The quatrefoil motif and its probable origins in Sakha folk ornamental art


E.D. Tikhonova, D.G. Tikhonov



Annotation. The quatrefoil motif is a popular ornament in Sakha decorative and folk arts and crafts. It is popular not only in Yakutia, but all over the world. Until now, however, there have been no generalized works on this ornamental motif. Its symbolic signs have not been studied. Our study has revealed that the quatrefoil motif in ornamentation and decorative art dates back to the Neolithic period in the Halaf culture of Mesopotamia around 5765 BC. A number of researchers believe that this motif was a symbol of male fertility. We hypothesized that the quatrefoil motif probably appeared in the seals of Caucasian persimmon merchants and depicted the quatrefoil of its calyx. Thanks to the growing influence of trade, this motif has spread around the world. The oriental persimmon, as an important product for the well-being of the ancient Chinese population, became an image of the quatrefoil motif, which was adopted by the Xiongnu as a symbol of protection and resurrection. From them, the motif probably spread widely among the Turkic peoples. The Sakha apparently borrowed this motif from the Xiongnu, as indicated by the abundance of ornamental forms and the presence of archaeological, anthropological, and genetic data, which show the existence of sufficiently close links with the Xiongnu culture. The quatrefoil motif similar to the decorative forms of Gothic cathedrals was probably introduced to the Middle Lena by representatives of the Chaatas and Tyukhtyat cultures in Khakassia.

Key words: Sakha folk ornamental art, ornament, quatrefoil motif, origins, Halaf culture, ancient China, Xiongnu, Turkic peoples.

Citation for: Tikhonova E.D., Tikhonov D.G. The quatrefoil motif and its probable origins in the Sakha folk ornamental art // Siberian Research. 2021. 1 (5). P. 52 – 57.

Received January 11, 2021, accepted May 23, 2021, published June 1, 2021





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