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Art History as a Key to Racial Migration. A New Field for Research

  • D. Talbot Rice

This statement, made by Curajod some years ago during the introduction to a course of lectures at the Louvre, is definitely provocative, for, however true it may be and however much we can learn from a study of ornamental forms and systems of decoration with regard to trade and intercourse, it has in general proved extremely difficult to correlate the movements of designs with those of definite groups of people, still more with those of definite races. We can, for instance, assert quite definitely that the neolithic pottery of China is closely related to that of the black-earth region of south Russia, but we find it by no means easy to associate the invention or transportation of this pottery with any particular group of peoples, and we cannot even say for certain that the fact that we find it in two so far separated regions can be regarded as proof of any very considerable racial migration. Such a migration does, indeed, seem the most satisfactory way in which to explain the relationship, but it can also quite satisfactorily be accounted for by the conquest of one region by a small minority from the other, or of both by a small minority from some common centre, who imposed the imported style on the new possession.

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1 For a brief study of it see Bachofer, , Burlington Magazine, Dec. 1935.

2 See no. 2, February, 1931.

3 We here use the word broadly to describe the whole group, from Hungary on the one side to China on the other. It should in actual fact be limited to describe a branch of the art in south Russia, which flourished between the vnth and IVth centuries B.C.

4 See especially Iranians and Greeks in South Russia, Oxford University Press, 1922, passim.

5 Scythian Art, trans. by Childe, V. Gordon, Benn, 1928, passim.

6 Op. cit., pls. 59, 61, 62 and 63.

7 See Soobshtchenic, G.A.I.M.K., February 1931, nos. I and 2, more especially p. 10.

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  • ISSN: 0003-598X
  • EISSN: 1745-1744
  • URL: /core/journals/antiquity
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