Clemens-Tobias LangeDr. Michael WeiersJutta Schwöbel

Das Lied des Akyn (The Song of the Rider)

Clemens-Tobias Lange, Dr. Michael Weiers, Jutta Schwöbel

Das Lied des Akyn (The Song of the Rider)



Edition Size



Letterpress, Photo




Artist Book


16 × 9 in


Hamburg, Germany


CTL Presse

$ 5,060.00


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The Song of the Akyn is a collaboration of Clemens-Tobias Lange with the great Kyrghiz writer Chinghiz Aitmatow and the German photographer Jutta Schwöbel. This is the first written edition of the Russian (original) text, as well as the first written translations into the Kyrgyz and German languages.

The book is dedicated to the origin of man’s close relationship with the horse and their co-habitation, that began in the landscapes of Central Asia. The work is based on Jutta Schwöbel’s photographic study of the comparison of the physiognomy of horses with the landscapes of Kyrgyzstan. Schwöbels photographs of horsebacks here have become landscapes of Kyrgyzstan.

The Akyn is a man traveling around on horseback, telling news and passing on traditional customs and myths to the nomad inhabitants. The use of the Uigur alphabet, which visually combines the meeting point of Far Eastern and Western cultures emphasizes the link to myths and an archaic world and their influences on our current lives. 

English translation of the text—

“It is an age-old story.

“When the stars had been fixed forever in their positions in the Universe, when on Earth the mountains had been set forever in their positions and the seas had been sited forever in their positions, when Man still roamed everywhere on foot, with a staff and with a burden on his back, when at each step he trod he weighed up where to put his feet, when he ran on foot from predators, when wind and rain drove him, mouse-like, into caves, Man was told: ‘From now on, you will be given the horse – a gift of nature and heaven, and you will gain new strength, and it shall become so that Man will be unable to do without the horse, and the horse without Man, and it will be so for all ages and for all times . . . ’

“And this is why every aspect of Man’s life since then has involved the horse.

“And it is why a man should know that the horse understands when it is being fitted with iron bits, when its hooves are being equipped with iron shoes and thoroughly hammered with nails (this to protect its legs), and it is why the horse bears it and believes that in a man’s hands he will be able to go anywhere, over every type of terrain. And it is why he will go with the lightness of the wind wherever a man commands him . . .

“The horse understands when a man is riding to the ceremony at which his bride is to be presented to him, and the horse gallops in a way that makes everyone at that moment admire the groom and his horse, and makes everyone exclaim ‘Ah, what a fine fellow –his horse suits him and he his horse!’ And when the groom has sat his bride in front of him on his horse and the horse is carrying them to their wedding –to the festival of their common destiny– and many are at that moment galloping along with the newly married couple, the bride will exclaim: ‘Oh my love! How powerful your horse is, just like you yourself! Ride on, ride on; don’t stop, no matter what the time of day or night!’

“The horse understands when you are going to a funeral, and he steps quietly, head bowed, and hears your weeping.

“The horse understands when you are raring for battle against your enemies, and there is nothing on the battlefield to scare the horse and make him shy at the point of the lance or the blade of the saber; and, furthermore, he is as loyal to a man in his defeats as he is in victory . . .

“And, furthermore, he gives his blood and remains saddled until his last breath; and, furthermore, he neighs and whinnies to let everywhere around know of success . . .

“And he gallops with mane blowing and tail flying . . .

“And on an ordinary day the horse is diligent and dogged –he draws the plough, breaking up the ground, he pulls the wheeled load . . .

“But at the races, the riders praise in songs the best horse in the competition and compare his strength, power and beauty with the magic of God. And the horse understands that the riders are singing about him, that the music is being performed in his honor, and his eyes shine, and he nods his head, and he thanks fate.”
— Chinghiz Aitmatov

48 pages, letterpress printed on handmade colored “China-paper”. The images were copied directly from the silver-gelatin prints on the printing medium and thus the resulting images are concise as Aitmatov’s text. And – as threshold – in the slipcase outside the book, you will find two large photo-collage image-friezes (35 x 120 cm) entitled “night”, printed with white ink on white “China-paper”. Binding: letterpress printed and embossed book in folder, bound by Thomas Zwang, Hamburg.

Translation by Alistair Gainey
Poem by Chinghiz Aitmatov, (Tschingis Aitmatow)
Pesnia Akinia, Das Lied des Akyn, The Song of the Akyn
© Russian text by Chinghiz Aitmatov
Translation into German by Friedrich Hitzer, © Friedrich Hitzer and CTL-Press,
Translation into Kyrgyz by Dr. Sachro Sakirova, © Dr. Sachro Sakirova, and CTL-Press.
Photographs by Jutta Schwöbel
Design of the images, typography, and letterpress printing by Clemens-Tobias Lange and Jutta Schwöbel.
Typefaces: ctlCochin, ctlCirillitza and calligraphic, for the Kyrghiz language: transliteration of the Kirghiz in the old Uigur alphabet by Prof. Dr. Michael Weiers, Bonn
Binding: Thomas Zwang, Hamburg, Slipcase: Hatzel
Edition: 100 numbered copies, plus 5 roman numbered copies plus 3 A.P.
All the copies have 2 signed original graphic prints titled “Night”,
Letterpress printed with white ink on white Chinese paper.
Hamburg, September 2002