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Images of the Supernatural World: Bactria-Margiana Seals and Relations With the Near East and the Indus

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image of Ancient Civilizations from Scythia to Siberia

This paper focuses on one aspect of the representation of divinity in the Oxus region: the way in which animal and human characteristics are combined to create various supernatural creatures. Both the presence and absence of certain attributes are emphasized in the attempt to define the extent to which the Oxus region relates to that of its neighbours both east and west. There are some pervasive similarities in the artistic rendering of divine power throughout the Near East, western Central Asia and the Indus Valley. However, there are also major differences, which seem to illustrate the impact of Mesopotamian divine imagery on Harappan art, while the deities and demons of Bactria-Margiana belong to a world similar, in part, to that expressed in the arts of southern Iran.


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