Ērān ud Anērān
Bronze figurine from the collection of the Daghestan State United Museum in Makhachkala presented in the article come from the sacred place near Gigatl' village, Tsumada district in north-west Daghestan, known as one of the places where the bronze cult plastics finds concentrated. It is a statuette of warrior, height 9 cm, in an expressive costume and ammunition. The sculptural figure of the bearded man is shown in a static pose on the direct placed legs. "Gigatl' warrior" is dressed in long, slightly extending from top to bottom "caftan", drawn on a waist by a belt, and rather narrow trousers filled in low top-boots. On a warrior's head - high conic headgear - helmet or cap with a small ball on the top; on a waist, at right hip (thigh) - any subject, probably, a small purse-bag or case. A torque on a neck and a bracelet on a wrist of the right hand present the ornaments of figurine. The double shoulder-belt is thrown through the right shoulder on left thigh. In the left hand of warrior - chopped off (cut) human head, which he holds for a hair. The military equipment is presented by the round shield hung up for a back, dagger in the left hand and sword-dagger suspended at left thigh. On the loin something like a short apron is looked out from under a shield.
This figurine attracted attention of the researchers, which have offered its various interpretations and dating. The opinions were stated, that "it reproduced an image of an Scythian deified ancestor Targitaos" (Davudov O.M. 1987; 1991) or represents a high-born Scythian warrior of times of early campaigns of Scythians in Near Asia (Gorelik M.V. 1987). Date of the figurine, according to these opinions, is second half 7-6 centuries B.C.
But the analysis of attributes of the figurine, its arms and especially its costume give a possibility to propose Early Medieval dating (6-9 AD) for this statuette (as well as lot of other bronze anthropomorphic figurines of the region), in which the image of a local Deity-Warrior, Hero is visible.
Attire of warrior on the figurine, namely the very significant and indicative coat top clothes (conditionally called caftan), represents the special interest. As it is represented, among known reproductions the upper man's wears depicted on a number of Sasanian silver vessels and representing same such as non-open-cut caftan with cuts and side slips on skirt is closest to a dress of "Gigatl' warrior". Such "caftans" are reproduced, in particular, on dishes from the Hermitage collection with the image of shahanshah Peroz (459-484) hunting on the mountain rams, with the image of shahanshah Khusraw II (591-628) and four grandees (Trever K.V., Lukonin V.G. 1987), on the cup with a wedding scene as a dress of a noble bridegroom from A. Sakler's collection (Harper P.O. 1978).
A territory of north-west Daghestan, whence there is a basic part of the cult anthropomorphic figurines including the examined statuette, was occupied by a state formation Sarīr, the ruler of which, according to Ispahani (Ispahani. 1844), was awarded with a title "Shāh of the boars" (Wahrarzan-Shāh, Var. Wahraran-Shāh, Baghran-Shāh) by Khusraw I and was gifted with robe-kaba with the pictures of this popular character of Sasanian art represented on fabrics, stucco panels, rock reliefs, silver dishes, gems-intaglios. And in the light of this information, at the above given parallels and offered dating of the figurine of Early Medieval period, not only is given an opportunity of interpretation of the "caftan" of "Gigatl' warrior" as sample of rich Sasanian coat, but also the possible way of reproduction of the Sasanian dress on the cult figurine of local Deity becomes understandable.
The contact mountain zone of north-west Daghestan and south-east Chechnya is known by specialists as a place of concentration of numerous finds of the samples of ancient bronze anthropomorphic plastic art, occurring both from pagan sacred cult places, and from burial complexes. Many from these figurines are stored in State Hermitage and Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera) in St.-Petersburg, in State Museum of Georgia in Tbilisi (see: Markovin V.I. 1986, p.74-124), in private collections. The largest collection of them (more than 100 figurines) is in the Daghestan State United Museum in Makhachkala. Some figurines are represented in the expositions of Museum of the Daghestan State University, Museum of the Daghestan State Pedagogical University; there are two figurines in the Berlin Museum (Kunst der Welt…, 1980, S.16).
