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Recent archaer' al finds ,• Amur
River in the n.ussian Far East . uncovered
a very ancient culture that relates directly
to the present-day peoples living in the same
general area of Siberia. For the first time
this rich and astonishing cultural heritage is

described in words and splendid illustrations

by the Soviet archaeologist and writer

Alexei Okladnikov, an outstanding scholar
who has devoted more than forty years to
studying the distant past of the peoples
of Central and Northern Asia.

There can hardly be another place in the

world where an ancient art is so closely
interwoven with contemporary life. Most
of the archaeological and ethnographic
objects shown in this book belong to two
periods —the Neolithic (fourth to second
millennia B.C.) and the present nineteenth
and twentieth centuries. The astonishing
similarities in the exquisite work of the
artists who transformed everyday objects
into works of art show the historical

continuity of this culture and of its

Mysterious stone carvings on rocks convey
facial features from long ago that are basically
like those of the modern tribes. Ancient clay
vessels have the same spiral, zigzag, meander,
circular, and geometric patterns that are still

in use today. Modern shaman ritual objects

—decorated rugs, robes, shirts, and drum-

—evoke ceremonial
sticks practices that have
continued over the centuries. The power
of nature and the might of animals can be
felt equally in old stone carvings and recent
folk art cult figures of bear, tiger, elk,
serpent, bird, and fish —the creatures who
were feared but who also provided the
necessary food in the great chain of life.

Delightful birch-bark boxes of all sorts

and splendidly embroidered and appliqued
ceremonial gowns made offish skin, cotton,
silk, or brocade come from the modern world,
but the decorations are immemorial. A find
for archaeologists and a delight for lovers
book brings
of the beautiful, this exceptional
the work of the Nanai, Olcha, and Nivkh
peoples into clear focus. ^

146 illustrations, /nc/uc elates in full color

3 1111 00774 3931

AF 71982

MAY 2 8 wa2
w si 3 1) 1982

CAU6 198*

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Designed by Yevgeny Bolshakov
Photographs by Ferdinand Kuziumov

Translated from the Russian by

Stephen Whitehead and Alia Pegulevskaya

Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data

Okladnikov, Alexei Pavlovich.

Art of the Amur.

1. Ethnology — Russian — Amur Valley.

2. Art — — Amur Valley. Neolith-
Russian Federation 3.

ic period — Russian Federation — Amur Valley. Man 4.

Prehistoric — Russian Federation — Amur Valley. Amur 5.

Valley — Antiquities. Russian Federation — Antiquities.


I. Title.

GN635. S5055 957'. 7 80-13728

ISBN 0-8109-0681-3

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 80-13728

© 1981 by Aurora Art Publishers, Leningrad

All rights reserved. No part of the contents of this

book may be reproduced without the written permission
of the publishers.

Created by Aurora Art Publishers, Leningrad, for joint

publication of Aurora and Harry N. Abrams, Incorporated,
New York.

Printed and bound in Hungary


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his book is dedicated to the cultural heritage of the Soviet Far East, principally the Amur area
and the Primorye (Maritime) territory. It sets out to describe the artistic treasures left by the
distant ancestors of the Nanai, Olcha, and Nivkh peoples and to show how the modern culture
of these nations has developed from their ancient traditions. It is genuinely remarkable that
what were, in the not so distant past, small and backward nations should have possessed such
creative power. Everyone who has come into contact with the art of the Lower Amur has been
impressed by its creators' vivid originality and inexhaustible wealth of imagination. Researchers
into the culture of the Amur tribes wrote enthusiastically about the works of these unknown
craftsmen. Academician Leopold Schrenck, one of the first Russian researchers in the ethnography
of the Far East, published a superb collection of artefacts which enables us to place the Nanai
(Gold, as they were then called), Nivkh, and Olcha craftsmen of the first half of the nineteenth
century among the greatest artists known to world ethnography. Richard Maack, another Russian
investigator of the Far East at this time, was equally impressed by their work. Finally, Berthold
Laufer, an outstanding nineteenth-century American ethnographer and sinologist, published a study
specifically devoted to the traditional art of the Lower Amur.
Anyone who has studied the books of Schrenck, Maack, and Laufer, and another Russian
ethnographer, Ivan Lopatin, has shared with them that feeling of elation which is aroused by all

contact with the really beautiful. The nameless wood-carvers and sculptors of the Amur transformed
into works of art the most everyday objects — plates for cutting fish, or the birch-bark or wickerwork
boxes in which the women kept the implements of their heavy and exhausting domestic labor.
A simple auger- or a knife-handle became in their hands priceless treasures. The clothes of the Amur
tribes — made not only of fur, but of such an unusual material, to us, as carefully treated fish-skin
were copiously decorated with intricate colored patterns. These peoples reached the heights
of skill in religious art, which formerly played the main part in their spiritual life. The objects of the
primitively naive shaman ritual are most expressive. The fantastic, brightly colored masks personify
the menacing and benevolent spirits, on whose disposition man's life was constantly dependent.
Their mood is echoed by the ritual garments of the shamans —the intermediaries between the world
of people and the world of spirits. Even modern connoisseurs of art are fascinated by the expressive
power of these sculptured idols. Still more striking is the decoration of their buildings, including
the burial huts, whose main function was to make the future life of their kinsmen in the bum
(lower earth) as rich and even beautiful as possible — hence the luxurious decoration of the gables
and walls of these huts. Their own houses were thought of as living beings: they were given eyes
and inside was placed the spirit of the dwelling, its master —the dzhulin — most often presented
in a female guise, that of the Mother-goddess. In the mind of the Nanai and Nivkh, boats too were
living beings —they also had windows of the soul.
eyes, the
Shamanism, with its ritual dances and drum music, has long since disappeared. The customs
of the tribal patriarchy are forgotten. The smoky communal dwelling with rows of bunks has been
replaced by light spacious homes. The people's everyday life has radically changed. But the ancient
art and its traditions continue to live, and they find a new stimulus in the social demands of con-
temporary life. While carefully preserving their artistic inheritance, the peoples of the Amur are
constantly enriching their culture.
There can hardly be any other place in the world where the art of the distant past is so closely
interwoven with contemporary life, ancient culture with modern, and where, as a result, the con-
nections between past and present can so easily be traced. As far as distant antiquity is concerned,
the petroglyphs of the Amur and Ussuri have always aroused especial interest.
Everyone who sees these Far-Eastern petroglyphs for the first time feels that he is encountering
something unusual and unexpected. For more than a hundred years the petroglyphs of the Lower
Amur and the Ussuri have attracted the attention of researchers attempting to solve the riddle

of their origin and age. No less fascinating are the original style and inner meaning of these images,
so much in contrast with all that is known of the early art of the neighboring territories of
North and East Asia. When we compare the petroglyphs with the objects of Neolithic art,

with ornamented earthenware vessels and clay statuary, we see that they form an integral whole,
permeated by the same ideas and the same conception of life.

Moreover, the same patterns, images, and subjects that characterize the petroglyphs found
at Sikachi-Alian on the Amur, Sheremetyevo on the Ussuri, and "Chortov Plios" (Devil's Reach)
on the Kiya River, can also be traced in the remarkable folk art of these regions of the Far East.
Thus the evidence of archaeology and ethnography shows the wealth and originality of the
art of the Amur tribes over an enormous period of time —from the Neolithic (fourth to second
millennia B.C.) or possibly Mesolithic period (eighth to sixth millennia B.C.) to the present.
Most of the archaeological and ethnographical exhibits reproduced in this book belong to two
chronological extremes —the Neolithic Age and the period of modern ethnography, which display
close correspondences with one another in their art.
The final chapter of the book is devoted to artistic finds belonging to the period of transition
from stone to metal, and to the succeeding Iron Age as far as the Jurchen period —to a time when,
as a result of complex historical processes, new ethnic groups and new cultures were formed.
In these cultures the age-old traditions can still be found, and they are strikingly visible
in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries among the Nanai, Olcha, and Nivkh. The continuity
of this culture and its traditions does not mean, of course, that it remains static and unchanged.
On the contrary, like all nations, the peoples of the Amur have undergone a complex historical
development, coming into contact with other nations and cultures. But, for all that, their art brings
down to us something time-honored and immortal which has withstood the flow of centuries.
Taken as a whole, these monuments testify to the fact that the vast territories of the Lower Amur
and the Ussuri have for thousands of years, since time immemorial, been occupied by the ancestors
of the present-day nations of the Amur region, and that they created an original, rich, and
remarkably vigorous culture.


Sikachi-Alian in the Nanai language means "Boar's Hill." This small village, lost in the taiga, is

familiar to scholars of various countries. The eminent American orientalist Berthold Laufer visited
Sikachi-Alian at the end of the nineteenth century, and in the 1920s the Japanese professor Riuzo
Torii, author of numerous books and studies on the archaeology and ethnography of Japan, Sakhalin,
Manchuria, and Mongolia, also came here.
Sikachi-Alian is described in the works of the famous traveller Vladimir Arsenyev and of Lev
Sternberg, the outstanding Russian scholar who is mentioned with respect by Friedrich Engels
as the discoverer of a new form of group marriage.
In 1935 the first Soviet archaeological expedition was sent to Sikachi-Alian and had the good
fortune to discover many previously unknown treasures of ancient art. Like the scholars who had
preceded them, the archaeologists were fascinated by the huge basalt boulders piled up in long
mounds along one bank of the Amur.
Millions of years ago, a current of molten lava flowed out of the depths of the earth, from the crater
of a now non-existent volcano. It congealed, cracked, and finally, undermined by the river,

disintegrated to form a multitude of boulders. On one of these massive fragments of rock, black
and weather-worn, as old as the Amur itself, a relief drawing was discovered. An underwater
monster, the "Black Dragon" — legendary master of the Amur — seemed to be emerging from the pi. 4

muddy water, from the silty bed of the river. The rough boulder, witness of the infancy of our planet,
bore the imprint of creative thought and revealed the strange, mysterious world of prehistoric art.

Time has smoothed the sharp edges of the rock, polished its surface, but could not obliterate
the deep grooves cut by the hand of an unknown artist.

Once you have seen this remarkable production of prehistoric art, it is impossible to forget it.

It is striking for its laconic wisdom and simplicity, for the fantastic intricacy of the design, and finally

for the keen sense of composition with which the primitive craftsman arranged the picture
on the side of the rock.
The drawing and the rock form an indissoluble whole, also with all of the surrounding landscape
—the Far-Eastern taiga, the limitless expanse of the great Asian river. When the water level rises,

the waves lap against the monster's beard and its slanting eyes. Gradually the water rises higher
and higher until the entire stone is hidden. In two or three months, the rock will once more
appear above the mirror of the waters. And so year in, year out, through the centuries.
The image of the monster, carved on the stone of Sikachi-Alian, is as if born of the earth itself,

formed by its elemental creative power, by the force that raises the vigorous spring sap from
the depths of the earth and gives birth to all living things.

The drawing involuntarily brings to mind the ancient Greek myth of the infancy of the Universe
and the gods, of the monstrous giants, the Titans with many arms and serpent legs born of the Earth
goddess Gaea. It recalls also the battle of the Olympians with the sons of Earth, carved on the marble
frieze of the Pergamon altar.

Was not this enigmatic monster-image on the Amur suggested by such a myth, or perhaps an even
older one? In fact there does exist among the Nanai a myth about the first days of the Universe
and the hero-demigods, a myth that may help to solve the problem of how these drawings
appeared on the rocks of Sikachi-Alian.
It is no wonder that the Khabarovsk ethnographer Nikolai Kharlamov, fired by the romantic past
of the Far East, imagined that these were the ruins of an ancient city with tall columns of hewn
stone, as at Baalbek, covered with representations of unknown beings from a foreign world.
He is the author of the first, although very short, description of the Sikachi-Alian petroglyphs
in our literature. In it he mentions the "ruins of Galbu" and creates a striking picture of the former
city. "On the territory of the Far East," writes Kharlamov, "are scattered a great number
of monuments that testify that the region was formerly inhabited, and they are of enormous
scientific interest. Among these the ruins of 'Galbu* on the right bank of the Amur, 75 km below

Khabarovsk at the Nanai (Gold) encampment of 'Sanagi-Alyal' (in ancient times 'Galbu'), attract
particular attention. Along the cliffs of 'Sanagi' and 'Gasya' drawings are cut into the rock, and these
have for a long time excited the interest of travellers and scholars. . . In our opinion, the ancient
ruins of 'Galbu' are the remains of an old city, the religious center for the inhabitants of the Far
East at that time. This is proved by the regular construction of the stone embankment, the mud-
paved square, the numerous rocks incised with ritual drawings, and what seem in places to be
the stone walls of the city as well as moats and earthworks beyond the camp." In Kharlamov's view
the town existed from the first millennium B.C. until almost the end of the first millennium A.D.
Needless to say, no ruins of a temple were found in Sikachi-Alian. The first thing that the archaeological
expedition of 1935 discovered was the rock drawing that has already been described. Not far away,
and also half covered by water, lay a second stone carved with a figure of an elk, and also another
mask, without the same elaborate decoration around it. This face was of regular ovoid form ; the slant-
ing eyes with distinct round pupils, and the wide nose stood out sharply against it; on the cheeks
and chin were parallel curved lines, possibly tattoos.

The drawings on the rocks of Sikachi-Alian also attracted the attention of Arsenyev. He saw them
during his travels in the mountains of Sikhote Alin in 1908. "Near Sikachi-Alian on the bank
of the Amur," writes Arsenyev, "there are stones carrying drawings that are covered over during
the spring floods. On one stone is an outline representation of a human face. The eyes, nose,
eyebrows, mouth, and cheeks can be clearly distinguished. On another stone are two human faces;
the eyes, mouth, and even nose are shown by concentric circles, and on the forehead are a number

of undulating lines, which give an impression of surprise as though the eyebrows were raised."
There are many stones with drawings in Sikachi-Alian. Incised on the basalt boulders are not only
fantastic masks, but also figures of animals and clusters of writhing snakes.
All along the steep right bank of the Amur, from the last houses of the Nanai hamlet of Sikachi-
Alian as far as the old Russian village of Malyshevo and its jetty, there are piles of basalt rocks
—the remains of fallen cliffs. This is the same mass of huge, rough-edged boulders that produced
even on the restrained and unemotional Laufer the impression of man-made defensive wall

and that Kharlamov took for the remains of a fortress and temple. The ridge of boulders, becoming
gradually lower and sparser, stretches out like a spit of land from the picturesque cliff, on the top
of which in Moh-hoh times was built a small but powerful fortification. This is where most of the
drawings are concentrated; the largest and most impressive of them are two elks and a boulder ph. 41,44

with a "radiant" mask.

