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D. S. Rayevsky

Term used to describe an art dominated by animal themes, associated with a series of 1st-millennium bc cultures of the Eurasian steppes, extending from Central Europe to the Ordos region of north-west China.

The Animal style is characteristic of a series of cultures, including the Thracians (north Balkans), Savromats (lower reaches of the Don and Volga rivers), a people of the south Ural Mountains who are perhaps identifiable as the Issedones (Herodotus: Histories IV.26), the cultures of Tasmola (central Kazakhstan), Pazyryk (Altai Mountains) and Tagar (south Siberia), and other barrow (kurgan) burials in the Semirechiye (Seven Rivers) region of Kyrgyzstan and east Kazakhstan, the Pamirs and the Tien Shan Mountains. In Central Asia and the north Black Sea region, the Animal style is usually associated with nomadic tribes known in ancient Persian and Classical sources as the Sakas or Scythians (see Scythian and Sarmatian art), a term which loosely appears to refer to an eastern Iranian linguistic group....