THE IMAGE OF SPHINX IN THE DECORATION OF SCYTHIAN CLOTHES


  • L. S. Klochko Museum of historical treasures of Ukraine
Keywords: sphinx at Northern coast of Black Sea, Scythian jewelry, sphinx with double and symmetrically opened torso.

Abstract

By V—IV century BC the images which iconography and context originate from Greek-Scythian art are becoming popular among people of Scythia. One of the most popular motive was sphinx. It was depicted on jewelry: earrings, neck rings, bracelets, appliqué-plates. The image of the mythical creature was among symbols of gods, life-giving forces of nature as well as signs of protection against dark forces. Some stories on the artifacts from Scythian kurgans are unique, presumably free interpretations of images from the creations of Greek masters. Often the image of sphinx was included to the heraldic compositions on golden plates which decorated headdresses. Most of the appliqués with relief patterns were forged in Greek workshops of Northern coast of Black Sea. However some artifacts tell about the existence of jewelry craft in Scythia itself.

The images of sphinx with double and symmetrically opened torso raise extreme interest. This is the feature of decorative art of Northern coast of Black Sea. The majority of the artifacts which represent different variations of the image are found on the Scythian territory. It is possible that the idea of the image should be linked to the semantics of the sphinx — its dualistic nature. The iconography has the reflections of traditions which are usual for Scythian art: the stylization, representations of species specific of creatures, so-called transformations (one detail becomes set-up for another). The decorative elements with the image of sphinx with double and symmetrically opened torso were also symbols of fertility in Scythian costume.

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Published
2018-06-25
How to Cite
Klochko, L. S. (2018). THE IMAGE OF SPHINX IN THE DECORATION OF SCYTHIAN CLOTHES. Archaeology and Early History of Ukraine, 27(2), 119-130. https://doi.org/10.37445/adiu.2018.02.07