Scythian gold. Secrets of the ancient Slavs, or how did the jewelry industry develop?
The story is full of secrets and mysteries, many of them continue to be unanswered. The legacy of the ancestors gives only some hints, prompting new secrets. What are the graves of ancestors?
The idea of the ancient world to modern people helped to form not only chronicles, but also household items of our predecessors. Especially many secrets to mankind revealed ancient jewelry. What information did these luxury items bring? How and when did jewelry originate? What is the modern jewelry industry of Ukraine?
Perhaps the desire to extend its family, share information, frighten the enemy and become a little better provoked the emergence of jewelry. The beginnings of this type of creativity appeared along with the appearance of man.
According to scientists, the first samples of decorative ornaments are of considerable age, about 1 350.000 years. Prehistoric body art is considered the first step to creating jewelry. Primitive people painted on themselves certain symbols, which served as a kind of accessories for the dress. As a raw material for their creativity, they used vegetable juices. Later, their enthusiasm for the drawings on the body turned into something bigger and more voluminous. Thus arose the first prehistoric decorations of shells, stones, wood, flowers, feathers, claws and teeth of animals. Decoration without meaning was not so valuable and important. The desire to assert itself contributed to a peculiar class identity. Thus, the type of jewelry spoke about the nature of human activity. Religion has found its place in prehistoric society, creating a number of cultivated symbolic ornaments.
The appearance of jewelry had to end the Bronze Age. At that time, people learned to process metals, turning this craft into a branch of art. The most ancient jewelry found on the territory of Ukraine is about 20,000 years old. One of the most significant cultural heritage of world history left behind a Scythians, who lived in the steppe part of our country. It was in their burial mounds that one of the most unique works of jewelry was found. What is the peculiarity of this heritage?
The main factor in the formation of the uniqueness of Ukrainian culture is the geographical location of our lands. In the second half of the Stone Age, a man managed to tame a horse. This contributed to a significant expansion of the horizons of the then people. The invention of the wheel and other simple ways to get around allowed people to travel far distances. This provoked the beginning of the great migration of nations. Being between Europe and Asia, Ukraine had to receive an extraordinary number of guests at that time.
Once, the Asian nomadic Scythians, being on our land, decided to settle on it, expelling the Cimmerians. The residence of the Scythians in Ukraine lasted quite a long time. During this time, they managed to establish a productive partnership with the Greeks, who founded their colony in the south of our country. In those days, the Greeks were considered high-class jewelers. Together with them, the Scythian masters began making jewelry for their elite. As a result, their collaborations became a unique combination of the fine craftsmanship of the Greeks and the color of the barbarian culture of the ancient Scythians. This part of the ancient heritage was called Scythian-Greek jewelry art.
The ancient Scythians believed that gold has magical properties and divine nature. Often, this kind of precious metal served as a talisman. In fact, Scythian decorations were useful in battle. These decorations were several centimeters thick, which affected their weight. Despite the fine work, Scythian jewelry had a rough appearance, due to the peculiar design. Scythians preferred massive plaque-shaped chest decorations. Often, they depicted the heads of animals. The most popular image was a deer, or goat. On many Scythian decorations found in tombs, whole plots unfold. The exact meaning of these symbols has not yet been unambiguously determined. It is assumed that the Scythians, like other ancient people, tried in such an allegorical way to convey their ideas about the universe. In addition to animals and mythical creatures – griffins, chimeras and sphinxes, the Scythians depicted the surrounding flora and fauna, as well as scenes from their everyday life.
Other tribes, which appear near the possessions of the Scythians, borrowed their technique and concept of making jewelry. So, the ancient Goths and Huns, having visited the territory of Ukraine, brought to Europe a vision of Scythian jewelers. A special influence on the development of Scythian jewelry art had the Celts. In the heyday of Scythian culture, their jewelry craftsmen were considered the best specialists of ancient Europe.
But, the rapid progress in the development of this branch has failed. The lands of the Scythians were captured by the Sarmatians. And the former masters assimilated in the new society, some of them joined other tribes. Scythian jewelry techniques were taken over by Sarmatians.