The (Possibly) Turkestan Guide to the Afterlife from the 19th Century

M.73.5.581c: “If someone sees a naked person without performing prayers, they will have committed much sin” [barahna kišini körsä namāz oqub körmäsä, ḫiyānat qabāḥat išlarni to[la] (?) qilġan]

M.73.5.581c: “If someone sees a naked person without performing prayers, they will have committed much sin” [barahna kišini körsä namāz oqub körmäsä, ḫiyānat qabāḥat išlarni to[la] (?) qilġan]

[A]n “Unknown Manuscript” from the 19th century and possibly originating from Turkestan; [k]een to find out more we wrote to a few experts in Turkic languages and received some very helpful replies.

Dr. Helga Anetshofer from the University of Chicago and Dr. David Brophy from the University of Sydney worked together to identify the language as being “Eastern Turki” (which is the dialect of the Tarim Basin from the late 19th and early 20th century, a precursor to modern Uyghur), and provided the following transliterations and translations which you see in the captions below each picture.

M.73.5.581i: “[In the case of] one who was jealous of another, they hung pots of embers from his neck, and on Judgement Day attached snakes to both of his hands.” [kishidin qizġanġan čoq qazanini boyniġa asipdur, qiyāmatda ikki qoliġa yilan qadalipdur]

M.73.5.581i: “[In the case of] one who was jealous of another, they hung pots of embers from his neck, and on Judgement Day attached snakes to both of his hands.” [kishidin qizġanġan čoq qazanini boyniġa asipdur, qiyāmatda ikki qoliġa yilan qadalipdur]

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The general theme seems to centre around the fate of sinners in the afterlife, with a number of gruesome punishments depicted, including snakes attached to ears for eavesdropping and and having one’s tongue pulled out through the neck for engaging in sexual relations during menstruation or the period after childbirth.

M.73.5.581e: Above figure to the left: “They torture a man or woman who has had sexual relations during menstruation or the period after childbirth by pulling their tongue out of their neck”. Above figure to the right: “angel” [ḥayż nifāsniŋ ičida er maẓlūm jimāʿ qilġan kišiniŋ tilini kičkäsidin tartip ʿaẕāb qilur (farīšta)]

M.73.5.581e: Above figure to the left: “They torture a man or woman who has had sexual relations during menstruation or the period after childbirth by pulling their tongue out of their neck”. Above figure to the right: “angel” [ḥayż nifāsniŋ ičida er maẓlūm jimāʿ qilġan kišiniŋ tilini kičkäsidin tartip ʿaẕāb qilur (farīšta)]

LACMA via The Public Domain Review.

This entry was posted in Culture, History by Heretic. Bookmark the permalink.

About Heretic

I design video games for a living, write fiction, political theory and poetry for personal amusement, and train regularly in Western European 16th century swordwork. On frequent occasion I have been known to hunt for and explore abandoned graveyards, train tunnels and other interesting places wherever I may find them, but there is absolutely no truth to the rumor that I am preparing to set off a zombie apocalypse. Nothing that will stand up in court, at least. I use paranthesis with distressing frequency, have a deep passion for history, anthropology and sociological theory, and really, really, really hate mayonnaise. But I wash my hands after the writing. Promise.

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