Following her bestselling Life Along the Silk Road, Susan Whitfield widens her exploration of the great cultural highway with a new captivating portrait focusing on material things. Silk, Slaves, and Stupas tells the stories of ten very different objects, considering their interaction with the peoples and cultures of the Silk Road—those who made them, carried them, received them, used them, sold them, worshipped them, and, in more recent times, bought them, conserved them, and curated them. From a delicate pair of earrings from a steppe tomb to a massive stupa deep in Central Asia, a hoard of Kushan coins stored in an Ethiopian monastery to a Hellenistic glass bowl from a southern Chinese tomb, and a fragment of Byzantine silk wrapping the bones of a French saint to a Bactrian ewer depicting episodes from the Trojan War, these objects show us something of the cultural diversity and interaction along these trading routes of Afro-Eurasia.
Susan Whitfield, author of Life Along the Silk Road, is a scholar, curator, writer, and traveler who has been exploring the history, art, religions, cultures, objects, exploration, and people of the Silk Road for the past three decades.
This book contains a key study on sericulture as well as on the conduct of the trade in silk between China and the Roman Near East using archaeological and literary evidence.
The eight studies in this volume by established and emerging scholars range geographically and chronologically from the Greek Kingdom of Bactria of the 2nd century BCE to the Uighur Kingdoms of Karabalgasun in Mongolia and Qočo in Xinjiang of the 8th-9th centuries CE. It contains a key study on sericulture as well on the conduct of the trade in silk between China and the Roman Near East using archaeological as well as literary evidence. Other topics covered include Sogdian religious art, the role of Manichaeism as a Silk Road religion par excellence, the enigmatic names for the Roman Empire in Chinese sources and a multi-lingual gazetteer of place- and ethnic names in Pre-Islamic Central Asia which will be an essential reference tool for researchers. The volume also contains an author and title index to all the Silk Road Studies volumes published up to 2014. The broad ranging theme covered by this volume should appeal to a wider public fascinated by the history of the Silk Road and wishing to be informed of the latest state of research. Because of the centrality of the topics covered by this study, the volume could serve as a basic reading text for university courses on the history of the Silk Road.
The seventh annual conference of LUCIS focuses on Islamic Central Asia, both from a historical and contemporary perspective. Central Asia today is often regarded as a periphery of the Islamic world, but this region with its fluid borders, stretching into present-day Afghanistan, Russia, China, Mongolia, Iran and the Caucasus, has been for a long period the cradle of empires that ruled over large parts of the globe.
Central Asia in the past has been at the heart of the trade network known as the Silk Road, a premodern highway of global interaction. The idea of a New Silk Road today demonstrates Central Asia’s increasing importance as a centre stage of geopolitical interests. Comprehending the complex history of Central Asia by taking into account its dynastic and regional historiographies and more recent nationalistic narratives is crucial for perceiving the current dynamics of this vast region.
Analysing commemorative practices across Central Asia may provide a prolific framework to outline the complexity of its group identities, in modern times often constructed as nationalistic narratives. In this conference we propose to focus on the notion of memory and commemoration in Central Asia from past and present perspectives, in a broad sense, in order to shed light on the complexities of this fascinating and understudied region.
Rather than focusing on a single period, medium or language of commemorative practices, the conference will take a comparative and connective perspective. Questions that may be addressed include:
Narratives: How does literary and artistic production reflect imperial ideology and commemorative culture? How were dynastic members commemorated and rehabilitated? How were genealogies concocted and manipulated in order to commemorate the ancestral origins? How were important events commemorated?
Sites: How were visions of kingship articulated in commemorative dynastic shrines and landscapes across Central Asia? How did religiously diverse commemorative practices contribute to the development of a distinct royal visual morphology? How were urban centres transformed through the diverse visual lexicon of local Islamic cult activities? How are historical shrines and cults commemorated in the present?
Religions: How was commemorative culture influenced by orthodox Islam and Sufism? What was the impact of these complex theological interactions on the intellectual life and artistic production throughout Central Asia? How are religious commemorative practices used in contemporary nationalistic discourses?
The themes of the conference are broad on purpose, as we wish to welcome speakers from different disciplines and backgrounds.
Please find the full programme of the LUCIS annual conference here.
The Sogdian Traders were the main go-between of Central Asia from the fifth to the eighth century. From their towns of Samarkand, Bukhara, or Tashkent, their diaspora is attested by texts, inscriptions or archaeology in all the major countries of Asia (India, China, Iran, Turkish Steppe, but also Byzantium). This survey for the first time brings together all the data on their trade, from the beginning, a small-scale trade in the first century BC up to its end in the tenth century. It should interest all the specialists of Ancient and Medieval Asia (including specialists of Sinology, Islamic Studies, Iranology, Turkology and Indology) but also specialists of Medieval Economic History.
This volume is the third revised edition of the orginal published in 2002 and translated into english in 2005 by James Ward.
Étienne de la Vaissière (PhD 1999) in History, is Assistant Professor at the École Pratique des Hautes Études in Paris. His courses and research are devoted to the economic and social history of medieval Central Asia.
