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Vladimir Putin: Please return the Pereshchepyna Treasure
Letter 16          07-Dec-2004


Scythian gold Medusa, 4th Century BC
"The question that arises is why these treasures, excavated from Ukrainian soil, are in Russian hands today, and not Ukrainian." Lubomyr Prytulak


             07 December 2004


Vladimir Putin, President
4 Staraya Square
Moscow 103132
Russia


Vladimir Putin:

The Encyclopedia of Ukraine describes the Pereshchepyna Hoard as follows:

One of the richest finds in Ukraine, discovered near Mala Pereshchepyna, now in Novi Sanzhary raion, Poltava oblast, in 1912.  Nearly 25 kg of gold and 50 kg of silver artifacts including 5th-to 7th century Byzantine and Iranian art objects, gold and silver dishes, 7th-Century Byzantine coins, jewelry, a plate bearing the emblem of the bishop of the Greek colony Tomis, now Constanta in Rumania, and a Sasanian plate with a portrait of Shapur II were found.  Scholars believe the hoard to be booty from raids into Byzantine territory.  The collection is now housed at the Hermitage in St Petersburg.


Danylo Husar Struk (Editor), Encyclopedia of Ukraine, Volume III, University of Toronto Press, Toronto Buffalo London, 1993, p. 846.

And the St Petersburg Hermitage Museum web site describes the Pereshchepina Treasure as follows:

The discovery of a hoard in 1912 in the neighbourhood of Poltava near the village of Malaya Pereshchepina was not in itself a rare event, but in its wealth and diversity this hoard far exceeds all others.  It is rightfully regarded as one of the richest finds from the period of the nomadic migrations.

Dated to the period between the ancient world and the 7th century AD, the hoard is thought to have belonged to Kuvrat (or Kubrat), Khan of Great Bolgary.  The treasure is uncommonly rich, consisting of over 800 pieces, mainly of gold (total weight over 25 kg) and silver (over 50 kg), including 16 gold and 19 silver vessels, a gold rhyton and the remains of another rhyton, the gold facing of a wooden jug, a staff with gold facing, a well-preserved iron sword with an end in the form of a ring and gold facing on the hilt and scabbard, fragments of swords and daggers, gold and silver parts of belts, gold jewellery a torque, an earring, 7 bracelets and 7 rings with inlays of precious stones (amethysts, sapphires, tiger-eyes, garnets, rock crystal and emeralds), a necklace of gold Byzantine coins, plaques and coins which were for sewing onto clothing, and square gold plaques for the facing of a wooden funeral construction.


The State Hermitage Museum at www.hermitagemuseum.org/html_En/03/hm3_2_13.html

Three of the 800 artifacts from the Pereshchepyna Treasure are shown below, along with the descriptive text provided by the Hermitage Museum, with my own interjected comments in red.


Goblet
Poltava Region, Ukraine
7th century
Gold
H 10.3 cm
Pereshchepina Treasure

This goblet consists of a cup and stand of complex construction, consisting of several soldered parts.  The cup is decorated with a chased relief representing floral ornament.  The hollow ball-shaped part of the stand includes a bell which rang when the goblet was picked up at feasts and ceremonies.  It is thought that the ring of the bell was not only to amuse the revellers but also to drive away evil spirits.

There were eleven similar goblets in the Pereshchepina treasure.

Copyright © 2004 State Hermitage Museum.  All rights reserved.
Reproduced without Hermitage Museum permission on the Ukrainian Archive at www.ukar.org for the purpose of challenging ownership.

The explanations suggested for the bell derogate the goblet's users as simple-minded savages who delight themselves by listening to the sound of one piece of metal striking another, or else who are crippled by superstition.  However, such fantastic explanations need not be appealed to when simple and straightforward ones abound, as for example that the bell might be rung by swinging the base of a full goblet from side to side to call attention to a toast, or perhaps in lieu of tapping knives against glasses as is currently done in Ukrainian weddings to demand that bride and groom kiss, or else might sound when the goblet was tipped beyond the horizontal in finishing one's drink, providing an audible signal to those nearby of the need to offer a refill.