There is another large accumulation of basalt boulders at the lower end of Sikachi-Alian, beyond
the deep inlet of the Amur (referred to as Lake Orda by Laufer), which separates one part of the
village from the other. Here there are a number of rocks with representations, including a large,
almost rectangular slab carved with huge figures of animals.
Rock carvings are found both at Malyshevo and further upstream. We must also mention a fourth
place where petroglyphs have been found, in this case not on boulders but on the vertical surfaces
of the cliffs along the river between the drawings of Sikachi-Alian and the petroglyphs of Malyshevo.
These are incised line drawings, including a thin-line depiction of a mudur dragon or serpent. —
In short, this small region is a veritable museum of the primitive art of the Amur. The number

of petroglyphs here (in all about 150) has been only approximately established, for most of the year
the Amur overflows its banks and the ridges of basalt are covered over. The spring rush of ice,

which in ancient times destroyed the cliffs, still continues to toss the heavy slabs of stone and break
them into fragments. When this happens the drawings too are broken, and sometimes overturned
and buried under piles of stones.

Could the drawings have been originally incised on the cliffs, and subsequently, when the cliffs

collapsed, have fallen into the river and been carried downstream by the ice? In that case

the surviving fragments of cliff would still carry drawings identical to those cut into the boulders.
However, there is no sign of them. Moreover, the drawings are done in such a way as to fit the shape
of the boulders which had broken away from the rock face. Thus it is most likely that the drawings
were executed on the stones, and we should more properly call them boulder drawings rather
than rock drawings. In style and subject matter, the drawings of Sikachi-Alian are divided into two
sharply distinguished groups: the oldest, archaic drawings and the later ones of the Moh-hoh
period. Most of —
them belong to the first group archaic, purely primitive.
The oldest petroglyphs all use the same method of pecking or pressure retouching, characteristic
of the Neolithic period. The craftsman worked on the drawings in the same way as on a stone axe:
he struck stone against stone, chipping off small flakes one after another, until he had made tiny
depressions in the surface, which merged into a single patch or line. The result was a high-relief
image, sometimes almost three-dimensional. The drawings bear the marks of great antiquity. They
are often worn so smooth that it is hard for the eye to follow the outlines of individual figures. In
many cases the drawing can be found only by touch: the parts which were chipped away in ancient
times are smoother than all the remaining surface of the rough stone untouched by human hands.
Compared with all the other, similar, archaeological monuments known to us in Asia, the petro-
glyphs of Sikachi-Alian stand out as something unusual and exciting. What can we learn from these
fantastic masks, these snakes and strange beasts, carved by the hand of an unknown sculptor?
Among the prehistoric drawings of Sikachi-Alian the enigmatic stylized anthropomorphous faces
or masks occupy a central place. They are so varied that it is difficult them into any
to divide
definite groups: each mask represents a separate type, but all the same they show a certain unity
of form and style and can be classified by certain definite features.

The most important common them depict not real human faces,
characteristic is that most of
but precisely masks. This is not because people of those times were unable to reproduce the features
of the human face realistically in stone. One of the drawings of Sikachi-Alian depicts a human being
with such warm and tender feeling that the stone may be said to have come alive under the hand
of the craftsman. The outline of the face is deeply cut, the large slant eyes look out from under
drooping heavy lids, the round depressions of the nostrils and the wide fleshy lips are finely modeled.
More often, however, we find masks. These are strikingly laconic, conventionalized, abstract
representations of the human face. Abstract does not mean simplified, reduced to the minimum
of expressiveness. On the contrary, notwithstanding their overall unity of style each drawing
has its own character, its distinguishing peculiarities and details. In other words, we see here one
subject, but with endless variations, produced by the various and unexpected combinations
of traditional artistic devices.

ph. 6, 7 Most of the masks have an elliptical or ovoid outline, but some are circular. Some are elliptical
at the top and cut off horizontally at the bottom (truncated ovals). Apart from elliptical, ovoid,
and circular masks, there are also cordate ones (with an indentation at the top). Some masks are
very broad at the top and taper sharply at the bottom to a rounded or truncated chin. These masks
suggest the face of an ape, and at the same time a skull. In some cases (as in the drawings
on the Sheremetyevo rocks) the mouth is closely packed with teeth, which enhances the likeness
to a skull. Thus we have another type of mask — skull-shaped. We may note that skull-worship
is a genuinely primitive phenomenon, especially characteristic of the period of transition
from matriarchy to patriarchy.
We find the same basic types of mask in several variants: it is clear that this is the result of the
craftsman's individual creative approach, and that there is no obligatory standard type. Sometimes
the primitive artist does not even attempt the outline of a face. He draws a mouth, a pair of eyes
above it —and leaves it at that. To him it is already a mask (we may call these partial masks).
The eyes and mouth are usually rendered by concentric ovals or circles. Alternatively the eyes
are made not round but slanting, fish-shaped. The eyes are essential: the ancients believed that
man's soul looked out through his eyes.

Besides, many of the masks show a nose, some form of tattooing, and also a splendid headdress
or a kind of halo made up of lines arranged symmetrically around the face.

Ever since the discovery of the masks of Sikachi-Alian and Sheremetyevo, researchers have tried
to find out when and by whom these The answer was found
strange faces were cut into the rock.
after the start of systematic excavations of the ancient settlements on the banks of the Amur,
including some in the immediate vicinity of these basalt slabs with petroglyphs. In 1972, during
work near the village of Voznesenskoye at the mouth of the Gur River, our archaeological expedition
uncovered something quite unexpected and remarkable. We found fragments of an earthenware
vessel, brilliant red and burnished, whose color and gloss called to mind the polished red-painted
vases of the ancient Greeks. Of course it was covered not with lacquer, but with a type of slip-
coating, a thin layer of specially prepared red ochre, which was then polished with an abrasive
stone. Vessels of this type were first found in 1935 on the island of Suchu near Mariinsk and have
already been encountered several times on the Amur. But this time something unusual was un-
pis. 18, 19 covered : round, human eyes looked at us from this fragment of Neolithic pottery. The nose
with its distinct nostrils was executed in high The mouth was clearly outlined by
relief. a deep
incision in the soft clay. In a word, it was just such a mask as those of the Sikachi-Alian
and Sheremetyevo rocks. The vessel carries the remains of other masks, which must have formed
a continuous band, a kind of circle-dance, around its upper half. The creator of this remarkable piece
of pottery depicted not only faces, but also arms raised in an attitude of prayer, like those of
the famous Virgin Orans of the "Impregnable Wall" in Kiev. Admittedly, unlike the Virgin Orans,
these creatures have not fingers and toes, but sharp animal claws. Their pose is also unusual: as far

as we can tell from the potsherds, they are squatting on their haunches.

This strange, fantastic composition reflects a spiritual world that is unknown to us; it shows
the unusual and imaginative artistic ideas of the ancient tribes.
Comparing the masks incised on the basalt of Sikachi-Alian with those drawn in the soft clay
of the Voznesenskoye vessel, we can see how much these works of early Amur art have in common.
The resemblance between the masks on the vessel and those of the petroglyphs is seen first of all
in their similarity of outline. It is most significant that this resemblance extends to the manner

in which the outlines are filled in. The eyes, for example, are represented either by regular circles,

by commas, or fish-shapes. The fish-shapes on one of the masks of the vessel differ from those
of the petroglyphs only in that they are inverted, with the narrow corners turned downwards.
Over the eyes of the Voznesenskoye mask is a molded double arc, like the spread wings of a bird.
We find just such arcs on the majority of the petroglyphic masks. It forms the top of the cordate
oval mask of the clay vessel. These masks are done in low They have protuberant, softly mod-

elled noses and just as protuberant mouths. We can observe the same tendency towards sculptural
treatment in the ones depicted on the rocks. A further similarity is probably non accidental:
the anthropomorphous representations are placed on the rounded sides of the Voznesenskoye ,

vessel, and the petroglyphic masks are carved on the convex face and sides of the basalt slabs.

Another interesting feature is that each of the masks on the vessel, like those of Sikachi-Alian,
is different from the neighboring ones and has own unique character. One has round eyes,

the next has eyes in the form of a half-spiral or comma. One mask is a regular cordate oval, and
another is cleft at the top and has a cordate outline, like some of the heart-shaped Sikachi-Alian
boulder drawings. All the wealth of decoration, all the typical features of the Sikachi-Alian masks
are combined in the ornamentation of this one vessel.
As was to be expected, careful examination of the site and further excavation showed that the
vessel had been deposited in a specific layer, corresponding to the Middle Neolithic period in the
stratigraphy of the Voznesenskoye settlement. In the Amur pottery of that period, curvilinear
ornamentation reached its full development. And the spiral was widely used: its tight curves,
covering the vessel, were usually drawn against a stamped background of parallel vertical zigzags.
The settlement of Voznesenskoye was in all respects similar to the famous settlement on the
Lower Amur, on the island of Suchu. People of the' same tribe, at the same period, built their deep
pit-dwellings at Voznesenskoye and on Suchu, modelled identical clay pots, and were equally
assiduous in decorating them with complicated, almost geometrically exact spirals and molded masks.
The age of the Voznesenskoye vessel and the era to which it belongs is that phase of the Neolithic
period which can be firmly dated by the modern radiocarbon method as the third millennium B.C.
Next came another new find, this time on the same bank of the Amur as the boulders carrying
drawings, on the steep promontory between Malyshevo and Sikachi-Alian. During excavations
of a Neolithic settlement, fragments of vessels decorated with anthropomorphous masks, together
with polished stone axes and finely chipped flint arrowheads, were found among the remains of an
ancient dwelling. Admittedly they are simpler than those on the Voznesenskoye vessel, and without
the sumptuous purple or crimson background, but perhaps for that reason all the closer to the masks
carved in the basalt slabs of Sikachi-Alian. These masks are oval, with rhomboid eyes. The surface
of the masks, as with their counterparts at Voznesenskoye, is ornamented with comb impressions.
Still more exciting was the discovery of a small fragment of a clay cup with a fine pattern
of vertical zigzags made up of dotted comb-impressed lines, such as is found on hundreds of pot- p/. 2

sherds from Neolithic dwellings along the Amur and Ussuri rivers. What was completely unexpected
was an apelike head in relief on the inner rim of the vessel, with huge round eyes and an oval
mouth outlined with a fine groove: an exact repetition of the Sikachi-Alian masks. The cup, which
can be dated by its vertical zigzag pattern, was found on the site of one of the Neolithic
dwellings of Kondon, a large ancient fishing settlement on the Lower Amur, the second Neolithic
"Pompeii" of the Far East (after the island of Suchu). Now there could be no doubt about the age
of the majority of the Sikachi-Alian masks.

In short, masks played a dominant role in the art and constituted the major part of the rock
drawings of the Neolithic culture of the Amur some five or six thousand years ago. They show with
great distinctness their creators' unique artistic world. The enigmatic soul of an unknown culture,
of mysterious and forgotten tribes, seems to look out at us through their huge, staring eyes. But
are they so mysterious? Have they become entirely forgotten and lost in the haze of time? Here
ethnography comes to the aid of archaeology.

The ritual shaman masks of the Udeghe and Nanai of the Lower Amur (such as those in the Khabar-
ovsk Museum of Local Studies), unique and remarkable for their decoration, almost fully reproduce

ph. 20, 21 the patterns and general appearance of the masks of Sikachi-Alian and of the Voznesenskoye vessel.
The masks of the petroglyphs have also come down to us, although naturally with changes,
in the ornaments of the present-day Amur peoples. Laufer in his time firmly denied the existence
of anthropomorphous elements in the decorative art of the Amur tribes. He indicated as its

characteristic features only zoomorphic and plant motifs, in the first place stylized drawings of fishes,

cocks, and dragons. In his own terms he was, of course, absolutely right: it is true that the ornamen-
tation of the Nanai, Olcha, and Nivkh contains no anthropomorphous representations which have
the same degree of naturalism as the depictions of cocks and fishes. However, after careful study we
have none the less come to the conclusion that it does contain simplified yet distinct masks.
Moreover, they are not an exception, but its most widespread and indeed basic element. They
include a simian mask with a broad, round upper half, within which huge eyes like those
of the petroglyphs are represented by a double spiral. The wide apelike nostrils and massive chin
stand out clearly. The broad ears are also rendered as spirals. Over the head we frequently find

two raylike projections. Basically similar straight lines, projections or rays, are also characteristic
of theanthropomorphous masks of the petroglyphs; they crown them at the top, and sometimes
form a border around the sides. Similar patterns are found on the household articles and appliences
made by Nanai women even now. Thus the masks of the Amur petroglyphs have not disappeared
without trace, but, like other motifs (for example, birds or fishes) have been incorporated in later

ornamentation, for which they served as a sort of building material; they have become elements
of decorative patterns.


Other finds also bear witness to the links between the ancient and modern cultures of the Amur.
In the course of excavations carried out at Kondon in 1965, we unearthed a Neolithic dwelling

in which were a dozen vessels, shattered and crushed by the weight of earth; they carried the already
familiar pattern of broad spirals over a background of comb-impressed dotted lines.

And suddenly, while the pottery was being uncovered, the archaeologist's knife touched the surface
not of a sherd, but of some relatively small artefact. A few minutes later the cry rang out:

"A statuette!"

pi. 27 This was the first anthropomorphous statuette, and at that time the only one in the whole
of the Neolithic Amur. It was made of clay and had been thoroughly burnished and fired. The figure
reveals the skillful hand and observant eye of the sculptor who made it. It seems to hold
the accumulated experience of many generations of sculptors, of age-old, persistent, and individual
artistic traditions.

