Ludy Europy Wschodniej
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A pitcher held in hands   
Female steles

Simple, flowerpot-like vessels, often having a well-marked edge, optionally adorned with slanting lines, were very frequently imaged on female steles. Another popular type, were tubular dishes with edges and bottom marked. Conical vessels that have a marked edge and narrow bottom, chalice-like vessels, oval vessels and mug-like vessels with a slightly marked shaft edge were less frequently used forms of imaging.

It requires to be mentioned that the researchers from Russia judged probable that the characters imaged on early Turkic steles had “clay” and also, much more precious, “metal” vessels, both being proved by archaeological finds. It may a valid conjecture, that distant descendants of the T'u-küe also valued metal items, with which they equipped the dead family leaders or khagans, to show their prestige in the Underworld. Probably, the vessels held by the stone “baba”, by request of the ordering families, or by imagination of the artists, could be meant to represent not the primitive and common clay dishes, but rather the precious metal and glass vessels.

0070 Donieck 2007-8
0166 (Majaki zabytki
A pitcher held in hands   
Bottom with a stamp, wavy ornament    
– pieces of vessels    
(Mayaki, Slovyanskyi raion, Donetsk Oblast)*   
Female burial inventory

In the Polovtsian female burials, the pottery occurs very rarely. The most frequent finds are tubular pots, with a slightly marked edge, made of clay and grass. The more recent research shows that Slavic type vessels, which means oval or mug-like forms, with the edge bent to the outside, sometimes, having a lifting eye, occurred relatively frequently. In some cases, the edges were profiled.

Metal pots, bowls and chalices occurred in both female and male burial inventories. Female burials included e.g.: a metal goblet, a silver mazer, richly carved with floral images, a silver mazer in a leather soft case, bronze bowl with a handle, a bronze pitcher with two lifting eyes, a glass mazer. Among the sets of funeral gifts, wooden vessels, in shapes similar to these presented on the steles, occurred as well.

Some import goods from Byzantium, as glass vessels and vessels forged in copper, and import goods from Central Asia and Crimea have also been found.

Male steles

Similarly to the female steles, the male steles presented the characters holding vessels in their hands. These vessels were flowerpot-like, with a shaft, sometimes adorned, edge, or tubular, with the edge and the bottom well marked, or oval and less frequently, conical, with a marked edge and a narrow bottom. Oval and mug-like vessels were presented more commonly than on female statues.

0081 Donieck 2007-8
0092 Donieck 2007-8
An oval vessel (detail)   
The warrior holds a mug-like vessel in his hands    

Male burial inventory

Male burial included comparatively little pottery and these were Slavic type vessels, oval or mug-like, with edge bent to the outside. The pots were sometimes marked by potter's wheel at the bottom. The vessels of that type often had wavy adornments.

The pitchers of red clay, made on potter's wheel, came from Crimean workshops and belonged to the inventory of the rich burials. The original vessels: a case-bottle, similar to a Greek aryballos and a painted candied vessel, similar to a Greek pyksis, were set on a tombstone at Zamoznoye site, besides two pear-shaped amphorae, each with two handles, made of red clay.

Among the items of male burial inventory, metal vessels, as bowls, goblets and mugs, also occurred. In the tombs of the aristocrats, the items such as: a silver mazer, adorned with geometrical and zoomorphic motives and the motive of the tree of life, a silver goblet, signed with a “tamga”, which means a family sing, a brass mug, bronze, brass and iron mazers, silver and brass bowls, have been found.

Among the burial inventories, wooden dippers, mugs and a wooden bowl adorned with a “tamga” and a wooden mazer, adorned with red and black paintings have been found as well.

* zabytki ze stan. 30 Majaki, rejon sławiański, obwód doniecki (BW autora)


Gołębiowska-Tobiasz A.
2004 - „Inwentarze grobowe a stele antropomorficzne u Połowców”, Katalog – and further sources there. Master Theses, no. 339, stored at IAUJ (The Institute of Archaeology at the Jagiellonian University).