Art of the Scythians / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Dear Wikiwand AI, let's keep it short by simply answering these key questions:
Can you list the top facts and stats about Scythian art?
Summarize this article for a 10 years old
Scythian art is the art associated with Scythian cultures, primarily decorative objects, such as jewellery, produced by the nomadic tribes of the area known as Scythia, which encompassed Central Asia, parts of Eastern Europe east of the Vistula River, and parts of South Asia, with the eastern edges of the region vaguely defined by ancient Greeks. The identities of the nomadic peoples of the steppes is often uncertain, and the term "Scythian" should often be taken loosely; the art of nomads much further east than the core Scythian territory exhibits close similarities as well as differences, and terms such as the "Scytho-Siberian world" are often used. Other Eurasian nomad peoples recognised by ancient writers, notably Herodotus, include the Massagetae, Sarmatians, and Saka, the last a name from Persian sources, while ancient Chinese sources speak of the Xiongnu or Hsiung-nu. Modern archaeologists recognise, among others, the Pazyryk, Tagar, and Aldy-Bel cultures, with the furthest east of all, the later Ordos culture a little west of Beijing. The art of these peoples is collectively known as steppes art.
In the case of the Scythians the characteristic art was produced in a period from the 7th to 3rd centuries BC, after which the Scythians were gradually displaced from most of their territory by the Sarmatians, and rich grave deposits cease among the remaining Scythian populations on the Black Sea coast. Over this period many Scythians became sedentary, and involved in trade with neighbouring peoples such as the Greeks.
In the earlier period Scythian art included very vigorously modelled stylised animal figures, shown singly or in combat, that had a long-lasting and very wide influence on other Eurasian cultures as far apart as China and the European Celts. As the Scythians came in contact with the Greeks at the Western end of their area, their artwork influenced Greek art, and was influenced by it; also many pieces were made by Greek craftsmen for Scythian customers. Although we know that goldsmith work was an important area of Ancient Greek art, very little has survived from the core of the Greek world, and finds from Scythian burials represent the largest group of pieces we now have. The mixture of the two cultures in terms of the background of the artists, the origin of the forms and styles, and the possible history of the objects, gives rise to complex questions. Many art historians feel that the Greek and Scythian styles were too far apart for works in a hybrid style to be as successful as those firmly in one style or the other. Other influences from urbanized civilizations such as those of Persia and China, and the mountain cultures of the Caucasus, also affected the art of their nomadic neighbours.
Scythian art, especially Scythian gold jewellery, is highly valued by museums; many of the most valuable artefacts are in the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg. Their Eastern neighbours, the Pazyryk culture in Siberia, produced similar art, although they related to the Chinese in a way comparable to that of the Scythians with the Greek and Iranian cultures. In recent years, archeologists have made valuable finds in various places within the area.