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, and the 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, when stylised depictions of animals seem to have been especially popular, such as birds, stags, lions, and horses. The horse appears to have been particularly important to the Scythians on account of their nomadic lifestyle, 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.