The Art of the Scythians
This volume considers the art of the Scythians of the northern littoral of the Black Sea, as that art was expressed in gold, silver, bronze, and bone. Appearing by the seventh century B.C. at the edge of an expanding Hellenic world, the history and art of the Scythians must be considered within a context that recognizes the sources of Scythian culture in the Eurasian Steppe as well as the historical contingency of West Asia and the Greek colonies. By approaching the understanding of artistic traditions in terms of an evolving process, rooted in an archaic steppe culture but ultimately shaped by the confrontation of Near Eastern, Hellenic and Hellenistic tastes, this discussion goes beyond the traditional location of Scythian art as a subset of Greek goldwork. Particular consideration is given to the gradual transformation of object types and styles, from their reflection of archaic zoomorphic representations in carved bone, wood and bronze, to traditions expressive of Hellenized tastes and sensibilities, in gold and silver. By examining in detail individual objects, as well as classes of objects, this volume articulates a specifically Scythian stylistic and iconographic tradition, and a specifically Scythian contribution to the working of precious metals, related to but ultimately distinguishable from the goldworking traditions of Achaemenid Iran, late Classical Greece, and the larger Hellenistic world.
This volume offers substantial bibliography relating to the extensive research on Scythian art, archaeology, and history, published in the Russian and Ukrainian languages over the last 150 years.