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2010 | 2 | 21-32

Article title

Southern Siberia bone carving of Scythian time


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Treatment of “bone” is one of the striking and original components of the culture of ancient population of Siberia. The heyday of bone carving is here the epoch of ancient nomads (the 1st millennium B.C.). In the Scythian time, on the territory of Southern Siberia and in contiguous regions, several centres of artistic bone carving production were formed. These centres differ in the following indications: peculiarities connected with utilization of different kinds of natural materials, specificity of cutting out raw material and also of types of bone carving-blanks, originality of the technique of artistic carving; influence of treating other materials upon artistic carving, originality of ornamental trimming of articles, peculiarities of artistic images and compositions, and, at last, toning of carved articles up and down, coating them with paint or incrustation. Among them the highest number and degree of variability of representations display Altai, upper Ob region and Tuva. In some centres the influence of other techniques (e.g. bronze casting or horn carving) are noticeable. In each of the historical epochs the treatment and skillful utilization of horn reflected the main changes and priorities in the culture and economy of a particular population. In the period in question the well-developed cattle-breeding, as well as the increase of mobility of the population of the 1st millennium B.C. made it possible for nomads to masterfully use horn, as corroborated by elements of the harness, arms and waist-belts.






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  • Institute of Archeology and Ethnography of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences; Ac. Lavrentieva ave. 17, 630090 Novosibirsk, Russia


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