International Scientific Conference "Archeology of the Arctic"
November 19-23, 2017

Mirrors from the Gornoknyasevsk treasure (Yamal-Nenets autonomous district, Russia) attempt to interpret.

B. Niezabitowska-Wiśniewska

Maria Curie-Sklodowska University, Lublin, Poland.



In 2015 near the Gornoknyazevsk village the treasure of metal items was found. It consists of, among others, eight mirrors and six objects defined as mirrors or plates [Fedorova, Gusev, Podosenova, 2016]. The dominant type of mirrors are specimens with a long, triangular or short, semicircular handle molded together with the disc. They differ among themselves of forming the edges, the disc centers and the ornament. These types of mirrors were widespread in Eastern Europe and Asia. Similar items are known, among others, from Central Asia, the Sargat culture, the Sarmatian culture and even from India and Pakistan. It seems that the stylistically closest to the mirrors of the Gornoknyazevsk treasure are the mirrors of Central Asia and the Sargat culture. At the present stage, it is also possible to say that these mirrors, having reached the northern part of Western Siberia, were not used according to their original purpose. This may be indicative of an unusual ornamentation for this category of items, which finds exact analogies in the local, Siberian art. On the part of the copies it covers both sides of the discs. This is a feature unheard of in other areas. Analogous decorative motifs are also found on the plates, which could have been originally the disc mirrors. These items sometimes have small openings on the edge of the disc or at the center of the disc, which additionally indicates the local custom of secondary use of the mirrors, for example as the belt elements or pendants. The Chinese mirror that is the part of the Gornoknyazevsk treasure is also unusual. Perhaps in fact it is the imitation of the Chinese mirrors.


Fedorova N.V., Gusev A.N., Podosenova J.A. Gornoknjazevskij klad. Kaliningrad / M. ed. Korochkova O.N.; Arctic Research Centre. – Kaliningrad: Pub. House «ROS-DOFAK»,  2016. – 80 

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