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Swan

Eastern Altai, Pazyryk Burial Mound 5

5th-4th centuries BC

Felt, deer hair

L 30 cm

The body of the swan is made of white felt, the bill, cere and eye of black felt. The fan-shaped pink and yellow tail is trimmed with six disks, red on top and black beneath. The feet are made from felt of a reddish, greenish or brown colour, stretched over wooden stakes which support the figure in vertical position. The straps that bound the feet were probably used to decorate tents.

The representation of birds was rarely used by ancient Altaic people. A swan, like a waterfowl, symbolized life in three spheres of the universe - in air, on earth and in water. There was also a widespread concept of the creation of the universe by a duck, swan or goose, which was characteristic of many cosmogonical conceptions in ancient times.

 

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