The depiction is entirely realistic. It is not simply a generalized image of a woman, but rather
a portrait. The Neolithic sculptor has conveyed with remarkable warmth the features of an actual

human face, with a soft oval outline, broad cheekbones, a slender chin, and small pouting lips.
The woman's nose is long and thin, like those of the North American Indians. The eyes,
exaggeratedly long and narrow, like arched slits, are deeply cut in the soft clay. The forehead is low;
the upper part of the head is slanted back.

In contrast to the finely modeled head, the bust of the figurine is only a rough outline, and there
are no arms. But this makes the face still more
Kondon one can meet Nanai
alive. Even now in

girls with faces of this type. They radiate the same subtle feminine charm as the statuette which

has lain for thousands of years in the ground of this Stone Age dwelling. Perhaps the most
unexpected thing about the Kondon statuette is that the head and thin, slender neck are slightly
inclined forwards, towards the viewer, recalling the Egyptian queen Nefertiti.
While the Kondon statuette is attractive for its feminine grace, another of the same period, found
in a Neolithic dwelling on the island of Suchu, has quite a different appearance. This too is a figure

without arms. However, its manner is not soft and sculptural, but harsh and austere, like a line pi. 26

drawing. The narrow slant eyes are sharply and deeply cut, as if by a single energetic stroke of the
sculptor's hand. The small nostrils seem to breathe menace and wrath. The whole statue is dynamic
and powerful. If the Kondon statuette resembles Nefertiti, this one brings to mind literary images
— Pushkin's Queen of Spades or the Venus d'llle in Merimee's story of the same name. But it has
distinct mongoloid features; they are even slightly exaggerated and made more pronounced
by the artist.

The absence of arms in both statuettes also testifies to the links between ancient and modern,
to the continuity of cultures. In our ethnographical museums there are many sculptures without
arms, made by Nivkh, Nanai, and Olcha artists. These include sevons, figures embodying the spirits

of illness and shamans' helpers during their magic rituals, and dzhulins, incarnations of female
spirits, the guardians of dwellings and Mother-goddesses of the families living there.
One of the most remarkable petroglyphs of Sikachi-Alian shows an even more striking closeness
to ethnographical material. This is a rare example of a mask with a body, again without arms, pi. 25

although there would have been ample room

them on the boulder. The face is roughly sketched,
with holes for eyes and mouth; it is carved on two adjoining faces of the rock, as if hewn out .

of a log with two or three blows of an axe. That is how the Nanai craftsmen, highly skilled wood-
carvers, hewed their wooden idols or sevons. By using the grain of the tree-trunk, they were able
to show on the cut surfaces not only the sevon's face and his pointed hat, but also his eyes. Just like
the sevon, this figure on the stone is three-dimensional; it has a diamond-shaped trunk, entirely
filled in with chevrons (angled lines one inside the other). In this it most of all resembles the Nanai
sevon, the hunting spirit Girki-Ayami. Another feature of resemblance between the Nanai ritual

sculptures and the petroglyphs is the characteristic raylike pattern around the head and headdress.
All this once more confirms the remarkable continuity of artistic traditions in the Amur region.


In the Neolithic pit-dwellings where the female statuettes were found, on the island of Suchu
(which in the Olcha language means "abandoned camp"), excavations also uncovered clay figures
of a bear. The bear is shown realistically, with a heavy body, massive head, and typical muzzle. pi. 33

One can sense his primordial strength. Even in the smallest sculptures he inspires respect: like
it or not, you step aside when the master of the taiga makes his way heavily through the dense
thicket, turning over the logs in search of ants, his favorite delicacy. Judging by the hole pierced
through the back of the animal while the clay was still soft, the figures must have been hung on a cord
during some kind of ceremony or ritual. We also encounter stone figures of bears (on pestles
and sinkers). It would be surprising if such representations had not been found during the excavation
of Neolithic settlements, since we know what an important place the bear has occupied in the rituals
and beliefs of the Amur tribes from prehistoric times.
Among the rituals involving bears (both images and live animals), the most important was the bear-
festival: after a ritual feast in his honor the bear was slaughtered, and this was followed by a sacred L

meal and then the burial, a respectful celebration of his departure to the other world. All of this

complex symbolism had a central place in the social life of the Amur tribes and their neighbors
not only in the Siberian taiga, but on Sakhalin, the Kuriles, and Hokkaido. The symbolism
of the bear-festival was a reflection in a fantastic form of the actual social structure of these ancient
hunters of the taiga, and of their two-clan organization, based on the blood relationship of two
tribes or phratries.
The people of the Stone Age constructed for themselves an imaginary mythological picture
of the world, based on the example of actual human communities. According to their beliefs the
world was divided into two classes: people and beasts; the latter possessed all the characteristics
of human beings. Men and beasts entered into kinship relations and co-operated with one another.
The beasts responded to people's needs by giving them their bodies for food. In return, the people
brought the beasts sacrifices, making them a "gift" of what they lacked.
The bear is also one of the most widespread images in the art of the present-day nations
of the Amur. The bear-figures of modern folk art are close to the Neolithic statuettes they show :

the same lifelike quality, the same terse and expressive design.
The image of the elk is also at the heart of the mythology of the primeval hunters. This animal
was a basic source of food and clothing. Its bones were made into spear- and arrow-heads, its
antlers into bows. And not only bows, but also works of art once again, figures of elks and bears. —
If the bear was the totem of one half of the endogamous tribe, the elk was at the head of the other.

In the legends of the Siberian tribes, the cosmic elk appears as the zoomorphic representation
of the earth and sky, the incarnation of the Universe. The image of the cosmic elk was linked with
the fate of the Universe: the hunter-bear or group of hunters-bears chase the elk; when the elk
is caught and killed, catastrophe will overtake the world, and the Universe will perish.
pis. 40, 41, 44 That is why the striking elk pictures appeared on the rocks of Sikachi-Alian. They show not only
a true-to-life silhouette of the animal, but also the ribs and conventionally presented inner organs:
the body of the animal is shown as if in longitudinal section, as the hunter saw it while he cut
up his prey with a stone knife.
Nor did the prehistoric artists forget the third ruler of the Far Eastern forests —the tiger, who also
played an important role in the beliefs of the Amur peoples.

pi 4 6 In one of the best compositions on the boulders of Sikachi-Alian, the figure of a tiger is clearly
shown —with a striped body, a long tail, and a catlike round muzzle stretched forward. Just such
tigers are a popular subject in the ritual shaman sculpture of the Amur nations. It may be that some
of the masks, which at seem to be anthropomorphous, in fact represent a tiger or something

which is half-man, half-tiger. There is something beastlike, awesome, and powerful about the
strikingly impressive mask on the bank of the Amur, through which we first made acquaintance
with the mysterious world of the Sikachi-Alian petroglyphs. Did not the tiger also produce such
an impression on the ancient inhabitants of the Far East, who, when they met him, fell to their
knees and humbly implored him to pass them by? And is not the tiger shown as the lord of the Amur
on the slab of basalt at Sikachi-Alian?


There is another common theme in the ancient and folk art of the Amur peoples —the bird.

Among the petroglyphs of Sikachi-Alian we find a depiction of a sitting duck or swan. It has a large

circular head with a round eye, like those of the masks.

On the same rock another bird is shown with its back to the first. Its eye is very large, almost
completely filling the head, and there is no dot inside it. Its bill is long and slightly curved.
But unlike the first, this bird has a somewhat longer body.
Apart from ducks and swans —waterfowl —the Sikachi-Alian boulders include two representations
of a woodland bird which resembles a sitting wood grouse. One of the depictions belongs to the

earlier, presumably pre-Neolithic layer, to the pre-ceramic, or, as it is usually called, Mesolithic
era. It is incised, together with the primitive figures of beasts, on a slab of rock beneath an outcrop
of the bank,where the remains of a Mesolithic settlement were found with characteristic leaf-

shaped blades made of black stone.

In Sheremetyevo on the Ussuri, the second most important concentration of petroglyphs in the Far
East, depictions of birds aremore frequent. Represented there are mostly waterfowl swans — p i_ $1
or geese and ducks. Clay figurines of birds were found in a Neolithic dwelling on the island of Suchu.
This time the birds are shown in flight, with wings spread. p \. si
The collections of our ethnographical museums contain many parallels to them depictions of birds, —
including waterfowl (geese, ducks, and swans).
Birds figure in the legends and myths of the Amur nations; for example, in the myth about
the creation of the Universe recorded by Laufer in the nineteenth century: "In the beginning
of the world there were only three men, called Shankoa, Shanwai, and Shanka. There were three
divers and three swans. Once upon a time the three men sent the three swans and the three divers
to dive for soil, stones, and sand. The birds dived. For seven days they stayed under water. Then
they emerged. They brought earth, stones, and sand and they began to fly about, carrying the earth
that they had brought. They flew all around the world. The earth originated when the divers flew,
holding earth and stones in their bills. Mountains and plains arose. The divers flew about;
and where they flew, rivers arose. Thus they determined the courses of the rivers. They flew
toward the sea, and the Amoor river arose."
In Sikachi-Alian, as also at Sheremetyevo, aquatic birds are shown in pairs, which corresponds
to the mythological beliefs about the creation of the Earth by two divers, two demiurges, two
brothers or Another important feature is the slantwise cross carved on the breast

of a swan drawn on the Sheremetyevo rocks. This is a hint at the bird's cosmogonal significance,
its active role in the creation of the world.
Birds play no less of an active part in the myths about the "tree of the world"; the souls of people
or shamans, in the mysterious other world, "grow up" in nests on the branches of this tree. These
souls have the appearance of waterfowl — ducklings. According to the Nanai legends there are three
such trees: one in the sky, in which all souls live before their incarnation in the form of unfledged
ducklings; another identical one in the nether world, in the kingdom of the dead; and the third
on the earth — a birch tree carrying the objects of the shaman rituals. The shaman tree with birds
—the souls of yet unborn people — sitting in its branches, mentioned in the legends, is depicted
on the wedding robes of the Nanai women, with their splendid ornamental patterning. On these
the birds sit in pairs, facing one another, just as on the petroglyphs: these birds too are participants ; 61
in the cosmogony and reflect the image of the Universe.


Another subject which is common to the ancient and modern art of the Amur region is the snake.
One of the Sikachi-Alian stones is incised with a snake coiled into a tight spiral : it seems as if in

a moment it will straighten itself and strike out at the enemy. On other stones the snakes are
twisted into supple plaits; they interweave, twine, and untwine as if they were alive. In one of the
petroglyphs there are seven snakes (seven being a sacred, magical number).
Sometimes the snake-spiral is an essential component anthropomorphous rock carvings.
of the
For example, snakes' heads with dots inside are seen near the fish-shaped eyes of one Sikachi-
Alian mask. Another mask is girdled by supple spirals with distinct arrow-shaped snakes' heads.
Similar figures of snakes are to be found on the pottery. One of the vessels found during
excavations at the Nivkh village of Takhta on the Lower Amur is decorated with the relief figure
p, 64 L
of a snake, whose scaly skin is shown by tiny notches.

The image of the snake is linked with the most widely used motifs in the decorative arts of the Amur
peoples —the spiral and the vertical zigzag. The significance of this image in the art of the Amur
region can be appreciated if we consider the local legends in which the divine serpent appears as

a beneficent being, endowed with supernatural power and wisdom. In the mythology of all

the Tungus tribes, including the Nanai, a gigantic cosmic serpent is the demiurge, the creator of
the Universe. According to the Nanai legends the earth was originally smooth and covered
by the waters of the ocean. But then two gigantic creatures appeared — a mammoth and a serpent.
With his lithe body the serpent ploughed deep The water flowed away down them,

leaving space for all the living creatures on the earth. The main sign of the cosmic serpent, who
descended to earth in the form of lightning, is his fiery trait, the zigzag. The combination of spirals
and vertical zigzags in the ornamentation of the Neolithic period on the Amur reflects the ancients'

beliefs about the unity of the celestial fire —the lightning (zigzag) — and the solar serpent (spiral).

The unity of these symbols, linked with the worship of the sun, the source of life, embodied
the eternal idea of good, the concept of fertility, the dream of human happiness. Thus one of
the most popular motifs in the art of the peoples of the Amur (and many other nations of the
Pacific Basin) has its roots in prehistory: it can be traced in the Amur petroglyphs and other
Neolithic monuments.
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1 16

The bank of the Amur River at Sikachi- Three statuette heads. Clay, yellow-brown,
Alian (Khabarovsk district, Khabarovsk red-ochre and dark gray. Height 4.6, 3.6,
territory). 3.4. The mongoloid face type, with narrow
slanting eyes and prominent cheekbones,
is expressively shown. Fourth-third

Sherd of a cup with an apelike mask

millennium B.C. Suchu island on Amur
on rim. Yellow-brown clay. River. Ulchsky district, Khabarovsk
in relief

15x8*. On the outside of the cup, territory. NACAE, 1972. MIHPP, Inv. Nos.

a typical Neolithic pattern of vertical

Cy-74/8931, Cy-72/7424, Cy-74/14819.
zigzag impressed with a comblike stamp.
Fourth-third millennium B.C. Kondon,
Solnechny Khabarovsk territory.
Apelike mask. Incised on a basalt boulder.
NACAE, 1971. MIHPP, Inv. No. Height 28. Fourth-third millennium B.C.
Kn-71/12696. Sikachi-Alian, Khabarovsk district,
Khabarovsk territory.

