The Golden Deer of Eurasia

Aruz, Joan [Editor]; Farkas, Ann [Editor]; Alekseev, Andrei [Editor]; Korolkova, Elena [Editor];

Published by Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000
ISBN 10: 0300085109 / ISBN 13: 9780300085105
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Synopsis: Spectacular works of art were excavated between 1986 and 1990 from burial mounds at Filippovka, in Russia, on the border of Europe and Asia. The objects were created from about the fifth to the fourth century b.c. by pastoral people who lived on the steppes near the southern Ural Mountains. The large funerary deposits include wooden, deerlike creatures with predatory mouths and elongated snouts and ears, overlaid with sheets of gold and silver, as well as gold attachments for wooden vessels and gold and silver luxury wares imported from Achaemenid Iran. These treasures are now in the collection of the Museum of Archaeology, Ufa, in the Russian republic of Bashkortostan.
The discoveries at Filippovka open a new chapter in the history of the material culture of the nomads who in the first millennium b.c. traversed the steppe corridor extending from the Black Sea region to China. Yet the information provided by the Filippovka excavations is complicated and ambiguous. The identity of the people represented by the finds remains uncertain, but the forms and ornamentation of many works from Filippovka, as well as the cemetery’s location in the southern Urals, argue for the cultural-chronological designation of this material as Early Sarmatian. Stylistic features, however, point also to the arts of Siberia, Central Asia, and China in the east and to the art of the Meotian-Scythians” in the west. Imported Achaemenid goods raise questions about their place of production and about the circumstances that brought them to be included in tombs on the southern Ural steppes. Finally, robbers penetrated the burials in antiquity, destroying much of the evidence necessary for understanding the Filippovka nomads’ religious and funerary practices.
These are among the issues addressed in this volume, the catalogue for an exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art that brings together the remarkable new material from Filippovka and, from the incomparably rich collections of the State Hermitage, Saint Petersburg, related luxury objects found in graves of other Eurasian steppe tribes. Gold and silver objects from the Scythian Black Sea tombs; textiles and leather and wooden works from the Altai Mountains; and gold and bronze pieces from the Caucasus, Central Asia, and Siberia illustrate developments in the art of the steppes in the centuries preceding the Filippovka burials, in contemporary societies, and in later centuries, toward the turn of the first millennium b.c. These outstanding works not only place the Filippovka discoveries in their proper historical and cultural context but are themselves fascinating and enigmatic.

Review: Many of the world's most exciting archaeological discoveries are being made in the central steppes of Eurasia, the vast undulating grasslands that stretch from Hungary to the Pacific. For thousands of years, nomadic tribes sharing strong cultural affinities flourished here, producing artworks of great power and vitality of which the objects illustrated in this book are spectacular examples. The Golden Deer of Eurasia is the catalog of an exhibition jointly organized by the Metropolitan Museum in New York and the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia. It presents objects dating from the fifth and fourth centuries B.C. unearthed from burial mounds near Filippovka at the foot of the Ural Mountains. Of the 212 catalog items, two-thirds are recent finds from Filippovka, including gold jewelry, golden plaques showing scenes of animal combat, and gold-plated sculptures of mythological deerlike creatures with predatory muzzles and wide-branching antlers. Other treasures in the exhibition, borrowed from the Hermitage's immensely rich collections of Scythian and related cultures, put the new discoveries in context. The significance of these unique objects is explained in short chapters by American and Russian scholars; subjects range from social customs of the vigorous and violent steppe-peoples to conservation techniques. In addition to objects demonstrating the raw exuberance of the nomads' production, there are exquisite gold drinking vessels that use nomadic decorative themes but were made by Iranian and Greek craftsmen for trade with the tribes--a fascinating example of trade influencing art. As expected from a Met publication, The Golden Deer of Eurasia offers both an art book produced to the highest standards and cutting-edge scholarship on an important and fashionable area of art-historical research. --John Stevenson

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Title: The Golden Deer of Eurasia
Publisher: Metropolitan Museum of Art
Publication Date: 2000
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Used: Good

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Aruz, Joan; Ann Farkas, Andrei Alekseev & Elena Korolkova (eds.)
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ISBN 10: 0300085109 ISBN 13: 9780300085105
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Book Description Metropolitan Museum of Art, c.2000, 2000. hardcover, Book Condition: Very Good, Metropolitan Museum of Art & Yale University Press, c.2000, 9-1/4"x12-1/2", cloth, 303pp., many color photos, ex-lib.- spine label, pocket, stamps, VG $. Bookseller Inventory # 72173

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Book Description The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 2006, 2006. 25.0 x 20.0cms, 244pp, b/w & colour illusts, very good+ paperback with French flaps The tehemes include: the prehistory of Scythian cavalry; political orgnisation; art & identity in early Iron Age Europe & Asia; saka; helmuts & mirrors; Filippovka Kurgan cultures; Eurasian nomads; a frozen tomb in Kazakhstan; a royal burial in Tuva; iron age peoples in Xinpiang; Cimmerian & early Sythian history; bronze socketted arrowheadsl Sythian kings and 'royal barrows'; royal tombs & hill fortresses; the Filippovka deer; camel imagery in animal style art. Bookseller Inventory # 127602

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Editor-Joan Aruz; Editor-Ann Farkas; Editor-Andrei Alekseev; Editor-Elena Korolkova
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