Mysterious figurine fished out of a Siberian river

A fisherman, fishing in the Dudet river in 2014, near Tisul, Kemerovo region, central Russia, discovered a fossilised figurine in his nets. Now, the experts confirmed the object being a unique, genuine Bronze Age statuette.

The figurine (by The Siberian Times)
The figurine (by The Siberian Times)

The figurine has an almond shaped eyes, a large mouth with full lips, and a ferocious facial expression. The back side of the head has etched plaited hair with wave like lines. Below them other lines form a fish-scale-like pattern, believed to depict a cape or mantle made of scale. What makes the object unique is the expression of its face – usually Neolithic and Bronze Age anthropomorphic sculptures do not have any distinctive facial expressions. It might have been attached to a tree or perhaps to a baby’s cot, as there is a hole drilled in the figurine.

Details of the figurine (by The Siberian Times)
Details of the figurine (by The Siberian Times)

The figurine is believed to be created by people of the Okunev culture. Recently, eight horn figurines were found in a grave of a 10 year old individual at Lake Itkol in Khakassia – these finds were  stylistically similar to the statuette discovered by the fisherman.

An Itkol grave (by The Siberian Times)
An Itkol grave (by The Siberian Times)

The closest known settlement from the Okunev culture is presently located underwater in the area of the Tambarskoye Reservoir, 10 kilometres from where the figurine was found. This is the reason why connecting the figurine to the Okunev culture is indirect. The figurine is at present on display at Tisul History Museum.

Typical Itkol figurines (by The Siberian Times)
Typical Itkol figurines (by The Siberian Times)

(after The Siberian Times)

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