Stone baba

Image - A steppe eagle on a stone baba at the Askaniia Nova Nature Reserve. Image - Stone baby at Kamiana Mohyla.

Stone baba (кам’яна баба; kamiana baba). An anthropomorphic stone statue, 1 to 4 m in height, found in the steppe belt of Europe and Asia from the Dnister River in the west to Mongolia in the east. Commonly used as grave markers, the baby were connected with cults of the dead among nomadic peoples. Those erected in Ukraine were left by Scythian and Sarmatian tribes of the 7th to 4th century BC and by Turkic peoples of the 6th to 13th century, particularly the Cumans. The figures are commonly in standing or sitting positions. In steppe Ukraine most of the baby are female figures that differ from their Asiatic counterparts in their more complex and varied dress. A large number of these monuments have been preserved in museums throughout Ukraine, and there is one at the Niagara Falls Art Gallery.

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 5 (1993).]

Image - A stone baba near Kamiana Mohyla. Image - A stone baba in the Trostianets Dendrological Park. Image - Stone babas at the Dnipropetrovsk Historical Museum. Image - Stone babas at the Poltava Regional Studies Museum.

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