This site is a mirror of the original site, made in 2022 by Heraldry of the World. The original site is unaltered. This mirror functions as an archive to keep the material available on-line.
All rights remain with the late Hubert de Vries, the original site owner.









Russian Tartary


Union of Socialist Ssoviet Republics  


Back to Russia




The Golden Horde (Mongolian: Алтан Орд, Altan Ordu, Зүчийн у Züchii-in Uls; Russian: Золотая Орда, tr.Zolotaya Orda; Tatar: Алтын Урда Altın Urda) was a Mongol and later Turkicized khanate, established in the 13th century, which comprised the northwestern sector of the Mongol Empire. The khanate is also known as the Kipchak Khanate or as the Ulus of Jochi.

After the death of Batu Khan in 1255, the prosperity of his dynasty lasted for a full century, until 1359, though the intrigues of Nogai did instigate a partial civil war in the late 1290s. The Horde's military power peaked during the reign of Uzbeg (1312–41), who adopted Islam. The territory of the Golden Horde at its peak included most of Eastern Europe from the Urals to the bank of the Danube River, extending east deep into Siberia. In the south, the Golden Horde's lands bordered on the Black Sea, the Caucasus Mountains, and the territories of the Mongol dynasty known as the Ilkhanate.

The khanate experienced violent internal political disorder beginning in 1359, before it was briefly reunited under Tokhtamysh in 1381. However, soon after the 1396 invasion of Tamerlane, it broke into smaller Tatar khanates that declined steadily in power. At the start of the 15th century the Horde began to fall apart. By 1433 it was being referred to simply as the Great Horde. Within its territories there emerged numerous, predominantly Turkic-speaking, khanates. These internal struggles allowed the northern vassal state of Muscovy to rid itself of the “Tatar Yoke at the Great stand on the Ugra river in 1480. The Crimean Khanate and the Kazakh Khanate, the last remnants of the Golden Horde, persisted until 1783 and 1847, respectively.[1]


Headquarters at Batu Sarai (= Palace of Batu), at first ca. 100 km N. of Astrachan and from the second half of the 13th century until 1395 on the eastern shore of the Wolga facing Tsaritsin (Volgograd, Stalingrad. Winkler p. 164))






List of Khans of the Golden Horde and Hordes of the Jochid Ulus]


Batu Khan (1227–1255)

Sartaq (1255–56)

Ulaghchi (1257)

Berke (1257–1266)

Mengu-Timur (1266–1282)

Tuda Mengu (1282—1287)

Talabuga (1287—1291)

Toqta (1291—1312)

Uzbeg Khan (1312–1341)

Tini Beg (1341–1342)

Jani Beg (1342—1357)

Berdi Beg (1357—1361)

Qulpa (1359–1360)

Nawruz Beg (1360–1361)

Khidr (1361–1362)

Timur Khwaja (1362)

Abdallah (1362–1370), actual ruler was Mamai

Murad (1362–1367), actual ruler was Mamai

Aziz (1367–1369), actual ruler was Mamai

Jani Beg II (1369–1370), actual ruler was Mamai

Muhammad Bolak (1370–1379), actual ruler was Mamai

Tulun Beg Khanum (as regent) (1370–1373), actual ruler was Mamai

Aig Beg (1373–1376), actual ruler was Mamai

Arab Shaykh (1376–1379), actual ruler was Mamai

Kagan Beg (1375–1376), actual ruler was Mamai

Ilbani (1373–1376), actual ruler was Mamai

Hajji Cherkes (1375–1376), actual ruler was Mamai

Urus Khan (1376–1378), Urus was also Khan of the White Horde and uncle of Toqtamish, allowing the Hordes to unite.

Freky Aziz Reffelruz (1378–1380)

Tokhtamysh (1380–1395)

Temür Qutlugh (1396–1401), actual ruler was Edigu

Shadi Beg (1399–1407), actual ruler was Edigu

Pulad (1407–1410), actual ruler was Edigu

Temür (1410–1412)

Jalal ad-Din khan (1411–1412)

Feicüs al-Doste (1413-1414)



Jabbar Berdi (1417–1419)

Olugh Mokhammad (1419–1421, 1428–1433)

Dawlat Berdi (1419–1421, 1427–1432)

Baraq (1422–1427)

Seyid Akhmed (1433–1435)

Küchük Muhammad (1435–1459)

Mahmud (1459–1465)

Ahmed (1465–1481)

Shayk Ahmad (1481–1498, 1499–1502)

Murtada (1498–1499)






A tamga or tamgha “stamp, seal” (Mongolian: tamga, Turkish: damga) is an abstract seal or stamp used by Eurasian nomadic peoples and by cultures influenced by them. The tamga was normally the emblem of a particular tribe, clan or family. They were common among the Eurasian nomads throughout Classical Antiquity and the Middle Ages (including Alans, Mongols, Sarmatians, Scythians and Turkic peoples).

