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Archaeology, Ethnology & Anthropology of Eurasia

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Ceramic Protomes of Horses from Late Bronze to Early Iron Age Sites in the Southern Taiga Zone of Siberia

https://doi.org/10.17746/1563-0110.2019.47.4.077-084

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Abstract

This study introduces ceramic protomes of horses from the southern taiga zone of Siberia: specifically, from the Middle Irtysh region (Novotroitskoye I) and the Angara region (Strelkovskoye-2). These artifacts are part of a crosscultural phenomenon. The analysis of their decorative elements suggests that they represent bridles. Close resemblance to Assyrian reliefs showing bridled horses makes it possible to identify the main details of Middle Eastern horse trappings, such as a bridle, a head-rope, and a breast-collar. Also, Siberian specimens display indirect parallels to the archaic classic tradition of using horse protomes in ritual ceremonies. The most important factor behind the appearance of ceramic horse protomes in the southern taiga zone of Siberia was the adoption of horse-breeding and eventually horse-riding, as evidenced by Late Bronze to Early Iron Age bits, cheek-pieces, and parts of harness from the same region. In the early first millennium BC, horse protomes become a common iconographic marker throughout Eurasia. They were a typical feature of Early Iron Age art, a prestigious symbol widely used in rituals, possibly associated with bronze casting.

About the Authors

A. P. Borodovsky
Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, Siberian Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences
Russian Federation


A. Y. Trufanov
Research and Analytical Center of Cultural and Natural Heritage Preservation Problems "AV KOM - Heritage"
Russian Federation


For citation:


Borodovsky A.P., Trufanov A.Y. Ceramic Protomes of Horses from Late Bronze to Early Iron Age Sites in the Southern Taiga Zone of Siberia. Archaeology, Ethnology & Anthropology of Eurasia. 2019;47(4):77-84. https://doi.org/10.17746/1563-0110.2019.47.4.077-084

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ISSN 1563-0110 (Print)