Place of storage. Shemanovskiy Museum and Exhibition Complex, State budgetary institution, Salekhard, Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug.
Place of discovery. Zeleny Yar archaeological complex (outskirts of the village of Zeleny Yar, bank of the anabranch Gorny Polui, Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug)
Context of discovery. The object was found during the excavation of Zeleny Yar archaeological complex under the supervision of Alexander Gusev in 2013.
Dating. 9th–11th cc. AD.
The horseman-shaped bronze pendant was discovered during the excavation of the necropolis near the settlement of Zeleny Yar, in between the graves. It could be a part of a mortuary complex, or it could be a funerary gift thrown out of the grave as a result of a robbery. The pendant is cast from bronze, has two relief sides and a thoroughly polished surface. The horse is missing both fore legs and a fragment of the head. The horseman is slightly bending towards the horse’s mane; there are no any details of horse harness, including stirrups. The horseman’s figure is hollow, his head ending with a round tube preserving the remains of a leather strap. The same tube seems to be imitating some headwear. The man has a large Roman nose, prominent brow ridges, big almond-shaped eyes, and a crescent-shaped mouth. Clothing details are not shown, except for the belt with rectangular plaques around the horseman’s waist. The hands lying on the horse’s mane are three-fingered. The horseman’s figure was divided by cutting during casting. The horse is short, with large ears, big almond-shaped eyes, round nostrils and a slot-like mouth. The mane is represented by four strands on each side of the neck. Drop-shaped cartouches are cast on the horse’s hips, containing vertical chains of round “pearls”. Concentric circles mark the hooves. The two-strand tail is hanging beyond the braided frame going from the base of the tail to the hind legs of the animal. The artifact is unique, no exact analogy has been known yet. Only some of the details have remote analogies. As a rule, horsemen in West Siberian artifacts found in complexes of the 19th century and more recent ones are depicted sitting aside, in a woman’s manner, so to say. The remarkable “cutting effect” has been found quite often, beginning from the 8th century AD. Images of an anthropomorphic figure with a large Roman nose and a tube-like head has been previously seen in three artifacts, all dating back approximately to the 10th–11th centuries AD.
Obviously, the horseman-shaped pendant form Zeleny Yar belongs to high-status, most probably men’s jewelry.
1. Gusev A., Razhev D., Slepchenko S., Zaytseva O., Pushkarev A., Vodyasov Y., Vavulin M. (2014) Arkheologicheskiy kompleks Zeleny Yar: novye tekhnologii polevykh issledovaniy [Zeleny Yar Archaeological Complex: New Field Research Technologies]. Uralskiy istoricheskiy vestnik, no 2 (43), pp. 89–96.
Authors: Fedorova N.