Problems of Archaeology, Ethnography, Anthropology of
Siberia and Neighboring Territories

ISSN 2658-6193 (Online)

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2019 Volume XXV

DOI: 10.17746/2658-6193.2019.25.425-431

УДК 902/904

Engravings of the Scythian Period from Kalbak-Tash I

Kubarev G.V.

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Abstract

This article presents the results of author’s work on copying new engraved representations and clarifying the already known images at the Kalbak-Tash I petroglyphic site. Despite a specialized work about this site, many unique engravings have remained uncopied and unpublished. The author copied several compositions, two of which are presented in this article. One of the compositions depicts two large figures of fantastic animals which combine the features of the griffin, deer, and feline predator. Until now, the image of such mythical animal was known almost exclusively from the tattoos of the Pazyryk people. These images are the first representations of that kind in the rock art of the Altai and neighboring regions; they were left by the representatives of the Pazyryk culture in the 5th-3rd centuries BC. The iconography of such fantastic creature was widespread among the Iranian-speaking population of Eurasia and was associated with the theme of “good torment” of herbivores by the predators. This subject has been interpreted by scholars as the main myth of the Scythian world of Eurasia. Another copied composition represents a large engraved figure of boar injured by several arrows. It is possible that in this composition, we are dealing with hunting magic - the depicted wild animal had to be “killed” in order to ensure the successful result of the hunt. In different historical periods Kalbak-Tash could have always been the most convenient and safe crossing of the Chuya River for wild animals such as deer and wild boars. Hunters could have waited for their prey precisely at the crossing point of the river. The image of the wild boar was dated to the Scythian period.

Keywords

petroglyphs, engraving, Scythian period, Kalbak-Tash, Altai

17, Аkademika Lavrentieva prosp., Novosibirsk, 630090, Russia
Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences
E-mail: sbornik.iaet@gmail.com