Programs > By author > Ekaterina Lipnina

Zoomorphic sculptured images and stylized figures of the Paleolithic ensemble of the Malta excavation site
Lipnina Ekaterina  1, 2@  
1 : Irkutsk State University  (ISU)  -  Website
st. K. Marxa 1, Irkutsk, 664003 -  Russie
2 : Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography SB RAS  (IAEt SB RAS)  -  Website
17, Acad. Lavrentiev avenue, Novosibirsk, 63009 -  Russie

The general register includes 23 sculptured figures, with their morphology determining portraits affiliation to the groups or even genus of the animal kingdom: the engraving of mammoth on the tusk plate and five objects of various degrees of stylization. The main volume of the zoomorphic figurines is the images of the water birds in a flying condition. They are named in the literature as the "flying birds". The total amount of Flying Birds is 19. They are made by one technical manner and have the basic morphological unity. The flying birds of the 23,000-20,000 B.C. period probably are the techno-figurative and techno-production standards of that time, and therefore constitute a representative number of the examples in the Malta collection of the artifacts' assembly. Except of the flying birds of classical Malta zoomorphic sculpture collection there are also individual portraits of the representatives of the Pleistocene avifauna of the Belsko-Taiturskiy watershed. There are only three figures. Three statuettes of the Paleolithic sculpture made out of mammoth tusk are not standard, they are “examples-of-innovation". The following five objects of the zoomorphic images were conditionally included in the list. The object of a beautiful form and original ornamentation, found with the necklace of a child burial in 1929, can be defined as conventional. The "Flying Bird" or "flying owl” is the researchers' vision, although with a certain imagination, one could find a similarity with the polar owl, as if it's frozen in the silent gliding. The necklace and the "flying owl" can be seen as the amulets, that hunters of the Arctic territories passed to their newborn babies immediately after their birth.

The ancient Malta people of the Pleistocene world had their own life and loved hunting, they professed the backbone faith to “operate” people and animals by using their images and the objects, as the analogues of friends and enemies. Geese, swans, loons, ravens, of course, were friends of people, as they were "friends" with the deer. The Raven had to be in a special position among the ancient Malta hunters, because even now the population of the Arctic treats this bird as the universal messenger. As soon as the bird flock appeared in the sky, the herd of deer appeared on the ground. It happened in spring after a long and difficult winter, when all the stocks of food had gone; and it also happened in late autumn, when it was required to prepare a proper stock of meat for winter. The white birds could have been asked to "hurry" with the arrival, laying out their statuettes from a mammoth tusk in the appropriate place and pointing their heads in the direction in which they were supposed to fly: to the North in the spring time, to the South in the fall. Birds, accepting the request would arrive earlier. Their "friends – deer”, hearing the trumpet calls of the feathered friends, would also hurry to meet them. Of course, the guesses and versions dear to the researchers' hearts have been taken from the ethnographic objects of the recent past. A huge amount of other sketches from Arctic hunting life could be introduced today, as the most similar material to show the supposed life of the Malta people.

 


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