Scythian boots

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Scythian boots

Post by Witness »

2300 years old Scythian woman's boot preserved in the frozen ground of the Altai Mountains


These bootees are entirely covered with ornament. Along the seam between vamp and top there is a band of red woollen braid, decorated by leather figures, covered with gold-leaf, that look like ducklings. The sewn decoration has been carried out in sinew thread wrapped in a strip of tin-foil. To the basic sewn-on pattern decorative excisions in the leather have been added in places. The lotus provided the motif of the ornament. On the chamois leather background of the top is sewn a pattern in finely dressed red leather. The motif is a thrice-repeated variant of the same lotus-like flower in intricate and elegant patterns. The upper edge of the boot front bears a fanciful border. The soles of these bootees are highly original (Pl. 64a). Narrow and short on their outside surface, they are embroidered with a red woollen material and edged by double bands of sinew thread about 1 mm. thick. Between these an almost continuous row of small black beads was sewn on, threaded on thin twisted sinew thread, which at every fifth bead looped through the sole. In the front part of the sole and at the heel large rhombs are stitched on in the same sinew thread, subdivided internally into twenty-five and sixteen small rhombs respectively, each of which has a piece of crystalline pyrites sewn into its centre. In the middle of the sole, under the arch of the foot, is a little rhomb with one pyrites crystal in the middle. At the intersections the rhombs are secured by triple stitching.

Woman's boot.
Pazyryk barrow no. 2, 300-290 BCE. Leather, textile, tin (or pewter), gold, pyrites. H. 36 cm.
Inv. no. 1681/218.
Pub.: Rudenko 1953, pp. 118-121; pl. XXV/2; Rudenko 1970, pp. 93-97; pl. 64; From the Lands, cat. no. 125. ... served_in/

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