Similar “tamga-like” symbols were sometimes adopted by sedentary peoples adjacent to the Pontic-Caspian steppe both in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Archaeologists prize tamgas as a first-rate source for the study of present and extinct cultures.

States using tamgas were Krim Khanate, medieval Lithuania, and also Kievan Rus (Ukraine)


Mongol Empire

Since the time when the ancient Mongol nations have developed into clans and banners, a system of various tamgas: drawings, and earmarks have been used as an identification sign for labor instruments and utilities as well as for of domesticated animals. Every time a clan branched off due to internal clashes, derivative tamghas gradually developed into personal, family, lineage, khans, and state tamghas. Those new tamghas were created by adding new markings on the original tamgha, in order to conserve the tradition.

"Tamga" or "tamag" literally means a seal in the Mongolian language. Tamgas are also on brandmarks for domesticated animals such as horses in present-day Mongolia and others to identify that the livestock grazing during the day on their own. In this regard, each family has its own tamga markings for easier identification. Tamga markings in that case are not very elaborate and are just curved irons differing from other families' tamgas. [2]

The Mongol Golden Horde Khans marked their coins with their personal tamgas from the beginning of their empire until its breaking up at the end of the 14th century





Jochi (Mongolian: Зүчи, Zu'qi; Kazakh: Jos'y, جوشى; Chinese: 朮赤; pinyin: Zhú chì; Crimean Tatar: Cuçi, Джучи, جوچى; also spelled Djochi, Jöchi and Juchi; c. 1182– February 1227.  Mongolian army commander who was the eldest son of Genghis Khan, and presumably one of the four sons by his principal wife Börte, though issues concerning his paternity followed him throughout his life. An accomplished military leader, he participated in his father's conquest of Central Asia, along with his brothers and uncles.

Jochi was entrusted with the westernmost part of the empire, then lying between Ural (Jaiq, Djaik, Iaik, Jaiakh) and Irtysh rivers.

During the invasion of Central Asia Genghis appointed Jochi to command the troops at the siege of the Khorazinm capital Urgench and promised Jochi the city as his prize. However, a dispute broke out with Chagatai who accused Jochi of trying to negotiate to keep the city intact for himself rather than completing the siege. Genghis intervened and gave command of the troops to Ogodei. This led to a final breach in relations with Genghis. Jochi withdrew to his lands in the West of the empire and never returned to Mongolia. He died in 1226. His sons Batu Khan and Orda Khan inherited his lands, which are known collectively as the Ulus of Jochi.















Jochi standing on a portrait of Ghinghiz Khan Æ






Batu Khan audience


Silver dinar of Batu [3]


The gallery of images of state symbols of Tatarstan in the Cabinet of Ministers of the republic presents clan tamgas of the Batu and Berke clans.














Coins of Mangu Temür


On the ancient European geographical maps, the Golden Horde was marked with white flags with a red ideogram. For example, a 14th-century map (portolan) stored in the Barcelona Maritime Museum, which shows the "Khan of the Golden Horde" and several cities under white flags with a tamga, on some flags the tamga is accompanied by a crescent. Such a tamga (a tamga of the Batu genus - a two-pronged head with a round tooth and a crossbeam at the right tooth) was also depicted on the coins of Khan Mengu-Timur (1260s).


Used photo cards from the site "Red Lion" by Hubert de Vries (http://hubert-herald.nl/) Photo of coins from the forum of numismatists http://coins.ucoz.ru/





GOLDEN HORDE: Toda Mangu, 1280-1287, AR yarmaq (1.67g), Qrim, ND, A-2021.1, ruler's name in square, al-'adil zuyyida 'adluhu around / tamgha in triangle, mint name outside, choice Extremely Fine to About Uncirculated, RRR.



Another Golden Horde coin with a tamga.


