The Deer Goddess of Ancient Siberia

A Study in the Ecology of Belief

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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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Biographical Note

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.

Review Quotes

' ...a most important work, a valuable introduction to South Siberian religions. It is a must for every student who wants to pave his/her way into this extremely difficult, but fascinating area of research.'
Åke Hultkrantz, Numen, 1994.
' ...un livre abondamment documenté et très stimulant pour l'esprit...étude vaste et novatrice...'
Henri-Paul Francfort.
' With this book the author [...] has made a great contribution to the study of ancient Siberian religious history...an impressive performance...a rewarding introduction to a most difficult religious area.'
Ake Hultkrantz, History of Religions, 1996.

Readership

Those interested in Siberia, prehistoric religion, women's studies, and the art and archaeology of the Scytho-Siberian world of the first millennium B.C.

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