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Zhusup Balasagyn 

(11th century) 


A portrait of Zhusup Balasagyn, outstanding poet and thinker of the Middle Ages, is depicted on the front side of the banknote with denomination of 1,000 Som.  

An outstanding poet, thinker and philosopher of the Middle Ages, Zhusup Balasagyn, the founder of the Turkic poetry, scholar and encyclopedist, was born in the city of Balasagyn (near modern Tokmak) approximately in 1015-1018.  

Zhusup Balasagyn was educated in the well-known cultural centers of that time: Farab, Kashgar, Bukhara. Fluent in Arabic and Persian, he wrote philosophical and scientific works on various branches of knowledge. Zhusup Balasagyn came from a certain cultural center and political region, covering in its time Otrar (Farab), Shash (Tashkent), Taraz, Chui Valley, Priissikkulye, Fergana, Kashgari.  

Highly educated, wise by experience, a pan-Turkic poet and scholar-encyclopedist Zhusup came to Kashgar, and at the age of 50 he began to write the classic poem in the Turkic language. During eighteen months of hard work Zhusup Balasagyn wrote the large poetic work “Kut bilim” (“Blessed knowledge”), creating the first Turkic poem in the worlds poetry.  

This poem elevated its author first to the position of advisor to the Kagan of the Karakhanid state, and later the book immortalized Zhusup Balasagyn in history as a great thinker and poet of the Turkic people. The poem “Blessed knowledge” is a work that is perfect in form, deep in its philosophical content, as well as very significant in size, containing 13,434 lines of verses. Its significance lies in the fact that in it found a bright and highly artistic expression of universal ideas, thoughts that emotionalized people at all times. In his sonorous verses, Zhusup Balasagyn outlined his understanding of a fair minded ruler and a prosperous state where all can live happily. The verses of the poem were very popular, they became folk proverbs and sayings.  

In modern Kyrgyz, the title of the work is: “Kut bilim”. It is formed from two words: “Kut” “good”, “happiness” and “bilim” “knowledge”, i.e. “Knowledge that gives happiness”. The poem, created in the XI century in the land of Ala-Too and translated into Russian, Kyrgyz and other languages, opens to the world new facets of the artistic and poetic word of the East, making us heirs of the best achievements of the spiritual culture of Asian peoples.