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Scythian-Siberian Style

Different tribes inhabited the Republic of Khakassia during its long and rich history. Some of them just went though the territory, but some of them settled on here and left an imprint on the development of Khakassia: on its culture, art, architecture, traditions and customs (e.g. Okunev Archeological Culture).

Scythian-Siberian Deer in Khakassia

Scythian-Siberian Deer in Khakassia

In the early Iron Age (I B.C.) the Scythian-Siberian style was spread on the territory of Khakassia. Scythian peoples were nomad tribes living in steppes of Northern Black Sea region between the Danube and the Don.

Scythians were called peoples having lived on the wide territory, but who had the common origin and similar ways of household and culture. Nearness of these peoples appeared in everyday life, customs and the world’s view. In archeology all these features are combined in the so called “Scythian triplicity” which includes weapons, caparison and art items of Scythian-Siberian style.

Because of nomad way of living cattle breeding was popular among Scythians. That’s why there appeared a new art connected with animalistic forms.

Animalistic forms in Scythian style

Animalistic forms in Scythian style

The most popular single theme in the art of Scythians was the image of a deer. They believed that deer carried the souls of dead in the afterworld, that’s why they were depicted in the running pose on the funeral things; but at the same they were presented in the relaxed pose on things not connected with funerals.

The image of a deer in Scythian-Siberian style

The image of a deer in Scythian-Siberian style

It was typical for Scythian-Siberian style to have vertical structure of the world. Birds symbolized the upper part of the world, vegetarians were the middle part and reptiles and fish belonged to the lower part of the world. The image of the carnivorous animal didn’t exist in this structure because Scythians preferred the image of a vegetarian hoofed animal whereas the image of a carnivorous animal symbolized the lower world – the world of death.

The scene with the carnivorous animal lacerating the vegetarian one is the main plot in Scythian-Siberian style. There are two worlds presented in such scenes – the carnivorous animal as the world of death and the vegetarian animal as the world of life and light.

Every death in Scythian world of view was the essential reason for life development, as some kind of sacrifice committing for this development. And this view is clearly seen in zoomorphic ornament: we can never see a victorious carnivorous animal or a lacerated body of a vegetarian animal. Only the process (cycle of life) is depicted.

Tourists traveling around the Republic of Khakassia can see a perfect monument of the Scythian-Siberian Deer in the North-West part of Abakan. The monument wasn’t placed here by chance. Four years ago there were found some bronze plates with images of a deer in this place. And in February 2015 this monument was put here.

The monument of Scythian-Siberian Deer in Abakan

The monument of Scythian-Siberian Deer in Khakassia

The monument of Scythian-Siberian Deer in Khakassia

The body of the deer is relaxed but the neck is raised and the deer looks ahead. This pose shows two important spheres of life – the state pose of the back part of the animal (death) and the dynamic pose of the front part of the animal (life).

The deer was associated with the light, the sun symbolizing life and movement. That’s why this monument, having placed not far from the entrance to Abakan, is some kind of protective amulet of the town.

Tourists making trips around Khakassia can touch the heritage of this significant Scythian-Siberian style.


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