The Figurative and Subject Repertoire of the Xiongnu Animal Style
// History magazine - researches. – 2019. – № 5.
– P. 83-94.
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Abstract: The article is focused on the figurative and subject repertoire of artifacts belonging to the Xiongnu animal style, which have been discovered during archaeological excavations and collections. In the 1920s, thanks to archaeological excavations at the Noin-Ula burial ground, interest in Xiongnu rose and, as a result, interesting data was obtained. However, to date, there have been no studies conducted on the figures of the Xiongnu animal style.The Xiongnu animal style is divided into five categories based on its figures. Within the mega-representation of ungulates, the figures of deer, bull, horse, goat, mountain goat, mountain sheep, ram, and yak are different from one another. Among the predators, one can discern the images of the feline and bear families, generalized as well as undefined. The images of birds are divided into predatory and non-predatory. Among the fantastic animals, there are four figures of beasts that stand out in detail: griffin, dragon, unicorn, and horned wolf. The figures of beasts, which do not fall under the category of ungulates, predators, birds, or fantastic animals, can be allocated into the category of “other subjects”. There are not many "other" images in the Xiongnu animal style: only snake, hedgehog, hare, lizard stand out.The figures of the Xiongnu animal style are presented in this article in a variety of interpretations. The most interesting characteristic of the Xiongnu animal style is the fact that many animal forms are represented on a geometric plate. In the Xiongnu animal style, various floral elements often serve as the backdrop. It is likely that this is a typical feature of the Xiongnu animal style. In general, the position of the animals' legs and the direction of their heads are the most common features that are can be observed as the unique trait in the Xiongnu animal style. We can say that this taxonomy allows for the effective classification of the Xiongnu animal style.
Keywords: fantastic animals, ungulate, beast, images, repertoire, animal style, Xiongnu, birds, Ordos, classification
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