Scythian Stag

The Scythians were an ancient people of Central Asia/Eastern Europe. To the Scythians, the stag was a symbol of the sun and its daily journey across the sky. The famous Scythian stag (you have almost certainly seen it somewhere) can be reproduced in bronze clay. If the bronze is highly polished, it even resembles the gold of the original.

I started by cutting out the general shape of the stag, 0.75 mm thick. I used Aussie Ruby Bronze for the entire project, because I like its shininess, and thought it would reflect the golden original.

Then I added the rough shape of the antlers. They don’t look very good yet, but that will be fixed later.

The head was made free-form. A simple depression was left for the eye, to be filled in later with a sphere of clay, creating the eye. The shoulder was rolled 1 mm thick, and then formed by cutting out the shape. I used a clay shaping tool to slightly round the shoulder.

The rest of the body, and the tail, were made by free-from shaping of clay. The hooves and mouth were put in place by using a needle tool.

Previously, the image was somewhat rough. That is to be expected. Smoothing it out came from a great deal of sanding and shaping.

If it is to be worn, it needs a bail. I struggled with the decision– hidden bail (which would obscure the openings in the antlers) or visible bail (which makes the antlers a little harder to read from a distance). I made the latter choice. The texture on the bail helps it stand out from the un-textured stag. Also, the bail’s sloping sides will help the asymmetric shape hang evenly when someone wears it.

Aussie clay requires a two stage firing. I fired according to package directions, then brushed, then tumbled. I chose to not apply a patina. Since this is made in homage to artwork of the 6th century BCE, I chose to let it weather as nature directs.

The finished piece, with a coin for scale, appears above.

The Scythians had a unique style of art, much of it produced in gold. This artistic style provides inspiration for working in bronze clay.

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