Similar faces in unfamiliar places: An ancient Siberian anthropomorphic connection

 I came across some imagines of the Gandao effigies made by the Kalash people of the Chitral District in Pakistan. I’m assuming most of you are familiar with their existence.

While many of these gandao figures seem quite unique and probably influenced by later central asian and south asian artforms, other designs strike me as more “archaic”, and they really remind me of the ancient figurines and stelae you find further op north.

To many of you this is probably going to be incredibly far-fetched, but I’m convinced there is something there.

Here are some of those Gandao I was talking about:

The first thing which immediately jumped to my mind was this figurine from the Galich treasure found in Northwestern Russia. This find is interesting because it was found in the context of the Seima-Turbino phenomenon, which was something early Indo-Iranians had a significant participation in. These artefacs came from Siberia more or less.

similar position, similar tiny eyes. Kind of reminds me of the flexed leg position we see Western Steppe Herders buried in.

Bronze age masks from Western Siberia

Figure from the Arkaim site

There is this bronze age Seima-Turbino/Siberian speartip with an anthropomorphic depiction of a human face on it, but I cannot seem to find a photograph of it. Perhaps it was found at an Andronovo site.

Amongst the Ket, the last of the Yeniseian people, there are these doll figurines:

These remind me of the various anthropomorphic depictions you find in South Siberia, like with the Okunevo culture (which actually might be an ancestor of the Yeniseian people) as well as the Chemurchek culture in Mongolia and Northern Xinjiang:

Qiemu’erqieke stelae

1-6 are stelae from the Qiemu’erqieke

Okunev figurine

Okunev artefacts

The tradition amongst the kalash also makes me think of the wooden effigies you find at the bronze age Xiaohe cemetery in the Tarim Basin, athlough these are faceless:

This then also reminds the various kurgan stelae we find in Europe from the chalcolithic to the Iron age. The tiny eyes of the Dagao of the Kalash in particular make me think of the later Scythian kurgans:

Scythian kurgan stele

Another Scythian stele. The eyes.

But what they really remind me of was the Shigir idol. The Shigir idol is thought to be roughly 10.000 years old and is from western Siberia, just east of the Ural mountains. It is hard to exactly determine who build this, but consdering this was the border region of Eastern European hunter gatherers and West-Siberian hunter gatherers, the builder if the idol was definitely ancestral to Indo-Europeans, bronze age Siberian peoples, or perhaps both.

If you consider that the Kalash have some of the highest rates of ancestry similar to West Siberian Neolithic hunter gatherers (as a substrate mediated through copper and bronze age central asian populations) in South Asia, this is somewhat interesting. Let’s not forget that we have similar faces in chalcolithic stelae of Eastern European steppe herders, also a significant ancestral source of the Kalash.

But then I did come across very similar looking statues in Peru, and that got me thinking:

Sarcophagi of Carajía

I’m just looking at superficial similarities! What a bummer.

Unless, if there was an ancestral population to the indigenous peoples of Peru, and the inhabitants of Mesolithic and Neolithic Eastern Europe and Siberia. Oh wait, there is exactly such a population: The Ancient North Eurasians!

Figurine from the Mal’ta Buret site

Another figurine

I wish I could add more examples but Reddit limits the amount of images you can add to a post to 20.

So I am thinking that every single image I posted can ultimately be traced back to the figurine designs we see with Ancient North Eurasians. These ancient populations were the main ancestors of both Eastern European and West Siberian hunter gatherers, which ultimately leads us to both Indo-European populations, and bronze age Central Asian and Siberian populations which contributed to the genetic makeup of the Kalash, and the Ket.

And I know this is far-fetched because you can find similar looking artefacts in many completely unrelated cultures, but all of these finds did came from people which are unequivocally related one another.

u/Palpitation_Straight pointed out to me that the Mansi have effigies nearly identical to those of the Kalash. The Mansi are some of the people with the most West-Siberian related ancestry you have today. Fascinating stuff really!