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#Exhibit of the Month

The pectoral from Tolstaya Mogila is considered the main archaeological treasure of Ukraine (it is depicted, for example, on the logo of the Institute of Archeology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine). This unique artifact of 958 gold, weighing 1140 g, was discovered as a result of excavations of the Scythian burial mound of Tolstaya Mogila (Tovsta Mohyla) on June 21, 1971 near the modern city of Pokrov (then Ordzhonikidze) in the Dnepropetrovsk region. Following the excavations carried out by Boris Mozolevsky and Yevgeny Chernenko, it turned out that a mound with a height of 8.6 m and a diameter of 70 m was filled over the representatives of the Scythian elite around 350s-340s BC. The Tolstaya Mogila mound was the family tomb of the Scythian aristocracy, in which а male burial of а "king" and then, after a short period, of a "queen" with a child was performed. Then, some time after the funeral, the burial of the "king" was robbed, but the robbers, fortunately, did not notice jewelry (a sword in a scabbard, a whip) lying in the dromos at the entrance to the tomb, including the pectoral.

It is believed that the pectoral was made by goldsmiths of Greek or Macedonian origin. It is kept in the Kiev Museum of Historical Treasures of Ukraine and belongs to the State Fund of Precious Metals and Precious Stones of Ukraine. The pectoral has a crescent shape; its composition consists of three tiers, separated by two hollow tubes in the form of a twisted rope. Two more of the same tubes frame the pectoral from above and below. The upper tier features several separate scenes with Scythians and domestic animals. In the center, two half-naked men are holding in their hands a stretched animal skin, similar to a sheep's skin. On the left and right, horses with foals and cows with calves are depicted; behind them, there are figurines of Scythian servants, one of whom is milking a sheep, and the other is milking a cow, holding in their hands, respectively, a clay pot and a small amphora. In the middle tier, among the stems of plants and flowers, there are figurines of birds. The lower tier depicts hunting scenes of fantastic griffins and real wild animals. The upper and lower friezes of the pectoral are lacy; the figurines of people and animals on them are made using the casting technique on the basis of a lost wax model. These are almost completely three-dimensional sculptures, flat only on the inside. Three-dimensional figurines of birds are attached with pins among flowers, the petals of which are covered with colored enamel.

It is obvious that a certain iconographic text was encrypted in the pectoral, although its understanding is very difficult. Therefore, it is not surprising that over half a century since the discovery, more than twenty interpretations of images in the pectoral have been put forward. One of the most accurate and innovative seems to be the primary interpretation of images in the pectoral, expressed by its discoverer Boris Mozolevsky. Already in his precise, insightful analysis, the smallest details of the decor, including floral ornaments, all the movements of the figures of the lower and upper friezes, gestures and the direction of the views of the characters of the central scene are noted, although they are not always taken into account in further research. B.N. Mozolevsky also proposed an analysis of the composition of the friezes, and the interpretation of the nature of the images, especially the central scene of the upper frieze. Dmitry Sergeevich Raevsky brilliantly entered the pectoral into the conceptual model of the Scythian universe, devoting a special study to it, in which the structure of the pectoral is read as the Greco-Scythian cosmogram. The plot of the upper frieze of the pectoral can also be based on a time-varying legend associated with the emergence of the Macedonian dynasty. Therefore, the pectoral could go to the Scythian leader as a trophy captured in a clash with the Scythians in 339 BC, received as a gift during negotiations, received as a gift from Ateas for helping in the war (and he, in turn, received it as a gift when they had good relations with Philip II of Macedon). Yet much remains unclear. The pectoral has no analogies, not only in the Scythian world, but also in the Greek environment. Until now, despite the possible correspondences to its elements and techniques found in other things, the pectoral remains a special work of art, still not surpassed in the skill of execution and the lightness of the idea of its creator.

The copy of the pectoral from Tovsta Mohila, an object of historical value of the Ukrainian treasury, was given as a gift to President Maia Sandu by his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, during his visit to Kyiv in January 2021 and is currently part of the MNIM heritage.