Apelike mask with projection above
Potsherd with masks. Yellow clay. Height
(feather of head-dress?)- Incised on a basalt
33.5.The masks outlined by grooves
boulder. Height 31. Fourth-third
and filled in with impressions of a comblike
millennium B.C. Sikachi-Alian, Khabarovsk
stamp. The background burnished red.
district, Khabarovsk territory.
Third millennium B.C. Voznesenskoye,
Amursk district, Khabarovsk territory.
FEAE, 1965. MIHPP, Inv. No. B-65/46,
Petroglyphs of the Amur area depicting 79, 79a.
masks. Incised on basalt boulders. Fourth-
third millennium B.C. Sikachi-Alian, 19
Khabarovsk district, Khabarovsk territory. Potsherd with anthropomorphous images.
4 —
mask with halo, or "radiance" Yellow-brown clay. Height 20.5.
(tiger?), height 63; 5 — elongated oval The anthropomorphous images outlined
mask tapering at the bottom, height 21 by grooves and filled in with impressions
6 — oval mask, with "radiance", height of a comblike stamp. The background
48; 7 — apelike mask, height 42; 8 — oval burnished red. Third millennium B.C.
masks (upper one with "radiance"), height Voznesenskoye, Amursk district,
47 (right). Khabarovsk territory. FEAE, 1965. MIHPP,
Inv. No. B-65/1.
9, 10
Petroglyphs of the Ussuri area depicting 20
masks and a bird. Incised on a basalt cliff. Ritual shaman mask. Wood. Height 23.
Fourth-third millennium B.C. Sheremetyevo, Decoration in black and red pigment.
Viazemsky district, Khabarovsk territory: Nanai, 19th century. Collected
9 — truncated oval masks, height 12; by V. Arsenyev. Khabarovsk Museum
10 — oval mask and water a bird, height of Local Studies, Inv. No. 1608.
54, 30.

11 Ritual shaman mask. Wood. Height 25.

Basalt cliff with petroglyphs on the bank Decoration in black and red pigment,

of the Ussuri near Sheremetyevo (Viazemsky with a glued-on beard and tufts of hair.
district, Khabarovsk territory). Udeghe, 19th century. Collected
by V. Arsenyev. Khabarovsk Museum
12-15 of Local Studies, Inv. No. 1609.

Petroglyphs of the Ussuri area depicting 22

masks and a boat. Incised on a basalt cliff.
mask Light
Pestle with an apelike in relief.
Fourth-third millennium B.C. Third-second
brown basalt. Height 9.5.
Sheremetyevo, Viazemsky district,
millennium B.C. Chiorny Yar, Ulchsky
Khabarovsk territory: 12 — truncated district, Khabarovsk territory. NACAE,
oval mask with "radiance" and "fish-
1976. MIHPP, Inv. No. 1976/350.
shaped" eyes, height 76; 13 — craniform
masks, height 28, 18; below, oval mask, 23
height 60; 14 — apelike mask with Hunter's waist-bag. Fish-skin. 17.5 x 11.
"radiance", height 32; 15 — mask with Embroidery: a stylized mask. The borders
"radiance" and boat, height of mask 24, edged with squirrel fur; fish-skin tassels
length of boat 57. at the bottom. Nanai, early 20th century.
Naikhin, Nanaisky district, Khabarovsk
territory. Collected by V. Arsenyev in 1911.
* Dimensions are given in centimeters. SME, Inv. No. 1871-34.




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Statuette of awoman ("Queen of Spades").
Yellow-brown clay. Height 6.6.
The mongoloid face type with slanting
eyes and broad cheekbones is emphasized.
Torso schematic, arms absent. Fourth-
third millennium B.C. Suchu island
on Amur River, Ulchsky district,
Khabarovsk territory. NACAE, 1973.
MIHPP, Inv. No. C-73/Pn-8764.

Half-length figure of a woman (Kondon
"Nefertiti"). Light yellow clay. Height 12.
Note realistic details of the face
and plasticity of modelling. Torso schematic,
arms absent. Fourth-third millennium
B.C. Kondon, Solnechny district,
Khabarovsk territory. FEAE, 1963. MIHPP,
Inv. No. Kn-63/48090.

Sevons. Wood. Height 97, 34, 59.
On the breast of the right-hand figure,
two small anthropomorphous idols. Olcha,
early 20th century. Bulava, Ulchsky
Khabarovsk territory. FEAE,
1968-69 (collected by V. Timokhin).
MIHPP, Inv. Nos. MMM4>-385, 386, 389.

Idol-talisman. Wood, fox-fur, leather.

Height 49. On the chest and belly,
a painted design of animals and birds.
At the back two straps. Orochi, Udeghe,
late 19th-20th century. Dynmi River
(tributary of the Aniuy), Nanaisky district,
Khabarovsk territory. Collected by
V. Arsenyev in 1911. SME,
Inv. No. 1870-49.

Anthropomorphous idol. Gray basalt.
Height 48. Probably a representation
of the guardian spirit of a house, similar
24 to the Nanai dzhulin described by
Anthropomorphous amulet (sevon, ethnographers. 6th-12th century A.D.
incarnation of a spirit). Bronze. Height 6. (Moh-hoh period). Found near the camp-
Nanai, 19th century. Malyshevo (school site of Mukha, Nanaisky district,
museum), Khabarovsk district, Khabarovsk Khabarovsk territory. FEAE, 1971 (chance
territory. find). MIHPP, Inv. No. MMH0-398.

25 31

Anthropomorphous figure. Incised Figure of a sevon (detail). Wood. Total

on the edge of a basalt rock. Height 54. height 110; height of the detail 44.
Analogous in style and shape to images The structure of wood is skillfully used
of the hunting sevon, Girki-Ayami, to show the eyes. Olcha, early 20th century.
described by ethnographers. Fourth-third Bulava, Ulchsky district, Khabarovsk
millennium B.C. Sikachi-Alian, Khabarovsk territory. FEAE, 1968. MIHPP,
district, Khabarovsk territory. Inv. No. MMM<t>-386.

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on a basalt boulder. Height 23.

Elk. Incised
Fourth-third millennium B.C. Sikachi-
Alian, Khabarovsk district, Khabarovsk

Animal (elk?). Incised on a basalt rock.
Height 41. One of the earliest
representations characteristic of the archaic
style. The holes in the body indicate
that the animal has been magically
"killed" by hunters. Seventh-sixth
millennium B.C. Sikachi-Alian, Khabarovsk
district, Khabarovsk territory. In MIHPP
since 1974.

Idol shaped like a tiger. Wood. Height 18,
length 46. The tongue of red cloth, the eyes
of blue beads. On the back, two snakes
in relief; on each side, a circle in black
paint. On the forehead, a relief image
of a skull. Orochi, 19th-20th century.
Tepty-Datannika campsite on Koppy River,
Sovetskaya Gavan district, Khabarovsk
territory. Collected by V. Arsenyev
32 in 1911. SME, Inv. No. 1870-47.

Pestle with handle shaped like a bear's lithic representations of the animal. Nanai,
head. Light gray basalt. Length 6. Third late 19th-early 20th century. Kondon, 44
millennium B.C. Sikachi-Alian, Khabarovsk Solnechny district, Khabarovsk territory. Elk. Incised on a basalt rock. Height 67.
district, Khabarovsk territory. FEAE, FEAE, 1961. MIHPP, Inv. No. MHH0-187. Right, on the edge of the rock, a mask.
1970 (found in the landslip of an eroded Beneath the elk, an oval depression
Neolithic settlement). MIHPP, 37 formed by sharpening stone axes. Note
Inv. No. CK-70/211. Ritual -spoon for the bear-festival. Wood. the original combination of realistic outline
Length 68. The handle carved with two and conventional interior filled in with
33 bears joined together and a fish. Nanai, spirals. Fourth-third millennium B.C.
Figures of bears. Yellow-ochre and red- 19th-20th century. Collected Khabarovsk
Sikachi-Alian, district,
ochre clay. Height 4.7, 2.8 (center left), by A. Zolotariov in 1933. SME, Moscow Khabarovsk territory.
2.9 (center right), 2(bottom left), 2.5 holdings, Inv. No. 9468-fl.
(bottom right). Fourth-third millennium 45
B.C. Suchu island on Amur River, Ulchsky 38
Incomplete figure of an elk. Incised
district, Khabarovsk territory. NACAE, Idol shaped Height 10, length
like a bear. on a basalt cliff. Height 65, length 90.
1974. MIHPP, Inv. Nos. Cy-74, 75/5341, 28. On the back, a carved spiral ornament; Fourth-third millennium B.C. Chortov
11674, 14818, 5343, 9998. the head mobile; in the middle of the back, Plios on Kiya River, Lazo district,
a long protruding twig. Nivkh, 19th-20th Khabarovsk territory.
34 century. Tungus expedition, 1928 (collected
Bear. Gray Height 8.5. A ritual
basalt. by A. Makarenko). SME, Moscow holdings,
figure, testifying to theprofound antiquity Inv. No. 10781-/3..
Tiger. Incised on a basalt rock. Height 9,
of the bear-cult, which ethnographical
length 22. Fourth-third millennium B.C.
records show to be widespread among 39
Sikachi-Alian, Khabarovsk district,
the Amur peoples. Third millennium Group on a basalt rock.
of animals. Incised
B.C. Kondon, Solnechny district, Khabarovsk
Khabarovsk territory.
Height 40 (upper figure). Very early
territory. FEAE, 1971. MIHPP, representations in the archaic style. Notable
Inv. No. Kn-71/12697. 47
for ponderous, massive form. Heads
exaggerated, almost rectangular. Hind legs Incomplete figure of an elk. Incised
35 typically suggested by three bands. Eighth- on a basalt cliff. Height 35, length 63.
Shaman amulet shaped like a bear. Wood. sixth millennium B.C. (Mesolithic period). Fourth-third millennium B.C. Sheremetyevo,
Height 16.5. Made from a single block. Sikachi-Alian, Khabarovsk district, Viazemsky district, Khabarovsk territory.
Olcha, 19th century. Bulava, Ulchsky Khabarovsk territory.
district, Khabarovsk territory. FEAE, 48
1968 (collected by V. Timokhin). MIHPP, 40 Tiger and rider (sevon). Wood. Length 40.5.
Inv. No. MHM0-391. Anthropomorphous masks and elks. In- Black painted stripes represent the tiger's
cised on a basalt rock. Height 28 (upper skin. Nanai, 20th century. Kondon,
36 mask), 39.5 (left-hand elk). Fourth-third Solnechny district, Khabarovsk territory.
Bear. Wood. Length 45. Cult figure, millennium B.C. Sikachi-Alian, Khabarovsk FEAE, 1967 (collected by V. Timokhin).
incarnation of a spirit. Resembles Neo- district, Khabarovsk territory. MIHPP, Inv. No. 295.





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mon features with ancient Amur drawings

and sculptures. Nivkh, 19th-20th century.
Tamich, Nikolayevsk district, Khabarovsk
territory. Collected by V. Vasilyev
in 1913. SME, Inv. No. 5169-83.

Flying birds (amulets?). Dark brown clay.
Maximum length 3.9, width 3.8. Holes
for threading. Execution stylized and con-
ventional, but the streamlined form
is realistically rendered; the wide

wingspan of the birds in soaring flight

is emphasized. Late fourth - early third
millennium B.C. Suchu island on Amur
River, Ulchsky district, Khabarovsk
territory. NACAE, 1973. MIHPP,
Inv. Nos. C-73, P-n/8762-8766.

49 58
Length 4. Eighth-sixth
Bird. Flint. district, Khabarovsk. territory. FEAE, 1971 Sitting bird. Light brown clay. Length 4.5.

millennium B.C. (Mesolithic period). (collected by V. Timokhin). MIHPP, Fourth-third millennium B.C. Suchu island
Sikachi-Alian,Khabarovsk district, Inv. No. MMMct)-573. on Amur River, Ulchsky district,
Khabarovsk territory. FEAE, 1969. MIHPP, Khabarovsk territory. NACAE, 1975.
Inv. No. CK-69/23.
54 MIHPP, Inv. No. Cy-75/5167.
Robe (detail of back). Fish-skin. 35x25.5.
Decoration in blue and red pigment: 59
transformed masks. On the hem, bronze Sherd of burnished red vessel representing
Festive robe (detail of back). Fish-skin.
plaque-pendants in the form of masks the bill and part of eye of a bird of prey,
58x43. Applique of blue-colored fish-skin: (height 1). Nanai, 19th century. Kondon, in relief. Yellow-brown clay. 5.4x5.9.
serpents/dragons (mudurs), spirals, Solnechny district, Khabarovsk territory. Decorated with incised spirals; between
transformed masks. Olcha, 19th century. FEAE, 1971 (collected by V. Timokhin). them impressions of a comblike stamp.
Bulava, Ulchsky district, Khabarovsk
MIHPP, Inv. No. MMHct>-590. The rim of the eye covered with red pig-
territory. FEAE, 1967 (collected
ment. Third millennium B.C. Takhta,
by V. Timokhin). MIHPP, 55 Ulchsky district, Khabarovsk territory.
Inv. No. MI4H4>-314. Robe (detail of back). Fish-skin. 45x20.5. FEAE, 1969. MIHPP, Inv. No. TAXT/2069.
Decoration in blue and red pigment:
51 birds, transformed masks. Nanai, 19th 60
Swan with diagonal cross on breast. century. Kondon, Solnechny district, Woman's festive robe (detail). White
Incised on a basalt cliff. Height 48. Fourth- Khabarovsk territory. FEAE, 1971 cotton cloth. 33x25. Embroidery
third millennium B.C. Sheremetyevo, (collected by V. Timokhin). MIHPP, in varicolored threads: elks and birds
Vyazemsky district, Khabarovsk territory. Inv. No. MHH0-583. on the branches of the "tree of the world."
Nanai, 19th century. Kondon, Solnechny
56 district, Khabarovsk territory. FEAE, 1968.
Basalt rock with petroglyphs (below,
Repository of spirits —
shaman ritual MIHPP, Inv. No. MHHO-395.
accessory.Wood. Height 40, diameter 28.
a seated bird, height 24).
Shaped like a turret on four feet. The eight 61
millennium B.C. (Mesolithic period).
upper crenellations crowned with human Woman's wedding robe (detail). Chinese
Sikachi-Alian, Khabarovsk district,
figures. Below, relief depictions of seals, silk. 41x32. Embroidery in varicolored
Khabarovsk territory.
birds, a fish, a snake, an insect, and sea silk threads: scrolls with representations
creatures. Testifies to the traditional links of the "tree of life"; the sun and animals,
53 between the ancient and modern culture in the traditional Nanai folk style. Nanai,
Woman's robe (detail). Fish-skin.
festive of the peoples of the Amur: some subjects 19th-20th century. Nanaisky district,
32x24. Decorated in red and blue pigment (the snake, human figures, fishes) are Khabarovsk territory. From the collection
with spiral patterns (transformed masks). analogous to those of ancient times, and the of the artist E. Evenbakh, 1934. SME,
Nanai, 19th century. Kondon, Solnechny treatment of the figures has com- Inv. No. 7247-2.