The absolute majority of them represents man's and female ritually naked figurines in adoration poses, sometimes with such accessories of a costume, as bracelets, torques, belts, headgears. But there are also rare figurines, dressed in clothes. In spite of the fact that the details of a costume, clothes on these figurines are reproduced a little conditionally, that is caused both level of skill of their manufacturer, and small sizes of figurines, nevertheless, they represent doubtless interest and important source on a history of a costume of the ancient population of Northeast Caucasus. At the same time, they can play a considerable role in elaboration of a debatable problem of chronology of bronze anthropomorphic plastic art of this region.
The present article is devoted to one of such figurines, which enters into a complex of original figurines, occurring from a sacred place near Gigatl' village (Tsumada district, north-west Daghestan) and storing in Daghestan State United Museum (No. 18319) (Markovin V.I. 1986, p. 84,86,90,92, fig. 6,2, 10,9, 12,24, 14,3; Davudov O.M. 1991, p. 73-82, fig. 2,1, 3,1). It is a statuette of warrior, height 9 cm, in an expressive costume and ammunition (fig. 1). The sculptural figure of the bearded man is shown in a static pose on the direct placed legs. "Gigatl' warrior" is dressed in long, slightly extending from top to bottom "caftan", drawn on a waist by a belt, and rather narrow trousers filled in low top-boots and little bit hanging down above boot top. On the warrior's head - high conic headgear - helmet or cap with a small ball on the top; on the waist, at right hip (thigh) - any subject, probably, a small purse-bag or case. A torque on the neck and a bracelet on the wrist of the right hand present the ornaments of figurine. The double shoulder-belt is thrown through the right shoulder on left thigh. In the left hand of the warrior - chopped off (cut) human head, which he holds for a hair. The military equipment is presented by the round shield (with round medallion in the center) hung up for a back, dagger in the left hand and sword-dagger suspended at left thigh. On the loin something like a short apron or bottom part of a raincoat-cape is looked out from under a shield.
This figurine repeatedly attracted attention of the researchers, which have offered its various interpretations and dating. So, the opinions were stated, that "it reproduced an image of an Scythian deified ancestor Targitaos" (Davudov O.M. 1987, p. 55-57; 1991, p. 73-78) or represents a high-born Scythian warrior of times of early campaigns of Scythians in Near Asia (Gorelik M.V. 1987, p. 50-53). Date of the figurine, according to these opinions, is second half 7-6 centuries B.C. The analysis of attributes of the figurine, its arms and costume to which the authors have led appropriate (but not always correct) analogues from Scythian period was taken in a basis of the given interpretations and dating.
I proposed (offered) Early Medieval dating for this statuette (as well as lot of other samples of bronze anthropomorphic figurines of considered region), in which the image of a local Deity-Warrior, Hero is visible (Gadjiev M.S. 1997, p. 222-228). As an occasion for such date the typological connection of the Gigatl' figurine with close to it on ammunition figurine of warrior from Khimoy village (south-east Chechnya) has served. The latter, in turn, compares with well-dated Early Medieval statuettes of warriors-spearmen from Beledi, Archo and other places of north-west Daghestan and south-east Chechnya (fig. 2)1. Thus the attention was inverted that "Gigatl' warrior" is armed not an sword-akynakos with bar-shaped top and kidney-shaped cross-piece, as the researchers considered, but a sword with disc-shaped top and hardly bent, almost by straight line cross-piece, that can be compared with known prestigious swords with tops-disks (mainly, chalcedony) of 4-6 centuries. Was specified also, that a conic headgear and round board with medallion submitted on figurine cannot be as important chronological parameters because of their wide temporary and spatial range.