1 - silver yarmak of Tuda-Mengu-khan (ave. 1282-1287), 683 g., Crimea


Tule Buka (Talabuga)



Together with Nogai he accompanied the Mongol invasion of Lithuania under the command of Burundai in 1259.[1] Alongside Nogai Khan, he led the second Mongol invasion of Hungary in 1284-1285 and the third Mongol raid against Poland in 1287. Despite initial success most of the attacks were unsuccessful.

As a matter of rule, the Galician and Rus' dukes were ordered to accompany the Mongol raid on Hungary together with Tulabuga and Nogai in 1285. In 1286 he decided to organize the raid on Poland, again together with Khan Nogai. which he repeated for the last time in 1287.

In 1290, Khan Tulabuga and Nogai attacked the land of Zichia (probably Circassia).



2 – silver yarmak of Tula-Bug-khan (1287-1291), 686, Crimea.

Tamga within encircled hexagram

Coin of Talabuga

Tamga and quadruped (wolf, fox?)


Coin of Talabuga

Tamga and quadruped (leopard)









Sultan Mohammed Öz Beg, better known as Uzbeg or Ozbeg (*1282–†1341, reign 1313–1341), was the longest-reigning khan of the Golden Horde, under whose rule the state reached its zenith. He was succeeded by his son Jani Beg.

He was the son of Toghrilcha and grandson of Mengu-Timur, who had been khan of the Golden Horde from 1267–1280.

Dirham of Mohammad Uzbek


His adoption of Islam as a state religion led to a conspiracy of Shamanist and Buddhist princes, whom he subdued severely. Öz Beg determinedly spread Islam among the Golden Horde and allowed missionary activities to expand in the surrounding regions. Öz Beg found out that his competitor was backed by the envoys of the Great Khan Ayurbarwada Buyantu and this fact helped deteriorate his relationship with the Yuan Dynasty. The last of his rebellious relatives was shamanist Ilbasan of the eastern half of the Golden Horde, who was murdered in 1320. Öz Beg installed the Muslim Mubarak Khwaja as a replacement to the throne of the White Horde, but he discouraged their independence. In the long run, Islam enabled the Khan to eliminate inter-factional struggles in the Horde and to stabilize state institutions. Russian scholar Lev Gumilev wrote that in this manner was Öz Beg able to turn the khanate into a sultanate.

Khan Öz Beg urged the Mongol elite to convert to Islam, but at the same time, he preserved the lives of Christians and pagans such as Russians, Circassians, Alans, Finno-Ugric people, and Crimean Greeks as long as they continued to pay the jizyah in subjection to Islamic rule. From Öz Beg onwards, the khans of the Golden Horde were all Muslim.

Öz Beg was very tolerant of Christians as exemplified by a letter of thanks he received from Pope John XXII in which the Christian leader thanked Öz Beg for his kind treatment of Christians.[Öz Beg had sent a letter to the Metropolitan Peter which stated:

By the will and power, the greatness and most high! Let no man insult the metropolitan church of which Peter is head, or his service or his churchman; let no man seize their property, goods or people, let no man meddle in the affairs of the church...Their laws, their churches and monasteries and chapels shall be respected; whoever condemns or blames this religion, shall not be allowed to excuse himself under any pretext, but shall be punished with death.


Paiza of Öz beg (Uzbek) Khan

Eight-rayed sun or eight-pointed star


Silver, casting, forging, engraving, gilding. An Arabic script on the plate displays the text:

“By the command of the eternal sky, the decree of the khan of Uzbek. A person who does not submit to the Mongols is guilty, and must die”.


1320 Flag: White. a tamgha (Marino Sanudo)


1339 Flag: White, a crescent and a tamgha (Angelino Dulcerta)


1341 Flag: White, a crescent and a red tamgha (...The King of this Norgancio (= Choresm) has for his device a white flag with the sign of uxbeco Emperor of sara (= Sarai) red.

Libro de Conoscimiento n° 79 & p. 51)









Disk with leopard 14th cent

From the Azov Museum














1385 ca Flag: White,  a black crescent and a tamgha (Guillelmus Soleri).


White flag and black tamgha


Greatest extend of the Tokhtamysh authority

Capital: Sarai


Breaking up in Khanates and kingdoms,


Unicorn / Единорог



Arms of Sarai in the Richental Chronicle 1417


1417 Arms: Sable, a unicorn Or.

Caption: Dominus Wildiboldus herzog zu Sarasie, zwüschent Kriechen und Littow.

