In a northern part of Tbilisi where Voyenno-Gruzinskaya Road begins, there is an unusual sculpture. Lifted on a high pedestal, it masterfully represents a furious duel of the youth hunter with a tiger. Monuments of Georgia. Who battles to a tiger?

In general, it is necessary to tell that in Tbilisi there are a lot of unusual sculptures and monuments. Partly it is a consequence of long stay of the republic as a part of the Soviet Union. Rules of the game in the Soviet empire were very intricate. Often in national provinces such forms of art of which in the capital and could not dream blossomed. For – a bezydeyshchina and a formalism.

But national leaders liked «to insert on a trifle a match» to ideological department of the Central Committee of CPSU, appealing thus to that art – it though socialist according to the contents, but nevertheless national in a form. Here in development of this national originality to several masters in each federal republic some freedom of creativity was resolved. Thus new receptions gradually became resolved and in other republics of the indestructible Union. The mosaic and stamping so became fashionable. So on brotherly cemeteries of Ukraine and Russia there were very schematical figures of the fallen fighters and grieving mothers. Certainly, copied not from Sidur’s sculptures or the Unknown, but from Yokubonis’s works – it is exact.

  • Monuments of Georgia. Who battles to a tiger?

Now singularity of many monuments in Georgia is aggravated with absence of any explanatory plates. Sometimes there is an inscription on Georgian – and all. And sometimes – and inscriptions any are not present. It is necessary to guess. Also there is no guarantee that the guess will be correct. Because fine details or the symbols which are marking out heroes of national history or the national epos, that who grew not in Georgia, are unknown. Such trifles are learned since the childhood.

For example, I the ears heard, how at an aforementioned sculpture where the tiger and the young man were weaved in Mortal Kombat, the guide convinced tourists that the sculpture represents a duel of mother Georgia with her numerous enemies. Though absence of any female articles at the fighting person with open years was visible. However, the guide of his explanation can forgive. There was it from the country from Georgia far. The same as tourists conducted by him for whom Georgia was unknown hitherto, and all stories of the guide they trustfully took for the truth.

To honor not quite competent guide it is necessary to tell that mother Georgia appeared in his story with an ulterior motive. The author of sculptural group about whom he told – the Georgian sculptor Elgudzha Amashukeli (1928-2002). In Tbilisi there are a lot of its works. Including the well-known monument to the founder of Tbilisi Vakhtang Gorgasali in the city center on the high coast of the Chicken, a monument to the native language nearby to "Sukhoy Bridge" and mother Georgia who has risen over the city with a sword for enemies and with a bowl for friends. Both these sculptures are memorable everything who though visited once Tbilisi. Generally, the companion the guide learned a lesson, but mixed a little.

However "explanatory note" on which it was possible to "read" to that this monument after all is devoted and why the young hero struggles with a tiger, was written by a ligature of the Georgian letters on a pedestal. Letters made any very extended text. But – alas and ah! – any transfer neither on Russian, nor on English was not.

In memory other duel of the young man with a wild predator right there emerged. In M.Yu.Lermontov’s poem "Mtsyri" there is a scene of fight against a leopard. The sculpture was erected in Soviet period, in 1984. It would be possible to count, of course, this sculpture as a peculiar monument to Lermontov. The similar version seemed romantic, but hardly was truthful.

Fortunately, from other guide, the lovely girl, the native of Tbilisi, I learned that represents this monument. And it represents a plot of a folk song of the 9th or 10th eyelid «A tiger and the young man» («Vepkhvi yes мокме»). This ballad in Georgia is very popular and loved. On its motives the Georgian poet Vazha Pshavela (1861–1915) wrote the poem with the same name.

Neither Vazhi Pshavela’s poem, nor the ballad were not translated to Russian. «Vepkhvi yes мокме» it is possible to judge the contents on an interlinear translation of the ballad on English which was made in 1958.

Contents of the ballad the such. The young hunter met in the wood a tiger. They long fought, and both were lost. The body of a tiger remained in the wood, and a body of the young man brought in a home. Mother sobbed over the lost son. And suddenly crying mother says such words: «Or perhaps mother of a tiger more me cries and is distressed, I will go to it and I will bring it the condolences. Let’s cry with it together».

To tell the truth, it is difficult to imagine such turn of this sad legend. And, perhaps, its such end is told much about national character by the Georgian. Possibly, only the small people tormented from two parties by mighty empires and consequently not too often rejoicing victories, could come to thought that the poverzhenny opponent – too the person who has mother and native, worthy condolences. Also what even the winner should adhere in relation to won to the noble code of mutual respect.

It is quite possible that the episode of fight against a leopard in M.Yu.Lermontov’s poem "Mtsyri" was cast by this ballad. But the hero of the poem, having become the winner in cruel fight, has absolutely other feelings and behaves absolutely in a different way. That is quite explainable: he is a young man, it is young, impatient and romantically in anything does not put own life, and another’s – especially. And it does not surprise. After all the novice running from a monastery was written off from itself by the 26-year-old man with unreasonable vanity, the Russian nobleman, the fighting officer and the ingenious poet.