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Publications Journal „Tyragetia"   vol. VIII [XXIII], nr. 1

Early medieval bronze amulets representing horsemen from the Carpathian-Dniester region
ISSN 1857-0240
E-ISSN 2537-6330

Early medieval bronze amulets representing horsemen from the Carpathian-Dniester region

Tyragetia, serie nouă, vol. VIII [XXIII], nr. 1, Arheologie. Istorie Antică

Among the materials related to the early Middle Ages in the Carpathian-Dniester region, which have been discovered during archaeological excavations and reconnaissance, as well as among chance fi nds there are bronze amulets depicting a rider on a horse. The area of distribution of these bronze fi gures of riders includes extensive regions, starting from the North Caucasus and the middle reaches of the Don in the East to Central and South-Eastern Europe in the West. Most of the fi nds were discovered in the south of Russia, in Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Serbia and Hungary.

On the territory of the Prut-Dniester region (Republic of Moldova and Ukraine) it was found 24 bronze fi gures of riders (see fi g. 1) belonging to different typological models. They were found in the following settlements: Hansca (Ialoveni District) - 3 fi gures, Păhărniceni-Petruha - 2 objects, Lucășeuca and Furceni (Orhei District), Ocnița (Ocnița district), Briceni - 2 objects, Caracușenii Noi (Briceni District), Popeștii de Sus (Drochia District), Tătărăuca Veche - 2 objects, Balinți and Inundeni (Soroca District), Tarasova (Rezina District), Rezeni (Ialoveni District), Porumbrei and Schinoșica (Cimișlia District), Enichioi (Cantemir District), Dezghingea and Capaclia (Gagauzia) and Bolgrad (Odessa region) (see fi g. 1). Seven bronze fi gures, presented at «Violity» Auction & Antiques in Kiev, may also be originated from the Prut-Dniester region (see fi g. 6/1-6).

Analysis of bronze figures from this region allowed us to identify four types of objects. The fi rst type, or the Hansca I type, includes 7 amulets (see fi g. 2/1-2; 3/1-5, 7). All fi gures, but one, were found in the Prut-Dniester interfl uve. They depict a rider sitting on a small horse saddled, turning to the left. The rider is depicted in profi le. The position of his feet indicates the presence of stirrups. Rider is shod in boots (?) with an upturned toe; his legs touch the front and hind legs of the horse. In his right hand he holds the reins, and in the left hand, strongly bent at the elbow and pressed against his chest, he holds a short knife or dagger. The upper part of the fi gure (a horseman's head) has a through hole for hanging. In our opinion, the relative chronology of this type of bronze fi gures of horsemen (Hansca I type), which have no analogues in other regions, may cover a period of the 10th - 13th centuries, and absolute dating is the 10th - 11th centuries.

The second type (the Hansca II type) includes 15 riders' fi gures (see fi g. 4/1-2; 5/1-12). They depict a horse and rider. The rider's body is turned to the left; he is shown from the front. His both hands are holding a long, slightly curved saber. The rider is shod in short shoes, which does not touch the horse's legs, as in the fi gures of the first type. Amulets of this type have analogies in Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia and other countries. They belong to the 10th - 11th centuries and, quite possibly, to the beginning of the 12th century.

The last two types of bronze fi gures (the Hansca III and Bolgrad IV types) are unique in style. The fi gure relating to the Hansca III type (fi g. 6/7) shows a rider turned to the left; it is a schematic image. At the front of the horse there is a tamga in the form of a petal and at the back of the horse there is the same tamga in the form of a drop (?). The bronze fi gure found in Bolgrad (the Bolgrad IV type) (fi g. 6/8) depicts a rider turned to the right. In his left hand he holds the reins and in his right hand he holds perhaps hunting eagle. These bronze fi gures have no direct analogies. The authors attribute the appearance of these categories of objects in the regions east of the Carpathians to the penetration of various groups of the Alanian population in the 2nd half of the 1st millennium and the fi rst centuries of the 2nd millennium AD. Their presence north of the mouth of the Lower Danube is evidenced by written sources and place names.

List of illustrations:

Fig. 1. Map of the spread of bronze amulets representing horsemen in the East Carpathian region. Type I: 1 - Hansca; 2, 3 - Briceni; 4 - Lucășeuca; 5 - Păhărniceni-Petruha; 6 - Schinoșica; 7 - Enichioi. Type II: 8 - Hansca; 9 - Ocnița; 10 - Caracușenii Noi; 11, 12 - Tătărăuca Veche; 13 - Balinți; 14 - Inundeni; 15 - Popeștii de Sus; 16 - Tarasova; 17 - Furceni; 18 - Păhărniceni; 19 - Rezeni; 20 - Porumbrei; 21 - Dezghingea; 22 - Capaclia; 25 - Stăvărăști. Type III: 23 - Hansca. Type IV: 24 - Bolgrad.