By one of reasons of the researchers proving a dating of the figurine by Scythian period was the presence of its such attribute as the subject, hanging down on loins that was accepted for suspended to a shield small protective rug, similar to which are known among the antiquities of Northern board of Black Sea, Minor Asia, Greece, Balkan peninsula of the middle of the 1st millennium BC (Gorelik M.V. 1987, p. 50; Davudov O.M. 1991, p. 76). However this subject can be interpreted in another way - we can see in it felt or leather "apron" similar found out under skeletons in Alanian catacomb Zmeisky necropolis of 11-12 centuries. Z. Daudet has compared these "aprons" with put on atop of caftan, winterizing felt or leather skirts-belts such as Kirghiz bel'dek in a man's costume and bel'demchi in female one (Dode Z.V. 1995, p. 52; 2001, p. 57). These elements of waist clothes are well reproduced on the medieval pictures of the Turks and on the Polovtsian stone statues (Pletneva S.A. 1974, p.143, tab.27,250; Dode Z.V. 2001, p. 57-58, fig. 35). And some of these bel'deks have the same triangular form (fig. 3,1). But it is possible, that the examined attribute of figurine is not that other, as the picture of a fragment of a raincoat-cape, the top part of which is hidden under a shield. The similar raincoats are represented, in particular, in frescoes of Afrasiab of the end 7 - beginning 8 century on the ambassadors from Chaghanian (Albaum L.I. 1975, p. 48-50, fig. 13,14, tab. XXVIII-XXX), the coats of which are very close to non-open-cut "caftan" of "Gigatl' warrior" (see below).
The subject placed on a waist, on the right side of Gigatl' figurine also can be interpreted not as the picture of a bird compared to a bird-duck that was a symbol and attribute of an Scythian ancestor Targitaos (Davudov O.M. 1991, p. 78), but as small bag or case on a waist-belt. These waist cases are frequently shown on the right side of a belt of the man's characters of Early Medieval mural painting of Central Asia (including at the mentioned ambassadors on the frescoes of Afrasiab), which have besides similar other elements of a costume (upper garments with side slits-cuts, trousers filled in boots etc.). They are characteristic also for a medieval costume of the peoples of Northern Caucasus reconstructed by Z. Daudet (Dode Z.V. 2001).
As to such accessories of the statuette, as a conic headgear and round board with medallion at the center, the analogues to them can be found among the antiquities not only of Scythian period, but also of Early Middle Ages, including territorially and ethno-culturally connected with the examined statuette. For example, the similar conic headgear with a small ball-top is imitated on a bronze figurine from Early Medieval (VII-VIII centuries) cemetery of Bavtughay (northern Daghestan) (Pikul' M.I. 1957, p. 7,24, tab. XXIII,6) (fig. 3,2), which has a likeness with the Early Medieval anthropomorphic amulet from Kamunta necropolis in Ossetia (fig. 3,3) (Materiali po arheologii Kavkaza. 1900, p. 314, fig. 244). The shield's round bronze (diameter 18-32 cm) medallions with rosettes at the center was found in Bezhta necropolis of 8-10 centuries (Tsunta district, north-west Daghestan). Among the finds of the same necropolis there are sphere-conic helmets, two from which have the special lengthened bushes-tops, which are put on the helmets (Ataev D.M. 1963, p. 174-178, fig. 27,1,4,5). These finds can be compared to the appropriate subjects of ammunition of the figurine from Gigatl'.
Double shoulder belt represented on the warrior's figurine can be a rare specific, relic ornament such as rakhas, fixed in a costume of rich Avars (north-west Daghestan); it was not connected with a wearing of the weapon and represented a wide plaited (in 1-2 and more numbers) silver chain with the pendants on the ends, which was thrown atop of cherkeska (open-cut caftan) through a shoulder and was fixed on a waist (Material'naya kul'tura… 1967, p. 220). Rakhas had no utilitarian function and emphasized prosperity and, obviously, a social status of its owner.
The given examples evidently show, as far as the interpretation of various attributes, and after it interpretation and dating of the similar samples of plastic art, on which those or other elements of a costume, the arms etc. are represented conditionally, can be subjective. At the same time, it shows as far as the approach to the analysis of similar objects should be careful, cautious and versatile.
