For Immediate Release Wednesday, October 10, 2006
202 232 5488, ext. 104
Mingei International Museum Contact:
619-239-0003, ext. 113
Treasures from Kazakhstan Come to
Mingei International Museum in San Diego
SAN DIEGO, CA - More than 2000 years ago, along the Silk Road through what is now Kazakhstan, came warriors and merchant caravans from faraway kingdoms — Persia, Syria, China and Greece. With these travelers came the art of their cultures, which was adopted and adapted by the people who lived on the route. Among these were the Scytho-Sakian people of southern Kazakhstan — the fabled Scythian horsemen. Contemporaries of Darius I and Alexander the Great, they fashioned objects of adornment in elegant, animal forms from gold, bronze and wood. These are to be seen in "Of Gold and Grass: Nomads of Kazakhstan," which opens October 21, 2006, at Mingei International Museum in San Diego, CA, and continues through April 15, 2007.
Creatures that inhabited the region north of the Tian Shan Mountains — horses, tigers, snow leopards, deer, ibexes and panthers are among the animals portrayed as intricate, stylized, sculptural ornaments in the Wild Animal Style, a synthesis of foreign and indigenous design developed by the Scytho-Sakian culture. This culture also produced the Golden Warrior found in the Issyk Kurgan (burial mound). A replica of the Golden Warrior, a nobleman whose clothing is adorned in Wild Animal Style ornaments of gold, is on view at Mingei International.
For the first time in the United States are objects from the Berel Kurgan, where archaeologists found the remains of two nobles, buried with 13 saddled and bridled horses, sacrificed 2300 years ago to serve them in the afterlife. Among the ornaments discovered was a life-size set of ibex horns meant to be worn on a horse’s head.
In the traditional culture of the Kazakhs, all spaces are ornamented, from the interior of their yurts to their garments and even to the tack for their horses. Kazakh ornamentation motifs are part of one of the world’s oldest symbolic languages read easily by those who understand its iconography. Symbols such as the sun, crescent moon and stars, geometric forms, rams’ horns, birds’ wings, flowers, leaves and sprouts combine with colors to give meaning beyond simple decoration. To this people that first domesticated the horse, the act of decorating objects domesticates the objects as well, making even ordinary utensils and tools works of art and philosophy.
Located at 1439 El Prado, Mingei International Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 – 4, and closed on Mondays and national holidays. Admission is $6.00 for adults and $3.00 for children 6 – 17 and students with ID. For information, call 619-239-0003. Mingei International Museum is funded in part by The City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture and The County of San Diego Community Enhancement Program and Community Projects Funds.
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Belt Buckle depicting
a recumbent deer,
Kazakhstan, 5th – 4th
century BC, high-relief
gold, 1 7/8 x 3 1/2″,
Collection, Museum of
Gold and Precious
Pair of Winged Horses,
Kazakhstan, 5th – 4th
4 x 6 7/8″,
Museum of Gold and
For news and information bout Kazakhstan please visit us at www.kazakhembus.com
News Bulletin of the Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the USA and Canada
Contact person: Roman Vassilenko
1401 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20036
Tel.: (202) 232-5488, ext. 104, Fax: (202) 232-5845