Vishap

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Vishap

 

(word of Iranian origin), a stone carved image (up to 5 m in height) depicting fish or a pillar with a bull skin stretched over it. The time of the origin of vishapy has not yet been determined, although they most likely date back to 2000 B.C.Vishapy were first discovered in 1909 in the Gegam Range region of Armenia. They were found near the beds of ancient channels and lakes that were used as watering places for cattle. These statues were apparently associated with the ancient worship of the deities of water and fertility. In later times, the Armenians came to regard these huge statues as the images of evil spirits and so named them “vishapy”—that is, dragons or serpents. Vishapy have also been discovered in Georgia, Northern Caucasia, and Mongolia.

REFERENCES

Marr, N. la., and la. I. Smirnov. Vishapy. Leningrad, 1931.
Piotrovskii, B. B. Vishapy: Kamennye statui v gorakh Armenii. Leningrad, 1939.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.