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Stratum plus. 2022. No3

L. I. Babenko (Kharkiv, Ukraine)

World Tree Buds: About one Type of Scythian Pole-tops

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Pages: 215-237 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.55086/sp223215237

In the 4th century BC in the Scythian environment, pole-tops in the form of an openwork bell with a character hoisted on it — most often a griffin, deer or bird — become widespread. The shape of the bell is defined by researchers as «pear-shaped», «ovoid» or «barrel-shaped». However, it is unlikely that such a meaning was invested in this form by the craftsmen who made the pole-tops. The probable connection of the poles topped with the symbolism of the world tree, as well as the ornamentation of many bells with the image of palmettes, allows interpreting the «pear » shape of bells as an attempt to model the buds of the world tree.
Images of buds of a similar «pear» shape can be seen on numerous gold ornaments — pendants, headdresses, etc., which is quite consistent with the proposed symbolism of bells.
Making bells in the shape of a bud, decorated with an image of an openwork palmette, clearly demonstrates that in the overall composition of the funerary carriage, ideas related to the world tree, providing communication between different zones of the universe, played a dominant role.

Keywords: Scythians, pole-tops, world tree, Berdyansk barrow, Tolstaia Mogila barrow, Chmyreva Mogila barrow, Gaimanova Mogila barrow, Chertomlyk barrow, Kamenskaia Bliznitsa barrow

Information about author:

Leonid Babenko (Kharkiv, Ukraine). M. F. Sumtsov Kharkiv Historical Museum. Universytetska St., 5, Kharkiv, 61003, Ukraine
E-mail: [email protected]
ORCID: 0000-0002-5498-9278

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