Archaeological monument: The Issyk Mound

Dating: 4 b.c. - 3 b.c.

In 1969 and 1970, a group of Kazakh archaeologists headed by Kemal A. Akishev unearthed the Issyk Mound on the left bank of the Issyk River in Southeast Kazakhstan, 50 km to the East from the city of Alma Ata, a mound where a Saka tsar had been buried in a grand way. What has been found in those barrow has provided the first clear evidence of the high level of the Saka culture which was in many ways original. The art of the Issyk Saka people with its animal style is a syncretic art comprising original and borrowed elements. But its com-ponents are so blended into a single whole that it is next to impossible to draw a clear distinction between the components, which is also the case with many other ancient arts. The Issyk art produces the impression that it is a long-established single whole. None of the works of art found in the Issyk Mound are clearly of a Southwest Asian origin, but quite a few of them definitely bear the influence of the art of Southwest Asia. Most probably, the Issyk relics will give a fresh impetus to the argument going on for years around the origin of the animal style in art.