4th century BC
L 11.5 cm
Krasnodar region, Kuban area
During the 4th-century BC traditional Scythian art began to change and take on an increasingly ornamental character. This piece is typical of the period, showing the animal figures flattened and schematized, relief replaced by engraving, and revealing a new openwork style.
The plaque is in the form of a griffin, a winged lion which was often depicted with an eagle's head and mammal's ears. Adopted from oriental mythology but interpreted in a new way, this was perhaps the Scythians' favourite fabulous creature.