«ABOVE THE HORNS IS THE POWER OF PERFECT APPEARANCE» (to the Image of Deer in Scythian Art)


  • H. V. Vertiienko A. Yu. Krymskyi Institute of Oriental Studies, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine
Keywords: deer, bull, Yashts, Scythians, Scythian art.

Abstract

The article deals with the problem of depicting hypertrophied horns of deer in the works of Scythian art through the prism of Iranian representations of visualization of the military category of ama-power inherent in the Ancient Iranian military deity Verethragna. The Iranian name of a «deer» *gaṷaźna — is a compound and combines the stem *gau- «bull» and the stem *aźna-, formed from the verbal root * 1aź- «to drive, lead». This indicates the belonging of a deer and a bull to one class of animals in the world view of the Iranian peoples. Accordingly, in Scythian art, as in a language, the visual image of a deer probably served as the semantic equivalent of the image of a bull, given the insignificant prevalence of the latter’s images. According to the Yasht 14 of the Young Avesta, the bull acts as one of the embodiments of the military deity Verethragna and in the text above the horns the ama-power is localized (Yt 14, 7). The analysis of the use of the term ama- in the Yasht 14 shows that this «power» is a feature inherent exclusively to the military deity and the worriers. The interpolation of these data to Scythian art (the formation of this text and the art of the animal style occurred synchronously) can explain the reason for the image of hypertrophied horns of a deer, which can in this case symbolize the ama-power that is located above the brow. Accordingly, works and objects with such images could have as their goal the allotment of their owners with this power and familiarization with the military deity.

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Published
2018-06-22
How to Cite
Vertiienko, H. V. (2018). «ABOVE THE HORNS IS THE POWER OF PERFECT APPEARANCE» (to the Image of Deer in Scythian Art). Archaeology and Early History of Ukraine, 27(2), 418-426. https://doi.org/10.37445/adiu.2018.02.31