Scythia was an area in central Eurasia, bordering the Black Sea and consisting largely of nomadic tribes. Scythian art was primarily decorative in its nature, termed ‘animal style’, standardized techniques were used to produce a set group of animal depictions with stylized and exaggerated features. The animals represented fit into three categories of bird, ungulate and predator, all of which are associated with the three levels of the world – the heavens, the earth and hell. Additionally, Scythians were famed for their jewellery, which was highly ornate and carefully crafted.
This representation of a horse suggests that the appliqué comes from the earlier tradition of Scythian art. The horse appears to have been particularly important to the Scythians on account of their nomadic lifestyle and multi-usage, to the extent that the bodies of sacrificed horses have been found alongside their deceased owners in the tombs of Scythian nobles. Thus, this appliqué pays homage to an integral element of Scythian culture in a highly stylised manner.
To discover more about Scythian culture, please visit our relevant blog post: Scythian Gold.