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Stratum plus. 2021. No5

N. V. Zhilina (Moscow, Russian Federation)

The Pagan Program of the Early Slavic Art: Man and Animals

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Pages: 111-127

On the base of stylistic and iconographic analysis of the early Slavic pagan artwork, it is possible to see that programs for their creation can be some realistic, semantic, semiotic, decorative agendas behind it. In reality, these types of programs were combined.
Realistic works are unknown, but they are mentioned in written sources. Idols most fully embody the semantic program, depicting the unfolding scheme of the world, showing the role of gods and the place of people and demons in it.
Cover plates and templates with images of people, animals and synthetic creatures formed both semantic and semiotic compositions with a tendency to ornamentalism, used together and separately. With symbols and signs, they reflected the connection between gods, people and animals, the possibility of their mutual transformations, reflected by rituals. Compositions of these images could be connected with pagan sanctuaries and rituals.
Fibulae, items of military equipment, belt sets carry either more decorative compositions (palmate fibulae), or more semiotic ones (fibulae with a ribbon border, anthropozoomorphic fibulae, belt sets corresponding to these types of fibulae). Signs are included in the systems of symbols and meanings that exist outside of things, but they inscribe things precisely there, into the culture and picture of the world of Slavic paganism, where the gods are anthropomorphic, where man conquers animals and other enemies. The sign of anthropomorphism is placed in the center.

Keywords: Eastern Europe, Early Middle Ages, Slavs, art, animals, realistic, semantic, semiotic, decorative

Information about author:

Natalya Zhilina
(Moscow, Russian Federation). Doctor of Historical Sciences. Institute of Archaeology of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Dmitry Ulyanov St., 19, Moscow, 117292, Russian Federation.
E-mail: [email protected]

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