Ukraine celebrates ancient Scythians in Seoul exhibition
By Philip Iglauer
Ukraine claims a history more than 2,500 years old that includes the ancient Scythians, a people of mysterious origin to whom we have romanticized stories of the Amazon warrior princess and free-wheeling blonde barbarians.
Ancient Greek historian Herodotus gave birth to the myth of the Amazon, and much of what we think we know of Scythian culture comes from his colorful descriptions. Added to the confusion, many medieval European kings claimed Scythian peoples as ancestors.
Now a fuller picture can be gleaned right here in Seoul at Hanagaram Art Museum in the Seoul Arts Center.
Vitalii Chepeliuk, deputy ambassador of the Ukrainian Embassy, Kim Jang-sil, president of the Seoul Arts Center, and other dignitaries and VIPs inaugurated the special exhibition featuring the exquisite gold work of the ancient Scythians, Wednesday.
“The Gold Treasures of Ukraine” exhibits 60 invaluable gold art pieces and 70 pictures of the Scythians through Feb. 26.
Readers might be familiar with the Scythians as the people who defeated the Cimmerians, popularized in the famous fictional tales of displaced warrior, Conan the Cimmerian, by Robert E. Howard and later L. Sprague DeCamp.
The real-life Scythians were a nomadic horse-riding people and lived anywhere in a vast area covering present-day Central Asia, Russia and Ukraine.
Scythian artwork influenced Greek art, and in turn, was influenced by it. Scythian art especially its gold jewelry is highly valued by museums.
The exhibition includes a video tour four times a day and there are four lectures planned on Jan. 14, 21 and 28, and Feb. 4.