Tamara Talbot Rice
ANCIENT ARTS OF
CENTRAL ASIA
83, 84 It is interesting to compare the clothes worn by the figure (right) from Kizil in western Turkestan with the clothes of the life-size stone 'balbal' (far right) and also with the clothes shown in paintings discovered in Russian Central Asia (Ill. 179)
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Illustrations 83 & 84, p101 in Tamara Talbot Rice, Ancient Arts of Central Asia, 1965
pp. 100-101
The men wear belted tunics with single revere - garments which appear in most Soghdian paintings as well as in some early Buddhist ones executed in eastern Turkestan (Ill. 83). The women's clothes consist of sleeveless tunics, some having wide reveres, worn over long-sleeved robes. Similar minor details of costume reappear in the Buddhist paintings of Bamyan and Kuça, where the same tendency of setting pale figures against dark backgrounds is also to be observed. L. I. Albaum has also observed them in some of the stone statues of Balbals or 'Stone Dames' (Ill. 84) which exist in quite considerable numbers in Kazakstan and Mongolia. He suggests that the Balbals may be statues of Soghdians who died fighting the Turks as soldiers in the Hephthalites army, and that they stood on the graves in which the ashes of the Turkish warriors who had killed them were buried.

83 Wall-painting (detail) Tocharist painter. Second temple building, Kizil. Photo: Staatliche Museen, Berlin. Bilderatlas
84 Statue: ‘Balbal’ in stone, 6′ (1.80 m). Photo: Historical Museum, Moscow



See also Tarim Basin Frescos
A Kipchak Balbal at Luhansk, 11th century
A Kipchak Balbal, 12th century, Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia