υ. A Remarkable Scythian Gold Amulet

Central Asia, 6th-5th century BC
Size: 3 cm high

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The Scythians established the first nomadic empire of Central Asia. This amulet represents the head of a king, evidenced by the elongated skull. It was the practice of royalty to constrain the skulls of royal infants so that they grew up with heads improbably high, which is a feature of their portraits on coins. They also tattooed their faces, and inhaled marihuana smoke communally in special enclosures. The tattoos here are in the form of marihuana leaves with a fish on the chin. On his forehead Hormazd looks towards heaven.