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This article introduces new petroglyphs found in 2016 by the Russian-Indian expedition in Zanskar, India. For the fi rst time in this region, we discovered images unilaterally pecked out on small rectangular plates at abandoned Buddhist sanctuaries. Unlike tens of thousands of famous images from Ladakh and Zanskar, these are examples of mobile art, i.e., they could be moved from one place to another. They show scenes of fi ghting wild yaks, a hunter on horseback accompanied by a dog, and a Buddhist stupa. Especially interesting are several kindred scenes reproducing fi ghts between male yaks, which occur in the fall, during the rut. Images realistically and accurately convey a tense atmosphere of rivalry. The image of a horse is unusual. The animal is decorated with a breast tassel and a head plume or sheathed forelock, marking the horseman’s high rank and setting the representation apart from other known images of horses in the petroglyphic art of Ladakh and Zanskar. Very important is the archaic type of stupa, before which the yaks are fi ghting. It provides one of the clues for dating the whole composition, since such types of stupas were built from the 1st century BC onwards. It is proposed that the newly found petroglyphs represent a hitherto unknown tradition of using small specially prepared stone plates.

About the Authors

N. V. Polosmak
Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, Siberian Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences
Russian Federation
Pr. Akademika Lavrentieva 17, Novosibirsk, 630090

M. A. Shah
Centre of Central Asian Studies, University of Kashmir
Hazratbal, Srinagar-190006, Jammu & Kashmir

L. P. Kundo
Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, Siberian Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences
Russian Federation
Pr. Akademika Lavrentieva 17, Novosibirsk, 630090


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For citations:

Polosmak N.V., Shah M.A., Kundo L.P. PETROGLYPHS OF ZANSKAR, INDIA: FINDINGS OF THE 2016 SEASON. Archaeology, Ethnology & Anthropology of Eurasia. 2018;46(2):60-67.

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