CHHU Public Lecture, August 30th: Traditional Games of the Pamiri Kyrgyz: Cosmology, Human Being, and Culture

Date: 30 August 2018
Other languages: Кыргыз тили |
August 30th 2018, 3:00 - 5:00 pm
Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic
Sulaiman Kaiypov
Candidate of Philological Sciences and Doctor of Historical Sciences, Professor, Xinjiang “Manas” Research Center, Xinjiang Pedagogical University, China

The Pamiri Kyrgyz possess dozens of traditional sport and entertainment games with unqiue ethno-cultural peculiarities. The composition of game players, rules of games, objects used in games, the time and place of games, the purposes of games, and the impact of these games on the players can serve as shared sources of fields such as ethno-pedagogy, ethno-culture, ethno-philosophy and ethno-pschycology.

Traditional games of the Pamiri Kyrgyz are multi-functional: it is impossible to find a game which is one-sided or which is directed to develop human’s soul only or just the body. Almost all 100 traditional games which Sulaiman Kaiypov has recorded and examined among the Pamiri Kyrgyz living in Turkey during his fieldwork research between 1997-2007 are directed towards creating harmony between soul and body. This particular feature of traditional games of the Pamiri Kyrgyz makes them unqiue, valuable, and different from traditional and professional sport games of other peoples. This peculiarity is directly linked with their habitat, the ecosystem of the Pamir region.

Traditional games of the Pamiri Kyrgyz are valuable not because they exist in large numbers, but because they are of good quality. They help to strengthen people’s physical well-being and have positive impact on people’s spiritual development. Since the time of their creation, these games were intimately linked with cosmology, natural forces, and animal life, and with the passing of time, they were constantly adapted and refined incorporating new elements and rules to make them interesting and useful for human life. Moreover, these games helped the people to preserve their identity and culture into the 21st century.

Among the games recorded there are games which can enrich the culture of all mankind. One can divide such games into physical-intellectual and intellectual-physical games. While games such as ordo, which is played by men using sheep’s and horse’s knuckle bones, not only strengthens players’ physical well-being, it also develops their mind and senses and renews their historical memory. This game has the concepts of state, governance, and military strategy and skills. Among the intellectual-physical games, the riddle solving and tongue twister games were usually played as entertainment at various events and celebrations. Players of riddle solving games enriched their worldview about Universe, Moon, Sun, stars, Earth, forces of nature, and other concepts of Time and Space.

Kaiypov is very happy to have recorded these traditional games, which have great psychological and educational qualities to develop human’ personality, on time before they are forgotten. The traditional games of the Pamiri Kyrgyz is a valuable source for understanding the identity of an ethnic group. More than ten years have passed since Kaiypov recorded these games from these people, and he very much regrets that today all of these games have been forgotten. He believes that it is not enough to study them -  more work should be done to revive and use them for the benefit of all mankind.

Sulaiman Kaiypov is a renowned folklorist and ethnographer and Candidate of Philological Sciences and Doctor of Historical Sciences. Currently Professor Kaiypov teaches and conducts research at the Xinjiang Manas Research Center of Xingjian Pedagogical University in China. Between 1997-2007, he taught courses on comparative Turkic languages and literatures at the 100 Years University in the Van city of Turkey. During this period, he collected rich fieldwork materials on the language, folklore and ethnography of the Pamiri Kyrgyz living in Van. From 2007 to 2011, he served as Rector of the Kyrgyz-Turkish Manas University and from 2011 to 2014 he served as Rector of the Chuy University in Bishkek.

He wrote his doctoral dissertation about the food culture of the Pamiri Kyrgyz and authored dozens of articles and three monographs on this topic. In 2008, his scholarly paper series published in Kyrgyz, Russian and Turkish languages won the State Award on Science and Technology of the Kyrgyz Republic. In the same year, he received the International Socrates Award for his individual contribution to the intellectual development of the 21st Century, and the Kyrgyz-Turkish Manas University under his leadership received the “European Standard” award, and he himself became a member of the European Rectors’ Club. Dr Kaiypov is the author of more than 100 scholarly and popular works written in Kyrgyz, Russian, Turkish, English, and Kazakh languages.

Dr Kaiypov's two books titled Funeral Laments of the Pamiri Kyrgyz Living in Turkey and Proverbs and Sayings of the Pamiri Kyrgyz Living in Turkey were published by UCA's Cultural Heritage and Humanities Unit in 2017. In July and August 2018, with UCA's support, Dr Kaiypov conducted fieldwork among the Afghan Pamiri Kyrgyz families who were temporarily moved to Naryn in 2017.
University of Central Asia
138 Toktogul Street
Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic
2nd Floor Seminar Room.

The presentation will be in Kyrgyz. English translation will be provided upon prior request.

You are kindly requested to confirm your participation. Please email: Please indicate if you will require English translation.

* Ideas presented in this lecture reflect the personal opinion of the speaker and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Central Asia and/or its employees.
This website uses cookies
Cookies are small text files held on your computer. They allow us to give you the best browsing experience possible and mean we can understand how you use our site.
Some cookies have already been set. You can delete and block cookies but parts of our site won't work without them.
By using our website you accept our use of cookies.
Yes, I agree No, I want to find out more