Hand-Washing Vessel: Pitcher and Ladle
Poltava Region, Ukraine
Silver gilt
Pitcher: h 28 cm, diam of stand 9.6 cm
Ladle: h 7.25 cm, diam 25.2 cm, l with handle 38.5 cm
Pereshchepina Treasure

This silver ladle and pitcher make up a hand-washing vessel, which presumably was one of the Byzantine gifts presented in 619 to Prince Organa, uncle of Khan Kubrat.  Both these articles bear the hall-mark with the monogram of Byzantine Emperor Mauritius Tiberius (582-602).  The pitcher is ornamented with stamped relief on the reverse, some details finished with engraving.  There is chased and engraved decoration in the form of an ancient mask, dolphins, a figure of a panther and floral ornament.

The Byzantines used such sets both in everyday life and at cult ceremonies (which was typical under ancient tradition).

Copyright © 2004 State Hermitage Museum.  All rights reserved.
Reproduced without Hermitage Museum permission on the Ukrainian Archive at www.ukar.org for the purpose of challenging ownership.



Sword in a Sheath with a Gold Facing
Poltava Region, Ukraine
7th century
Gold, iron, glass
L in sheath 94.2 cm
Pereshchepina Treasure

This single-edged blade and double-edged point sword is part of a set of arms and armour which once belonged to a noble warrior.  The sword was probably made in a workshop which specialized in objects for the nomadic nobility: this is suggested by Greek letters scratched on the back of the handle.  The close relations between Byzantium and the Eurasian nomads in the 7th-century allow us to regard this object as a piece of a gift or contribution.  Crosses on the sword's facing indicate that it may have belonged to Khan Kubrat and thus the Pereshchepina Treasure was probably from the burial of this major historical figure.  The sword may have been one of the gold objects which formed part of a presumed diplomat gift (634-640) from Heraclius to the chieftain of the Hunogunduri, the Christian Khan Kubrat.

Copyright © 2004 State Hermitage Museum.  All rights reserved.
Reproduced without Hermitage Museum permission on the Ukrainian Archive at www.ukar.org for the purpose of challenging ownership.



In addition to the Pereshchepyna Treasure, the Hermitage Museum houses a wealth of other artifacts discovered in Ukraine, of which I have attached fourteen examples below, all of these considerably more ancient than the Pereshchepyna Treasure, and which I have sorted chronologically starting with most recent (late 4th Century BC) at the top, and ending with the most ancient (second half of the 7th Century BC) at the bottom, eleven of them from the Scythian culture, two from the Meotian, and one whose culture the Hermitage Museum neglected to identify.

The question that arises is why these treasures, excavated from Ukrainian soil, are in Russian hands today, and not Ukrainian.  An adequate answer might be that the number and quality of archeological treasures that had been discovered on Russian soil, and that today find themselves under Ukrainian ownership and on display in Ukraine, is proportionate, such that no injustice need be hypothesized.  Thus, for example, if the second-greatest treasure from the period of the nomadic migrations had been discovered on Russian soil, and today found itself entirely under Ukrainian ownership and on display in Kyiv, then this would be the beginning of a constructive reply, and would weigh substantially in the balance.  In the absence of evidence of such reciprocity, cynical conjectures arise.



An inadequate answer to the question of why Ukrainian treasures accumulate in Russia is the Hermitage statement made in reference to the exhibits below that they were discovered in "Russia (now Ukraine)."  If at the time of discovery of any artifact, Ukrainians with guns pointed to their heads did acknowledge themselves part of Russia, then this would no more justify robbing them of their archeological treasures than would bank tellers with guns pointed to their heads and acknowledging all of the gunman's claims to ownership justify his robbing the bank of its money.  Put another way, an inadequate answer is to say that the people whose treasures were taken were slaves, and a master who takes from his slave does not steal because he takes what he already owns.

