The Deer Goddess of Ancient Siberia: A Study in the Ecology of Belief

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BRILL, Jan 1, 1993 - Religion - 291 pages
Central to this study is the image of the deer within the iconography of the Early Nomads of South Siberia. By examining the symbolic structures revealed in the art and archaeology of the Early Nomads, the author challenges existing theories regarding Early Nomadic cosmology. The reconstruction of meanings embedded in the deer image carries the investigation back to rock carvings, paintings, and monolithic stelae of South Siberia and northern Central Asia, from the Neolithic period down through the early Iron Age. The succession of images dominating that artistic tradition is considered against the background of cultures - including the Baykal Neolithic Afanasevo, Okunev, Andronovo, and Karasuk - evolving from a hunting-fishing dependency to a dependency on livestock. The archaic mythic traditions of specific Siberian groups are also found to lend critical detail to the changing symbolic systems of South Siberia.

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The Reconstruction of Symbolic Systems
Theoretical Constructs
Images and the Symbolizing Order of Images in
Rock Carvings and Paintings from the Neolithic
Anthropomorphic Monoliths
PreShamanic Shamanic
the Deer Goddess of Ancient Siberia

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About the author (1993)

Esther Jacobson is an art historian at the University of Oregon. She has published extensively in the fields of Chinese art history and the art history and culture of the early nomadic peoples of Siberia and Central Asia.

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