KRAEVA L.A., RADIVOJEVIC M., RAVICH I.G., CHERNIKOVA L.P., SHUTELEVA I.A., SHCHERBAKOV N.B. Chinese Mirror from the Late Sarmatian Site Cherny Yar

Lyudmila A. Kraeva

Candidate of Sciences (History), Head of the Archaeological Museum,

Orenburg State Pedagogical University,

Sovetskaya St., 19, 460044 Orenburg, Russian Federation

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https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6524-6998

Miljana Radivojevic

Doctor in Archaeological Science, Researcher,

McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge,

Downing Street, CB23ER Cambridge, United Kingdom

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https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7329-305X

Irina G. Ravich

Candidate of Science (Engineering), Leading Researcher,

Metal Research Institute for Conservation,

Gastello St., 44, 107014 Moscow, Russian Federation

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https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5775-8304

Larisa P. Chernikova

Candidate of Sciences (History), Senior Researcher,

Institute for Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences,

Rozhdestvenka St., 12, 107031 Moscow, Russian Federation

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https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5207-0057

Iya A. Shuteleva

Candidate of Sciences (History), Researcher, Laboratory of Humanities Methodology

Bashkir State Pedagogical University,

Oktyabrskoy revolutsii St., 3A, 450008 Ufa, Russian Federation

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https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6852-5415

Nikolay B. Shcherbakov

Candidate of Sciences (History), Researcher, Laboratory of Humanities Methodology

Bashkir State Pedagogical University,

Oktyabrskoy revolutsii St., 3A, 450008, Ufa, Russian Federation

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https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7731-7178


Abstract. This paper provides the description and results of interdisciplinary research into the Chinese mirror from the elite Late Sarmatian burial mound Cherny Yar, located in the south of the Orenburg region (oblast)

in the southern Urals, and dated by the 2nd – 3rd cc. AD. The mirror was found in a wooden case made of wooden twigs rolled in a spiral. It is a circular disc with a diameter of 17 cm with a loop-shaped handle in the center, and its outer surface is decorated with a complex ornament and symbols.

We’ve conducted X-ray fluorescence analysis, optical and scanning electron microscopy with an energydispersive spectrometer, as well as linguistic analysis.

The metallographic examination shows that the mirror was produced by casting in a low-heat-conducting clay mould or a stone mould, while its microstructure was characteristic for cast high-tin bronzes with lead. The object was cast and, most likely, quickly cooled. There are no traces of silver or tin coating on the mirror. The addition of lead was necessary to reduce porosity and improve fluidity, as well as to obtain the desired pattern from the mould.

Both methods of studying microstructure (metallography and electron microscopy) confirm that, when it comes to mirror manufacturing technology, this sample could not be produced in the Sarmatian culture environment, but had analogies in other territories, such as China, in particular. This is also confirmed by a characteristic ornament and the presence of symbols on the mirror.

The inscriptions on the mirror refer to the style of Zhuangshu, to its simplified version – Xiaozhuan. Symbols on the mirror show 12 signs, the so-called earthly branches, which are associated with 12 animals of the annual cycle, some of which are depicted side by side.

Key words: mirror, China, Sarmatians, Southern Urals, X-ray fluorescence analysis, scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive spectrometer.

Citation. Kraeva L.A., Radivojevic M., Ravich I.G., Chernikova L.P., Shuteleva I.A., Shcherbakov N.B. Chinese Mirror from the Late Sarmatian Site Cherny Yar. Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 4, Istoriya. Regionovedenie. Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. History. Area Studies. International Relations], 2018, vol. 23, no. 3, pp. 176-188. (in Russian). DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2018.3.16.

Лицензия Creative Commons

Chinese Mirror from the Late Sarmatian Site Cherny Yar by Kraeva L.A., Radivojevic M., Ravich I.G., Chernikova L.P., Shuteleva I.A., Shcherbakov N.B. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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