• Vessel Representing Scythians

    Technique:
    chasing, soldering, engraving, drawing
    Dimensions:
    height: 13 cm

Vessel Representing Scythians

Created: Northern Black Sea Coast. second half of the 4th century BC

Found: Kul-Oba barrow. Crimea, the environs of Kerch

This gold vessel bearing a depiction of Scythians was discovered in the female tomb of the Kul-Oba kurgan (burial mound) and is rightly regarded as an outstanding example of the jeweller’s art from the Ancient World. The relief frieze contains three little scenes with pairs of personages plus one single figure of a Scythian warrior stringing his bow. This find was a real revelation as the images on the vessel gave people of the modern era their first proper idea of the Scythians’ appearance. The sparse descriptions in the works of ancient authors were supplemented by realistic depictions of the nomads. The images here stand out for the fine manner in which they were executed. With astonishing ethnographic precision. the Greek craftsman conveyed the distinctive appearance of the Scythians, their clothing and weaponry. Such a faithful reproduction of the details leaves no doubt that the artist was very familiar with the life of the local barbarian population. He managed to recreate the distinctive look of the courageous masters of the steppes. It has been suggested that the scenes on the vessel may be an illustration of Herodotus’s account of the origins of the Scythians.

Title:

Vessel Representing Scythians

Epoch. Period:

Place of finding:

Archaeological site:

Kul-Oba barrow

Material:

Technique:

chasing, soldering, engraving, drawing

Dimensions:

height: 13 cm

Acquisition date:

Entered the Hermitage in 1831

Inventory Number:

КО.-11

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