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Potsherd with a spiral ornament. Light and snakes. At the corners, tassels
brown clay. 20 X 18. Two spirals inscribed of varicolored cotton cloth. Used
one inside the other, filled in with as a matting during the healing of the sick.
impressions of a comblike stamp. Udeghe, 19th-20th century. Nikolayevsk
On the background, traces of red paint. district, Khabarovsk territory. Collected
Third-second millennium B.C. Suchu by E. Schneider in 1931. SME,
island on Amur River, Ulchsky district, Inv. No. 5656-156.
Khabarovsk territory. NACAE, 1973.
MIHPP, Inv. No. C-73-n-3-4-790. 70
Shaman robe. Fish-skin. Total length 90,
63 length of sleeve 43, width of hem 2.3.
Potsherd with a spiral ornament. Yellow- Kimono cut, fastens from right to left.

brown clay. Height 18, diameter of body Shallow incuts at the sides. The collar,
30. The bands of the design filled in with lapels, and hem edged with colored bands,
impressions of a comblike stamp. Third- red alternating with dark blue and black.
second millennium B.C. Lebiazhya Lagoon In the center, a wingless dragon with

near Nakhodka, Partizan district, Primorye a round head and open jaws. Above it,
territory. FEAE, 1970. MIHPP, a human figure holding a knife, wearing
Inv. No. BC-70/15. a bird-shaped headdress. At the sides, elks
and insects. At the bottom, anthropo-
64 morphous, ichthyomorphic, and zoo-
Potsherd with a snake in relief. Light morphic spirits. On the hem, a fish-skin
brown clay. 7x8. The snake's body fringe. Udeghe, late 19th-20th century.
ornamented with impressions of a comblike Nikolayevsk district, Khabarovsk territory.
stamp. The background burnished red. Collected by E. Schneider in 1931. SME,
Third millennium B.C. Takhta, Ulchsky Inv. No. 5656-151. 62, 63, 64
Khabarovsk territory. FEAE, 1968.
MIHPP, Inv. No. TAXT/1931.
Back of a shaman robe (see No. 70).
65 85x55. Decoration in dark blue, red,
Two concentric circles. Incised on a basalt and yellow pigment: two wingless dragons;
boulder. Diameter 24, 17. Fourth-third between them, anthropomorphous spirits,
millennium B.C. Sikachi-Alian, Khabarovsk frogs, cloven-hoofed animals; at right

district, Khabarovsk territory. and left, lizards. On the hem, a fish-skin

fringe. Udeghe, 19th-20th century.
66 Nikolayevsk district, Khabarovsk territory.
Woman's festive robe (detail). Black, Collected by E. Schneider in 1931. SME,
white, brown, and red cotton cloth. Inv. No. 5656-1516.

32x47. Embroidery in varicolored silk

threads: two dragons (mudurs), the "tree
of the world," birds; the dragons' bodies Shaman skirt. Chamois. Length 82.

ornamented with braces. Nanai, 19th Trapezoid, slit at the sides. The hem edged
century. Kondon, Solnechny district, with bands of black and red cotton.
Khabarovsk territory. FEAE, 1968. MIHPP, Decoration in black and red pigment:
Inv. No. MMH0-395. tigers (?), snakes, lizards, frogs. Udeghe,
19th-20th century. Primorye territory.
67 Collected by V. Arsenyev in 1911. SME,
Shaman drumstick. Wood, covered with Inv. No. 18138 "T".
kolinsky fur. 43 x 4.8. On the front, two
relief figures of snakes twined around one
another, covered with red pigment. Shaman apron. Light-colored cotton cloth.

The larger has large scales, an open jaw, 80x43.5. Decoration in black and red
and long protruding "barbot's" whiskers. pigment: snakes, toads, and lizards.
On the handle, coiled lizards. Nanai, Embellished with leather tassels bearing
19th-20th century. Khabarovsk territory. varicolored glass beads, and trimmed
SME, Moscow holdings, Inv. No. 18176. with fur and cloth bands. Nanai, 19th -
early 20th century. Primorye territory.
68 Collected by V. Arsenyev in 1911. SME,
Box. Birch-bark. 18x48x34. Square Inv. No. 1998-11.

at the bottom; edged with purple willow

twigs. On the sides painted black, red, 74
and blue, a spiral ornament in birch-bark Shaman shirt. Chamois. Length 75. On the
applique. Nanai, 19th-20th century. Bolon, hem and short kimono sleeves, chamois
Nanaisky district, Khabarovsk territory. fringes. Decoration in black and red
Collected by M. Kaplan in 1962. SME, pigment: symmetrical rows of lizards,

Inv. No. 7438-13. snakes, tigers, and toads. Nanai, 19th

century. Torgon campsite on Amur River,
69 Nanaisky district, Khabarovsk territory.
Shaman rug. Birch-bark. 51 x86. Decorated Collected by D. Solovyov in 1910. SME,
with a stamped pattern of lizards Inv. No. 18141.




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The rich ornamentation of the Neolithic earthenware contains valuable information for the history
of the culture of the Amur tribes. Here the spiral is especially important.
As early as 1935 vessels decorated with an elaborate and delicately worked pattern were found
in a Neolithic pit-dwelling on the island of Suchu. On their surface are the flowing, deeply cut lines
of large spirals. The spaces between them are filled in with triangles. Several vessels have painted
patterns of interlaced spirals. On the shining crimson background of these vessels a pattern has been
hollowed out and colored in with rich black pigment.
More than two dozen were found during excavations at Kondon,
vessels with spiral decoration
in the depths of the taiga, two hundred kilometers from Komsomolsk near Lake Evoron. The ancient

craftsmen varied this motif, as if in competition with one another. Each vessel is unique.
Spiral ornamentation is also found far up the Amur, at the Krasnaya River near Khabarovsk,

at Voznesenskoye near the mouth of the Gur, and also at Sheremetyevo on the Ussuri.

The spiral is inseparably linked with the petroglyphs; it is one of their main motifs. In some cases
it is used to fill the representation (the volutes or scrolls inside the figures of deer at Sikachi-Alian);
in others it serves to convey an important detail of the picture (for example, the noses of the masks).
It also happens that an entire petroglyph is formed of concentric circles and spirals.

ph. 65,66 Spiral ornamentation, essentially analogous with that of the Neolithic period, is remarkably
p,. 68 widespread in the folk art of the Amur tribes. Spiral curves make up the original patterns that cover
the fish-skin robes formerly worn by their women, as well as their utensils, and sometimes their
architecture (colored spirals gave a festive appearance to the burial huts of the Nivkh and Olcha).
The spiral constitutes the main wealth of the decoration of the modern Nanai, Olcha, and Nivkh.
It forms the basis of such motifs as fishes and cocks, and provides a background for them.
We have already spoken about the origin of the spiral: it is connected with the worship of the Sun
pis. 86, 87 ai"id of the Great Serpent, the mudur. Serpent worship is also reflected in the vertical zigzag
— another characteristic ornamental motif of the Neolithic period on the Lower Amur. The legends
tell that the heavenly serpent, and subsequently his heavenly progeny, descended to earth in the
form of lightning. We can see from this why vertical zigzags (lightning) represent as it were
the base on which the broad spirals are drawn, and also why these two motifs are always and in-
variably found together and interact with one another. Their combination embodies the idea of good
and the dream of happiness, and thus reflects the aspirations of the people of the Stone Age.
The other forms of antique ornament are no less meaningful. Firstly there is the Amur net pattern
pi. 95 —a widespread motif that reached a high degree of development in the Neolithic pottery of the
Lower Amur. This consists of bands intertwining with one another to form a net with a rhomboid
mesh. The net on the Neolithic vessels suggests a stretched-out seine or sweep net.
Patterns of the Amur net type are still used in modern Amur art. It reaches great perfection in the
remarkably fine decoration of wooden spoons intended for the bear-festival. On the large ritual
spoons or ladles of the bear-festival, the Amur net pattern is used to depict the cord or chain
with which the bear is bound during the ceremonial procession before his slaughter. This
underlines the specific sacral character of this ornament. The net pattern is carved just as pains-
takingly on objects of everyday use.
Besides the net and the spiral, the meander is widely used in the ancient and modern art of the
Amur. This motif was first discovered on the Neolithic vessels from the island of Suchu. The Neo-
lithic meander, like the spiral, sometimes consists of two lines (a double meander). The intersection
of the two lines of the meander forms a cruciform figure. Not infrequently, especially in early
pi. m Neolithic artefacts, the elements of the meander fill up large surfaces; among others we find

a "step-pattern" of elbow-shaped lines, which are the primitive form of the meander, its typolog-
ical ancestor. Essentially the meander is nothing more than a rectilinear, rather than curved, spiral.

This age-old Amur design is also found in folk ornament. It is used to decorate domestic utensils,

birch-bark baskets and wooden chests for needlework, and the traditional national costume.
Another form of ancient, Neolithic ornament is a pattern of tiny arcs arranged in straight rows,

resembling fish-scales. We find it also, in modern times, on the festive clothes of Nanai women. pis . 103. 104

In the modern art of the Amur, elements of the net, meander, and spiral patterns are widely used. pi s _ 117> 118

One of the motifs formed as a result of their combination is the curved brace, usually a continuous
line of them. In short, the striking correspondence between the basic elements of the Neolithic and p/ s . ni, 132
modern art of the Amur region confirms once again the continuity of traditions in the culture of
the Amur peoples from antiquity to the present day. In the Kondon folk museum there is a robe
made by a Nanai woman. It is an authentic work of folk art. Its skirts are decorated with a broad
ornamental border. A supple, tightly wound spiral runs along it like a sea wave. In the same village
of Kondon a collective-farm artist has lavishly decorated the walls of the club with the coils

of the Amur spiral. And in Stone Age dwellings in this very place, archaeologists found vessels
decorated with a spiral pattern. Radiocarbon dating of charcoal found during the excavations proved
that the island of Suchu was inhabited in the fourth millennium B.C., Kondon in the third millennium
B.C., and the very latest Neolithic settlement, at Malyshevo, was inhabited in the middle of the
second millennium B.C. Consequently the Nanai spiral and other motifs can be dated: five thousand
years ago the basis of Nanai ornamentation had already been laid. This brings us to the conclusion
that the present-day art of the Amur region has grown out of the traditions of previous eras. The
peoples of the Amur inherited these traditions from their distant ancestors; they are the heirs
to an original artistic culture, one which was highly developed in relation to its specific historical

conditions. It is of course no simple matter to trace the roots and sources of modern Amur art. We
should bear in mind that when metal came into use there was a radical change in the way pottery
was made. The old type of production, which reflected most fully the artistic individuality of the
former inhabitants of the Amur region, disappeared. It was replaced by new techniques and a simpler.

design of vessels. The old type of ornament "moved" elsewhere: onto clothing and wooden and
birch-bark articles — objects that quickly decay and disappear. But all the same, in the culture
of the age of metals and in the later mediaeval culture we find a certain number of common elements,
echoes of the ancient traditions, which form a link between the ages.


With the introduction of metal, the economic and social life of the Amur tribes made considerable
progress. A remarkable archaeological —the ancient settlement the Primorye territory,
site in

on Kharinskaya hill not far from Lake Khanka — characteristic of the transition to the Bronze

Age (the end of the second millennium B.C.). It contained a large number of earthenware vessels
and also stone implements. The inhabitants of Kharinskaya hill had already begun to cultivate the land
In their dwellings were found stone hoes, also mullers and quern stones for grain, and polished pt _ ^2
reaping knives. Among the most remarkable finds are a stone blade, imitating the form of a bronze
one, and a button made of soft stone, also copied from a bronze original. The pottery of this time
is strictly regular in form, but without the rich ornament of the Neolithic period.
Later (in the first millennium B.C.), the Uril culture became widespread in the Amur region; this
too was agricultural, with a wealth of pottery, stone axes, and, most important, agricultural
implements made of iron. It is represented by finds on the middle reaches of the Amur at the village
of Kukelevo in the Poltse area, where an ancient site was discovered — yet another Pompeii
or Herculanum of the Far East (like the Kharinskaya hill settlement, it suffered from an enemy
attack or an epidemic). The inhabitants of the ancient settlement of Kukelevo and of many other
such settlements scattered along the banks of the Amur from Blagoveshchensk to Khabarovsk,
mixed with the original inhabitants, adopted a settled way of life, and began to raise cattle and
cultivate the land. By this time iron was already widely used. Material remains show that northern

tribes —from the taiga around Lake Baikal and the Upper Amur — penetrated southwards. These
forest hunters introduced the Tungus language among the Paleoasiatic tribes of the Amur.
Thus they fused together to form a new ethnic group, from which the modern Tungus-speaking
tribes of the Amur area —the Nanai, Negidal, and Olcha —are descended.
pis. 123, 127 ' n the Poltse dwellings many earthenware vessels were found, including some striking narrow-
mouthed vases with an unusually wide splayed-out rim. Probably the favorite ornaments of these
people were the jade discs and rings that were found in profusion. Beads of semiprecious stone,
p/. 129 especially scarlet and reddish-yellow cornelian, were highly appreciated. Similar beads and rings
of white jade were used as talismans to ward off evil powers, and were considered to ensure
health and good fortune. Many whorls (discs or flywheels for spindles), with a carved pattern,
similar to those used in the Neolithic period, were also found.
The next stage in the existence of the Amur tribes is the Moh-hoh period ("Moh-hoh" means
river-dwellers). The ancient Moh-hoh, livestock breeders and crop farmers, played an outstanding
part in the history of the Far East. They were valiant warriors, ready to fight for their
independence and for their own land against any aggressor, no matter how powerful his forces.

