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

ISSN 2658-6193 (Online)

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2019 Volume XXV

DOI: 10.17746/2658-6193.2019.25.597-601

УДК 903

Clay Objects from the Irtysh Region and Southwestern Manchuria. Unexpected Parallels or Accidental Similarities?

Solovyev A.I.

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In the Autumn of 2019, an object was found in the collection of the Chaoyang Museum (China), which was typologically very close to clay figurine excavated at the Novotroitskoe-1 settlement in the forest Irtysh region. The object from China has been much better preserved than object from Siberia, which makes it possible to reconstruct the lost parts of the Irtysh figurine. The basis of both products is a clay tube bent almost at the right angle. The external surface of the tube has a form of animal representation, which was interpreted n the Chinese tradition as dragon. The general proportions of the object from Siberia, its details such as crest running along the entire muzzle, and features of ornamental decoration make it possible to view the Novotroitskoe find from this perspective and see it as example of the transition of ideas. Tubular structure of the artifact implies its use as a device for moving some air mass, for example, saturated with water vapor, combustion products, or even essential oils in ritual actions, and using the resulting effect of smoke coming from the mouth as a spectacular action of ritual mysteries. At the same time, the previously suggested interpretation of the Irtysh representation as a horse, its place of discovery near the hearth, and the role played by this animal in the beliefs of the Early Iron Age and above all in the production cults may as well remain valid for Siberia. Given that the similarity of both objects is beyond random coincidence, and the fact that they could hardly be a simple object of exchange, they can be considered as evidence of the transition of ideological ideas, regardless of which model - dragon or fire-breathing horse - the figures reproduce. The routes of this transition should be searched in the eastern direction of ties mediated by the development of trade contacts and distribution of goods.


clay figurines, settlement, horse image, dragon, ritual practice, Irtysh region, tube, transition of ideas

Chief Editor
Academician A.P. Derevyanko

Deputy Chief Editor
Academician V.I. Molodin

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Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences

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