ACMS Virtual Speaker Series with Dr. Petya Andreeva – Zoomorphism as elitism: The legacy of Iron-Age steppe design in the Mongol empire

When: Friday, March 19, 2021 9:00 p.m. (ULAT)

Friday, March 19, 2021 9:00 a.m. (EDT)

Where: via Zoom

Zoom Link:

Meeting ID: 838 3676 4338

Passcode: 363522


Numerous pastoral nomadic societies flourished along the Eurasian steppe in the Iron Age. Their shared visual rhetoric was based on highly conceptual zoomorphic designs – counterintuitive, contorted, entwined animal bodies abound in these early systems of steppe imagery, known loosely as “animal style”. This lecture addresses the revival of Iron-Age zoomorphic art and design in the Mongol empire and its successor states. Animal style has been primarily viewed as an early Iron-Age phenomenon, giving way to the assumption that such zoomorphism ceased to exist after the displacement of early nomadic alliances (e.g., Scythians, Saka, and Xiongnu). In reality, early steppe visuality had a much longer lifespan than has been previously acknowledged. The Golden Horde elite’s frequent return to the production and circulation of animal-style art in the 13th and 14th century was a politically-driven strategy through which the Mongol aristocracy shaped its image as a successor to a centuries-old steppe tradition.


About the presenter:

Petya Andreeva is Assistant Professor of Asian Art History at Parsons School of Design at the New School. Dr. Andreeva received her PhD from the University of Pennsylvania. Her main field of research is the artistic transmission along trade networks, namely the Silk Roads and their precursor, the Eurasian steppe route. Her current book project, entitled Fantastic Fauna: The Making of Zoomorphic Visuality on the Eurasian steppe, is based on her dissertation which received an international award from the International Convention of Asia Scholars. Andreeva’s work has appeared in OrientationsArchaeological Research in Asia, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, Journal of Oriental Art History in Korea, Sino-Platonic Papers, and several edited volumes. She has completed fieldwork in Mongolia, China, Kazakhstan, and Siberia.

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