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The Golden Deer of Eurasia: Perspectives on the Steppe Nomads of the Ancient World

The Golden Deer of Eurasia: Perspectives on the Steppe Nomads of the Ancient World

Various authors
256 pages
178 illustrations
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The special exhibition The Golden Deer of Eurasia: Scythian and Sarmatian Treasures from the Russian Steppes, held at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in the fall and winter of 2000–2001, highlighted the rich finds unearthed from burial mounds near the village of Filippovka in the southern Ural steppes from 1986 to 1990. These extraordinary objects include twenty-six gold and silver deer as well as hundreds of gold mounts for wooden cups. Carefully restored and analyzed, they have both added a new dimension and raised further questions regarding our understanding of the funerary beliefs and practices of the Eurasian nomads. In imagery and style, they also represent a new chapter in the art of the horse-riding nomads who traversed the corridor of open grasslands that extends from the Black Sea to China. The presence of precious vessels of Achaemenid Persian manufacture at Filippovka has also raised the issue of the relationship of nomadic and settled populations.

On the occasion of the Golden Deer exhibition, a number of scholars gathered at a symposium held at the Metropolitan Museum in October 2000, followed in the next few months by a series of invited lectures. The speakers offered regional perspectives covering the broad expanse of the steppe corridor. They presented exciting discoveries from recent archaeological excavations not only at Filippovka but also at Pokrovka in the Urals, Bel'sk in the Pontic steppes, Berel in the Altai region of Kazakhstan, Arzhan near Tuva in southern Siberia, and Xinjiang in western China. The contributors of the twenty essays in this collection have added significantly to our view of the steppe world. They have presented us not only with new data from archaeological excavations extending from the Caucasus to China but also with new avenues of interpretation, enriching our understanding of the spectacular golden deer of Eurasia.

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Aruz, Joan, Ann Farkas, Elisabetta Valtz Fino, and Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.), eds. 2006. The Golden Deer of Eurasia ; Perspectives on the Steppe Nomads of the Ancient World. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Symposia. New York : New Haven: Metropolitan Museum of Art ; Yale University Press.