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Wed, 14 Oct 2015 18:59:32 EDT by webmaster, 21611 views
University of Pittsburgh
History paper by Csorba, Mrea (all papers)
Analyzing Agency of Iron Age Migrants in Construction of the Hungary’s Golden Stag Plaques
For nearly one hundred years, Hungarian research of ancient nomadism has been energized by the discoveries of a gold stag plaque, among other items, from two Carpathian burials. In this paper I trace cultural ties through the extant art buried with the Carpathian herders and similar material associated with coeval Iron Age groups from the steppes of southern Siberia, Kazakhstan and classical populations around the Black Sea. Comparative analysis of the buried objects suggest a hyphenated route of passage taken out of Inner Asia by the Carpathian herders. Closer analysis of key iconographic elements reveal careful crafting of key steppe imagery to affirm deep cultural roots with steppe culture of Inner Asian. At the same time, stylistic execution of the commissioning objects suggest the personal agency of the owners to convey a cosmopolitan image, one that advertises cross-cultural fluency between the mobile and the settled communities of the Scythian and Classical world. The evidence from the Carpathian burials suggest a loaded composite of visual vernacular that signals mixed affiliations enabling passage through the obverse/reverse worlds of the civilized and the migrant to expand into western territories of the Eurasian steppes. At a time when the contemporary world is seeing mass shifts of peoples, understanding the historic vortex of ancient migrations and the use of visual imagery that signals intersecting affiliations seems especially pertinent.
Brief Professional Bio:
Mrea Csorba received all three of her academic degrees from the University of Pittsburgh. She has been teaching art history at the University of Pittsburgh and Duquesne University as adjunct Assistant Professor since the early 90’s. Dr. Csorba's MA thesis (1987) investigated horse-reliant cultures associated with Scythian steppe culture. Her Ph.D. (1997) expanded research of pastoral groups to non-Chinese dynastic populations documented in northern China. Dr. Csorba's current research continues the theme documenting diagnostic artifacts of Scythian culture into the peripheral reaches of the Eurasian steppes. She first discussed the stag plaques of Hungary at an International Conference on China’s Northern Zone held at the University of Pittsburgh in 2012. She presented the Hungarian material with parallel material recently excavated in northeast China at the International Symposium hosted by the 1st Emperor’s Institute of Archeology in Xian, China, in 2013.