Plate Decorated with an Armoured Rider from Til’tim


Sometime before 1896, a plate was discovered near Tyl’dinskie Iurty, (Тильдинские юрты), an indigenous Khanty settlement along the Synia River, a left tributary of the Ob’ River in Berezovskii County (Берёзовский Уезд) of the Tobolsk Governorate (Тобольская Губерния) of the Russian Empire. The plate was kept in a Tyl’dinskie home until an unnamed Khanty merchant– unclear if he was also the finder and owner– brought it to the village of Muzhi (Мужи) in 1897 (Smirnov 1909, 11, 12; OAK 1898, 81). N. L. Skalozubov, a state agronomist and a museum curator who moved to and worked in Tobolsk Governorate from 1894 to 1906, purchased the plate from the merchant. Skalozubov brought it to the city of Tobolsk (Тобольск) for the collection of the Tobolsk Governorate Museum (a name which the museum still holds to this day and takes pride as the first museum of Western Siberia). In 1902 Skalozubov published a short note on the plate in the museum’s annual publication and stated that members of the Imperial Archaeological Commission saw the plate in 1898. He writes that the Commission was extremely interested in obtaining the plate, and now the museum is only left with a pencil drawing of it (Tobol’skii Gubernskii Myzei 1902, 45). Sometime between 1902 and 1909, the Commission passed the plate onto the collection of the Imperial Hermitage Museum. It is still housed today in the renamed State Hermitage Museum with the number S-207.

Tyl’dinskie Iurty (Тильдинские юрты) is today called Til’tim (Тильтим), and located in the Shuryshkarskii District (Шурышкарский район), Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug (Ямало-Ненецкий Автономный Округ), Russian Federation. The indigenous Khanty name of the settlement is Tiltǝm-Kurt (Ruttkay-Miklián 2012, 11). 

This plate has also been described as a hoard find along the Kunovat River, a relatively nearby right tributary of the Ob’ River (e.g., Fedorova 1985). This line of attribution appears to follow Iakov Smirnov’s note on Pl. LXXXVII about the plate belonging to a Kunovat Khanty and with a pinpoint dropped on his map near the Kunovat River. A find location along the Kunovat River contradicts the early attribution text about the vessel (Smirnov 1909, 12), as well as the earlier Imperial Archaeological Commission reports that the merchant was a Synia (River) Khanty (OAK za 1898, 81). The ‘Kunovat’ identifier by Smirnov could, perhaps, have been intended as an inhabitant of the appropriate Kunovatskii Volost’, because the Tyl’dinskie Iurty location is nevertheless noted with it on the plate label.

Technical Notes

silver with gilding / 17.5 cm diameter

Major Eurasian Silver Publications

Darkevich, V. P. Khudozhestvennyi metall Vostoka VIII-XIII vv.: proizvedeniia vostochnoi torevtiki na territorii evropeiskoi chasti SSSR i Zaural’ia. Moscow: Nauka, 1976. [T. 56,2]

Marshak, B. I. Istoriia vostochnoi torevtiki III-XIII vv. i problemy kul’turnoi preemstvennosti. Saint Petersburg: Akademiia Issledovaniia Kul’tury, 2017. [ris. 123]

Marshak (Marschak), B. I. Silberschätze des Orients: Metallkunst des 3.-13. Jahrhunderts und Ihre Kontinuität. Leipzig: E.A. Seemann, 1986. [№ 123]

Marshak, B. I., and M. Kramarovskii, eds. Sokrovishcha Priob’ia. Saint Petersburg: Formika, 1996. [№ 54]

Smirnov, Ia. I. Vostochnoe serebro: atlasʺ drevnei serebrianoi i zolotoi posudy vostochnago proiskhozhdeniia naidennoi preimushchestvenno vʺ prědelakhʺ Rossiiskoi imperii. Saint Petersburg: Publishing House of the Imperial Archaeological Commission, 1909. [T. LXXXVII № 156]

Additional Bibliography

Fedorova, N. V. “Importnoe serebro v Zapadnoi Sibiri.” In Khudozhestvennye pamiatniki i problemy kul’tury Vostoka, 125-133. Leningrad: Iskusstvo Publiching House, 1985.

Fedorova, N. “Silverware of ‘Magna Hungaria.’” In Congressus Septimus Internationalis Fenno-Ugristarum, edited by Wolfgang Veenker. Hamburg: Societas Uralo-Altaica, 1990.

Otchet Imperatorskoi Arkheologicheskoi Komissii za 1898. Saint Petersburg: Tipografiia glavnogo upravleniia udelov, 1901.

Talitskaia, I. A. “Materialy k arkheologicheskoi karte Nizhnego i Srednego Priob’ia.” In Drevniaia Istoriia Nizhnego Priob’ia, 242-357. Moscow: Publishing House of the Academy of Sciences of the SSSR, 1953.

Tobol’skii Gubernskii Myzei. Ezhegodnik Tobol’skogo Gubernskogo Myzeia Vol 13. Tobol’sk: 1902.

Image Credits

Featured Image

B. I. Marshak and M. Kramarovskii, eds., Sokrovishcha Priob’ia (Saint Petersburg: Formika, 1996), № 54.

Page Images

(1-2) B. I. Marshak and M. Kramarovskii, eds., Sokrovishcha Priob’ia (Saint Petersburg: Formika, 1996), № 54.