Attire of warrior on the figurine, namely the very significant and indicative coat top clothes (conditionally called caftan), represents the special interest. It, being the important subject of material culture, can be not only essential distinctive ethno-cultural, social sign, but also chronological indicator. Thus it is necessary to note, that the parallels to the elements of a costume (caftan, trousers, headgear), reproduced on the figurine of warrior from Gigatl', are the echoes in traditional clothes investigated by the ethnographers and the historians of a costume. For example, represented caftan with side slits-cuts finds analogues in man's body (shirts) and upper (cherkeskas, beshmets, robes) clothes of the peoples of Caucasus and Central Asia, which have similar side slits.
The authors of "Scythian" interpretation of the Gigatl' figurine have paid attention to elements of a warrior's costume and, in particular, as the nearest analogue have specified on ostensibly same "long caftans with the slits from below", in which are dressed the noble Scythians, reproduced on a silver vase with gilding of the 4th century BC from Gaymanova Mogila barrow (Davudov O.M. 1991, p. 76). However, the given analogy is incorrect. On this vase the Scythians are represented in short, not reaching up to knees, open-cut caftans, the flaps of which, as notes V. Bidzilya, behind have equal cut, and in front come to an end by hanging down long triangular wedges (Bidzilya V.I. 1971, p. 51-54, fig. 8,11). And on the figurine from Gigatl' is reproduced upper long (below than knees) non-open-cut dress of tunic-shaped breed with wide, deep cuts on skirt (flap) in front and behind and with narrow cuts on each side skirt (flap).
Open-cut and non-open-cut caftans with side slips on skirt, representing Sasanian or others, imitating in ornament to Sasanian samples, silks, have received a wide circulation in Early Medieval period and are certified, in particular, in mural painting of Penjikent, Afrasiab, Varakhsha (Lobacheva N.P. 1979, p. 28,35, fig. 4,3,4,6; Bentovich I.B. 1980, p. 198-200, fig. 1,2), among unique materials of the necropolis of Moschevaya Balka, Khasaut etc. (Ierusalimskaya A.A. 1992, p. 14,39, scheme 1; Dode Z.V. 2001, ill. 1-3). But, as it is represented, among known reproductions the upper man's wears depicted on a number of Sasanian silver vessels and representing same such as non-open-cut caftan with cuts and side slips on skirt is closest to a dress of "Gigatl' warrior". Such "caftans" are reproduced, in particular, on dishes from the Hermitage collection with the image of shahanshah Peroz (459-484) hunting on the mountain rams, and with the image of shahanshah Khusraw II (591-628) and four grandees (Trever K.V., Lukonin V.G. 1987, ill. 17,19) (fig. 4,1,2).
V. Lukonin believed, that on a dish with the image of Khusraw II grandees's long "caftans" "in front are raised with the help of a wide strip of a fabric or belt, which is lowered from a figured belt" (Trever K.V., Lukonin V.G. 1987, p. 109). But here the cuts of "caftans" and long lowered tape of a belt-kushak are faster represented. It specifies, first of all, identity of fashion and trimming of the coats of grandees and Peroz. Their "caftans", in particular, have a wide strip of a trimming from other fabric (as against the dress) lengthways skirt, front cut and side slips. And on a dresses of grandees this decorating (trimming) border not tucks in (as would be at a raising of a skirt), and is shown is smoothed, is straightened, as well as on Peroz's "caftan". But if at Peroz "caftan" fasten on a waist by a belt with buckle, at grandees - by a soft fabric belt such as kushak. A noble bridegroom represented on the cup with a wedding, probably, of the end of Sasanian period, scene from A. Sakler's collection has the same non-open-cut coat with cuts and side slips on skirt and fastened the waist-belt with buckle (Harper P.O. 1978, No. 25; Trever K.V., Lukonin V.G. 1987, p. 95, fig. 90) (fig. 4,3).
The very close conformity of the specific in details upper clothes represented on "Gigatl' warrior" and on shahanshah Peroz and Sasanian noblemen can be one more, additional argument for the dating of the figurine from Gigatl' by Early Medieval period. At the same time, the given analogues allow to see in the warrior's "caftan" a sample of Sasanian coat.
