with lances in their hands, camel caravans, pictures of sun and stars.
Gobustan petroglyphs are different in their size, composition and the techniques of drawing.
They were repeatedly investigated by the famous Norwegian explorer and adventurer Thor Heyerdahl, who recognized local boats petroglyphs as the oldest known images of pirogue in the world.
Gobustan, as a part of rich heritage of the World Rock Art, was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2007.
At the beginning of middle ages in Azerbaijan, the stone was widely used in the creation of jewelry pieces.
The Stone Chronicle Museum is the best place to discover the cultural values and aesthetic beauty of stone.
Walking round a museum, art lovers witness a display of hundreds of rocks at this unique museum which link the past and the present.
The museum, located on the site of State Flag Square, was opened in 2015 by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation.
The exposition includes, along with exhibits brought from Gobustan and Gala reserves, works by sculptor Hussein Hagverdi. At this exhibition, the sculptor presents a history he called "The Artery".
Along with many samples of stone plastic arts discovered in various corners of Azerbaijan, museum's collection is comprised of different items with functional meaning and no decoration.
Epigraphic as well as valuable exhibits of the memorial plastic arts are presented here. Besides, original information is given about various public and political, social, cultural and ideological events of the Middle Ages on gravestones.
In addition to large stones, the museum exhibits small, and even tiny stones. For example, silicon, with the help of which ancient people made fire.
Laman Ismayilova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Lam_Ismayilova
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