Zoomorphic Images of the BII Stage Trypillia Settlements in the Middle Buh River Region

Keywords: zoomorphic plastics, bovidae/ovis, stylization, image, ritual, cult, the Middle Buh River region

Abstract

Widely known in Trypillia archaeological culture various zoomorphic images clearly represent multisided spiritual world of farmers of Eneolithic period, in particular the spread of domestic animals cult. While retaining common features of zoomorphism throughout the whole range of Trypillia, from the early to later stages, there are certain distinctive features for each region and time of existence. Their study allows us to understand the peculiarities of formation and development of the animal image, manners and styles of its performance.

It is important to study the embodiments of the animal image in various types of archaeological materials of Trypillia settlements of the Middle Buh River region at BII stage (plastics, pottery, dwelling models) and determine the territorial and temporal features in comparison with other areas of the Trypillia spread.

At the settlements of Voroshylivka, Sosny, Selyshche, Nemyriv and Karolina, the most found plastic items are statuettes of domestic animals, which were made in realistic or stylistic manners. Small and medium-sized figurines, which are classified as bovidae/ovis, dominate here. They had paired legs, small horns and a tail. Sometimes an udder or a penis was imitated, indicating the sex of the animal (cow, bull). Of particular interest are the statuettes and zoomorphic bowls, which had cross holes in their coupled legs. It is possible that they were supplemented with wheels and used in rituals as movable figurines.

Common are zoomorphic bowls on four legs with a horned head and a tail on rims, as well as peculiar oval or rectangular bowls on four legs, reminiscent of cattle feeding troughs. They were painted in a zoomorphic ornament, resembling the spine or fur of an animal. It is important to note that no “dog”, “deer” or “bird” ornaments, known in other regions of the Trypillia culture, have been found on the tableware of the Middle Buh local group. There are also zoomorphic features on the cooking ware. The pots had four legs on the bottoms, and small horned heads were stuck on the rims.

The zoomorphism can be traced on a well-known dwelling model from Voroshylivka, where the roof timbers above the front and back walls are designed like the horns of a domestic animal. Considering that the model had four high legs, it is reasonable to assume that it could have been used in rituals honoring the dwelling and livestock.

The comprehensive analysis of zoomorphic images from the settlements of the Trypillia BII stage of the Middle Buh local group showed some regional differences as well as general trends in the development of ideological views of the ancient agricultural population of the Right-Bank Ukraine. The image of animals, especially cattle, deeply penetrated into consciousness of the holders of Trypillia culture, and the cult of the horned bull became one of the leading in their ideology.

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2021-09-23
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