Here there is a natural question - how the Sasanian dress could appear reproduced on the sculptural image of a Deity-Warrior from Mountain Daghestan? The answer can be given not only in light of close political, trade-economic and cultural connections of Daghestan and Sasanian Iran, passage through Seaside Daghestan of the important and ancient international road connecting the northern and southern branches of a Great Silk road, possible receiving of valuable Sasanian fabrics, silks and clothes. There is a concrete testimony of a written source about the granting of the rich Sasanian coats that were a symbolical mark of power (about this value of a robe see: Solov'eva O.A. 1998, p. 104-107) to the rulers of East Caucasus.
Al-Bāladhurī, telling about the activity of shahanshah Khusraw I (531-579) on the East Caucasus, informs, that he "has chosen the governors (mulūk) and has nominated them, having given each of them shāhdom (kingdom) above separate region. Among them Khākān of a mountain, and he is named Sāhib al-Sarīr ("possessor of a throne") and he is named Wahrarzan-Shāh (Var. Wahraran-Shāh), governor of Filan, and he is Filan-Shāh, Tabasarān-Shāh, the governor of al-Lakz, he is with a title Djurdjān-Shāh, governor of Maskat, which possession nowadays does not exist, governor of Liran, and he is Liran-Shāh, governor of Shirwān, and he is Shirwān-Shāh" (Beladsori. 1866, p.196).
Hamza Ispahānī explains, why some of East Caucasian rulers have received those or other titles: Khusraw I "has presented each of the leaders (kuwwād) per day of purpose (assignment) him on protection of the boundary area (sagr), determined to him, with a robe (kaba), ornamented of a various sort by figures. The leader carries a title under the name of that figure, that on a robe. So the names have appeared: Baghran-Shāh "Shāh of the boars", Shirwān-Shāh "Shāh of the lions", Filan-Shāh "Shāh of the elephants" (Ispahani. 1844, p.57). The researchers, seem, did not pay due attention on this interesting information. Between that, in it the speech goes about well known on archaeological and other data Sasanian fabrics, silks with the pictures of those or other animals (Dyakonova N.V. 1969) and clothes from them, similar embodied, for example, on frescoes of Afarsiab (Albaum L.I. 1975, p. 21,39-41,48-50, fig. 4,8,13,14 tab. VI, XIX, XXVIII-XXX).
And a territory of north-west Daghestan, whence there is a basic part cult anthropomorphic figurines including the examined statuette, was occupied by a state formation Sarīr (Minorsky V.F. 1963, p. 132-137; Beylis V.M. 1963, p. 249-266), the ruler of which was awarded with a title "Shāh of the boars" by Khusraw I and was gifted with robe-kaba with the pictures of these popular characters of Sasanian art represented on fabrics, stucco panels, rock reliefs, silver dishes, gems-intaglios. And in the light of these information of written sources, at the above given parallels and offered dating of the figurine of Early Medieval period, not only is given an opportunity of interpretation of the "caftan" of "Gigatl' warrior" as sample of rich Sasanian coat, but also the possible way of reproduction of the Sasanian dress on the cult figurine of local Deity becomes understandable.
The image of this deity in royal (king's, shah's) dress also finds an explanation: there are many examples having character of objective regularity (law) and illustrating the gods in same, frequently canonical clothes, as reigning (royal) person. Such conformity, in which divineness (divinity) of royal power is underlined, are evidently shown, in particular, in Sasanian art - on rock reliefs in the scenes of shahanshahs's investitures by supreme god Ahura Mazda, in which "king's clothes became a sample for iconography of the god" (Lukonin V.G. 1969, p. 49).