The discovery of metal belt plaques, identical to those in the Turkic sites of Mongolia, Southern
Siberia, and the Transbaikal region, gives an important indication of the Moh-hoh's level of culture

and of their relations with neighboring peoples. Equally significant is the fact that the Moh-hoh pet-
roglyphs at Sikachi-Alian and other places on the Lower Amur correspond in style, subject
matter, and techniques of execution with the rock drawings of the steppe tribes of Turkic times.
pi. 139 One of the drawings at Sikachi-Alian shows a tiger or snow leopard with bared teeth and curved
claws; others depict riders in narrow caftans belted at the waist and wide trousers, as well as scenes

of hunters on horseback, recalling the favorite themes of Turkic rock art and the decoration of their
silver and gold cups. These elements of the Moh-hoh culture connect them, through the Turks of
Mongolia and the Transbaikal area, with the Turkic-speaking population of mediaeval Eurasia, with
which Kievan Russia was closely linked, and with the Pechenegs and Polovtsi or Kumans.
In the Moh-hoh dwellings and burials the archaeologists found graceful long-necked vessels.
The Moh-hoh belts were decorated with open-work plaques cast in bronze and bearing a pattern
symbolizing the Sun and the Universe, which had its origins in remotest antiquity. Like the previous
inhabitants of the Amur region, the Moh-hoh loved the Baikal white jade, and used it as before
pi. 128 for making disc- and ring-shaped pendants for bronze earrings. Similar earrings were widespread
among the Nanai in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Also remarkable are some ordinary
horse pasterns with a carved pattern in which we can trace the stylized elements of a warrior's
pi. 125 attire — belts with pendants. These patterns must be the direct forerunners of the phanis, the small
ritual idol-figures of the Nanai. According to the Shaman beliefs, the phani embodied the spirit
of a deceased kinsman, and the Nanai kept it in a place of honor in the house and fed it like

a living person. In the Moh-hoh ornament, as in earlier times, we frequently meet the spiral on belt
plaques, end pieces, and buckles. Thus, in many ways the Moh-hoh culture links the distant past
with the modern culture of the Far Eastern tribes recorded by ethnographers in the nineteenth
and early twentieth centuries.
In the seventh century A.D. the first state was formed in the Primorye and the Amur region
—the Bo-hai kingdom. Ruins of ancient towns with temples and palaces have survived from this

period. In the ruined temples which were investigated near Ussuriysk, religious sculpture was
pis. 133-135 found —fragments of terracotta figures of Buddhas, bodhisattvas, and guardian demons. The walls
were covered with ornamental painting of ivory-colored plaster. The tiled roof was crowned
with clay sculptures of fantastic monsters and dragons. The end tiles of the roof were decorated
with rosettes — symbols of the sky and the cosmos. The high level of culture of the Bo-hai had an
influence on neighboring countries, including the Japan of the Nara period. The Japanese theater,

for example, adopted the Bo-hai drama bohaigaku. The Bo-hai culture had its roots in the local

soil: the Bo-hai inherited from the Early Iron Age people the technique of iron-working, highly

productive livestock breeding and crop farming, and also, much of their belief and art.
In this connection a number of sculptures in an original style, made from an unusual material

(stalagmite), are of considerable interest; they were found in one of the caves of the picturesque
valley of the Suvorovka River, in the Primorye territory. One of these fantastic stalagmite deposits
was turned by a sculptor into a human head. A finely modeled face with long, narrow eyes and
a finely chiseled nose and mouth looks out at us from the wall. The potholing explorers who were pi. uo
the first to see it took it for a woman, and they named the sculpture"Sleeping Beauty." But it is

rather a man's face, possibly a warrior-deity. It calls to mind the references in early chronicles to a secret
ancestral cave, the sanctuary of the ruling dynasty of an ancient people who lived here before
the Bo-hai. It is not impossible that the "Sleeping Beauty" cave is also such a sanctuary.

The most numerous remains on the Amur and in the Primorye are those of the "Golden Empire"
(Chin), the second state created in the Far East by the Tungus tribes, the Jurchen. The history
of the Jurchen is comparatively short: it began when they overcame their dependence on the Khitan
oppressors in the eleventh century, and ended when the people and state perished tragically
in the conflict with the Mongols and Sung China in the thirteenth century. It fell to the Jurchen
to restore and develop all that had been lost after the rout of the Bo-hai kingdom by the Khitan.
This is a period of economic development and the flourishing of the region's culture. Over the huge
areas from the Amur to the Hwang Ho, the subsistence economy was replaced by a more advanced,
monetary economy. An extensive network of roads was laid down over the country. Traces
of it were recently found in the Ussuriysk region and other areas of the Primorye. A well-developed
system of administration replaced the more primitive one characteristic of the tribal system. The
Jurchen were familiar with the classical The Emperor Ulu had
culture of neighboring China.
a high regard for the historical works of Ssu-ma Ch'ien and esteemed the wisdom of Confucius.

In the works of historians, he sought answers to contemporary problems. The Jurchen created their

own historical literature, devoted to the heroic deeds of their ancestors. They had their own poets
as well. Examples of their literary work in the form of inscriptions over the graves of outstanding

statesmen were still to be found in the Ussuriysk region in the middle of the nineteenth century.
The enlightened leaders of the Jurchen were concerned, in the period of their society's highest
development, with the preservation of national unity and of the patriotic spirit. Ulu, one of the most
powerful emperors of the Chin dynasty, called on his fellow-countrymen to preserve the traditions
of their ancestors and to avoid blind imitation of foreign customs. Ulu used to say to his courtiers
that to be ignorant of one's tongue and writing meant to forget one's native land. He spoke out
decisively against the interest in Buddhism, calling its proponents deceivers.
The power and high level of culture of the Jurchen state are shown by some impressive monuments
—the massive defensive fortifications which have been preserved on Krasnoyarovskaya hill. The
ditches and ramparts up to five meters high stretch along the ridge of the hill for more than eight
kilometers. Inside the fortress, the "Forbidden Town" was surrounded by earth walls; here excava-
tions have uncovered the remains of palatial buildings. By their entrances stood ornamental stelae,
and, inside, the bases of columns have been preserved. In one of the palaces there are about
a hundred of these bases, on which once stood a whole forest of columns. On the tiled roofs
of the building were dragons' heads with their tongues stuck out and fangs bared (by their
terrifying appearance they were considered to frighten away evil spirits).
Thejurchen's extensive contacts with other states and peoples were reflected in the wealth
of their culture, the remains of which have survived. In the Jurchen burial grounds on the Amur
are found plain, handmade black cooking pots, decorated on the outside with stamped imitation-
checkerboard patterns. They are similar to the wide-mouthed Moh-hoh pottery. Together
textile or
with them there are perfectly regular vessels with molded and often long necks. An original type
of segmented vessel was especially popular. This pottery was made not by hand, but on a potter's
wheel, although it was not a treadwheel, but handturned. The forms of these vessels, which were
fired until they rang, were emphasized by carved and stamped patterns on the shoulders and rims.

The ornament consisted of a wave-line or a diagonal net. A stamped pattern of lozenges inscribed
one inside the other was also common, as were squares and triangles.
Various ornaments were cast in metal: cruciform and ribbed plaques and intricately shaped
pis. 143-us buckles, sometimes of open-work type. The abundant decoration of the belt with plaques symbolized
the high social standing of their owners and served to identify outstanding warriors and leaders.
The minute bronze fishes served the same purpose: they were an indication of official rank. Thejurchen,
like their predecessors the Bo-hai, learned a lot from the farmers of Eastern Asia, and also
from their neighbors in the steppes, since the boundless steppe, with its nomadic population
of Turks and Mongols, was close by. As before, earrings with pendants, belts richly ornamented
with plaques, buckles, and many other things, were widespread shows that the Jurchen ; this

culture was related to that of the steppe cattle-breeders and mounted warriors.
The architecture and building techniques of the Jurchen were distinctive and original. The fortified
Jurchen settlements, called into being by the uneasy political situation — at first intertribal warfare,

and later wars with Korea and the Sung China —were real eyries, inaccessible fortresses. The settle-
ment on Golubinaya hill on the Artiomovka River was bounded on one side by a vertical limestone
wall and the deep river, and on the other by the steep slope of the hill and a massive rampart
of stones and earth. The Jurchen architects took advantage of the relief of the terrain and adapted
their fortifications to it. This is shown by such impressive constructions as the Krasnoyarovskaya
hill fortress, whose ramparts and ditches follow the contours of the hill. Another distinguishing

feature of Jurchen architecture is the building of houses on cleverly designed ledges or platforms.
Their kans —smoke-pipes placed under the floor to heat the houses — have come down to us.

The kan, which was later taken over from their northern neighbors by the peoples of Northern China
and Southern Manchuria, was already in existence among the tribes of the Early Iron Age
Krounovka culture in the Primorye. It was the ingenious invention of the aboriginal inhabitants
of these areas, dictated by their severe climate. The kan was passed on by thejurchen to their lineal
descendants —the contemporary Amur tribes, Nanai and Olcha —together with the entire set of
principles on which the system of construction was based.
However much thejurchen surpassed their ancestors and predecessors in economical, political,
and spiritual development, in their culture we can see traces of the age-old culture of the Amur
peoples. One of the most important is the spiral decoration. The spiral motifs on the bronze
and silver ornaments recall the predominance of spirals on the earthenware vessels from the island
of Suchu or from Kondon. The earrings with discs made of white jade —the sacred stone of the forest
hunters —also go back to ancient traditions. Those objects, like the belts with variously shaped
plaques, which form part of the traditional folk art of the Amur tribes, were in everyday use not
only among the Jurchen but also among the related tribes on the northern outskirts of the former
Jurchen state, which survived the Mongol invasion. We must conclude that it was precisely these
tribes (the ancestors of the Nanai, Olcha, and Nivkh) who used the ancient style of ornamentation.
No longer suitable for pottery, because of the new techniques of production, it was probably used
to decorate objects of wood, birch-bark, and bone, and fish-skin clothing, which have not survived
in the damp Amur soil; these are just the materials on which nineteenth-century ethnographers
found the ancient patterns.
After the fall of the Jurchen state, the aboriginal tribes of the Amur region and the Primorye
territory were left without a state power. They were still subject to no authority when they were
found in the seventeenth century by the first Russian explorers to make their way from the Urals
to the Pacific Ocean. Since then the lot of the Far East has been indissolubly linked with Russia
and the Russian people. It fell to Russians to lead this region out of its centuries-old isolation, and
to facilitate the rebirth of a culture whose foundations, as we have been able to convince
ourselves on the basis of ethnographical finds, lie in the most ancient traditions of the native
peoples. It is these traditions that determine the characteristic color, the vital currents of national
individuality in the art of the Amur peoples.



77 (top and center). Dalnegorsk, Primorye

Grain-muller. Dark grey sandstone. territory. FEAE, 1958. MIHPP,
Length 24. Spiral ornament. Fourth-third Inv. No. fln-132 (bottom).
millennium B.C. Mramornaya River,
Dalnegorsk district, Primorye territory.
FEAE, 1956. MIHPP, Inv. No. flB-56/411. Vesselornamented with horizontal bands.
Reddish-brown clay. Height 32, diameter
78 of rim 18.5. The pattern impressed with
Crescent-shaped pendant, ring, discs, a comblike stamp. Shape and ornamentation
and adze (bottom right). White and green characteristic of the Neolithic period in the
jade. Length 13.2 (pendant), 8.5 (adze); Lower Amur. Fourth-third millennium
width 5.2 (pendant), 6.2 (adze); diameter B.C. Unnamed island near Petropavlovsk,