(Ulrich Richental Konzil, fol 136a. Sarasie = Sara = Sarai i.e the Palace of the Khan of the Golden Horde)


A good candidate for the arms is Kebeq Khan albeit Wildiboldus does not like to be a plausible corruption of his name:

Kebek was the third son of Tokan Khan. In 1410, his eldest brother, Jalal ad-Din, obtained the throne from the “strong man” of the Golden Horde, the puppet ruler Emir Edögey. Jalal ad-Dín was also supported by the Grand Duke of Lithuania, Vytautas because he had been in his miitary service. In 1412 his other brother, Karim Berdi, murdered him and himself sat in his place. Vytautas was enraged by the death of his supporter and did not recognize the succession. He first sought a claimant to the throne outside of the Toktamis family, but this was captured and beheaded by Karim Berdi. He then turned to the brothers and, at his suggestion, one of Kebek's younger brothers, Jabbárberdi, killed Karim Berdi. The new khan became the third brother, Kebek, who was also a devotee of the Lithuanian prince.

Kebek could only rule for a short time because Emir Edögej found another khan candidate from the White HordeCsokra. In battle they defeated Kebek's army and expelled him from the capital, New Sarai. Kebek retreated to the southwestern part of the Horde, which was in Lithuania’s zone of influence and for a few years even minted money like the Horde’s khan. His further fate is unknown.


The unicorn


In military symbolism a unicorn, derived from the persian ibex, is of very ancient origin. In fact it symbolizes the leader and defender of the herd and the great inseminator. The male ibex as such symbolizes supreme masculinity. In the far east he is known from the military hierarchies in the ancient Persian world. Derived from this persian ibex is the unicorn which is a fierce beast only to be tamed by a virgin. Such a unicorn often figures in muslim symbolism. An early example is known from Pamplona where a pair of ibexes occur on the so-called Pamplona Casket, together with a pair of griffins and other heraldic beasts. In China where he is called qilin, he was the symbol of the military commander of the first rank from the time of the Han (207 BC-220 AD) until the fall of the Chinese empire in 1910.  An example from mediaeval Armenia is known from the clothes of Gagik I Abbas (1029-‘64) with large medallions enclosing ibexes.   So, probably the unicorn in the case of the Golden Horde was the badge of rank of the commander of the first rank.


* In the case of Castile it had been the badge of the major domus and military leader during the reign of King Alfonso VII. See paragraph: Ibex

** In the case of Scotland it must be remarked that a stewart is a kind of major domo and that the ruling dynasty of Scotland in the time of the introduction of the Unicorn was the House of Steward (1371-1714).


Russian Tartary


Iwan III, the Great

Iwan the Young




About 1480  Conrad Grüneberg repeats the arms with the Unicorn,

copying the Richental Chronicle

Der Hertzog vo Sarasye zwisthen littau vñ kriecheñ [4]


According to Köhne, B. von: Das Kaiserlich Russische Reichs-Wappen. Reiter und Doppeladler. In: Vierteljahrschrift für Heraldik etc. Herold. 1882, pp. 397-418. Taf. I-II.


....Die ersten Bullen mit dem Doppel-Adler auf der Hauptseite und dem Einhorn auf der Rückseite, sind vom Grossfürsten Johann III Wassiljewitsch

(The first seals with of two-headed eagle on the obverse and the Unicorn on the reverse are of Grand Prince  John III Wassiljewich.)


* This seal cannot be found


Wassily III



Vasili III continued the policies of his father Ivan III and spent most of his reign consolidating Ivan's gains. Vasili annexed the last surviving autonomous provinces: Pskov in 1510, appanage of Volokolamsk in 1513, principalities of Ryazan in 1521 and Novgorod-Seversky in 1522.

Also he took the heraldic consequences of the conquest of the  remnants of the Golden Horde by supporting the unicorn of 1417 by the two-headed eagle of the Grand Prince (Megalou Primikuriou)


1505–1533 gold grivna of Vassili III Ivanovich


Arms: Unicorn (the arms of Kebek Khan)

Supporter: Two-headed crowned eagle


On the obverse St. George  similar to Vassilii's seal by design.


Iwan IV, the Terrible


Tsar 16.01.1547


The use of the unicorn was continued by Iwan IV


Back of Ivan the Terribele’s Throne


The ivory panel carved with a two-headed royally crowned eagle with sceptre and orb for the rank of King / Tsar / Caesar

On the dexter a unicorn for the Khanate  of  the Golden Horde (Sarai) and on the sinister a lion rampant for the Grand Principality of Vladimir




Seal of Ivan IV, 1577


The obverse of the seal depicts a double-headed eagle under a single crown with an Orthodox cross and a rider on a shield killing a snake. (The rider symbolized the prince; later they began to identify him with George the Victorious). 

