The Origins of the “Geometric Style” in Hsiung nu Art
Pieces of Hsiung nu geometric artwork are examined in the following paper. A detailed analysis of these artifacts has identified an evolutionary sequence that sees their origin in the zoomorphic“Scytho-Siberian”
representations, and was strongly influenced by Near Eastern art. The “Scytho-Siberian” images underwent a transformation by the Hsiung nu following their conquest of Central Asia. The rapid transformation of the artisticscenes demonstrates that within the framework of Hsiungnu tribal union the Near Eastern
artistic and mythological traditions were exposed to a different ethnic, cultural, and possibly linguistic environment (Proto-Mongolian?). This new environment utilized different mythological and epic scenes andimages. Some of the prototypical compositions may have been retained possibly due the existence of a certain degree of ideological overlap, but others images became stylized and transformed by the Hsiung nu to conform to their own aesthetic norms.
Institute of the History of Material Culture
Russian Academy of Sciences
St. Petersburg, Russia