10 (ring), 4.2 (disc, lower right). Evidence Khabarovsk district, Khabarovsk territory.
of the cultural relations between the Baikal FEAE, 1969. MIHPP, Inv. No. nr~l-69/8100.
area and the Amur in the Early Bronze
Age. Second millennium B.C. Cape Burkhan
on Olkhon island, Lake Baikal, Olkhon Potsherd with a spiral ornament. Light
district, Irkutsk region. NACAE, 1972. yellow clay. Height 18. Molded imitation
MIHPP, Inv. Nos. OM5-72/7, 9-12, 15, 33,
of a cord under the rim. Beneath, a double
35, 36.
spiral, cord-impressed. Fourth-third
millennium B.C. Suchu island on Amur
79 River, Ulchsky district, Khabarovsk
Rings. White jade. Diameter from 1.5 territory. NACAE, 1973. MIHPP,
to 7.2 The four large rings: millennium
first Inv. No. C-73/Pn8767.
B.C. (Poltse culture). Khabarovsk (near
the Amur sanatorium). FEAE, 1959. MIHPP, 86
Inv. Nos. /3.B-59/CX-16, 31, 32, 40. Potsherd with a vertical zigzag and spiral
The small rings: fourth millennium B.C. ornament. Yellow-brown clay. 30x19.
Voznesenskoye, Amursk district, Under the rim, a molded band with
Khabarovsk territory. FEAE, 1968. MIHPP, indentations, imitating a cord. The surface
Inv. Nos. B-68/50-60. filled in with impressions of a comblike
stamp, arranged in a zigzag pattern; wide
spirals incised over the stamped ornament.
Polished adzelike implement. Slate. Lashing holes drilled along the crack in
Length 22. Imitates bronze tools. Typical ancient times. Third millennium B.C.
of the Late Bronze Age in the Far East. Kondon, Solnechny Khabarovsk
Testifies to the high level of stone work-
territory. FEAE, 1971. MIHPP,
manship of the period. Third-second Inv. No. Kn-71/4739.
millennium B.C. Found near Artiom,
Primorye territory. FEAE, 1954. MIHPP, 87
Inv. No. flB-54/AI"-332. Five wide-mouthed vessels ornamented
with a vertical zigzag and Yellow-
brown clay. Height 32, 41, 25, 31.5, 34;
Blade. Bluish-gray slate. Length 32.5, width
diameter of rims 34, 32, 27, 28, 29.
7. Masterpiece of the pressure-flaking
The spirals carved over vertical zigzags
technique. Third-second millennium B.C.
impressed with a comblike stamp.
Found near Nogliky, Sakhalin region.
The on the right has lashing holes
FEAE, 1954. MIHPP, Inv. No. MHMO-101.
along the crack. Two vessels on the right
82 glued together from sherds. Third
millennium B.C. Kondon, Solnechny
Two balls ornamented with spirals. Dark
district, Khabarovsk territory. FEAE, 1963,
gray-brown clay. Diameter 6.5. Possibly
75 1971. MIHPP, Inv. Nos. Kn-63/40104, 48061,
used as stamps for decorating articles of
Sherd of vessel ornamented with a vertical 40972, 60, Kn-71/850.
earthenware and clothing, or the body.
zigzag. Yellow-brown clay. 9x7. Bands Fourth - early third millennium B.C.
of vertical zigzags and concentric lozenges
Suchu island on Amur River, Ulchsky
dividing them executed in the cord
district, Khabarovsk territory. NACAE,
Fragmented vessel with a spiral ornament.
impression technique. Fourth millennium Yellow-brown clay. Height 44, diameter
1972, 1975. MIHPP, Inv. Nos. Cy-72/7425,
B.C. Suchu island onAmur River, Ulchsky Cy-75/13641.
of bottom 17. Carved spirals filled in with
Khabarovsk territory. NACAE,
district, impressions of a comblike stamp. The back-
1974. MIHPP, Inv. No. Cy-74/356. 83 ground has some traces of red pigment.
Maceheads. Gray basalt (top and centre); Third millennium B.C. Kondon, Solnechny
76 marble (bottom). Diameter 10 (top), 12 district, Khabarovsk territory. FEAE, 1963.
Spindle whorls. Yellow-brown (bottom) (center), 10 (bottom). The basalt maceheads MIHPP, Inv. No. Kn-63/32892.
and reddish-brown (top) clay. Diameter could have been used when catching big
5.6 (top), 6 (bottom). Ornamented with fish or as weights for drills; the marble 89
spirals, carved (bottom), and impressed macehead was possibly a ceremonial Wide-mouthed vessel with a spiral
with a comblike stamp (top). Fourth-third weapon. Characteristic of the Late ornament. Dark brown clay with smudges
millennium B.C. Suchu island on Amur Neolithic culture of the Lower Amur. of black. Height 34, diameter of rim 36.5.
River, Ulchsky district, Khabarovsk Second millennium B.C. Suchu island Molded bands with indentations, imitating
territory. NACAE, 1973, 1974. MIHPP, on Amur River, Ulchsky district, a cord; between them, wide double spirals
Inv.Nos. C-73/Pn-1268, Cy-74/11531, Khabarovsk territory. NACAE, 1960. Beneath, three rows of small stamped holes.
C-73/Pn-4152. MIHPP, Inv. Nos. flB-69/Af-3; BoH-70/325 Fourth-third millennium B.C. Suchu island
on Amur River, Ulchsky district, Khabarovsk territory. FEAE, 1963. MIHPP, Bulava, Ulchsky district, Khabarovsk
Khabarovsk territory. NACAE, 1973. Inv.No. Kn-63/44072 (right). territory. Collected by Rosugbu and Udzial
MIHPP. Inv. No. C-73/Pn3119. In 1969. SME, Inv. No. 792 y-5. Spoon.
97 Wood. Length 32. The flat outer surface
90 Fragmented vessel. Dark brown clay. covered with a delicately carved ornament
Height 9.8, diameter of rim 12. Under (the "Amur net"). The neck and the handle
Fragmented vessel with a spiral ornament.
the rim, a band of slanting lines impressed decorated with slanting and vertical
Yellow-brown clay. Height 34, diameter
with a comblike stamp; below it, a wide indentations. Olcha, 19th-20th century.
of bottom 17. The background of the part
band of continuous parallel lines in the cord- Bulava, Ulchsky district, Khabarovsk
with spiral decoration painted red
impression technique; at the bottom, territory. Collected by E. Orlova in 1956.
and burnished. Third millennium B.C.
a wavy line. Fourth - early third SME, Inv. No. 7005-36.
Kondon, Solnechny district, Khabarovsk
millennium B.C. Suchu island on Amur
territory. NACAE, 1972. MIHPP,
River, Ulchsky district, Khabarovsk
Inv. No. Kn-72/4064.
territory. NACAE, 1975. MIHPP, Upper part of a vessel with a scale ornament.
Inv. No. Cy-75/12294. Brown-yellow clay. Height 13.5, diameter
of rim 19. Under the rim, three
Fragmented vessel with a spiral ornament. 98 horizontal stripes of a denticulated stamp
Yellow-brown clay. Height 37, diameter Hunter's knife and sheath. Wood, antler. divided by two pairs of molded bands.
at the fracture 35. The spirals filled in with Length 21.5 (sheath), 11.5 (blade), 17.5 Third millennium B.C. Kondon, Solnechny
impressions of a comblike stamp. Third (hilt). The hilt decorated with a spiral district, Khabarovsk territory. FEAE,
millennium B.C. Kondon, Solnechny design. Nanai, 20th century. My, 1971. MIHPP, Inv. No. Kn-71/10712.
district, Khabarovsk territory. FEAE, 1963.
Komsomolsk district, Khabarovsk territory.
MIHPP, Inv. No. Kn-64/17152. Collected by E. Orlova in 1956. SME, 102
Inv. No. 6959-13 a6. Sherds of vessels with scale ornaments.
Yellow-brown clay. 17.5x14.5 (largest);
Wide-mouthed vessel with splayed-out 99
8.4x6.5 (smallest). Third millennium B.C.
rim. Brown clay. Height 9.3, diameter Hanging attachment for a cradle. Wood. Kondon, Solnechny district, Khabarovsk
of rim 12. On the body, vertical zigzags Length 75. Ornamented with a spiral territory. FEAE, 1963; NACAE, 1972.
impressed with a comblike stamp, and pattern in relief. Nivkh, 19th-20th century. MIHPP, Inv. Nos. Kn-72/6093, Kn-63/43322,
incised spirals over them. Third millennium Tymovskoye, Sakhalin region. Collected 822, 1354, 9799.
B.C. Kondon, Solnechny district, by V. Vasilyev in 1910-13. SME, Inv. No.
Khabarovsk territory. FEAE, 1963. MIHPP, 5602-19. 103
Inv. No. Kn-63/44072.
Mitten (detail). Dog fur (?) 16x 12. Fur
100 applique: a scale design. Olcha, 20th
Skimmer. Wood. Length 42. The handle century. Ukhta, Ulchsky district,
Fragmented vessel with a spiral ornament. decorated with an Amur net pattern Khabarovsk territory. FEAE, 1969. MIHPP,
Yellow-ochre clay. Height 17. On the body, (rhomboid depressions). The reverse side Inv.No. MMH<D-510
a band of spirals, produced in the cord- has a loop for suspension. Nivkh, 19th—
impression technique. A red burnished 20th century. Kol-Nikolskoye, Ulchsky 104
band along the rim. Fourth-third district, Khabarovsk territory. Collected Woman's festive robe (detail). Silk,
millennium B.C. Voznesenskoye, Amursk by E. Orlova in 1956. SME, Inv. No. brocade. 59x44. Applique and embroidery:
district, Khabarovsk territory. FEAE, 1968. 6939-63. Spoon (center). Wood. Length 20th century.
a scale design. Nanai,
MIHPP, Inv. No. B-68/109. 27.5. The surface covered with a spiral Nanaisky district, Khabarovsk territory.
design, the end of the handle carved with Khabarovsk Museum of Arts,
a figure of a bear. Olchi, 19th-20th century. Inv. No. H-213.
Wide-mouthed vessel with narrow base.
Dark gray Height 24, diameter
of rim 25.5.Meander-type pattern in
the cord-impression technique. Fourth-
third millennium B.C. Suchu island on
Amur River, Ulchsky district, Khabarovsk
territory. NACAE, 1973. MIHPP,
Inv. No. C-73/P18274

Potsherds. Pink and grey clay. Height
8 to 11. Ornamented with impressions
ofrhomboid (the "Amur net") and comb-
likestamps. Third millennium B.C. Kondon,
Solnechny district, Khabarovsk territory.
FEAE, 1963, 1965, 1971, 1972. MIHPP,
Inv.Nos. Kn-63/44227, Kn-65/18107,
Kn-71/7739, Kn-72/6094.

Two wide-mouthed vessels. Brown clay.
Height diameter of rim 23, 12.
19, 9.3;
Vertical zigzag, impressed with a comblike
stamp. Third millennium B.C. Voznesen- 77
skoye, Amursk Khabarovsk
territory. FEAE, 1968, MIHPP, Inv. No.
B-68/77 (left). Kondon, Solnechny district,



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101, 102 104


108 113
Two thin-walled vessels. Light-brown clay; Skin scraper. Bone. Length 26. The upper
the right-hand vessel with black smudges. part ornamented with incised scrolls.
Height 13.4, 14.5; diameter of rim 17 Nanai, 19th - early 20th century.
(left). The left-hand vessel ornamented Viazemsky district, Khabarovsk territory.
with a design of zigzags and^slanting lines, Collected by P. Solovyov in 1910. SME,
applied with a denticulated stamp; the same Inv. No. 1998-321.
technique used to decorate the right-hand
vessel, which has a pattern of lozenges 114
on the neck and bands of slanting lines Sewing box. Birch-bark. Height 21,
on the body. Fourth-third millennium B.C. diameter 9. Carved geometrical design
Suchu island on Amur River, Ulchsky on the lid. Udeghe, late 19th - early 20th
district,Khabarovsk territory. NACAE, century. Nikolaevsk district, Khabarovsk
1973, 1975. MIHPP, Inv. Nos. Cy-73/P2E2, territory. Collected by E. Schneider in 1931.
Cy-75/13641. SME, Inv. No. 5656-86a6.

109 Box for spoons (left). Birch-bark. Height

Fragmented wide-mouthed vessel with 29,diameter 6. Rectangular at the bottom,

broad body. Light brown Height
round at the top; ornamented with scrolls.
16.2, diameter of body 26.3, diameter The design carved and painted black
of mouth 15. On the body, a pattern and red in the upper part, and impressed
in the lower part. Nanai, 19th-20th century.
of stamped meanders and red burnished
figures in the form of "ram's horns." Khabarovsk, Collected by D. Solovyov
Above it, an unornamented band painted in 1910. SME, Inv. No. 1998-219.
red. Fourth-third millennium B.C.Suchu Box for chopsticks (top right). Birch-bark.

islandon Amur River, Ulchsky district, Height 25, diameter 8.5. The surface
Khabarovsk territory. NACAE, 1975. covered with a spiral design. Orochi.
MIHPP, Inv. No. Cy-75/11998. 19th - early 20th century. Mukhtukhu
campsite on Samarga River, Ternei district,
Primorye territory. Collected by V. Arsenyev
105 110 in 1911. SME, Inv. No. 1870-66. Box

Two wide-mouthed vessels. Dark-brown (bottom right). Birch-bark. 7 x 20 x 14. In the

clay. Height 20, 6.4; diameter of body 23 upper part, a spiral design embroidered with
(left), diameter of rim 9.5 (right). birch-bark on a black, pink, and blue
Ornamented with stamped elements background. Stiches of unbleached cotton
of meander and zigzag. Fourth-third thread in the walls. Orochi, 19th-20th
millennium B.C. Suchu island on Amur century. Tumnin campsite on Tumnin Uska
River, Ulchsky district, Khabarovsk River, Sovietskaya Gavan district,

territory. NACAE, 1972. MIHPP, Inv. No. Khabarovsk territory. Collected

Cy-72/5987 (left). Kondon, Solnechny by B. Vasilyev in 1927 (Tungus expedition).
105 district, Khabarovsk territory. FEAE, 1962. SME, Moscow holdings, Inv. No. 9499a6.
Potsherd. Yellow-brown clay. Height 23.8, MIHPP, Inv. No. K-18/80 (right).
diameter of rim 17.8. Ornamented with 116
a molded band and four horizontal rows Festive robe (detail). Fish-skin. 43x29.
of stamped chevrons. Second half of the first 111 Ornamented with stylized masks. Nanai,
millennium B.C. Kukelevo, Leninskoye Box. Birch-bark. Height 28, diameter 24. 19th century. Kondon, Solnechny district,
district, Jewish Autonomous region. Cylindricalin shape, ornamented with Khabarovsk territory. FEAE, 1971
FEAE, 1964. MIHPP, Inv. No. Ky-64/237. a geometrical design in black pigment. (collected by V. Timokhin).MIHPP,
At the upper edge, tying thongs. Nanai, Inv. No. MMMO-584.
19th-20th century. Khabarovsk. Collected
Thin-walled segmented vessel. Flat surfaces by D. Solovyov in 1910. SME, 117
of red clay, impressions in yellow-brown Inv. No. 1928-225. Hat. Birch-bark. Diameter 38.
clay. Height diameter of body 8.
6.5, The impressed spiral ornament filled
Ornamented with stamped triangles, filled in with blue and black pigment. Olchi,
in with impressions of slanting and spiral 112 19th century. Ulchsky district, Khabarovsk
lines. Fourth-third millennium B.C. Suchu Wide-mouthed vessel with two ornamented territory. Collected by V. Avrorin in 1963.
island on Amur River, Ulchsky district, bands. Yellow-brown clay, with black MIHPP, Inv. No. MHH0-21O.
Khabarovsk territory. NACAE, 1974. smudges. Height 29; diameter of rim 28.5.
MIHPP, Inv. No. Cy-74/10210. The upper band ornamented with a one- 118
armed meander of two incised lines. Wall hanging. Cotton cloth. 200x135.
107 The lower one ornamented with spirals Curvilinear applique design of varicolored
Wide-mouthed vessel with broad body, done in the same manner. The bands cloth. The edges of the insets machine-
ornamented with spiral scrolls. Brown clay. divided by incised lines. The background sewn. Blue border, width 9.5. Twelve
Height 16.5, diameter of mouth 16.3. filled in with impressions of a comblike loops along the edges. Made by A. Onenko,
Fourth-third millennium B.C. Suchu island stamp. Late fourth - early third millen- a Nanai woman, in 1967. Bolon, Nanaisky
on Amur River, Ulchsky district, nium B.C. Voznesenskoye, Amursk district, district, Khabarovsk territory. Acquired
Khabarovsk territory. NACAE, 1974. Khabarovsk territory. FEAE, 1966. MIHPP, by the purchasing board in 1968. SME,
MIHPP, Inv. No. Cy-74/2121. Inv.No. B-66/63. Inv. No. 7798-1.






