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HOME : Near Eastern Art : Scythian Art : Scythian Gold Bracelet
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Scythian Gold Bracelet - FJ.6596
Origin: Russia
Circa: 500 BC to 400 BC
Dimensions: 3.125" (7.9cm) high
Catalogue: V29
Collection: Near Eastern
Medium: Gold

Location: Great Britain
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Scythians was the name used by ancient Greek writers to describe the various nomadic tribes of southeastern Europe and Asia who dwelled north of the Black Sea, between the Carpathian Mountains and the Don River, in what is now Moldova, Ukraine, and western Russia. The name was also more generally applied to all the nomad tribes who inhabited the steppes eastward from what is now Hungary to the mountains of Turkistan. Scythians kept herds of horses, cattle, and sheep, lived in tent-covered wagons, and fought with bows and arrows on horseback. They developed a rich culture characterized by opulent tombs, fine metalwork, and a brilliant art style.

The excavations of royal burial sites have provided the most complete record of the jewelry of the Scythians. Typical art objects were in the form of stags or other animals, hammered or stamped out of gold and often inlaid with colored stones or glass. Through their trading contacts with settled peoples to the south, they obtained a great deal of gold that was elaborately worked into small and large ornaments and personal objects such as drinking bowls and daggers. This gold bracelet is one such example that attests to the Scythians mastery of metalworking. The sloping curve of the bracelet ends with two finely crafted leopard heads. Snarling and growling, mouth agape and ferocious fangs exposed, these cats are clearly not pets but wild beasts. The heads are joined to the bracelet by bands decorated by a series of leaves. The sheer elegance of this gold bracelet would most likely have been reserved specifically for a king or noble.
- (FJ.6596)


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