The Animal Style of the Hellenistic period differs from the earlier decorative approach developed by Scythian artisans whose animal designs resemble heraldic representations. As Sarmatian tribes became the masters of the steppe, the artists began to focus on scenes of struggle rather than on individual animals, bringing into their creations the dynamism and the tension of a mortal combat between predators and their victims.
Vessels with animal-shaped handles were known to many ancient cultures from China to Persia. Appearing on the artifacts of the Sarmatian period, animal-shaped handles may be interpreted as a sign of the Iranian influence. Moreover, zoomorphic handles were typical of Sarmatian culture.