Fig. 2. Bronze amulets representing horsemen of the Hansca I type: 1 - Hansca; 2 - Briceni.

Fig. 3. Bronze amulets representing horsemen of the Hansca I type: 1 - Hansca; 2 - Lucășeuca; 3 - Păhărniceni-Petruha; 4, 7 - Briceni; 5 - Enichioi; 6 - «Violity» Auction & Antiques, Kiev.

Fig. 4. Bronze amulets representing horsemen of the Hansca II type: 1 - Popeștii de Sus; 2 - Capaclia.

Fig. 5. Bronze amulets representing horsemen of the Hansca II type: 1 - Hansca; 2 - Caracușenii Noi; 3 - Capaclia; 4 - Popeștii de Sus; 5, 11 - Tătărăuca Veche; 6 - Dezghingea; 7 - Păhărniceni; 8 - Furceni; 9 - Ocnița; 10 - Inundeni; 12 - Balinți.

Fig. 6. Bronze amulets representing horsemen of the II type (1-6), III type (7) and IV type (8): 1-6 - «Violity» Auction & Antiques, Kiev; 7 - Hansca; 8 - Bolgrad.



 

 


Independent Moldova
Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic
Bessarabia and MASSR between the Two World Wars
Bessarabia and Moldavian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic in the Period between the Two World Wars
Revival of National Movement
Time of Reforms and their Consequences
Abolition of Autonomy. Bessarabia – a New Tsarist Colony
Period of Relative Autonomy of Bessarabia within the Russian Empire
Phanariot Regime
Golden Age of the Romanian Culture
Struggle for Maintaining of Independence of Moldova
Formation of Independent Medieval State of Moldova
Era of the
Great Nomad Migrations
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Bronze Age
Aeneolithic Age
Neolithic Age
Palaeolithic Age

  
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#Exhibit of the Month

The pectoral from Tolstaya Mogila is considered the main archaeological treasure of Ukraine (it is depicted, for example, on the logo of the Institute of Archeology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine). This unique artifact of 958 gold, weighing 1140 g, was discovered as a result of excavations of the Scythian burial mound of Tolstaya Mogila (Tovsta Mohyla) on June 21, 1971 near the modern city of Pokrov (then Ordzhonikidze) in the Dnepropetrovsk region. Following the excavations carried out by Boris Mozolevsky and Yevgeny Chernenko, it turned out that a mound with a height of 8.6 m and a diameter of 70 m was filled over the representatives of the Scythian elite around 350s-340s BC. The Tolstaya Mogila mound was the family tomb of the Scythian aristocracy, in which а male burial of а "king" and then, after a short period, of a "queen" with a child was performed. Then, some time after the funeral, the burial of the "king" was robbed, but the robbers, fortunately, did not notice jewelry (a sword in a scabbard, a whip) lying in the dromos at the entrance to the tomb, including the pectoral...

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The National Museum of History of Moldova takes place among the most significant museum institutions of the Republic of Moldova, in terms of both its collection and scientific reputation.
©2006-2021 National Museum of History of Moldova
Visit museum 31 August 1989 St., 121 A, MD 2012, Chisinau, Republic of Moldova
Phones:
Secretariat: +373 (22) 24-43-25
Department of Public Relations and Museum Education: +373 (22) 24-04-26
Fax: +373 (22) 24-43-69
E-mail: office@nationalmuseum.md
Technical Support: info@nationalmuseum.md
Web site administration and maintenance: Andrei EMILCIUC

 



The National Museum of History of Moldova takes place among the most significant museum institutions of the Republic of Moldova, in terms of both its collection and scientific reputation.
©2006-2021 National Museum of History of Moldova
Visit museum 31 August 1989 St., 121 A, MD 2012, Chisinau, Republic of Moldova
Phones:
Secretariat: +373 (22) 24-43-25
Department of Public Relations and Museum Education: +373 (22) 24-04-26
Fax: +373 (22) 24-43-69
E-mail: office@nationalmuseum.md
Technical Support: info@nationalmuseum.md
Web site administration and maintenance: Andrei EMILCIUC

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