Displays of the Techniques and Decoration in the Art of Scythian Bead Making: Case Study of Khoram Abad Cemetery

The Scythian Tribes were among the last Aryan Tribes to emigrate from their homeland (the plains of southern Russia) after the migration of other Indo-European tribes at the end of the eighth century B.C and were scattered in north of central Asia, southern Siberia, north of Caspian Sea and its western boundary, in the vast plains of this area to the back of the Caucasus Mountains. The present article studies one of the royal graves’ burial findings of the small Scythian Tribes. Khoram Abad cemetery in Meshgin Shahr city that has recently been excavated by archeologists belongs to the Scythian Tribes according to the archaeological data. Excavation at this site was done in 2012 and during the first season three large Kurgans were uncovered with the human and animal burials such as horses, cattles and dogs together. The decorative beads in various shapes and colors are one of the most interesting funerary gifts of the graves in this cemetery. These beads that were in various shapes such as rectangular, triangular, cylindrical, disc-shaped, beading, etc., are made in different materials such as gold, bronze, agate, glass, stone and clay. The purpose of this research is to study the beads of this site in terms of construction technique and decoration method. Among the numerous beads obtained from scientific excavations of Khoram Abad Cemetery, interesting numbers were studied as examples in this study. These beads have been taken into consideration in terms of material, construction method and decoration. The data obtained for this study were collected in both field and library methods. The following questions can be asked in this regard: - What are the techniques and decorative methods used in the construction of the Scythian beads? - How can the function of these beads in the area in terms of quantity and quality of construction be explained? Conducting the present study released various issues related to the Scythian Beads. These beads are demonstrator of skill and expertise of the Scythian Artists in the beading work and standard and the standard and subtle shapes of them represent mass production of them in the bead special workshops. The ordered shapes of some of them demonstrate the molding process used to making them; however, there are samples among them formed by hand. On some of these beads decorations can be seen which seems to be carried out before drying them. In general, production and decoration of these beads show the particular style of beading art in West Asia that is higher than art of the nomadic society. The art of bead making of Scythian Tribes is a sign of ingenuity of these artists. The discussed ornaments are something beyond the art of a tribal society. Interesting shapes and glazes that seem transparent to this day all suggest that these beads are made for the upper class of the society. Various materials such as gold, bronze, glass, stone and clay which have been used to make the beads, indicates the use of the Scythian Artist from all available sources for the creation of beauty. The standard shapes and colors that are produced when an object is mass-produced indicate the possible existence of the type of workshop site used to construct the beads. In this archaeological site, the quantity of excavated objects is more than any other finding; obviously, we should not only consider the decorative aspect of these objects, but also the other functions of these objects. Among all the beads mentioned, the creativity and ingenuity of the Scythian Artist can be clearly seen in the clay beads. Perhaps the worthless being and availability of the raw material left the artist's hand open for artistic initiative, so that he was able to create a variety of forms. This is better understood by looking at the valuable gold and glass beads. The variety and volume of beads excavated here is nowhere to be seen in any other area of the Scythian, which highlights the importance of beautifying and creating beauty with such small ornaments for buried artists and grandchildren. Khoram Abad Cemetery in Meshgin Shahr is like many other Scythian sites in which bead making was common, but unlike other areas, there are no beads such as ruby, turquoise and crockery are made in this area; which is seen here is mostly stone and clay. This illustrates the using of Scythians from available and easy-to-use resources for bead making.

Article Type:
Case Study
Journal of Jelve-y Honar, No. 50, 2019
19 - 32
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