In the main frieze is a battle between Greeks and barbarians; at the left end stand two griffins. The irregular field above the frieze shows deer being killed, one by a lion, the other by a griffin. The scabbard from which this gold decoration came would have been of another material, possibly bronze or iron. Such an elaborately embellished scabbard would have formed part of a ceremonial set of Scythian weapons typically including a sword, a bow, and a bow sheath. The Scythians were a nomadic people who lived in the Eurasian steppes during the first millennium B.C. Although the scabbard is of Scythian type, the decoration is Greek in style and undoubtedly of Greek workmanship. Similar sheet-metal goldwork from the royal cemetery at Vergina in northern Greece and from kurgans (burial mounds) of Scythian rulers in the North Pontic region (around the Black Sea) have been linked to the same workshop.
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Title:Sheet-gold decoration for a sword scabbard
Period:Late Classical or Hellenistic
Date:ca. 340–320 BCE
Culture:Greek or Scythian
Dimensions:length 21 7/16 in. (54.5 cm)
Classification:Gold and Silver
Credit Line:Rogers Fund, 1930
Said to be from Chaian, Eupatoria district, Crimea, Russian Empire (now Ukraine) (Shcheglov and Katz 1991)
In the 1880s, found in the village of Chaian, Eupatoria district, Crimea, by a local peasant; 1880s-90s, said to have been acquired by Islam-Ali, the father of a certain Abdulla-Islam-Ali-Oglu, purchased from a local peasant; with Islam-Ali, Eupatoria district, Crimea; 1914, offered for sale to the Russian Archaeological Institute in Istanbul by an anonymous dealer; [before 1918, acquired by Schepsel Gokhman (Hochmann), probably purchased from an anonymous dealer]; [with Schepsel Gokhman (Hochmann), Odessa (later Berlin); [before 1927, acquired by Kurt W. Bachstitz, most likely purchased from Schepsel Gokhman (Hochmann)]; [until 1930, with Kurt W. Bachstitz Gallery, Berlin]; acquired in 1930, purchased from Kurt W. Bachstitz Gallery.
1929. Bulletin of the Bachstitz Gallery. p. 36.
Richter, Gisela M. A. 1931. "A Greek Sword Sheath of a Scythian King." Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 26(2): pp. 44–48, figs. 1–3.
Richter, Gisela M. A. 1932–1933. "A Greek Sword Sheath from South Russia." Metropolitan Museum Studies, 4(1): pp. 10930, figs. 3–6, 14, 16, 18, 21.
Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1936. A Guide to the Collections, Part 1: Ancient and Oriental Art, 2nd edn. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Lorentz, Fredrich V. 1937. "ΒΑΡΒΑΡΩΝ ΥΦΑΣΜΑΤΑ." Mitteilungen des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts, Römische Abteilung, 52: p. 182, no. 15.
Schefold, Karl. 1938. "Der skythische Tierstil in Südrussland." Eurasia Septentrionalis Antiqua, 12: p. 25, n. 7, 28, 41, figs. 33–35,.
Grancsay, Stephen V. 1940. "The Art of the Jeweler: A Special Exhibition." Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 35(11): p. 212.
Schefold, Karl. 1940. "Griechische Spiegel." Die Antike, 16: pp. 3637, pls. 30–32.
Richter, Gisela Marie Augusta. 1941. "A Greek Silver Phiale in the Metropolitan Museum." American Journal of Archaeology, 45(3): P. 376, n. 32.
Züchner, Wolfgang. 1942. "Griechische Klappspiegel. Ph.D. diss.." Ph.D. Diss. pp. 161, 196. Walter de Gruyter & Co.
Richter, Gisela M. A. 1953. Handbook of the Greek Collection. pp. 97, 238, pl. 78c, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Kleemann, Ilse. 1958. Der Satrapen-Sarkophag aus Sidon. p. 143, n. 733, Berlin: Gebr. Mann.
Hanfmann, George M.A. 1967. Classical Sculpture. fig. 219, Greenwich: New York Graphic Society.
Richter, Gisela M. A. 1970. "The Department of Greek and Roman Art: Triumphs and Tribulations." Metropolitan Museum Journal, 3: pp. 82, 85, 88, fig. 22.
Nickel, Helmut. 1973. "About the Sword of the Huns and the 'Urepos' on the Steps." Metropolitan Museum Journal, 7: pp. 135–36, fig. 13.
Coarelli, Filippo. 1977. "Arte minori." Storia e civilta dei Greci, 10: p. 318.
Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1987. Greece and Rome. no. 59, pp. 78–9, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Nickel, Helmut. 1989. "The Emperor's New Saddle Cloth: The Ephippium of the Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius." Metropolitan Museum Journal, 24: p. 21, fig. 8.
Knauer, Elfriede R. 1990. "Multa egit cum regibus et pacem confirmavit. The Date of the Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius." Mitteilungen des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts, Römische Abteilung, 97: p. 301.
Scheglov, Alexander N. and Vladimir I. Katz. 1991. "A Fourth-Century B.C. Royal Kurgan in the Crimea." Metropolitan Museum Journal, 26: pp. 97–102, 111–12, 118, figs. 1, 4–5, 26.
Williams, Dyfri and Jack Ogden. 1994. Greek Gold: Jewelry of the Classical World. no. 112, pp. 175–77, New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc.
Treister, Michail Ju. 1999. "The Workshop of the Gorytos and Scabbard Overlays." Scythian Gold. Treasures from Ancient Ukraine, Dr. Ellen D. Reeder, ed. pp. 75, 254, New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc.
Aruz, Joan, Ann R. Farkas, Andrei Alekseev, and Elena Korolkova. 2000. "Scythian and Sarmatian Treasures from the Russian Steppes: The State Hermitage, Saint Petersburg, and the Archaeological Museum, Ufa." The Golden Deer of Eurasia p. 233, fig. 79, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Antikensammlung, Pergamonmuseum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. 2002. Die Griechische Klassik: Idee oder Wirklichkeit. no. 436, p. 581, Mainz: Verlag Philipp von Zabern.
Pfrommer, Michael. 2002. "Eine Alexanderschlacht fur skythische Fursten?." Essays in Honor of Dietrich von Bothmer, Mr. Andrew J. Clark and Dr. Jasper Gaunt, eds. p. 267, fig. 1, Amsterdam: Allard Pierson Stichting, Amsterdam.
Picón, Carlos A. 2007. Art of the Classical World in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Greece, Cyprus, Etruria, Rome no. 205, pp. 175, 442, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
2011. Remote and Geophysical Survey of the Settlements from the Greco-Roman Period in the North-West Crimea., Materials for the Archaeological Map of Crimea., Vol. 5. p. 77, figs. 113–17, Simferopol, Ukraine.
Rostovtzeff, Michael I. "Numidian Horsemen on Canosa Vases." American Journal of Archaeology, 50, 2: p. 263.
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