Mongolia or southern Siberia / Belt buckle: paired felines attacking ibexes, Xiongnu type / 3rd?2nd century B.C.Mongolia or southern Siberia
Belt buckle: paired felines attacking ibexes, Xiongnu type
3rd?2nd century B.C.

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Creator Nationality: Asian; Far East Asian; Mongolian
Creator Name-CRT: Mongolia or southern Siberia
Title: Belt buckle: paired felines attacking ibexes, Xiongnu type
View: Principal view
Creation Start Date: 0
Creation End Date: 0
Creation Date: 3rd?2nd century B.C.
Creation Place: Mongolia or southern Siberia
Object Type: Costume and Jewelry
Materials and Techniques: gold
Dimensions: 2 5/8 x 3 1/8 in. (6.7 x 7.9 cm)

During the first millennium B.C., many horse-riding nomadic tribes controlled the vast Eurasian steppes to the north of the Black and Caspian seas. Some of the nomadic groups?particularly Scythian tribes that lived in the plains north of the Black Sea?were described by the Greek historian Herodotus in his Histories. But we also know about them from their burial mounds, which contained sumptuous golden objects made in a variety of styles that reflect contacts with Greece, Persia, and China.

Following earlier Scythian migrations, Sarmatian tribes moved in the fourth century B.C. from the area north of the Caspian Sea into the Caucasus and Europe. Sarmatian animal-style art is distinguished by complex compositions in which stylized animals are depicted twisted or turned back upon themselves or in combat with other animals. Plaques, clasps, and weapons were frequently made of precious metals and embellished with polychrome inlays of stone and glass, many of which find stylistic parallels in the East .

This cast buckle depicts a heraldic composition with two felines biting the necks of two ibexes whose legs are folded beneath them. Although symmetrical confronted animals suggest a Scythian background, this plaque is surely later and also reflects an artistic environment much farther east.

AMICA Contributor: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Owner Location: New York, New York
ID Number: 17.190.1672
Credit Line: Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Copyright: Copyright ? 2002 The Metropolitan Museum of Art. All rights reserved.
AMICA ID: MMA_.17.190.1672
AMICA Library Year: 2002
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright (c) 2002 The Metropolitan Museum of Art. All Rights Reserved

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