Tapestry “Baiterek”

In the mythological traditions of the Tengrian picture of the world, "Baiterek" (kaz.) or "World Tree" is one of the most common embodiments of the ancient Turkic peoples’ idea about the structure of the universe. Baiterek, like a cosmic axis, permeates all three worlds from the base to the top, to the heavens. Its mighty trunk, roots and branches unite all three worlds - Upper, Middle, Lower, turning them into a single structure. So, the tops of its magnificent branches, touching the clouds, go high into the sky, into the so-called Upper World. According to ancient Turkic legends the Upper World is inhabited by mythical creatures with wings - tulpars and leopards, and all flying birds, except for the griffin, crow and bat (Yerlik's creation), and above all of them hover a host of spirits and deities led by the Supreme Tengri.
The trunk of the Tree, with its mighty branches from the foot to the borders of the Upper World, is located in the Middle World of people and their surrounding nature. The roots of the Tree go deep underground and weave the roof of the palace of Yerlik biy - the lord of the underworld, where the souls of the dead go.
Most peoples of the world in their legends and myths have a description of such a majestic Tree of Life, as well as numerous images of it: "In almost every historical period of nomadic peoples, including the Kazakhs, we find various images or stylizations of the World Tree. For example, among the finds near the Esik mound, belonging to the Saka period of Kazakh history, the golden plaques depict the World Tree with a bird on its very top, and among the golden things found in the Altai, the World Tree is depicted with two peaks and with two symmetrically arranged dragons, whose heads peek out from under the ground. The image of the World Tree, enclosed in Kazakh household ornaments, we find everywhere."
In the philosophical and cultural sense, the image of the World Tree is allegorically (i.e., figuratively compared) related to the theme of absolute perfection and, in general, to any dynamic process involving the emergence, development, and completion. The so-called concept of "order amidst chaos" also exists here. In this version, the image of the World Tree becomes a self-sufficient and complete model of culture as a whole – the macrocosm, a kind of "Tree of Civilization" among the natural chaos.
Also, the concept of the World Tree is reflected in language and various kinds of verbal texts, in poetic images, in fine arts and architecture. And nowadays this concept can be found in social and economic structures, where the processes of "branching" from a single "center" are considered. As, for example, in the images of Power Structures’ management, subordination and dependence schemes, social relations schemes, in the composition of the parts that form the state or corporation. They all go back to the scheme of the World Tree.
But, perhaps, the most famous and widespread transcription of the image of the World Tree today is the "family tree", which simultaneously symbolizes and schematizes the pedigree line of both a particular person and his genus as a whole.
 The most frequent and in fact, the only plot found in many fairy tales, associated with the mythical World Tree and described by the Kazakh mythologist Serikbol Kondybay, sounds as follows: "The batyr hero, due to circumstances, falls into the underworld and after a long wandering reaches a large tree, where he saves the chicks of a giant bird Samruk (Simurg), by killing a Great serpent, and in other cases an Idahar dragon. In gratitude for this, the bird delivers the hero to the surface of the earth and endows him with some outstanding quality or weapon. The tree in the fairy tale is the World Tree, and the bird and the serpent are representatives of opposite worlds - the Upper and Lower, as well as the opposing forces of good and evil. Their confrontation also involves a representative of the Middle world – a man, a hero of the tale".
Click to order