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shape of its upper part confined all possible varieties of artistic
forging modes to these operations. The largest space for beating relief
were flat facets of stirrup upper part. Relief could be executed only in
linear grooves (furrows). Decorative effect in this case might be
obtained only from the contrast be-322 tween smooth and forged surfaces,
background and grooved notches. The effect is
maintained if the relief is split up, i.e. the grooves do not merge, but
are perceived separately, otherwise they blend into an intricate and
Being limited to these technical conditions, a blacksmith could only be
guided by drawings or models - "dragon stirrups" of Chinese production. A
blacksmith copied them more or less successfully, and reached different
levels of sketchiness employing more or less numerous grooves. As a
result, a dragon's representation could turn into a graphic ideogram.
Suggested conclusions are confirmed by the analysis of the other, more
rare kind of bronze and steel stirrups (Figs. XXXII-XXXVI, XXXVIII-XLI).
Most probably, similar Chinese stirrups well-known as early as Ming
dynasty and widely spread in Tsing dynasty represented the prototypes for
Central Asiatic forged and chased stirrups decorated with dragons' heads.
The problem of genesis of zoomorphic decoration on bronze cast stirrups
is a more complicated one.
Similarity between the representations of animal heads on Central Asiatic
stirrups and those typical of ancient nomads cannot be denied.
Nevertheless, it does not provide any ground for the hypothesis on the
direct genetic link or some "single ancestor": the chronological gap
between the two phenomena is enormous. One should rather consider it an
independent emergence of similar features, i.e. convergence.
It is of the great importance that the established fact of convergent
similarity between zoomorphic decoration of cast stirrups and ancient
animal style is not the similarity of integrated animalistic images, but
that of separate features, details and the modes employed. Approximately
the same degree of resemblance (morphological likeness or even identity
of the details) is observed in decoration of the other objects.
Chapter III is devoted to the analysis of other categories of artefacts
decorated with animal heads or protomas: zoomorphic peg-hooks (Figs.
XLII-XLIX), belt pendants (Figs. L, LI), musical instruments (Figs. LII-
LVI), dippers and ladles (Figs. LVIII-LX), shaman staffs (Figs. LXI,
LXII), horse-bits (Figs. LXIII-LXV), belt pendants (Figs. LXVI, LXVII),
wooden vessels (Fig. LXVIII), and other objects. The representations of
heads and protomas are determined as belonging to imaginary animals
(dragons, makaras, grotesque lions), or domestic ones (horses, camels,
rams and sheep, male and female goats, bulls and cows).
All these representations cannot be termed as the reminiscences of
Scythian-Siberian animal style. Domestic animals, except horses, were not
depicted by nomadic art or occurred as isolated specimens. In the folk
art of the 19th-20th centuries we practically cannot point to the
effigies of predatory animals' and birds' heads or protomas, highly
typical of Scythian-Siberian animal style.
Analysis of Central Asiatic folk art (Chapters II and III) ends with a
conclusion that ancient nomadic art was a unique artistic phenomenon, it
had not left direct genetic heritage among subsequent cultures in the
shape of numerous and convincing reminiscences.
In Chapter IV the genesis of Scythian-Siberian animal style is discussed.
The most striking phenomenon in the history of Eurasian nomads' culture
is the art of Scythian-Siberian animal style which came into being
unexpectedly and in all its glory in the 1st millennium B.C. and went
away from the historical scene at the beginning of the 1st millennium
A.D. The origin of the animal art of ancient nomads and its disappearance
are the most complicated problems a few generations of specialists tried
to solve. In spite of a great number of researches carried out, there is
no generally accepted theory explaining the essence of these two
processes. We may surmise that these two problems are interrelated and
having solved one of them we'll get the clue to the solution of the
second. But the problem of Scythian-Siberian animal style origin seems to
be much more difficult.
The origin of Scythian-Siberian animal style is a complicated
interdisciplinary problem. For its solution great efforts of specialists
in different fields of humanitarian knowledge are demanded. As far as
brilliant and peculiar art is under our consideration, it's hard to
explain why overwhelming majority of articles devoted to Scythian-
Siberian animal style have been written by archaeologists, and art
critics showed no great interest to this problem.
Artistic style is a structural combination of image system and methods of