To fortify their position even more decisively, Ukrainians are able to waive their above refutation of the Hermitage's "Russia (now Ukraine)" assertion of ownership, and fall back on another which is equally sufficient: if Ukraine was at the time of excavation of any artifact married to Russia, it was an abusive marriage and there has since been a divorce, and today's jurisprudence no longer approves of the stronger party walking away with all the family assets.  Rather, the modern world demands an equitable division of property, and a division in the present case which is as efficient as it is just would simply give ownership of all archeological treasures discovered on Russian territory to Russia, and all archeological treasures discovered on Ukrainian territory to Ukraine, but perhaps first excluding from consideration uncoerced gifts and bona fide purchases, if such exist.  Such a division need not eventuate in a complete transfer of misplaced artifacts, as following the restoration of formal ownership, some artifacts would be swapped, some sold, and some allowed out on loan or lease.  In fact, if the degree of foreign ownership was equivalent between two countries, then they might possibly choose to allow all treasures to remain in place despite shifts in formal ownership.

A recent demonstration of sympathy with the above philosophy has been the return on 27-Nov-2004 by Pope John Paul II of the bones of two ancient saints from Rome to the Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I, spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians, in Istanbul, concerning which it might be instructive to compare the description on the left below of the real Vatican restoration with a corresponding description on the right below of the Kremlin's imagined restoration of the Pereshchepyna Treasure to Ukraine.


Actual

report on the Saturday, 27-Nov-2004 return of religious relics by Catholic Pope John Paul II of Rome to Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I of Istanbul.

Victor L. Simpson, Associated Press Writer, Vatican returns relics to Istanbul, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 27-Nov-2004 at seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/apeurope_story.asp?category=1103&slug=Vatican%20Orthodox

Hoped for

report on the Sunday, 27-Nov-2005 return of the Pereshchepyna Treasure by Russian President Vladimir Putin of Moscow to Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko of Kyiv.

Pope John Paul II, in a gesture of friendship with the Orthodox Church, on Saturday handed over the bones of two early Christian saints that were brought to Rome from ancient Constantinople centuries ago.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a gesture of friendship with Ukraine, on Sunday handed over the Pereshchepyna Treasure that was brought to St Petersburg from Mala Pereshchepyna, Ukraine, in 1912.

The Vatican said the return of the saints' relics was part of the pope's efforts to promote Christian unity and dismissed any suggestion that John Paul was "asking pardon" for their removal by Crusaders from the seat of the Orthodox Church.

The Kremlin said that return of the Pereshchepyna Treasure was part of the Russian President's efforts to promote Slavic unity and dismissed any suggestion that Vladimir Putin was "asking pardon" for its removal by Russian archeologists from its place of discovery in Ukraine.

The pope sat beside Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians, in St. Peter's Basilica as the bones of the saints, resting on yellow velvet in crystal and alabaster reliquaries, were brought to the altar.

The Russian President sat beside Viktor Yushchenko, President of Ukraine, in the Hermitage Museum as the Pereshchepyna Treasure, resting on yellow velvet within crystal and alabaster display cases, was paraded before them.

While a choir sang in Greek and Latin, the two religious leaders blessed the relics, before the reliquaries were carried away on biers by Vatican ushers in dark suits acting as pallbearers.  [...]

While a choir sang in Ukrainian and Russian, the two national leaders admired the relics, before the display cases were carted away by Hermitage ushers in dark suits acting as porters.  [...]

In remarks read for him by an aide, the frail pontiff called it a "blessed occasion to purify our wounded memories" and to "strengthen our path of reconciliation."

In remarks made by himself, the robust President of Russia called it a "blessed occasion to purify our wounded memories" and to "strengthen our path of reconciliation."

"I will never tire" in efforts to achieve it, the pope said.

"I will never tire" in efforts to achieve it, the Russian President said.

Bartholomew, speaking next, said the handover repaired "an anomaly" and "ecclesiastical injustice" and that it was a sign that there are no "insurmountable problems in the Church of Christ."

Yushchenko, speaking next, said the handover repaired "an anomaly" and "national injustice" and that it was a sign that there are no "insurmountable problems in the Slavic sphere."

The Orthodox leader, speaking in Italian, said the gesture also served as an example to those holding religious treasures sought by others.

The Ukrainian leader, speaking in Russian, said the gesture also served as an example to those holding archeological treasures sought by others.

In Istanbul later Saturday, bells rang out in celebration as the remains were carried in a candle light procession into the Cathedral of St. George.

In Kyiv later Sunday, bells rang out in celebration as the Pereshchepyna Treasure was carried in a candle light procession into the Kyiv Historical Museum.

