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#Exhibit of the Month

This unique amphora was found in 1984 during the excavations of the Şuri I settlement of the Cucuteni-Trypillia culture (5th-4th thousand BC), which existed in the Eneolithic era, in the mid-1st half of the 4th millennium BC, near the village of Şuri, Drochia District of the Republic of Moldova.

In the classifications of Cucuteni-Trypillian painted pottery, it belongs to a separate type distinguished by archaeologists, known in the special literature under various names: facial urns, amphorae with an ornament of the "owl face" type, amphorae with facial ornament, facial amphorae.

These names were given to the amphorae due to their peculiar ornament and their truncated-conical or rounded body that resembles the head of an owl (large circles on the sides of the handles are the eyes of a bird, and the handles are beaks), as well as due to attempts to hypothetically interpret the vessels as images of some two-faced or four-faced anthropomorphic, zoomorphic or ornithomorphic mythological creatures of the Cucuteni-Trypillian pantheon.

For the first time, amphorae with facial ornament appear in pottery assemblages of the Cucuteni-Trypillia community at the beginning of the 4th millennium BC, during the period of its highest flourishing, and are present later, as a separate type of tableware, in each of the dwellings of the settlements of this culture for about 700 subsequent years, until its collapse and disappearance from the historical arena in the last quarter of the 4th millennium BC.

The origin of the facial amphorae goes back to the anthropomorphic two-faced vessels with a rounded or spheroconical body, equipped with 2 or 4 handles, depicting two female figures standing with their backs to each other, which were used by the Cucuteni-Trypillians for centuries and were widely used in religious practices, representing, as is commonly believed, the main female deity of the Cucuteni-Trypillian pantheon - the Great Mother Goddess in her two different incarnations, who was also considered as the Deity of the Universe.

The study of vessels of this type indicates that, being a reflection of the cult of the Great Goddess and probably embodying cosmogonic ideas about the creation of the World from the elements and body parts of the Primordial Being (probably depicting this creature itself, possibly mixomorphic and like Aditi - the Divine Bull-Cow - androgynous), with their shape and ornament, the facial amphorae recreate the prevailing ideas of the Cucuteni-Trypillians about the structure of the Universe.

This is evidenced by the stylized features of anthropo- and zoomorphism, three-tier or two-tier division of the ornament vertically and four-tier division horizontally, the image of such cosmic universals as the Center and corners of the World, the Cosmic Mountain (Earth) and the Sky, the Tree of Life, the Sun, the Moon in various phases, etc. Often, images of animals, birds or their symbols are included in the ornamental system of the amphorae. There are also facial amphorae with two or four images of female deities with an indication of their particular characteristic functions. As with their prototypes, the anthropomorphic two-faced vessels, the most important ornamental zone in the facial amphorae is the space between the handles.

It is here that the ornament reflects one of the most significant themes of the Cucuteni-Trypillian religion, the theme of the connection between the Earth and Heaven.


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Chronological Axis


Bronze Age

(early 3rd millennium B.C. – late 2nd millennium B.C.)

The Bronze Age is a cultural and historical period characterized by the appearance and spreading of items made of bronze – the first metal created artificially. In the Carpathian-Dniester area the first bronze objects appear in the early 3rd millennium B.C., becoming the most widespread to the end of the Age. Along with bronze items, the material culture is also represented by ceramic vessels of different shapes, decorated and plain, and implements made of stone, bone, and horn.  Characteristic of this period is the presence of burial mound complexes.

The Bronze Age consists of three stages, each one having the peculiarities of archaeological cultures, which form it.

The Early Bronze Age (middle of 3rd millennium – early 2nd millennium B.C.) is represented by the Ochre Graves culture (Yamna culture), the representatives of which are identified with the ancient Indo-Europeans [7]. In this period there are also included the Catacomb Graves culture [1] and the Edinet culture [5, 6]. The material culture of the population is notable for the presence of battle axes with irreproachably processed surfaces [1].

The Middle Bronze Age (early 2nd millennium – middle of 2nd millennium B.C.) is represented by the culture of pottery ornamented with many bolsters, of the Eurasian origin, and the Komarov culture [8], the last being a peripheral expression of the Bronze Age cultures from Poland and Western Ukraine.

The Late Bronze Age (middle of 2nd millennium – late 2nd millennium B.C.) is characterized by the emergence of the Noua-Sabatinovka-Coslogeni cultural complex, which combined elements of the Eurasian and Carpathian-Balkan origin, including vessels with handles [9]. The representatives of this cultural complex inhabited a vast territory from the North Pontic steppes to the Transylvanian Plateau.  These communities were mainly engaged in cattle-breeding. The peculiarity of the Late Bronze Age is the presence of hoards with bronze items. In the Museum collection there are many such unique objects: axes, daggers, sickles, needles, vessels, adornments, and votive items [2, 3, 4].

 

1.Battle axe-hummer, the Catacomb culture
 
1.Battle axe-hummer, the Catacomb culture - Bronze Age
 
2.Bronze sickles, the Noua-Sabatinovka-Coslogeni cultural complex
 
2.Bronze sickles,  the Noua-Sabatinovka-Coslogeni cultural complex - Bronze Age
 
3.Bronze sceptre, the Noua-Sabatinovka-Coslogeni cultural complex
 
3.Bronze sceptre,  the Noua-Sabatinovka-Coslogeni cultural complex - Bronze Age
 
4.Dagger, spearhead, and votive item, the Noua-Sabatinovka-Coslogeni cultural complex
 
4.Dagger, spearhead, and votive item, the Noua-Sabatinovka-Coslogeni cultural complex - Bronze Age
 
5.Askos, the Edinet culture
 
5.Askos, the Edinet culture - Bronze Age
 
6.Vessel, the Edinet culture
 
6.Vessel, the Edinet culture - Bronze Age
 
7.Bone pin and vessel with corded ornamentation, the Ochre Graves culture
 
7.Bone pin and vessel with corded ornamentation, the Ochre Graves culture - Bronze Age
 
8.Vessel with handles, the Komarov culture
 
8.Vessel with handles, the Komarov culture - Bronze Age
 
9.Vessel with handles, the Coslogeni culture
 
9.Vessel with handles, the Coslogeni culture - Bronze Age
 








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
Early Middle Ages
Iron Age and Antiquity
Bronze Age
Aeneolithic Age
Neolithic Age
Palaeolithic Age

  
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#Exhibit of the Month

This unique amphora was found in 1984 during the excavations of the Şuri I settlement of the Cucuteni-Trypillia culture (5th-4th thousand BC), which existed in the Eneolithic era, in the mid-1st half of the 4th millennium BC, near the village of Şuri, Drochia District of the Republic of Moldova. In the classifications of Cucuteni-Trypillian painted pottery, it belongs to a separate type distinguished by archaeologists, known in the special literature under various names: facial urns, amphorae with an ornament of the "owl face" type, amphorae with facial ornament, facial amphorae. These names were given to the amphorae due to their peculiar ornament and their truncated-conical or rounded body that resembles the head of an owl (large circles on the sides of the handles are the eyes of a bird, and the handles are beaks), as well as due to attempts to hypothetically interpret the vessels as images of some two-faced or four-faced anthropomorphic, zoomorphic or ornithomorphic mythological creatures of the Cucuteni-Trypillian pantheon...

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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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