On the reverse side of the seal on the shield of the eagle, a unicorn is depicted as the personal coat of arms of Ivan IV.

The circular inscriptions indicate the full title of the tsar: “B (o) ha in Tr (oi) tsy slavima m (i) l (os) tiyu great g (osu) d (a) rb c (a) rb and Grand Duke (s) Ivan Vasilyevi (h) of All Russia Vladimersky Moscow Nougorodtsky and c (a) rb Kazan and c (a) rb Astorohansk and g (osu) d (a) rb Pskov and Grand Duke (s) Smolensk Tver Yugorskiy Perm Vyattskiy Bulgarian and other g (osu) d (a) ry and Great Prince (I) s Novgorod Nizovskiy lands of Chernigov "


Ryazansky. Polotsky. Rostov. Yaroslavsky. Beloozersky. and the ruler of the motherland m (silt) r (adi) possessor of the land of Livonia, the German rank of Udora. Obdorsky. Kondinsky and all Siberian lands and northern countries are the sovereign and other many lands g (was) d (a) r and possessor ". (Fig. 6.7).


In the margin the seals of (clockwise): Polotsk; Belozersk; Ryazan; Kondinsk; Archbishop Riga; Kesi city; Lifland; Siberia; Obdorsk; Yaroslavl; Rostov; Ryazan


At the back, the same image, only with the unicorn on the breast of the double eagle and the indistinct inscription: ХРІСТОСЬ МОГУТНЫИ ХРІСТОСЬ ВАСІЛЕVЕІ (Christos the mighty, Christos is king, maybe from Latin Christus regnat, according to Christ Imperat). Then the coats of arms, according to the end of the title follow, likewise in heraldic order (alternating), from Riäsan, Polotzk (the Stibcy of the Jagellonen), Rostow, Jaroslaw, Bielosersk, Udorien, Obdorien, Kondinien, Siberia, the archbishop of Riga, the master of the livländischen order (Wilhelm von Fürstenberg) and the town Reval. All these coats of arms deviate from the ones that later became usual. [5]


Coin of Wilhelm von Fürstenberg


Arms: ¼ 1&4: Argent, a cross Sable; 2&3: Or two fesses Gules.


From: печатгрозного.рф/историа-государственного-герба/


Theodore I


Conquest of Siberia 1584-’88


Interruption of the use of the unicorn


Boris Godunow




Reverse of the Great seal of Boris Godunow: Crowned two-headed eagle with russian cross between its heads. Escutcheon: running unicorn. Caption (translated in 17th cent. english) Cheringoskee, Rezanskee, Rososkee, Yaroslavskee, Beloozerskee, Leeflandia, Udorskee, Obdorskee, Kondinskee, and Commander of all the Northern parts, and Lord of all the Iverskee Countries, and Granziskee Empires, and of the Caberniskee Countries, Cherkaskee, Igorskee, and of many other Kingdoms, Lord and Conqueror.”  D.: 12.06.1602.


From: Ashmole, Elias The Institution, Laws and Ceremonies of the Most Noble Order of the Garter. London, 1671.p. 229


(besides the Soveraigns of the most Noble Order of the Garter) have assumed the bearing St. Georg encountring the Dragon and in like posture (though not so anciently, nor upon the same account) as they: probably having chosen him Patron of their Countries or Families, as namely the Emperors of Russia, the Dukes of Mantua in Italy, and the Counts Mansfield in Germany, which will better appear by the exhibits of some of their Seals and Coyns here.

The first is the Great Seal of Borice-Feodorwiche Emperor of Russia, affixed to his Letters sent to Queen Elizabeth, dated at his Imperial Palace of Mosko the 12. of Iune 1602. and 39. year of his Reign: A Translation of which was most courteously afforded me by Mr. Ia. Frese (Interpretor to the Russian Ambassadors, sent over hither to his now Majesty, an. Dom. 1660.) and is as followeth.

