Cuman stone figures

Date: Twelfth century
Location or Findspot (Modern-Day Country): Ukraine
Medium: Sandstone
Description: These stone figures, sometimes called babas, were made by the Cumans, Turkic nomadic peoples from the Eurasian steppe (closely related to the Kipchaks, with whom they formed a confederation between the tenth and thirteenth centuries). The Cumans largely practiced Shamanism and Tengrism until the thirteenth century, when many converted to Christianity.

The figures reproduced here were originally from the Kharkiv Oblast in eastern Ukraine. Cumans set up the stone figures of men and women at prominent points in the landscape, where they served as homes for the souls of the deceased. They were often installed around kurgans, mounds built up over graves. Many stone babas are still visible in parts of Ukraine and Russia.
Relevant Textbook Chapter(s): 8
Image Credits: Wikimedia Commons

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Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte, Cuman stone figures