Ispahani's information is interesting not only that in it the names of pictures on the fabrics are given. In it the widespread practice of granting, gifting of "robe" by the supreme governor to his vassals is certified, the value of "robe" as indicator of a social rank of his owner is reflected. The basic components of the given criterion of the public status were a material, colour and ornament of a robe (Solov'eva O.A. 1998, p. 105-107). And in this connection pays attention, that in the above-stated examples from mural painting of Afrasiab in "caftans", made (sewn) from the same rich fabrics with the pictures of animals (boars, geese, senmurvs, winged horses, peacocks, wild rams), is dressed only the highest nobility - ambassadors from Chaghanian (Albaum L.I. 1975, p. 21,39-41,48-50, fig. 4,8,13,14, tab. VI, XIX, XXVIII-XXX). As against them, such fabrics at the persons accompanying ambassadors are used only for a trimming of neckbands, cuffs, skirts, and cuts. Let's pay attention also that the upper clothes of the ambassadors from Chaghanian, made (sewn) from Sasanian, or imitating to them in ornaments, fabrics, are very close on fashion to above described "caftans" of "Gigatl' warrior", shahanshah Peroz and Sasanian grandees. Differences (it is possible, carrying chronological character) are that the dresses of the ambassadors are longer, reach almost up to ankles, and cuts on skirt in front (and it is probable, behind) are very superficial.
Also the robes with the pictures of various animals, presented by Khusraw to the governors of East Caucasus, corresponded to their social status and administrative rank, emphasized their high political, to no small degree independent, position (rule) that was reflected in a title shah (Middle Persian MLK'=šah) granted to these rulers. A. Kolesnikov, investigating administrative-territorial structure of the Late Sasanian Iran, has come to a conclusion, that the statement of the title šah for marzbans and some of spahbeds of Iranshahr was recognition of significant independence of the boundary rulers and governors (Kolesnikov A.I. 1970, p. 55). This conclusion with the complete right can be distributed on Eastern Caucasian sovereigns - the owners of this title (Gadjiev M.S. 1998, p. 13-14; 2003).
Prof., Dr. Murtazali S. GADJIEV
Department of Archaeology
Institute of History, Archaeology and Ethnology
Daghestan Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences
ul. M. Yaraghi, 75
Republic of Daghestan, RUSSIA
Tel./fax: (007+8722) 670808
Fig. 1. Bronze figurine of warrior from Gigatl' (Daghestan).
Fig. 2. Chronological
and typological connection of the some cult figurines of Daghestan
and Chechnya: 1-5 - complex from Karata village; 6-8
- complex from Beledi farmstead; 9-13 - complex
from Archo village, Mount Berka; 14 - figurine from
Khimoy; 15 - figurine from Gigatl'. (1-3, 5, 6,
9, 10, 13, 14 - on V.I. Markovin, 1986; 4, 7, 8 -
on M.I. Isakov, 1966; 11, 12 - on A.P. Kruglov, 1946).
1-8,10-15 - bronze, 9 - iron.
Fig. 3. The back of
Polovtsian stone statue (1; on S.A. Pletneva, 1974), a bronze
figurine from Bavtughay burial (2; on M.I. Pikul', 1957)
and a bronze amulet from Kamunta cemetery (3; on Uvarova,
The figures of shahanshah Peroz (1), Sasanian grandee (2) and noble
bridegroom (3) on Sasanian silver vessels (1,2 - on K.V.
Trever, V.G. Lukonin, 1987; 3 - on P.O. Harper, 1978).
1 By the principal argument for Early Medieval dating (6-9 centuries) have served the finds of a series of figurines (spearman and of 'adoration' poses with hands on a chest or close to the head) in the complexes with the chronologically indicative bronze ceremonial spoons (from Carata and Archo) (fig. 2, 4,8), which are similar to those from the burials of Kilyatl', Duranghi (north-west Daghestan) and Khorochoy (south-east Chechnya) cemeteries of 5-7 centuries AD (see: Gadjiev M.S. 1997, p. 222-228). In recent article R. Chensiner incorrectly writes (with the incorrect link to the book of A. Abakarov and O. Davudov), that "'datable' copper alloy figurines including some similar to those in the catalogue appear in the complexes excavated at Berikey near Derbent, a Scythian site and Mugergan tombs near Magaramkent in south Daghestan with finds from second millennium BC to fifth century AD and the Middle Ages" (Chensiner R. 1999, p.74). While there are no finds of the figurines of the indicated types found in the complexes of Scythian or other period except for the specified datable complexes from Carata and Archo of Early Middle Ages period.
Actualizado el 24/07/2004