"For eight hundred years, these relics have been in exile," Bartholomew said at service.  "This gesture differentiates (Catholic leaders) from the deed of their predecessors eight centuries ago."

"For close to a century, this treasure has been in exile," Yushchenko said at service.  "This gesture differentiates Russian leaders from the deed of their predecessors almost a century ago."

Clear glass cases containing the bones were symbolically placed in front of patriarch's throne.  Bartholomew bowed and crossed himself as hymns of praise were chanted.

Clear glass cases containing the treasure were symbolically placed in front of the Ukrainian President's seat.  Yushchenko bowed and clasped his hands in his characteristic expression of solidarity as hymns of praise were chanted.

Bartholomew and John Paul have both emphasized reconciliation between their churches, which split in 1054 over the growing power of the papacy.  [...]

Yushchenko and Putin have both emphasized reconciliation between their nations, which split in 1991 over the oppression of the Kremlin.  [...]

In a statement issued Saturday, papal spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls emphasized that Gregory's remains were brought to Rome in the earlier century and denied that the pope was seeking pardon for the removal of the saints' remains.

In the statement issued Sunday, Russian spokesman Ivan Ivanych emphasized that the Pereshchepyna Treasure was brought to St Petersburg almost a century ago, and denied that President Putin was seeking pardon for the removal of the Treasure.

"Without negating the tragic events of the XIII century," Navarro-Valls said, the gesture was intended to promote unity between Catholics and Orthodox.

"Without negating the tragic events of the XX century," Ivanych said, the gesture was intended to promote unity between Russians and Ukrainians.

The remains have been kept in St. Peter's Basilica.

The remains have been kept in the Hermitage Museum.

In 2001, John Paul apologized for Roman Catholic involvement in the Constantinople siege.

In 2001, President Putin apologized for Russian involvement in the Ukrainian famine.

The pope has made reconciliation among the divided Christian churches one of the major themes of his papacy [...].  [...]

President Putin has made reconciliation among the divided Slavic nations one of the major themes of his presidency [...].  [...]

John Paul has also apologized for sins committed by Catholics against other Christians.

President Putin has also apologized for sins committed by Russians against other Slavs.




John Paul II shows Our Lady of Kazan to Russian President Vladmir Putin.

There can be little doubt that Russian restoration of the Pereshchepyna Treasure to Ukraine would warm Ukrainian feelings toward Russia, and would constitute a significant step toward calming Ukrainian indignation at Russian plundering of Ukrainian archeological treasures.  And if Russian steps of comparable innovation and boldness were taken in other realms to disarm other causes of Ukrainian disaffection as for example in connection with the Kremlin's Holodomor of 1932-1933, its systematic murder of Ukrainian leadership, its suffocation of the Ukrainian economy, its just-failed attempt to strangle Ukrainian democracy in its crib, and so on then the advent of genuine brotherhood might reasonably be expected.

Without the restoration of the Pereshchepyna Treasure as a first step, though, Ukrainian resentment at having been plundered will add to its other resentments, and might lead naturally to the further question of how many of the three million works of art in possession of the Hermitage Museum were acquired lawfully and justly, and serve only to testify to the creativity and ingenuity of the artists, and on the other hand how many have been plundered, and serve also to transform the Hermitage Museum into something like a Police Exhibition of Stolen Property.

The pope can be seen making overtures of friendship not only to Istanbul, but to Moscow as well, as for example by returning on 28-Aug-2004 to Russian Patriarch Alexei II of the Eastern Orthodox Church the famous icon of Our Lady of Kazan an icon which the Pope held so dear that he had kept it in his private apartments for 11 years.  A statement concerning the return of this icon can be read on the left below, with it being possible to again imagine a corresponding statement concerning your future return of the Pereshchepyna Treasure on the right.


Actual

statement concerning the restoration of the Icon of Our Lady of Kazan by Pope John II of Rome to Patriarch Alexei II of Moscow.

Catholic World News, Kazan Icon Returned to Differing Reactions, 30-Aug-2004 at www.cwnews.com/news/viewstory.cfm?recnum=31797

Dreamed of

statement concerning the restoration of the Pereshchepyna Treasure by President Putin of Moscow to President Yushchenko of Kyiv.