122 Inv. Nos. Ky-64/>K3r4A, Ky-66/>K5r2,

Muller and quern stone. Light grey basalt. Ky-67/19, 82, 1963. The cut-away vessel,
Length 37 (quern stone), 35 (muller); first few centuries A.D. Blagoslovennoye,

width 23 (quern stone), 5 (muller). Oktiabrsky district, Jewish Autonomous

Evidence of the high level of culture (crop region. FEAE, 1970. MIHPP,
farming) of the Primorye tribes in the Late Inv. No. Bn-70/12.

Bronze Age. Early first millennium B.C.

Bolshaya hill, Partizan district, Primorye 128
territory. FEAE, 1971. MIHPP, Open-work discs and bell. Cast bronze.
Inv. No. Bc-71/341. Diameter 6.4 (top left), 6.5 (top right),
3.2 (below); height of bell 4.6. The discs,
decorations for clothes, symbolize
the Universe, the four parts of the world.
High-necked vase with broad rim. Dark
First few centuries A.D. Troitskoye,
gray clay. Height 33, diameter of rim 22,
Ivanovka district, Amurskaya region. FEAE,
base 8. On the shoulders, bands
1969, MIHPP, Inv. Nos. Tp-69/321, 508,
of slanting lines impressed with a comblike
537, 544.
stamp. First few centuries A.D. Found
near Blagoslovennoye, Oktiabrsky district,
Jewish Autonomous region. FEAE, 1970 129
(Moh-hoh settlement). MIHPP, Beads and button. Agate, onyx, cornelian,
Inv. No. Bn-70/3. white and red paste, jade, and blue
and yellow glass. Length of string 47 (top),
33, 47.4 (bottom). Diameter: 0.6 to 1
(beads), 1.9 (button). The upper string
Broadsword and sheath. Iron, wood, gilded of beads and the button: first millennium
bronze. Length 29. The wood of the sheath B.C. Kukelevo, Leninskoye district,
covered by a sheet of gilded bronze. ewish Autonomous region. FEAE, 1966.
The hilt of wood with bronze rivets shaped MIHPP, Inv. Nos. Ky-66/17, 229-233, 567.
as quatrefoil rosettes. Testifies to the links
The two strings below: first few centuries
of the Moh-hoh tribes with the steppe A.D. Troitskoye, Ivanovka district,
Turkic tribes of Eurasia. First centuries Amurskaya region. FEAE, 1971. MIHPP,
A.D. Troitskoye, Ivanovka district, Inv. No. Tp-71/5184.
119 Amurskaya region. FEAE, 1969 (Moh-hoh
Sherd of thin-walled narrow-mouthed cemetery). MIHPP, Inv. No. Tp-69/311.
vessel. Brown clay. Height 11.6, maximum
Belt plaques. Bronze. Height (top
width 11.7. The design between the rim 125 to bottom) 1.3, 3.4, 2, 2.2, 1.9, 2; width
and the neck imitates a molded cord.
On the neck, triangles, impressed with
Ornamented horse pasterns —
phanis. Bone. 3.1, 2.2, 3, 2.8, 2.9, 1.3. First few centuries
Height 8, 7.7. The incised linear design A.D. Troitskoye, Ivanovka district,
a comblike stamp; on the body, broad
represents details of a Moh-hoh warrior's Amurskaya region. FEAE, 1969-71. MIHPP,
slanting stripes and triangles, divided
costume. First few centuries A.D. Troitskoye, Inv. Nos. Tp-69-71/132. 64, 179, 91, 4471,
by arches and filled in with impressions
Ivanovka district, Amurskaya region. 180.
of comblike stamps. Late fourth - early
FEAE, 1969 (Moh-hoh cemetery), 1972.
third millennium B.C. Suchu island on Amur MIHPP, Inv. Nos. Tp-69/150, Tp-72/9.
River, Ulchsky district, Khabarovsk 131

territory. NACAE, 1974. MIHPP, Mitten (detail). Cotton cloth, fox fur.
Inv. No. Cy-74/13455. 9x 15.5. The spiralornament embroidered
Fragment of a vessel. Birch-bark. in varicolored threads. Olcha, 20th century.
120 Height 9, length 19. Ornamented with Ukhta, Ulchsky district, Khabarovsk
Polished ceremonial bands of alternating rectangular and rhom- territory. FEAE, 1969. MIHPP,
(?) blade. Black slate.
Length 30. Testifies to the high degree boid figures, filled in with impressions Inv. No. MHM0-5O9.

of perfection achieved in stone workman- of a comblike stamp. Such a technique

ship during the Late Neolithic and Early of ornamentation existed in the Neolithic
era. It is also recorded by modern
Bronze Age in the Primorye. Early second Bag (detail). Deer fur. 12x 16. Fur applique:
millennium B.C. Found near Artiom, ethnographers. First few centuries A.D.
an ornament of braces making up
Primorye territory. FEAE, 1959. MIHPP, Troitskoye, Ivanovka district, Amurskaya
a cruciform figure. A similar pattern
Inv.No. /3,B-59/AI"-117. region. FEAE, 1971. MIHPP,
is found among the steppe peoples
Inv. No. Tp-71/3656.
121 (Buryats, Mongols, etc.). Olcha, 20th
century. Ulchsky district, Khabarovsk
Vessel with splayed-out rim and narrow 127
territory. FEAE, 1968. MIHPP,
neck. Yellow-brown clay. Height 18.5, Group of vessels of the Poltse culture
inv. No. MMH0-39O.
diameter of rim 16.5. In the upper part and a Moh-hoh vessel. Gray and dark gray
of the body, two broad bands of chevrons clay. Height 34 (the largest, Moh-hoh vessel,
impressed with acomblike stamp. cut away at the side), 10.3 (the smallest, 133
Characteristic of the Neolithic and Early with a handle). The Poltse vessels Statuettes of an official (left) and a monk.
Bronze Age culture of the Primorye. Second decorated with bands of incised lines Cast bronze. Height 11.5, 7.6. 8th-9th
millennium B.C. A mound in Kharinskaya and impressions of a comblike stamp. century A.D. Testify that the Primorye
hollow by Lake Khanka, Khankaisky First millennium B.C. Kukelevo, tribes of that period possessed a developed
district, Primorye territory. FEAE, 1958. Leninskoye district, Jewish Autonomous social and political system, followed
MIHPP, Inv. No. /3.B-58/X-203. region. FEAE, 1964, 1966, 1967. MIHPP, the Buddhist religion and had links with
the peoples of the East (Korea, Japan, few centuries A.D. Sikachi-Alian,
India). Unique examples of the work Khabarovsk district, Khabarovsk territory.
of local craftsmen. Borisovka, Ussuriysk
district, Primorye territory. FEAE, 1968
(from a Bo-hai temple; found by A. Kono-
patsky). MIHPP, Inv. Nos. Bp-68/1, 2.
Sculpture of a male ancestor. Plaster cast
of a stalagmite sculpture in the "Sleeping
134 Beauty" cave. Height 52. First few centuries
End tile of the cornice of a temple roof. A.D. Partizan district, Primorye territory.
Gray clay. Diameter 12. Ornamented with FEAE, 1965, MIHPP, Inv. No. 600.
a quatrefoil rosette symbolizing the four
parts of the universe. 8th century A.D. 141
Krounovka River, Primorye territory.
Group of vessels with narrow necks and
FEAE, 1960. MIHPP, Inv. No. 4A60. wide bodies. Gray and dark gray clay.
Height from 22 to 10.5; diameter of rim
from 10.2 to 8.7. 11th-12th century A.D.
Head of an anthropomorphous deity. Nadezhdinskoye, Birobidzhan district,
Yellow-brown clay. Height 20. Covered Jewish Autonomous region. FEAE, 1969-71,
with pale yellow pigment and tinted 1973 (Jurchen cemetery). MIHPP, Inv. Nos.
in The eye of dark blue
bluish-gray stripes. Ha-70/PH~I10, Pin9, HA-69/n2, HA-71/P2ri8,
glass.8th-9th century A.D. Borisovka, P2I136, HA-73/P12ri100, P10n92.
Ussuriysk district, Primorye territory.
NACAE, 1972 (from the same temple
as the statuettes of an official and monk,
see No. 133). MIHPP, Inv. No. Bp-72/1. Statuettes of riders. Cast bronze. Height
1.7, 2.4. 11th century A.D. In style resemble
136 the petroglyphs of the Moh-hoh period
at the village of Sikachi-Alian (Khabarovsk
Two wide-mouthed vessels. Dark gray
district, Khabarovsk territory). Dubovoye,
clay. Height 12, 12.6, diameter of rim
Birobidzhan district, Jewish Autonomous
The vessel on the left of the Moh-
12.7, 11.8.
hoh type is handmade; the one on the right
region. NACAE, 1975. MIHPP,
Inv. Nos. £6-75/1142, 1140.
iswheel-turned. 12th— 13th century A.D.
Nadezhdinskoye, Birobidzhan district,
Jewish Autonomous region. NACAE, 1971, 143
1972 (Jurchen cemetery). MIHPP, Earrings. Bronze. Height 2.5 (top), 3, 4;
Inv. Nos. H fl -71/P2ri39-1, Ha-72/882. width 1.3 (top), 2.9, 1.3. 11th century A.D.
Nadezhdinskoye, Birobidzhan district,
137 Jewish Autonomous region. FEAE, 1971.
Vessels with "collar" rims. Dark brown MIHPP, Inv. No. HA-71/P3n53.
clay. Height 11.6, 11.3, 15; diameter of rim
11, 10.7, 10. The vessel on the left is wheel-
turned, the rest are handmade. The rims
Plaques and bells for the ceremonial belt
are cornice-shaped. Together with No. 136
of a Jurchen warrior. Height 6 (plaques),
they show the high degree of development
6.2 (bells). 11th-12th century A.D.
of the potter's art among the tribes
Nadezhdinskoye, Birobidzhan district,
of the Far East at the time of the Jurchen
JewishAutonomous region. FEAE, 1971.
The traditions formed at this period
MIHPP, Inv. Nos. Ha-71/213, 218-222, 233,
were continued by the Tungus-Manchurian
239, 608, 610, 612, 536, 2135, 2136.
tribes —the ancestors of the Manchurians,
Nanai, and Olcha of today. Nadezhdinskoye,
Birobidzhan district, Jewish Autonomous 145
region. NACAE, 1971, 1973. MIHPP, Buckles, belt plaques, pendants. Bronze;
Inv. Nos. Ha-73/P10|-|99, Hfl-71/P-ri20-1, gilded bronze. Length from 4.5 (ornament
Ha-73/P8I~I86. with a ring, bottom left) to 1.8 (smallest
plaque). 1 1th— 1 3th century A.D.
138 Nadezhdinskoye, Birobidzhan district,

Vessel with lid. Dark brown clay with

Jewish Autonomous region. FEAE, NACAE,
black smudges. Height 13.3, diameter 1970-73 (Jurchen cemetery). MIHPP,
of rim 12.1. Height of Inv. Nos. Ha-70/2089, 2092, Ha-71/190,
lid 5.5, diameter
13.2. Handmade. Possibly, of the Poltse 194, 196, 247, 248, Ha-72/1721, 1723, 1724.

culture. First millennium B.C. Mayak,

Nanaisky district, Khabarovsk territory.
NACAE, 1973 (collected by V. Medvedev).
Belt decorated with plaques (detail). Velvet,
MIHPP, Inv. No. MMM0-917.
iron, varicolored enamel. Width 5.5
(largest plaque). Follows Jurchen models.
Nanai, 19th century. Kondon, Solnechny
Animals and rider. Incised on a basalt rock. district, Khabarovsk territory. FEAE, 1962.
Height 64 (the whole composition). First MIHPP, No. MHM0-119.
Inv. 120






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of Petroglyphs and Sites
in the Amur Basin

and the Primorye Territory

1- • Artiom 9 — Kukelevo
2- • Suvorovka River lO- Nadezhdinskoye
3- •
Nakhodka ll — Dubovoye
4- Borisovka 12 — Sikachi-Alian
5- Dalnegorsk 13 — Voznesenskoye
6 — Sheremetyevo 14 — Kondon
7 — Kiya River 15 — Suchu Island
8 — Blagoveshchensk 16- Takhta

FEAE Far Eastern Archaeological Expedition

MIHPP Museum of History and Culture of the Peoples of Siberia
and the Far East, Institute of History, Philology
and Philosophy, Siberian Branch of the USSR
Academy of Sciences, Novosibirsk
NACAE Northern-Asiatic Composite Archaeological Expedition
SME State Museum of Ethnography of the Peoples of the USSR, Leningrad


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Primorye. The Iron Age]

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1947 [V. Arsenyev, In the Sikhote Alin Mountains]

5eno6opoflOBa, K. f~l., FlpuanypCKue yiopbi, fleHMHrpafl, 1975 [K. Beloborodova, Decorative

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I~l., —
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M3AQTenbCTBO ..ABpopa". fleHMHrpafl. 1981

M3A. N9 2732

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Introduction by Alexei Okladnikov
103 illustrations in full color


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By Irina Kuznetsova and Evgenia Georgievskaya
631 illustrations, including 281 plates in full color


Introduction by Vsevolod Volodarsky
154 illustrations, including 116 plates in full color


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110 East 59th Street, New York, N.Y. 10022

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