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Main Culture — In Lviv, they are restoring a thousand-year-old sculpture saved in Donetsk region


In Lviv, they are restoring a thousand-year-old sculpture saved in Donetsk region

01 Dec, 2023
In Lviv, they are restoring a thousand-year-old sculpture saved in Donetsk region

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Ukrainian military and a volunteer from Poland, who travels to eastern Ukraine with humanitarian aid, saved a stone sculpture dating back to the 11th-13th centuries from shelling.

The artifact, a Polovtsian Stone Women, stood on a mound about 5 km from enemy territory, on the outskirts of the village of Storozhove in Donetsk region, liberated by the Ukrainian Armed Forces in June. It was hit by an enemy shell, causing the thousand-year-old sculpture to shatter into dozens of fragments, reports Zaxid.net.

The sculpture was transported to Lviv, a distance of 1200 km, where sculptors are currently restoring it. The Polish volunteer, Olga Solyar, brought the sculpture to Lviv. She travels to the east with humanitarian aid and happened to come across the damaged monument. Solyar mentioned that the statue was evacuated from Storozhove mound on the Berdyansk front line in Pryazovia, with assistance from Ukrainian military personnel of the 128th Brigade.


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"I came across its fragments by accident. Understanding its value, I asked the military from the Dnipro territorial defense to help transport it. The evacuation took two days. The soldiers with callsigns 'Bacha,' 'Kvadrat,' and 'Lyakh' assisted. These guys understand that Russia's war against Ukraine is not only for territory. It is a war for self-awareness, culture, language, and our own history. So, risking their lives, we evacuated these fragments from the line of fire," Olga explained in a video she shared after the successful rescue operation.

With the assistance of the artist Taras Benyak, the sculpture has come into the hands of experienced stone restoration specialists. The restoration work is being carried out by sculptors from Lviv under the direction of Oleg Kapustyak.

The sculpture is made of sandstone and stylistically represents a Polovtsian woman, dating back to approximately the 11th-13th centuries. Various types of such anthropomorphic sculptures are distinguished by the region from which they originate. On that part stood Polovtsian women, says Oleg Kapustyak, and this is likely the figure of a warrior who stood on the border, guarding his lands and deterring enemies. 


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Oleg Kapustiak is restoring the sculpture (photo by Olga Solyar)


At the site where the woman stood on the mound, the lower part of the sculpture still remains. It is massive and heavy, and special transport is needed to evacuate it, according to Oleg Kapustyak.

The sculptors will work on restoring the monument for at least two more weeks. After restoration, they plan to exhibit it – possibly in the Pinzel Museum in Lviv or in other cities. And after the victory – return it home.

The saved stone woman stood atop the mound of "Storozhovi Mohyly" in the Velikonovosilkivska community of the Volnovakha district in Donetsk region. Such stone sculptures were installed by nomadic tribes in the steppes of the Azov region. 3000 years ago, the Scythians created them, and in later centuries, XI-XIII, the Polovtsians. During the time of the Russian Empire, they began to be mass-exported to Russia, where they are exhibited in museums and private collections. Since the beginning of the great war, there have also been reports of damage to sculptures of women near Izyum; they were initially covered with shields and then transported to Kharkiv.

One of the largest collections of such sculptures was previously assembled by the Park-Museum of anthropomorphic stelae and Polovtsian stone statues in Luhansk. Since 2014, the city has been occupied, and the unknown fate of the collection of the museum is currently unclear.

The Odessa Journal

The Odessa Journal

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