By Gods providence, We the great Lord, Emperor, and great Duke Boreece Feodorwiche of all Russia Self-upholder, of Wolodeemer, Mosko, Novograde, Emperor of Kazan, Emperor of Astracane, and Emperor of Seebeeria, Lord of Psokosske, great Duke of Smolenskee, Twerskee, Ugarskee, Permskee, Vaticekee, Bolgarskee and other; Lord and great Duke of Novagradia, the lower Countries, Cheringoskee, Rezanskee, Rososkee, Yaroslaveskee, Beloozerskee, Leeflandia, Udorskee, Obdorskee, Kondinskee, and Commander of all the Northern parts, and Lord of all the Iverskee Countries, and Granziskee Empires, and of the Caberniskee Countries, Cherkaskee, Igorskee, and of many other Kingdoms, Lord and Conqueror.


Dimitri the Pretender



Basil IV Shuiski

d. 1612



Michael Romanov


Arrow quiver and bow case - saadak

Belonged to Tsar Mikhail Fedorovich Romanov

Manufactured: Moscow, 1627-1628, the Armory.

Materials: Leather, gold, silver, precious stones, fabric.

Work: Carving, enamel.


The bow case shows a white crowned two-headed eagle surrounded by four heraldic devices (from left to right): 1. An eagle Argent with a crown (Poland); 2. A griffin proper with coloured wings with an orb; (Romanov) 3. A unicorn Argent with a sceptre (Golden Horde); 4 A lion proper with a sword (Vladimir)


Seals of central government agencies. Separate state and city institutions also had their own seals. Preserved several seals of the central government institutions of the Russian state - orders. The most known are the seals of the Order of the Great Palace, which is probably due to the originality of its competence. In addition to managing palace institutions and estates, the Order of the Great Palace was in charge for almost the entire 17th century. (with the exception of the 50-70s) by the economic activity of Russian monasteries. The monastic archives have been better preserved in comparison with the archives of state institutions and private individuals, therefore, many documents have survived to this day bearing the seal of the Order of the Great Palace.

Seal of the Order of the Great Palace. Kotoshikhin, characterizing the activities of the Order of the Big Palace, writes: "Yes, in the same order, the press is kept, and they collect printing duties on letters and other matters that are sent by petitions of all ranks of people to cities and palace volosts," that is, in those cities and townships that were under the jurisdiction of the Order of the Great Palace. "And it is carved on that seal," Kotoshikhin continues, "an inrog is a beast" * .

( G. K. Kotoshikhin. About Russia in the reign of Alexei Mikhailovich, p. 60. )


Fig. 63. Seal of the Order of the Great Court

Fig. 63. Seal of the Order of the Great Court


This testimony of Kotoshikhin is confirmed by the preserved imprints of the seal of the Order of the Great Palace. Moreover, during the 17th century. the matrices of this seal changed, since the prints differ from one another. So, under the letter with a read ‘sent from the Order of the Big Palace on 30 August 1632 to Solikamsk voivode Ilya Ivanovich Zlobin’ on the controversial land case of the Pyskorsky monastery with the guest G.L. Nikitnikov, there is an applied seal to black wax. The seal depicts a unicorn and the inscription: "The Big Palace". (печат ъболъщя годвоця).


At the end of the 16th and the beginning of the 17th century the colonisation or conquest of Siberia took place. The territories were initially called Tartary and for that new territory was designed a new emblem of a basilisk, borrowed from Kazan (also sometimes called Tartary). This was documented until the arms of Siberia werd adopted for a kingdom which comprised the whole of East Asia.  In the process the unicorn of the Gollden Horde (not belonging to Siberia) became obsolete.




The arms of Turkestan are perhaps an invention of the director of the section for arms in the heraldic department of the Russian senate, Freiherr B.K. von Köhne, who was of the opninion that the unicorn is the emblem of the prefecture of Asia because: apart from the double eagle, the Byzantine emperors bore the arms of the four great prefectures of the Empire, namely the eagle for Italy, a griffin for Gaul, a unicorn for Asia and a lion for Illyria. The unicorn coat of arms is said to have been first adopted by Ivan III. In 1882, the unicorn coat of arms became the warms  for Turkestan. K. does not say on what his opinion on the prefecture's heraldic animals is based on. [6]

Turkestan arms [7]


Turkestan oblast was formed in 1865, subject to the Orenburg governorate-general, from territories recently conquered from the Kokand khanate. These included Tashkent, one of the two largest towns in the region (the other was Bukhara).


