Collection of the National Museum of Mongolia: Silver Deer

Art & Culture
2020-11-27 16:42:55

Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/. An interesting artifact tracing back to the time of the Turkic Khaganate in the 8th century is this particular silver deer sculpture.

Silver deer. An artifact discovered from the tomb of Bilge Khaan located in Khashaat soum, Arkhangai aimag in 2001. Size: 16 cm x 12 cm, Weight: 243.1 grams 


After having it restored at the National Center for Cultural Heritage in 2001-2003, the artifact was registered in the list of invaluable heritage of Mongolia as according to Order no.124 of the Government of Mongolia issued on May 21, 2003.


The development of craftsmanship can be observed from the deer’s features, with the skillful use of bas-relief, casting, piercing, engraving, gilding and welding. After engraving around the deer’s horns, ears, mouth, and eyes, a sharp edged tool was used to engrave a pattern on its shoulders, hips, and tail and coated with gold. 


Its horns, head, and legs were welded to the main body of the deer. The sculpture also has nail-like formations at the bottom of the hooves, where an item is speculated to have been embedded. Near the deer’s two shoulders and hips, a leaf pattern is engraved pointing backwards and then coated with gold. Alongside its slender long neck being welded to the main body, the deer’s hair is also depicted in most parts of the body and legs. The artifact is currently kept in Hall II of the National Museum of Mongolia.

Similar deer sculptures were found from Hunnu Tomb 6 during the excavation of Pyotr Kuzmich Kozlov in 1924.