Ivanov S.S. A Rare Belt Plaque in Zoomorphic Style from the Inner Tien Shan

Sergey S. Ivanov, Candidate of Sciences (History), Associate Professor, Faculty of International Relations and Oriental Studies, Kyrgyz National University named after J. Balasagyn, Frunze St, 547, 720033 Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
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Abstract. The article publishes a very rare for Saka culture of the Tien Shan region belt plaque, made with the Scythian-Siberian animal motif. It was accidentally found at an altitude of 2300 m. in the northern part of the Inner Tien Shan, and, most likely, it was lost there in antique time. The plaque has a butterfly-shaped shape, and a relief paired heads of a snow leopard was depicted on its outer surface in a realistic manner. On its reverse side there are two small loops indicating the construction of the combat belt on which it was fixed. Apart from the main belt there were additional leather straps which also were used as laces in the front. Belts of a similar construction with plaques of similar shape were previously found only in an elite burial of the Issyk kurgan in Tien Shan region. Nevertheless, outside this region, this belt plaque has close analogies in the synchronous cultures of the Scythian type in the Forest-steppe Altay, Tuva, Ordos and Northern China, as well as in the forest-steppe part of the Urals region. Based on stylistics and analogies, this belt plaque can be dated back to the turn of the 5th and 4th centuries BC. But in these regions, with the exception of the Urals, all similar plaques have one central loop on the back side. This indicates an independent line of development of these belt garment items on the territory of Saka culture of the Tien Shan region, although the origins of this line, undoubtedly, were initially outside its distribution area.
Key words: Early Iron Age, ancient nomads, Tien Shan region, garment belts, Scythian-Siberian animal style, belt plaque.
Citation. Ivanov S.S., 2021. Redkaya poyasnaya blyaha v zoomorfnom stile s vnutrennego Tyan’-Shanya [A Rare Belt Plaque in Zoomorphic Style from the Inner Tien Shan]. Nizhnevolzhskiy Arkheologicheskiy Vestnik [The Lower Volga Archaeological Bulletin], vol. 20, no. 2, pp. 196-203. DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/nav.jvolsu.2021.2.10
A Rare Belt Plaque in Zoomorphic Style from the Inner Tien Shan by Ivanov S.S. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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