No artifact is more typical of the Huns than the Hunnic Cauldron!

Hunnic cauldrons were cast in bronze and can be identified by the unique mushroom handles. Cauldrons were used to boil meat in and were highly valued by the Huns. Horde Ernak is very proud to have a replica of one of these cauldrons in our camp.

Image left: Hunnic cauldron found at the foot of a burial mound in Tortel, Hungary. (Height 89 cm, diam. 50 cm)

Image right: A replica of a traditional Hunnic cauldron was gifted to the Khan at the Horde’s 25th anniversary party. Used for cooking in the Horde camp. (The blackened color is from the fire.)

Image left: Bronze fragment of a Hunnic cauldron. Hun cauldrons can be identified by their unique mushroom-shaped handles.

Image left: The drawing above is a rock carving depicting two Huns with hooks, standing next to a cauldron. Hooks were used to retrieve meat out of the cauldron (instead of using knives). This was because knives stabbing into the cauldron could offend the water spirits. Hooks like these are still used today among the Kazakhs and the Abkhaz.

Hunnic diadems were made out of bronze plaques and then plated with gold. Stones and colored glass would then be used to decorate. The crown shown below/ left, has an eagle perched on top of it. Birds of prey were often the symbols of Hun nobility.

Hunnic art was similar to Scythian and Sarmatian art. All of these early steppe nomads used animal-style motifs.

Below (left) is a Hunnic eagle. Eagles were a very popular theme with the Huns. The photo (below, right) is of a replica Hunnic eagle that belongs to a member of the Horde.

The eagle theme later influenced the art of the Goths who were subjects of the Huns. Below are some pieces made by the Goths that were heavily influenced by the Huns.

Gothic gold eagle fibula with garnet and cloisonné inlays. Ca. 500 A.D. (Nürnberg: Germ. Nat. Mus.) Typical Gothic polychrome applied to a Hunnic theme.

Another image of the eagle-headed fibula from the Pietrossa Treasure (Bucharest: Acad. Inst. de Arch.) 10 in. , with garnet inlay and crystal spangles. This reflects Gothic polychrome technology of the early 5th c., but the design reflects Hunnic, Imperial, and pagan-Gothic influences.

Gothic polychrome eagle-head belt buckle from South Russia. 4th century A.D. The eagle motif derives from East Asia and results from the participation of the Goths in the Hunnic Empire.

Like most early steppe nomad art, animal motifs were very common among the Huns. The most common animals that were depicted besides birds of prey were horses and deer. Horses were an obvious choice for a horse-warrior society, and deer had a mystical quality to them and often shamanic meaning. Mythical creatures were also common.

Although the Huns used a great number of semi-precious stones and glass beads in their art, they were more particular about metal. Huns used gold for everything. If they could not afford to have an item made of gold, it would be made of bronze and then plated with gold. Silver was not used.

Below: Hun bracelett and belt buckle

Below: Hunnic horse trappings

Bronze plaque from the Ordos region showing a warrior with a mustache holding a sword.

Like most Central Asian nomads, the Huns needed their art to be portable. Most pieces were jewelry used to adorn either the owner or their horse. Saddles, bridles and other horse trappings were often decorated with gold plaques. Many of the decorations were made by Romans and traded to the Huns. The Romans knew what type of art the Huns preferred and would make pieces specifically to sell to the nomads. Other pieces were made by the Huns themselves.