3691 – Sarmatian Sun Amulet

60cm dia / 19 grams in weight

This object was found in Northern Ukraine.  It is 1st - 2nd cent CE amulet which was probably a deposited in grave.  Other similar examples have been found in graves of the Sarmatian people (a large confederation of Iranian people during classical antiquity, fl. 5th century BCE to the 4th century CE).  These burial sites are found from Hungary to Kazakhstan, mostly north of the Black Sea.  These amulets as grave goods first appear in 1st century CE graves of the Alans, a steppe tribe that merged with the Samartians.

The vendor wrote:  "They are an imitation of Han Chinese bronze mirrors. The Han mirrors were round and had solar designs and inscriptions on them. The Sarmatian ones have incorporated the leather strap into the bronze design - as the square bit at the top. They were hung, though it is not clear whether from the body, or the horse, or both.

These had apotropaic (protective) powers related to sun worship. They were not used as mirrors to see one's reflection but were likely used to reflect the rays of the sun."

For a discussion of similar solar symbols see 1083.


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