IN PRAISE OF AKHALTEKE HORSE
In recent years, the printed products of the State Publishing Service of Turkmenistan invariably catch the general public's eye at the major book exhibitions in the capital cities of the CIS countries.
Experts note the informative focus of most printed products that the State Publishing Service exhibit annually and there is simple explanation of understandability and attractiveness of such information. The fact is that every printed product is released in three languages - Turkmen, Russian and English. It has been the distinctive feature of the Turkmen polygraphists' products for many years now. This approach helps to significantly increase the number of readers, and it makes the country more understandable and brings it closer to many people abroad. The colorful and catchy books printed in accordance with the high modern printing requirements have become an original business card of Turkmenistan, successfully representing the country in the international arena.
However, the last year's success deserves special attention. The results of the annual international contest "Book Art" among the CIS countries were summed up at the thirtieth Moscow International Book Fair. This contest aims to promote the best publishing projects, increase interaction in literature and publishing, popularize the best achievements of book art and develop mutual exchange of spiritual and cultural values among peoples.
In the current season, 87 print products competed in ten nominations, and all four printed products from Turkmenistan won the highest awards in their nominations. On top of them stands the winner of the Grand Prix - the photo album "Swift Step of Race Horse." The album presents an inspired narrative by President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov about the famous Akhalteke horses.
The first time this book attracted the experts' attention was in Moscow this May at the book festival "Red Square-2017", which is largest all-Russian forum of publishers and printing companies. For four days, the main square of Russia hosted a huge bookshop, serving as the world's largest library at the same time. The festival "Red Square" brought together more than 400 publishers. About 500 events were held as part of the forum. It was for the first time that foreign printed products were exhibited at the all-Russian festival, including the book "Swift Step of Race Horse."
The finals of the all-Russian contest "The Best Books of the Year" was held within the framework of the book festival "Red Square." The annual professional contest was established by the Association of Book Publishers of Russia, and it was held for the 26th time. The winners were picked in 12 main and 4 special thematic categories by the expert councils consisting of the well-known experts from the academic institutes, cultural organizations and state-owned organizations - cofounders of diplomas. The official ceremony of awarding the prize-winners took place at the showroom of GUM. It was led by outstanding children's writer Anna Goncharova and pro-rector of the Higher School of Printing and Media Industry Konstantin Antipov. An impressive audience gathered for the ceremony, including publishers, journalists, researchers and propagandists of the book, library workers.
"Swift Step of Race Horse" presented for the contest by the State Publishing Service of Turkmenistan was awarded a special diploma - "The Best Book of 2016" - for the popularization of the original national culture of Turkmenistan. The jury of the contest could not remain indifferent to the inspired narrative about one of the main cultural treasures of Turkmenistan - the Akhalteke horse. The high-quality printing combined with finely selected photographs made this book a welcome gift not only for horse-breeders but also all connoisseurs of beauty.
A prospective reader will surely like the book for the fact that it narrates about beauty with a capital B, and it is not only about the natural perfection of the Akhalteke horses but also about the beauty raised to the rank of national symbol. In fact, the book is a philosophical treatise explaining the nature of the worldviews of the entire nation. At the same time, it is also a poetic song in praise of the Akhalteke horse, which is a living embodiment of the natural perfection preserved through the centuries by the folk love.
Thinking comprehensively about origins of any national symbols, one can see a certain system of dominant signs, one way or another connected with the specifics of historical development of a certain nation. The British lion is an echo of imperial domination over half of the world. The Russian two-headed eagle is a symbol of geographical extent of the country that occupies significant areas of Europe and Asia. The national symbols of many countries feature religious topics or representatives of the animal and plant world of a particular territory. One can often see the image of weapons in the national symbols.
As for Turkmens, there are two main national distinctive images - horse and carpet patterns - as symbols of beauty and achievements of high culture that stood the test of time and glorify aesthetic and spiritual universal values. Turkmenistan is the only country in the world whose national coat of arms is decorated with the silhouette of the Akhalteke horse. This detail reflects the traditional cult attitude of the Turkmen people towards a horse. A Turkmen horse has always been identified with perfect beauty, strength and freedom and the man's dream of flying. At the same time, the poetic image of a rider, sitting confidently in the saddle and habitually controlling a strong and beautiful animal, fully corresponds to the present state of Turkmen society.
The author identifies the specifics of development of historical worldview of the Turkmen people with strict adherence to the eternal cultural values, where beauty and perfection occupy a leading place, providing convincing evidence by example of the cult of the Akhalteke horse.
The persuasiveness and authenticity of the author's narrative are vividly reflected in the book thanks to the perfect printing. Among many other books that Turkmenistan has exhibited at international printing forums in recent years, there has probably been none that so clearly demonstrates the printing art. A subtle and stylish design, thoroughness and carefulness of presentation of the material make the book one of the undoubted publishing successes.
The magnificent illustrative material giving the literary images a visual confirmation of the unquestionable validity of the author's views deserves special attention. One may hardly recall seeing so many magnificent photographs on equestrian themes collected in one book. They present nicely the great jumps by the fairy horses, a variety of horse colors and filigree dressing of the horse harness. And most importantly, the photographs fully convey the people's boundless love for a horse and glorify the peerless beauty of the Akhalteke horse - the beauty raised to the rank of national heritage, the beauty that can save our world.