"Despite the division which sadly still persists between Christians, this sacred icon appears as a symbol of the unity" of Christ's followers, the Pope wrote.  He told the Russian prelate that he had often "prayed before this sacred icon, asking that the day may come when we will all be united."  And he concluded his message by sending the Patriarch "a fraternal kiss in our Lord."

"Despite the division which sadly still persists between Slavs, this sacred Treasure appears as a symbol of the unity" of the Slavic people, President Putin wrote.  He told the Ukrainian President that he had often "meditated before this sacred Treasure, asking that the day may come when we will all be united."  And he concluded his message by sending President Yushchenko "a fraternal kiss in our Amity."



Russia taking possession of the icon of Our Lady of Kazan suggests Russian acknowledgement of the principle that returning property to its rightful owners is just.  The question remains, however, whether the Kremlin will also be capable of acknowledging the same principle when it comes Russia's turn to give.  In favor of reciprocal restitution is the observation that the power of the Vatican, which practices it, expands, whereas the power of the Kremlin, which inclines more to taking, shrinks.  The return of the Pereshchepyna Treasure to Ukraine would serve Russian interests by helping disarm the apprehension among its subject nations that plunder ranks high among Kremlin motives.





Lubomyr Prytulak




A Sample Of Fourteen From The Vast Number Of Non-Pereshchepyna Ukrainian
Treasures Currently Being Held by the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg


Torque (Grivna)

Gold; cast, forged, chased. Diam. 17.3-19 cm
Meotian Culture.  Late 4th century BC
Karagodeuashkh Barrow, Kuban, Krasnodar Region (formerly Giaghinsky District of Kuban Region)
Russia (now Ukraine)
Source of Entry:  Imperial Archaeological Commission, St Petersburg.  1894

Copyright © 2004 State Hermitage Museum.  All rights reserved.
Reproduced without Hermitage Museum permission on the Ukrainian Archive at www.ukar.org for the purpose of challenging ownership.


At each of the torque's ends can be seen a lion holding a tusked boar by the back of the neck.



Necklace

Gold; stamped, soldered, filigreed, repousse. H. 45 cm
Meotian Culture.  Late 4th century BC
Karagodeuashkh Barrow, Kuban, Krasnodar Region (formerly Giaghinsky District of Kuban Region)
Russia (now Ukraine)
Source of Entry:  Imperial Archaeological Commission, St Petersburg.  1894

Copyright © 2004 State Hermitage Museum.  All rights reserved.
Reproduced without Hermitage Museum permission on the Ukrainian Archive at www.ukar.org for the purpose of challenging ownership.



Overlay for a Goryt (Case for a Bow and Arrows)
Gold; stamped. 46.8x27.3 cm
Scythian culture.  4th century BC
Chertomlyk Barrow, Dnieper Area, near Nikopol
Russia (now Ukraine)
Source of Entry:  Imperial Archaeological Commission, St Petersburg.  1864

Copyright © 2004 State Hermitage Museum.  All rights reserved.
Reproduced without Hermitage Museum permission on the Ukrainian Archive at www.ukar.org for the purpose of challenging ownership.







Plaque with Scythian Warriors

Gold; repousse.  14x19 cm
Scythian culture.  4th century BC
Geremes Barrow, Dnieper Area, the Village of Geremyasov, Zaporozhye Region
Russia (now Ukraine)
Source of Entry:  Imperial Archaeological Commission, St Petersburg. After 1859

This rare example of barbarian figurative art is almost totally without parallel.  A battle between a rider and a foot soldier fills the trapezoidal gold plaque, the detailed portrayal of armour and weapons relating this piece to similar work by a Greek master on a comb excavated in the Solokha Barrow (also in the Hermitage).  Here, both warriors are dressed in armour while the foot soldier wears a metal breastplate.  Their Greek helmets have nose pieces, large projections over the cheeks and back of the head, and points on top, the whole crowned with crests of hair.  From the left side of their belts hang goryts (holders for a bow and arrow) and the rider holds a spear, although the foot soldier's weapon is unclear.  The mane of the rider's horse is trimmed with a clump of hair left in the middle, as was usual with Asiatic horses.  The rider's "female" seat in the saddle is not unusual for during the late Antique period heavily armed soldiers indeed rode their horses in such a fashion.

