The Paleolithic ivory anthropomorphic and zoomorphic sculptures are of the utmost importance when we evaluate Mal’ta’s symbolic material culture.
One of our tasks is to find continuity to understand if there is retention of elements, techniques, and composition for cultural and historical reconstrucions. Typically, engraving produced body parts, clothing, and accessories in deep, but also subtle and light, relief.
Anthropomorphic sculptures (i.e., finished products) comprise three categories: shaped figures with body elements with and without decoration, but with clothes and accessories engraved; flat, engraved figures with and without decoration, and decorated heads.
Classification of zoomorphic figures is based on animal types, the character of the pose, the style, and the degree of stylization. There are only two types in the ornithological group; flying birds (swans/geese), and sitting birds (swan, polar quail, and loon). Among the representatives of the water's element highlighted there are fish and snakes. Other zoomorphic examples include an otter, gopher, or what some authors believe to be a wolverine or a stylized mammoth. These sculptures have characteristic crescent cavities, cupules, lines, both deep and shallow, arranged in horizontal and vertical rows like fur, scales, imitating snake's skin.
Malta collection contains more than 50 examlares of anthropomorphic and zoomorphic figurines
The collection of ornithomorphic sculptures of the Paleolithic Mal'ta-site has 20 sculptures kept in the storages of the State Historical Museum, the State Hermitage Museum, the Museum of Arntropology and Ethnography of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Kunstkamera) and the collection of the Irkutsk Art Museum.
The collection of zoomorphic figurines consists of five copies, which are stored in the State Historical Museum and the State Hermitage Museum.
Abramova Z.A. Paleoliticheskoe iskusstvo na territorii SSSR. – M.; L.: Izd-vo AN SSSR, 1962. – 85 s., 63 tabl.
Gerasimov M.M. Mal'ta. Paleoliticheskaya stoyanka (predvaritel'nye dannye): rezul'taty rabot 1928/29 g. – Irkutsk: Vlast' truda, 1931. – 34 s.
Gerasimov M.M. Paleoliticheskaya stoyanka Mal'ta: (Raskopki 19561958gg.) // Sovetskaya EHtnografiya. 1958. - № 3 - S. 28-52.
Lbova L. V. Volkov P. V. Mikroskopicheskij analiz Mal'tinskoj antropomorfnoj skul'ptury (tekhnologiya formoobrazovaniya, detalizacii, dekorirovaniya) // Stratum plus. – 2015. – № 1. – P. S. 161–168.
Lipnina E.A., Antropomorfnye i zoomorfnye skul'pturnye izobrazheniya Paleoliticheskogo ansamblya Mal'ty // Antropogen. Paleoantropologiya, geoahreologiya, ehtnologiya Azii. Novosibirsk. 2008. S. 112 – 132.