This gold panther head decorated a wooden rhyton or drinking vessel that was part of the Maikop Treasure. The Maikop Treasure consists of more than 300 objects ranging in date from the Bronze Age through the Medieval period, currently held in four institutions—the Staatliche Museen, the Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte in Berlin, the Penn Museum in Philadelphia, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Originally assembled in the 1890s by a wealthy employee of Tsar Nicholas II, these objects have no single provenance but were dug from various sites in the general region of the eastern Pontic.
This Scythian ornament came from the Maikop region in the northern Caucasus. The Scythians were a nomadic people originally from Iran who migrated from Central Asia to southern Russia around 800-700 BCE. Much of what we know about the Scythian empire comes from the Greek historian Herodotus. Read more about Herodytus’ study of the Scythian in Expedition magazine article Herodotus and the Scythians by Karen S. Rubinson
Penn Museum Object #30-33-2A.
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