Turkestan coat of arms on the official badge of the mirab - responsible for the distribution of water.  Photo - heraldicum.ru

Photo - heraldicum.ru

Turkestan (oblast) coat of arms on the official badge of the mirab - responsible for the distribution of water

Note that the pose of the unicorn is clearly defined in the description -"walking" .But on some official signs (village foreman, aul foreman) the coat of arms of Turkestan was not depicted in accordance with the description.The unicorn was shown rearing up.


Fragment of the official badge of the aul foreman.

Fragment of the official badge of the aul foreman.


Nevertheless, it is still the coat of arms of Turkestan (albeit distorted), the same unicorn.


In 1867 the Turkestan government-general was established, consisting of two oblasts - Syr Darya and Semireche - responsible directly to the war minister, with Tashkent as its capital


Turkestan Government-General, 1887


In the second half of the 19th century.the coat of arms of Turkestan appeared.The figure shows "a badge on the caps of military and civilian officials holding police positions in the Turkestan Territory" (PSZ No. 4368, approved on April 21, 1887)


The coat of arms of Turkestan appeared in Russian heraldry in 1882 in order to reflect the line " Sovereign Turkestan" that appeared after the annexation of Central Asia in the full imperial title. The coat of arms became part of the large coat of arms of the empire: "the coat of arms of Turkestan: in a golden shield, a black walking unicorn with scarlet eyes, tongue and horn ."

Now it is difficult to say why the unicorn was chosen as the symbol of Turkestan. Why, for example, did not the coats of arms of the provinces and regions of Turkestan (Akmola, Fergana, Syr-Darya, Trans-Caspian, Semirechensk, Samarkand) become the coat of arms of Turkestan, united in one shield? After all, it was in this way that the coats of arms of the "Baltic regions", "the Belarusian and Lithuanian principalities and regions", etc. were arranged for the large emblem of the empire. But the gold and black state colors, apparently, indicated a special attitude of the state to the new province.

Gradually, the coat of arms penetrated into everyday life: the unicorn appeared on the badges of police officials of the Turkestan Territory, began to appear on commemorative medals, official signs of judges, officials of local self-government (mirabs, aul foremen, etc.).

Turkestan(G.G.)  coat of arms on a medal in honor of the Central Asian Exhibition of 1891 [8]


Despite the heraldic design, Turkestan remained a semi-amorphous formation: as an administrative unit of Turkestan did not exist (there was only the Turkestan General Government), and the administrative units of the Turkestan Territory - regions - by the end of the 19th century had their own officially approved emblems (and the Turkestan unicorn had no place in them). These regional coats of arms were depicted in newspapers, yearbooks, and tokens.

But after the collapse of the empire, the Turkestan unicorn did not disappear without a trace, but was revived in the form of the supporting horned fabulous horses-tulpals in the state emblem of the Republic of Kazakhstan. [9]



Back to Main Page




© Hubert de Vries




[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Horde

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tamga

[3] https://daten.digitale-sammlungen.de/~db/0003/bsb00035320/images/index.html?seite=78&fip=

[4] Grünenberg, Konrad: Das Wappenbuch Conrads von Grünenberg, Ritters und Bürgers zu Constanz - BSB Cgm 145, [S.l.], um 1480 [BSB-Hss Cgm 145], Fol. 00034952.00172 /

[5] Köhne 1882 p. 410-411 en dezelfde: Notice sur les sceaux et les armoiries de la Russie (Berlin, 1864) Taf. I & II, pp. 11-14. Afbeelding voorzijde in Winkler, 1899, p. VIII. 

[6] Köhne, B. von: Das Kaiserlich Russische Reichs-Wappen. Reiter und Doppeladler. In: Vierteljahrschrift für Heraldik etc. Herold. 1882, pp. 397-418. Taf. I-II. p. 400

[7] Ströhl, Hugo Gerard Russisch-Asiatische Wappenrolle. Die Wappen der Gouvernements, Gebiete und vieler Orte in Kaukasien, Turkestan, der Kirgisensteppe und Siberien. In: Jahrbuch des Heraldisch-Genealogischen Vereins "Adler". 1901, pp. 80-102, IX Tafeln.  p.84

[8] https://www.numisbids.com/n.php?p=lot&sid=3955&lot=73452

[9] https://zen.yandex.ru/media/id/5d500bdfe854a900ae069aea/kak-rossiiskii-gerb-turkestana-nasledil-v-simvolik-5db8532abd639600b176de52

Flag Counter In cooperation with Heraldry of the World