Women in sculptures Mother of Kartli

Mother of Kartli is a statue overlooking Sololaki in old Tbilisi, it’s a monument that can be seen from Rustaveli Avenue and surrounding Sololaki district.

The monument is of a strong woman standing with grace and glory, with a sword in one hand and a wine jar in another. The symbolic meaning of this items comes from old Georgian saying that says “greet enemies with a sword and visitors with wine” as Georgians from ancient times believed that visitor is from god and is to be greeted with bowl of wine and enemies should be greeted with sword. The fact that the woman is the one holding both is very interesting and major fact about the statue, as Mother referred as “Deda” in Georgian language the word itself traditionally was and still is very influential and important part of the culture. She is symbolizing the character of Georgians itself, wine and sword for hospitality and love of freedom.

The monument itself was built in 1958 when city celebrated 1500 year anniversary. Originally in 1958 it was done in tree but later in 1968 it was changed to aluminum. Elguja Amashukeli was later awarded State Award for the sculpture. The authorities planned to remove the statue after the celebration, but it suited the city so well, that till this day it remains.

In 1997 the old monument was replaced by the same author Amashukeli, in this case with bigger 20 meter aluminum constructed statue.

The statue has appeared in many photographs through time, one of the notable is photographer Brian Griffin’s work for fashion brand Comme des Garcons in 1989. Rei Kawakubo, Creative head of the brand and photographer teamed and shot the project in soviet Georgia in winter 1989/90. The pictures were appeared in SIX magazine, published by CDG.

The author, Elguja Amashukeli was born on 1928 22nd April in Tbilisi, He studied sculpture at Tbilisi State Academy of Arts. His work is genuinely diverse, mostly monumental. Artist often addressed the characters and allegories. In his work clearly reflected ongoing processes in modern Georgian art.

Legend of Maia Tskneteli

Georgian heroine, symbol of powerful, strong, purposeful woman – these epithets can be attributed to Maia Tskneteli. She had a declared goal, it was revenge, and she did her best to pursue this plan.

Based on orally transmitted folklore, the 20-year-old girl was raped by her lord. After this accident, her parents died from suicide and Tskneteli was an orphan. She decided to take a revenge on her lord. But fighting against the lord was not the “number one war” in her life. Tskneteli started working with the king Erekle and was helping ordinary people. She gave freedom to slaves who were victims of this period and many of them were sold by Kizilbashes. After revealing her goals. Maia Tskneteli had to escape from the kingdom and became a brigand, a robber.

Based on the legend, the girl was so strong and persistent that she decided to become a boy called Mathe; she had hidden her real personality and was a fighter and a Georgian brave man. Because of folk-tale story, we do not know her real surname; there are versions that her mother was from Mtskheta and Maia Tskneteli maybe was an Odzelashvili, which was famous and widely spread surname in this region.

Maia Tskneteli and her personality was an inspiration for poets and movie makers. Lado Asatiani tells the readers about Tskneteli in his poem called “Georgia was their dreamed name”. Rezo Chkheidze explains the legendary life of Maia Tskneteli in his movie. In these works it is clearly shown that Maia Tskneteli was admired and loved by people around her, and she was always in a good mood, sitting on a horse and singing.

“Flags, hurry up”

One of the remarkable woman’s sculpture standing in Leonidze square, tbilisi is “flags, hurry up”. Strong, muscular, naked warrier with huge gun was constructed in 1988 by sculptor Giorgi shkhvacabia and architects - g. Japaridze, T. Tevzadze, D. Sultanishvili. As the sculpture was made in Soviet union, it shows a woman (mother) as an encourager, fighter, defender of the country. By that time, it was very common to use woman’s nature, face as a recaller of citizens to fight for their republic.

The name comes from the famous georgian poet Galaktion Tabidze’ verse, which has the same name. Itself, verse was written in 1917 year, when georgia was still struggling for independence, only in 1918 country gained it. So the poet with his poetry, dedicated his words to freedom and encourage people fight for it.

There are two versions, why this lyrics was used in 1988, in that style and conception? Some of the experts think that, government representatives celebrated 70 years anniversary of so called October’s revolution with that words and sculpture. Also in that times the verse was reflected in school, as if author dedicated it to the revolution of socialists.

But, there are also some suspicions that in 1988 the soviet union went to the phase of changes, some of the politicians already saw the end of the system, may the sculpture really devised as an symbol of real upcoming freedom and independence, Shkhvacabia resurrect this in the stone.

Versions and improvisations can be a lot, but itself the sculpture is interesting why woman, why naked and muscular, when by that time women were priced in words, but still felt unfairness, imbalance in rights, impacts and improvisations of there nature. Only strong side of them was being mother, mother of defenders, mother of republic calling the soldiers.


The Medea Statue is a monument to Medea – princess of Colchis , according to Greek mythology she was daughter of King Aeetes and granddaughter of the sun of God – Helios . At the time Medea was the best pharmacist and her name is associated with the word Medicine .

The statue of Medea was erected in 2007 in Europe square in Batumi. The monument was designed by Georgian sculptor David Khmaladze. The statue is a symbol of strength and wealth of the country. Medea is holding a Golden fleece which is fleece of the sheep. The fleece is a symbol of authority and kingship. The Kolkhetian people developed the practice of mining gold long before this skill was mastered in Europe. This attracted the attention of Greek adventurers like Jason and the Argonauts, who traveled to the kingdom to find rich natural resources like gold.

There are many conspiracy theories regarding Medea and her personality. Medea does not fit into “normal woman” according to Greek philosophy. She is portrayed as intelligent and skillful woman , something typically viewed as a masculine characteristics in ancient times.

She manipulated men around her to make her desires come true. Even though Medea is pictured as a wise and strong woman, some think otherwise, as if she was just a young woman who was desperately in love with Jason, which made her go against her family and homeland.

For most Georgians, Medea and ancient Kolkheti are symbols of a powerful and wealthy era, with lots of useful knowledge and education.

Mother of Algetian "wolf cubs"

From Tbilisi to Marneuli on the central highway, there is a memorial dedicated to Marabda and a famous battle fought in that valley on July 1, 1625.

Shah-Abbas I sent an army to defeat the Kartl-Kakheti kingdom in Georgia after already defeating Martkopi. The numerical advantage of Kizilbabs and their combat readiness was the main reason for the defeat of the Georgians. About 10,000 Georgians and 14,000 Kizilbaz fell on the battlefield. Among the dead were nine brothers Kherkheulidze, nine Machabeli, and seven Cholokashvili. The nine brothers Kherkheulidze are buried in a yard in the village of Marabda.

This sculptor was made by Merab Berdzenishvili. It is named " They will grow up" (1975). This is a bronze monument that is a Georgia symbol.

Mother is a “mother of Georgia”, a symbol of Georgia. Despite many enemies, the country's aggression and the bloody spilling of blood, the hope for future people is to give the enemy an answer and never bow to them. Of course, children are symbols of hope, strength and love for the future.

Finally, the sword is the symbol of struggle, courage, and strength. So the Georgian man is always ready for fighting to the enemy's last drops of blood, even at the cost of his own life.

Stories collected by: Sopio Bujiashvili, Manana Ghoghoberidze, Mikheili Daraselia, Rusudan tavelishvili.

Photos: by Elene Asatiani and Manana Kveliashvili

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Elene Asatiani

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