It is possible that the plaque formed part of the decoration of horse harness.  It was found in a large barrow dating to the 4th century BC in an access tunnel made by robbers.  Excavations of this 6m high embankment, with a diameter of 53 metres, lying 10km from the banks of the River Dniepr, were conducted by I. Zabelin in 1859 but were never completed.

One opinion suggests that the scene is in fact that of the duel which was played out at annual solar festivals or at the beginning of a funeral rite.  It is more likely that the duel was meant to refer to the myth of the two (rather than the three seen on the Solokha comb) brothers who were heirs of the great snake-legged goddess and who were seen as being the founders of all the different branches of the Scythian tribe.  According to the 1st-century BC Greek historian Diodorus Sicilus, the brothers Pal and Nap were ancestors of the nomads and the farmers.

Copyright © 2004 State Hermitage Museum.  All rights reserved.
Reproduced without Hermitage Museum permission on the Ukrainian Archive at www.ukar.org for the purpose of challenging ownership.


The "snake-legged goddess" referred to just above perhaps can be seen in the Facing for a Horse's Frontlet immediately below.



Facing for a Horse's Frontlet

Gold; stamped. H. 41.4 cm
Scythian culture.  4th century BC
Tsymbalka Barrow, Dnieper Area, Zaporozhye Region, formerly the Taurida Province
Russia (now Ukraine)
Source of Entry:  Imperial Archaeological Commission, St Petersburg. 1868

Copyright © 2004 State Hermitage Museum.  All rights reserved.
Reproduced without Hermitage Museum permission on the Ukrainian Archive at www.ukar.org for the purpose of challenging ownership.

The serpentine growths from the top of the snake-legged goddess's head are reminiscent of Medusa's snake hair, and suggests that the two females may share overlapping characteristics.



Plaques

Gold; stamped. Left: Diam. 4.8 cm, right: Diam. 4.9 cm
Scythian culture.  4th century BC
Tsymbalka Barrow, Dnieper Area, Zaporozhye Region, formerly the Taurida Province
Russia (now Ukraine)
Source of Entry:  Imperial Archaeological Commission, St Petersburg.  1868

Copyright © 2004 State Hermitage Museum.  All rights reserved.
Reproduced without Hermitage Museum permission on the Ukrainian Archive at www.ukar.org for the purpose of challenging ownership.


The correspondence of details indicates that these two plaques were stamped from the same mold.  That what at first glance may appear to be the outermost locks of hair can be seen to end in snake-like features indicates that the representation is of Medusa, her protruding tongue being common to all three of the Medusa depictions shown on the instant page.  Another Medusa appears on the Breastplate immediately below, and still another on the Handle of a Crater still farther below. 





Breastplate with the Head of Medusa

Bronze; cast. 41x44 cm
Scythian culture.  4th century BC
Yelizavetinsky Barrow No. 6, Kuban, Krasnodar Region, Yelizavetinskaya Stanitsa (formerly Kuban Region)
Russia (now Ukraine)
Source of Entry:  Russian Academy of the History of Material Culture.  1919

The protective armour was worn only by high-ranked barbarians inhabiting the Pontic Area.  An ordinary Scythian breastplate would be made from leather with openings for a neck and arms, and with small iron plates densely sewn onto its surface, while the armour of Greek origin was extremely rare and was of great value.

This splendid breastplate is richly ornamented. It is also decorated with the head of Medusa raised in relief.

Copyright © 2004 State Hermitage Museum.  All rights reserved.
Reproduced without Hermitage Museum permission on the Ukrainian Archive at www.ukar.org for the purpose of challenging ownership.


Medusa can be seen to possess upper and lower tusks.  Her normal hair falls around her head, her snake hair winds up over the face of the breastplate.  The Medusa theme is said also to appear below in the Handle of a Crater.



Pair of Boat-Shaped Earrings

Gold; forged, stamped, soldered, filigreed. L. 6.3 cm
Scythian culture.  4th century BC
Pastak Barrow No. 2, Crimea
Russia (now Ukraine)
Source of Entry:  Imperial Archaeological Commission, St Petersburg.  1892

Copyright © 2004 State Hermitage Museum.  All rights reserved.
Reproduced without Hermitage Museum permission on the Ukrainian Archive at www.ukar.org for the purpose of challenging ownership.


