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Abstract

The paper focuses on animal style images and compositions in Pazyryk art. An attempt is made to reconstruct the semantics of certain images, proceeding from the assumption that art is a special language used to express perceptions of the Universe. The mythical griffi n is the most popular fi gure in Pazyryk art, suggesting that the Pazyryk people may be identifi ed with the “griffi ns guarding gold,” mentioned by Aristeas and Herodotus. The griffi n image is interpreted in the context of Pazyryk ritual grave goods and specifi cally in griffon – horse predatory scenes represented in the attire of the sacrifi cial horses that accompanied the deceased to their tombs. The same mythical predation scene, believed to bring good luck, is mentioned in the descriptions of Scythia given by Classical historians and geographers. The realistic image of a bird (probably the demoiselle – Anthropoides virgo – inhabiting the alpine steppes of the Altai) decorated the tops of Pazyryk ceremonial headwear. This image also appears in mythological belief. Its interpretation is suggested, relating the meaning of the bird image and the symbolism of Pazyryk headwear to Indo-European and Uralic mythology.

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... The author connects the image of the eagle with the threefold system of the Ossetian religious and mythological worldview, designating it as a zoomorphic image of God or Uastyrdzhi. In addition, Takazov (2017) notes the semantic similarity of the image of an eagle in Ossetian folklore to the images of an eagle/griffin in the Scythian animal style (Chairkina, 2013;Cheremisin, 2009). ...
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... 73 . L'un des types comporte un petit ornement frontal en bois, avec un protomé d'oiseau (interprété comme une grue ou un héron) 74 par devant, et le corps d'un animal (interprété comme un cerf) fi guré de profi l sur le côté, apparemment de la même manière que les « griffons » d'Akchakhan-kala 75 (fi g. 10), la conception d'ensemble de l'ornement étant du reste très semblable 76 . Des traces de couleur sur certaines des pièces de l'Altaï sont une autre similitude : les diadèmes en bois étaient peints en rouge, noir et blanc, les mêmes couleurs que sur les coiffes d'Akchakhan-kala 77 . ...
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Eight miniature horn figurines representing human-like characters and heads of birds, elk, boar, and a carnivore, were found in grave 4 at Itkol II mound 14, northern Minusinsk Basin. The burial dates to the early (Uybat) stage of the Okunev culture (second half of the 3rd millennium BC). The form and composition of certain figurines resemble those of Okunev steles. Copyright © 2015, Siberian Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences, Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Article
The article discusses the sacredness of art which refl ects the natural, vital needs of the indigenous people of Sakhalin Island. The article examines material artifacts including the Rukutama staff made of deer antler found in the Uilta air burial in the Rukutama River area (Poronai Region, Sakhalin Province), pottery dated to the 8th–13th centuries AD discovered in the Poronai and Korsakov Regions, as well as “verbal artifacts” preserved in language and myth. Ethnological data, collected by the author over 20 years of expeditions conducted in the Sakhalin Province is compared with artifacts from the museums of the Sakhalin Province, St. Petersburg, Osaka, and Hokkaido. The Tungus-Manchu dictionaries are widely used as an auxiliary source. A detailed analysis of the main themes of the Uilta sacred world including a ritual relationship to the fi re, dog, bear, and Kori bird is provided. The perception of space transmitted through the visual arts reveals the multifaceted nature of the perception and relationship to space among the ethnic culture of the Uilta people of Sakhalin Island and other Tungus-Manchu communities of the mainland: the Nanai, Ulchi, Negidals, and Orochi. Numerous similarities in the worldview of the Uilta people and the Evenki suggest their common origin.
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The Author, who is Professor of archaeology and a specialist of rock art in Central Asia examines the various theories about the origin of the scytho-siberian animal style. Prof. Sher refutes the theory of Middle Eastern origin, principally based on the discovery of the so-called « Ziwiye hoard ». Furthermore, the scientific excavation of the kurgan Arzhan (Tuva) offers strong evidence for an early datation (between 12th and 9th centuries B.C.) for the representations of the first period of this animal style, contemporary to the Karasuk culture (Late Bronze, Early Iron Age). These representations, on rock, as well as on stelae (the « deer stelae ») and artefacts, are rooted in the Early Bronze Age representations of the Okunevo and Afanasevo cultures in the Minusinsk basin and neighbouring areas. Prof. Sher traces some stylistic elements and their evolution from South Siberia towards Central Asia and further West, where they meet Middle Eastern influences.
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