Secret of the Golden Mask
On 21 April, 2009, in the Arabian Hall of the Winter Palace the Secret of the Golden Mask exhibition was opened.
There are altogether three golden masks stored in the State Hermitage
Museum collection. They belong to the different time periods although
they were found relatively not far from each other. Without any doubts
the most amasing of them is the mask from the
Archaeological researches in the south of Russia were initiated in 1830
with the excavation of the
Along with the golden mask and the wreath among the other items there were a small golden flask with a lid richly decorated with garnets, two wide bracelets, earrings shaped as amphoras, a simple golden grivna, several signet rings, about three hundred plaques sewn to the clothes or the cloth which covered the dead person. Also the remains of a necklace and several beads were found. A simple bronze mirror and the remains of a golden spindle, a big number of silver and bronze vessels (several jugs among them), spoons, a kettle, a ladle, a round vessel with a lid richly decorated with reliefs, a ladle and a giant bronze basin are presented. The remains of the two sets of plaques left from the horse bridle should be particularly noted. On the plaques there are images of tamga - the Sarmat tribal sign. Also a bronze leg and facing of some furniture pieces were found.
For the first time all of these items from this tomb stored in the Hermitage Museum are demonstrated to the visitors. Before the exhibition was organised the specialists from the Hermitage Museum and other Russian and foreign scientific centres had thoroughly researched the archive materials and the items from the barrow.
The masks were rarely used during the burials in the antique times in the Northern
Black Sea region. In the Hermitage Museum collection there
is one more mask from a barrow near the ancient Greek colony Olvia and another
one with carved eye-, nose- and
A scientific illustrated catalogue was prepared by the State Hermitage Publishing House to the exhibition.
The curator of the exhibition is Alexander Butyagin, the senior research
scientist and the Head of the Northern Black Sea Sector of the Art and Culture
of Antiquity Department of the State Hermitage Museum.