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An image of a boar in the jewelry
A unique gold (1) buckle (2) with an image of a boar was discovered in Saksonakhur (Tajikistan) is made by casting (3). Buckles, for example, the traditional elements of northern costumes in Tajikistan, are usually shaped as either circles or rectangles, and have no images printed on them.
On the buckle (4), a horseman hunting a wild boar is depicted within a rectangular frame (1-2 centuries)
The art and culture of 1 century BC to 2 century AD was influenced by the Kushan tribe, which existed on the large territory that included contemporary Tajikistan. This powerful empire stretched out to the Gissar mountain ridge and included the Indus valley. The ends of the buckle are adorned by ovals separated by two vertical stripes.
The images of ancient jewelry were more like stories and less as just a “photograph”
(cut coin jewelry Bermuda)
According to the “World mythology and legends” encyclopedia (second ed. Vol.2, N.Y. 2004, p.806) the boar is often a phallic symbol associated with Attis, Adonis, Osiris, Set, Vishnu, Ares, Mars, Tammuz, Odin, and Woden, all male deities. It is also sacred to various goddesses in mythology, such as Aphrodite, Demeter, and Freya, as well as the Greek heroine Atlanta.
(modern celtic pendant)
In Chinese folklore the pig (boar) is a symbol of the wealth of the forest. In Buddhism it’s a symbol of lust. Tibetan goddesses Vajravareh was also identified with the sow (female swine)
On the buckle the boar is more likely as a wish of good luck and as a symbol of the wealth of the forest.
The shape and symbols of jewelry items were characterized by two principles – one, aesthetic, was to strengthen the woman’s natural beauty and the man’s physical power according to the local ideals. The other was to reflect the ritualistic guarding qualities based on beliefs of earlier generations. The art of jewelers played a significant role in magic rituals by expressing the meaning of the rituals in visual images and signifiers.
The artistic objects of the 1-2 centuries demonstrate syncretism of Hellenistic heritage, local traditions and Hindu art. After the decline of the Kushan Empire, the southern regions of what is now contemporary Tajikistan were soon subjugated by the Persian Sassanid Empire.
Not only the ancient people believed in the magical force of a created image. To put an image onto an adornment or an item of clothing meant to furnish it with a certain spirit.
This allowed them to infuse everyday objects with a mystical power. Thus every item would become magical.
- The image of the horseman is three-dimensional. The stallion’s back legs are bent, its mane is shorn. Reins are visible on its rump, head and neck. The saddle has a low semi-circular saddle pin. A long saddle blanket is hanging below the horseman’s feet. There are no visible stirrups. Both sides of the saddle are decorated with ribbons and tassels. The front tassel is shaped like a flower bud. The tail of the horse is hidden between its legs; the end is tied into a knot. The rider is shown at a three quarter angle. His face is in poor condition – the right side is worn out.
Hair is smoothed back and braided or pulled into a bun. The rider is dressed into a long robe, wrapped to the left, with wide sleeves and tied with a narrow belt. Deep grooves show folds on the sleeves and hem. The hem reaches below the knees. Loose trousers are gathered at the ankles. The right foot is shown schematically, the toe is pointing downwards. The right arm is lifted towards the right ear, possibly holding a spear (only a small part of the spear remained). The rider’s left arm is bent at the elbow, is stretched at the waist level, and was probably holding a spear – also lost. In the bottom right corner of the frame, a protomai of the wild boar can be seen – its head with powerful fangs is pressed against the right hoof. The hide is drawn with small curved strokes. The boar’s ear has a notch for an inset. There are notches, or gaps, shaped as drops, on the body of the boar, which were filled with blue glass paste, as evidenced by the remains of the paste on the buckle’s frame. The reverse side of the buckle has four corner hoops for fastening (one is missing).
- People also believed in magical qualities of certain materials, in our case, gold, which was believed to be related to sun. Gold was used as an antiseptic during treatment and surgeries. Gold attracted solar energy, which meant that objects made out of gold transferred this energy to their owner. Believed to bring happiness to everyone who wears it, gold was considered part of cosmos, part of deity, and a symbol of mystical and divine. Gold was thought to be related to the afterworld, partly because of where it was found. The above-mentioned qualities of the precious metal led to its use in jewelry making, especially in producing the undecorated votive tablet we mentioned earlier, as well as disks, pendants, etc.It was also important that gold is easy to process and handle – its softness, pliability and fusibility were known to both ancient and modern jewelers. Not only metals were thought to have magical qualities; stones used to decorate gold items were assumed to have the same traits.
- It was one of the most popular methods. Hard casting, wax models, two-sided, open and sectional molds were used. Sometimes fabrics were embroidered with gold thread – examples have been found in Tahti-Sangin (2 century BC) and Bishkent burial grounds (1-2 centuries. A model possibly, was made out of wood or metal, a clay matrix was fired in the oven and filled with wax. The excess warm wax probably, was squeezed out of the matrix by pressing a piece of fabric or leather over it. A layer of clay was placed over the fabric. As the matrix dried and became smaller, the double matrix was heated up, wax would melt and pour out – the casting form was now ready. During the drying and firing, the initial patrix (a template for making matrices) would shrink to a smaller size than the resulting matrix, and a narrow roll would form around the contour of the item. Research shows that the fabrics used were mostly of canvas weave; sometimes rough twilled fabrics were used. These fabrics were used to squeeze excessive wax out of flat, conical, spherical and other molds. After the item was cast, it was polished and decorated with semi-precious stones. The master would select an exact amount of stones of necessary shape and prepare placeholders in the casting mold for the stones.
- This item from the special collection of precious metals and coins. As soon as a branch of the Soviet Academy of Sciences opened in the city of Dushanbe, the collection of precious items and coins was transferred to the department of archeology and numismatics of the A. Donish’s Institute of History, Archeology and Ethnography. An independent Academy of Sciences of Tajikistan was formed later. This collection includes finds from the excavations on the territory of Tajikistan, as well as items found during construction or other work... The collection contains artifacts from the V BC to XVII-XVIII centuries.
COPYRIGHT 2011 Elena Neva, All rights reserved.
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