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Vessel - Khokhlach Burial Mound, near Novocherkassk
1st century AD

Gold, turquoise, coral

H 7.5 cm, diam 9.2 cm

This round Sarmatian vessel, with its upper edge turned slightly outwards, has a handle in the form of a young elk. The form of the vessel is identical to that of the hollow vessels typical of nomadic culture. The elk's body is well modelled; the eyes, and muscles of its back, shoulders and hind quarters are emphasized by inlays of turquoise, coral and glass. The vessel and handle were cast separately and then soldered together.

Zoomorphic handles were typical of Sarmatian culture. Animals were positioned with their heads looking towards the rim in order to protect the contents. The Sarmatians believed that animal images formed a protection against evil spirits.
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