Medieval Karabakh literature


Beginning from the 13th century, there was a gradual increase in the number of Karabakhi  writers and poets writing in the native language.
On the whole, the Karabakh literary atmosphere played a pioneering role in the Azerbaijani-Turkic culture and literature for inventiveness and originality of a series of facts. 
In the Karabakh literary atmosphere, as a fact in the literature, the first Karabakhi poet so far known was Davdag who lived and created in the 7th century.
His only available to us poem was in the elegy genre devoted to the murder of the Alban-Partav-Barda ruler, instigated by Armenian priests. We have this poem in translation with a perfect text. The content of this text, its idea and artistic line and style, devoting of an eulogy, a poem to a commander like Javanshir proves that Davdag was a great and renowned master of his time.
 In later stages, that is to say, prior to the existence of the town of Panahabad-Shusha, there were considerable number of “Bardais”, “Beylaqanis”, “Ganjavis” dynasties in the history of literature.
 Abu Bakir Ahraad al-Bardai, Makki ibn Ahmad Bardai, Xatib Bagdadi Mahammad Al-Bardai, Ahmad ibn al-Huseyn, Abu Said al-Bardai, Abu Ali al-Bardai, Abu Sad ibn Yahya al-Bardai (the facts are from M. Mahmudov’s “Poets and writers writing in Arabic” (VII-XII), Baku, Science print house, 1983) lived and created in the 10th century and were creators of the Azerbaijani literature in Arabic language. They were popular scientists, philosophers and poets both in Azerbaijan and in the Islamic world. These are only known facts from the 10th century.
One of the greatest figures of the 12th century Azerbaijani poetry was Mujraddin Beylaqani of Karabakh whom Khosrov Dahlavi preferred to Khaqani Shirvani for his skills. Zald ibn Huseyn ibn Omar Beylaqani also lived in the same period as Mujiraddin; as a Shariah philosopher he attained high scientific level, went to Damascus where he gained popularity as a leading person of the artistic thought and philosophy and penned a host of high-level literary works.

Tuti Abdulla Qarabagi was an inspired poet of the 14th century, though non of his books reached us yet, his name was mentioned with respect in “Haqiqatus-suara” (The truths of poets; the history of literature).
In the 15th century Sheikh Ibrahim ibn Mahammad Sahabaddin Bardai of Qarabag got the title of Sheikh of his age, renowned in the literary circles under the pseudonym of Gulsani and promoted his faith in Cairo and the Ottoman empire after being promoted to the rank of Movlana Gulshani.
 His khanaqah (or the holy place) is in Cairo and is currently functional. Movlana Gulsan’s two sons – Sheikh Ahmad Gulshanizada and Safvati Seyyid Ali Gulshani – were also poets who replaced their father after his death
Yusif ibn Mahammadshahi Qarabagi lived and created in the 16th-17th centuries, was a distinguished scientist of his times, went to the Huseyniyya cloister for dervishes in Samarqand and got promoted to the rank of Movlana Yusif .
In the finest sense of the word, the Karabakh literary atmosphere has always been the background of the Azerbaijani culture and literature, created its impressive pages and guided it. 
Ashug Qurbani, master of masters, lived and created in the 16th century, who was a favourite in the palace of Shah Ismayil Khatai. The names of Mirmohsun Lambarani Asaf, Ashug Ali, Ashug Valeh, Ziyadi Qarabagi and Molla Panah Vaqif, who lived in the 18th century, speak volume.

In the 18th century after the foundation of Panahabad-Susa, the Karabakh literary atmosphere turned into the busiest centre of the Azerbaijani literary and cultural atmosphere. The Karabakh khanate also began to determine the directions and establish close relations with the Naxcivan, Iravan, Ganca, Saki and other khanates, including political and social events in Georgia. These relations further expanded the sphere of influence of the Karabakh literary atmosphere. 
In 17-18th centuries, the Azerbaijani literature under influence of folklore and mainly of the ashugs came closer to day-to-day life, the popular spoken language and laid the foundation of the transition to the realism phase in the Azerbaijani poetry.
Aga Bayim aga Tuti gained popularity as the shrewdest woman in the east and under the rule of the Iranian Shah Fatali, she became a leading figure in the shah’s diplomacy and spirits of patriotism of her bayatis (a kind of Azerbaijani poem created by common people) still sounds with an astonishing strength.
Beginning from the 18th century the Karabakh literary atmosphere laid the foundation of the realist poem in the Azerbaijani literature and originated, strengthened and developed the 19th century realistic literary method.