Bohdan Vidma


The article is devoted to analysis of the stylistics of Scythian art. Author is considering some typical features of artistic implementation of Scythian images in the art of different cultures of Scythian type.

Folk art is forming gradually on the basis of people's outlook and polished during the process of accumulation collective artistic experience. Folk art is literally forming from collective national consciousness. It acquires stylistics, which is definitely correlated with the preferences of the folk.

In this way the art is acquiring unique features, which are manifested in content and methods of images.

On the wide areas of Great Steppe in the epoch of Early Iron were existed the tribes, which had a similar culture and art adorned with special animal style. These cultures are referred by notion of "cultures of Scythian type". This concept combines pazyrykian, sakian, tagarian cultures and the culture of scythians ofNorthBlack SeaCoast(and some others). In Pazyryk were preserved the artworks which were produced from leather, bone, wood and felt, which demonstrate more fanciful stylistics than we can see in artworks fromNorthBlack SeaCoast, where we must deal chiefly with Scythian products made from metal.

Particular qualities of artworks of steppe nomads which existed on the plains ofEurasiain Scythian epoch began to be studied from the time they were discovered in burial mounds. Already then the researchers was remarked the uniqueness of these artworks. And special attention was granted to the circumstance that the makers of the newfound art transparently were endowed with impressively harmonious decorative instinct and unmistakable ability to express it in the variety of materials.

At first all artworks which were found on all the area of Great Steppe were regarded as belonging to the Scythian culture. But soon there are different cultures of Scythian type were distinguished from these aggregate totality.

Subsequently were discovered the significant differences between local types of nomads' culture and the variants of art which were inherent to these different cultural nucleuses. Became apparent that all cultures of Scythian type are endowed with significant similarity but at the same time they undoubtedly unique in relation to each other. The same is true for features of art of all these cultural centers.

Needs to be said that all the Scythian tribes were inclined to represent on their artworks specific set of animals.

Among them: deer, horses, goats, sheep, rabbits, wild boars, panthers, lions, predacious birds, different variations of griffins.

Whereby it clearly seen that there was a certain canon that was determinate in which poses animals must be depicted on nomads' artworks. Although we can see that there is also deviation from the canon. Usually the deer was depicted with bent legs and raised head what may indicate the sacrificial pose. Also a feature of Scythian deer was a giant and spreading horns. But in Pazyryk there are numerous representations of deer on which its body deformed with shape of letter "S". It must be said that altogether pazyrykian art is more whimsical and tends to expressive deformations than art of other cultures of Scythian type.

Also it is characteristically for art of all cultures of Scythian type that frequently instead the full image of animal we can see one specific detail of its body. Often we can see as well that bigger animalistic image is decorated with lesser images of animals or its details.

For Scythians of Northern Black Sea Coast is specifically that artworks, which is predominantly golden, is endowed with more significant monumentality (notwithstanding of its small size) and sculptural execution of forms.

Regardless the dynamics of images is not disappearing at all although become less expressed.

In the artworks of tagarian culture we can see the aspiration to make the images more realistic, but notwithstanding thy have their own techniques of stylization, which made this art similar to other examples of Scythian type.

For the tagarian art is specifically that in the deer images the hooves of the animal's bent legs are accurately connecting to each other under the deer's belly. In contrast to the art of Scythians fromNothernBlack SeaCoastin tagarian artworks we can see more smooth lines and the absence of sharply delineated planes. Also the considerable step to distinct deformation of natural forms is not observed as well. Forms of the bodies of tagarian deer are rounded and voluminous as it is appears in the nature. But in return their horns are less realistic and reminds of the row of snakes which is curved in form of the letter "S" and stands one by one in the pattern of meander.

The art of sakian culture is characterized by the researchers as less eclectic and more holistic then art of Scythians fromNorthBlack SeaCoast. It has been felt noticeable influence of Iranian art.

Altogether, it is possible to indicate that for animalistic art of cultures of Scythian type the decorative effect is inherent. Images of animals are deforming, becoming bizarre in an effort to follow the special aesthetics, which have the priority before the realism.


cultures of Scythian type; animalistic art; stylistic features; specific methods of artistic implementation of images