Excavations of mounds, made to the east of ancient Scythia, allowed to explore the culture of the inhabitants of the steppes. The mounds in the lower reaches of the Syrdarya and in Central Kazakhstan, the Tien Shan, the Altai, the Minusinsk Basin and East Turkestan were discovered and investigated. The most interesting are the monuments of the so-called Pazyryk culture, found in the Altai Mountains. The excavations of huge mounds in the Pazyryk tract are located at an altitude of 1600 m above sea level.

The excavations of huge mounds in the Pazyryk tract are located at an altitude of 1600 m above sea level

The excavations of the Altai burial mounds (Pazyryk, Tuekti and Bashadar) provided remarkable material for preservation and diversity. What is the uniqueness of the Pazyryk finds? The fact is that the local climatic conditions and design features of the burial structures led to the formation of local permafrost lenses in the sub-mound area. As a result, deep graves were filled with clear ice, which preserved fabrics, felt and wood. As is known, almost nothing remains of these materials under other conditions. The work of archaeologists was here quite unusual: their main tool was not a shovel, but a bucket of hot water.

In the ice of the Pazyryk graves, the clothes of the deceased, decorations and utensils of carved wood, felt and pile carpets are perfectly preserved. The permafrost preserved the bodies of people buried here, adorned with intricate tattoos. The felt panel of the tent, found in one of the mounds of the Pazyryk hole, covers the wall of the museum from floor to ceiling, giving the impression of a huge painting. But this is not a painting, but colored appliques depicting proud horsemen in front of mysterious sitting goddesses. Perhaps there are scenes of an unknown epic.

Perhaps there are scenes of an unknown epic

But perhaps even more amazing is the small objects from the mounds of Pazyryk. For example, a tiny wooden deer with horns carved from thick leather that are bigger than him. Seemingly extremely powerful, they form an unusually harmonious openwork pattern. In this 12 centimeter figure, a deep sense of proportions is simply brought to perfection!

Fantastic masks depicting the heads of deer or griffins, the ancient Altais decorated the horses, as if turning them into mysterious deities. Wooden, leather and felt decorations, chepraki, sbruyny and belt buckles - all these products are turned into real works of art and are full of rare expressiveness. Of particular interest are applications with inlays of molten gold, fur or dyed horsehair, depicting the head of a deer, horned little boy, a fantastic rooster, a mountain goat, and a winged tiger. One of the applications on the saddle depicts a tiger, tormenting an elk. For drama, strength and perfection, this composition represents the pinnacle of ancient art. And how much grace is in the felt figurines of the swans who once adorned the tent of the Altai leader.

Most of the works of ancient Altai masters are at the same time masterpieces of fine art, for these inborn painters and sculptors, subordinating the image of the beast to a common decorative idea, at the same time, informed him of the highest expressiveness. but expressed in truly beautiful images. He is recognized immediately, in any subject and even in a tattoo of amazing skill on the skin of a man who has died for three thousand years, depicting all the same real and fantastic animals, infused with the method of glowing with soot.

Pazyryk is one of the amazing faces of the Altai "animal style", decorative and refined and elegant. These products are one of the remarkable achievements of the entire world of decorative art. The harsh nature of Altai has preserved this beauty, and archaeologists have discovered it, enriching the cultural heritage of all mankind.