This collection of essays is the result of the International Symposium “Cultural Transfers in Central Asia: before, during and after the Silk Road” (Conference Program), held in Samarkand on 12–14 September 2013. Expanding the original Eurocentric orientation in a broad chronological and interdisciplinary perspective and involving new materials, the participants have attempted to test the methodological approach of the “cultural transfers” and the effectiveness of their basic concepts (ways of travel, guides, translators, innovation, assimilation of “new” assignments, semantic shifts, etc.) in the Central Asian context. In these studies Central Asia includes mainly the post-Soviet space and its Central Asian neighbors like Siberia, Xinjiang, Afghanistan, Iran and Azerbaijan. The purpose of the collection is to determine the significance of the theory of the “cultural transfers” and, if possible, the range of its applications.
The Turfanforschung (Turfan Studies) at the Berlin Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities offers in 2016 a summer school providing an introduction to the field of Turfan Studies, which deals with the many languages and scripts used along the Silk Road as well as the histories and cultures of those who used them. The summer school will center around the two main languages of Turfan research. Sogdian, a middle Iranian language, was widely used as a lingua franca in Central Asia since the 1st c. A.C. Old Turkic was the language of Turkic nomads which had a strong influence on the Silk Road since the middle of the 6th c. After the migration of the Uyghurs it was also used as the main language in the Turfan area under Uyghur rule until 14th c.
The courses in this summer school will be given by the staff of the Turfanforschung and the Katalogisierung der Orientalischen Handschriften in Deutschland (Arbeitsstelle Berlin): A. Benkato, D. Durkin-Meisterernst, Y. Kasai, S.- Ch. Raschmann, C. Reck, A. Yakup. There will also be guest lectures by I. Colditz, M. Peyrot and L. Sander.
Berlin Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Jägerstraße 22-23,
Topics: 1. Scripts
2. Language: Old Turkic
language course with reading
lecture for linguistics
3. Language: Sogdian
language course with reading
lecture for linguistics
4. Language: Tocharian
5. Turfan studies
history of the Turfan expeditions
Central Asian book culture
Because a minimum number of participants are required for the summer school to take place, we ask for a binding registration by 20th May 2016 at firstname.lastname@example.org or in writing at: Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften AV Turfanforschung, Jägerstraße 22-23, D-10117, Berlin.
Sogdians, originating from present-day Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, dominated one of history’s greatest trade empires, extending from Constantinople to Korea between the 6th and 8th centuries AD. They established settlements in China and were granted positions of the highest rank at the imperial court. In recent years, richly equipped tombs attributed to members of the Sogdian diaspora were discovered in north and west China. The burial objects and inscriptions in these tombs offer surprising insights into the lives of these Central Asians. Patrick Wertmann followed the routes of the Sogdian traders and documented for his dissertation their traces in 54 museums and collections in eight countries, particularly in China. This fifth volume of the series Archaeology in China and East Asia offers the most comprehensive overview of Sogdian artefacts thus far assembled, with numerous colour photographs by the author.
The book has 347 pages with 116 full-page plates and 15 tables.
About the Author:
Patrick Wertmann (PhD 2013) .is a specialist in East Asian art history and now working in the Sino-German cooperation project “Silk Road Fashion” of the Beijing Branch Office, Eurasia Department, German Archaeological Institute.
The first volume of The Cambridge History of Capitalism provides a comprehensive account of the evolution of capitalism from its earliest beginnings. Starting with its distant origins in ancient Babylon, successive chapters trace progression up to the ‘Promised Land’ of capitalism in America. Adopting a wide geographical coverage and comparative perspective, the international team of authors discuss the contributions of Greek, Roman, and Asian civilizations to the development of capitalism, as well as the Chinese, Indian and Arab empires. They determine what features of modern capitalism were present at each time and place, and why the various precursors of capitalism did not survive. Looking at the eventual success of medieval Europe and the examples of city-states in northern Italy and the Low Countries, the authors address how British mercantilism led to European imitations and American successes, and ultimately, how capitalism became global.
In June 2014, the Silk Roads: the Routes Network of Chang’an-Tianshan Corridor jointly nominated by China, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan was inscribed on the World Heritage List, making the ancient Silk Road a common wealth of human beings.
Parallel to the cognominal exhibition, held at the China National Silk Museum from Sept. 15th to Oct. 14th, 2015, which include masterpiece ancient silk textiles and other treasures related to the Silk Road from 24 Chinese museums and archaeological institutions of eight provinces, the symposium will present the following six sections:
Silk Road and Technical Exchange
Archaeological Findings of Silk in China
Archaeological Findings of Silk outside China
Silks on the Silk Road from the Perspective of Linguistics
Maritime Silk Road and Chinese Export Silk
Silks on the Silk Road from the Perspective of Anthropology
See here for more details and the programme, speackers and topics.
Some talks relevant to Iranian Studies are:
Matthehew Canepa: “Sasanian Persian silks in archaeology findings and stone relief illustration
Bi Bo: “Silk in Sogdian Literature”
Mohammad Bagher Vosoughi: “Silk in Persian Literature”