How such earrings were worn is not immediately obvious.  The difficulty is that if the hook was threaded through the earlobe starting from the outside, then the sharp point of the hook, and the animal head with protruding tongue at the prow of the boat, would be pointing at, or jabbing, the neck.  One possibility, then, is that the hook was threaded through the earlobe starting from the inside.  Another possibility, given the 6.3 cm height of the earrings, is that they were not threaded through the earlobe at all, but rather were looped over the ear.



Plaque in the Form of the Head (Dionysius ?)

Gold; stamped. Diam. 3.6 cm
Scythian culture.  4th century BC
Chertomlyk Barrow, Dnieper Area, near Nikopol
Russia (now Ukraine)
Source of Entry:  Imperial Archaeological Commission, St Petersburg.  1864

Copyright © 2004 State Hermitage Museum.  All rights reserved.
Reproduced without Hermitage Museum permission on the Ukrainian Archive at www.ukar.org for the purpose of challenging ownership.



Comb with Scythians in Battle

Gold; cast and chased.  12.6x10.2 cm
Scythian culture.  Late 5th - early 4th century BC
Solokha Barrow.  Entrance Burial, Dnieper Area, Zaporozhye Region
Russia (now Ukraine)
Source of Entry: Imperial Archaeological Commission, St Petersburg.  1914

Copyright © 2004 State Hermitage Museum.  All rights reserved.
Reproduced without Hermitage Museum permission on the Ukrainian Archive at www.ukar.org for the purpose of challenging ownership.



Sword Hilt

Gold and iron; chased. 14.9; 5.5 cm
Scythian culture.  5th century BC
Chertomlyk Barrow, Dnieper Area, near Nikopol
Russia (now Ukraine)
Source of Entry:  Imperial Archaeological Commission, St Petersburg.  1864

Copyright © 2004 State Hermitage Museum.  All rights reserved.
Reproduced without Hermitage Museum permission on the Ukrainian Archive at www.ukar.org for the purpose of challenging ownership.



Overlay for a Wooden Vessel

Gold; stamped. 7.1x5.6 cm
Scythian culture.  First half of the 5th century BC
Barrow near Ak-Mechet Bay, Crimea, near Chernomorsk
Russia (now Ukraine)

Copyright © 2004 State Hermitage Museum.  All rights reserved.
Reproduced without Hermitage Museum permission on the Ukrainian Archive at www.ukar.org for the purpose of challenging ownership.



Handle of a Crater

Bronze; cast. 19.3x16 cm
6th - 5th century BC
Discovered in Dnieper Area (now Ukraine), Village of Martanosha (formerly Kherson Province)
Imported from Ancient Greece (?)
Provenance:  1885

This handle of a crater, a vessel for mixing wine with water, is shaped like a volute decorated with the figure of Medusa. The Greeks used Medusa's image as protection against disaster.

The winged Medusa wears a sleeveless tunic. She stands on a narrow pedestal ending with half-palmettes and the protomes of two serpents.

This fine fragment discovered in the Pontic Area is a unique example of archaic metalwork.

Copyright © 2004 State Hermitage Museum.  All rights reserved.
Reproduced without Hermitage Museum permission on the Ukrainian Archive at www.ukar.org for the purpose of challenging ownership.


This winged Medusa can be seen to have the same protruding tongue as the two Medusas above.  Although no snake hair is apparent in the photograph, a "protome" (forward portion) of a snake can be seen receding into the distance both on the lower left and lower right.  If wide jaws are indicative, then the right-hand snake is poisonous.



Belt Plaque

Gold; stamped. H. 6 cm
Scythian culture.  Second half of the 7th century BC
Melgunov (Litoi) Barrow, Dnieper Area, near Kirovograd
Russia (now Ukraine)
Source of Entry:  Kunstkammer, St Petersburg.  1859

Copyright © 2004 State Hermitage Museum.  All rights reserved.
Reproduced without Hermitage Museum permission on the Ukrainian Archive at www.ukar.org for the purpose of challenging ownership.




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