Sasanian fantastic creature Baškuč

Matiashvili, Irma & Helen Giunashvili. 2016. Sasanian fantastic creature Baškuč (*Pasku(n)č) in Georgian Christian culture. In Dato Barbakadse & Jürgen Trinks (eds.),
Chancen und Schwierigkeiten des interkulturellen Dialogs über ästhetische Fragen. Unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der Entwicklungen in der Kaukasusregion (Transkulturelle Forschungen an den Österreich-Bibliotheken im Ausland 13), 145–158. LIT Verlag.

Die Frage, ob und wie philosophische und kulturwissenschaftliche Reflexionen dazu geeignet sind, kulturelle Distanzen und die Möglichkeiten ihrer Überwindung zu klären, wird in diesem Band sowohl in grundsätzlich-philosophischen Überlegungen als auch anhand besonders aussagekräftiger Beispiele des jeweiligen Kulturkreises behandelt. Die ausgewählten Beiträge einer Tagung in Tbilisi mit TeilnehmerInnen aus Armenien, Georgien und Österreich zeugen davon, dass in der Kaukasusregion mit ihrer wechselvollen Geschichte, ihrer tief verwurzelten Volkskultur und nicht zuletzt den künstlerischen und politischen Konflikten im Streben nach einer spezifischen Moderne höchst komplexe Entwicklungen und Beziehungen zu beobachten sind. Analysen der Literatur, der bildenden Kunst, der Musik und des Films machen dies konkret.


An unusual Khotanese terracotta head from the Sherabad oasis

Stančo, Ladislav. 2015. An unusual Khotanese terracotta head from the Sherabad oasisStudia Hercynia XIX(1). 218–226.

This paper deals with a newly found terracotta head from the Sherabad District, southern Uzbekistan. Its probable origin in the eastern Turkestan region of Khotan as well as its iconographic peculiarities and their interpretation is discussed.


Summer school in the Turfanforschung: Sogdians and Turks on the Silk Road

Manichaean priests writing Sogdian manuscripts, in Khocho, Tarim Basin, ca. 8th/9th century AD
Manichaean priests writing Sogdian manuscripts, in Khocho, Tarim Basin, ca. 8th/9th century AD

Summer school in the Turfanforschung:

“Sogdians and Turks on the Silk Road”

August 22 – September 2, 2016

Duration: two weeks, daily four seminars each 90 min.
Location: Berlin Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities



A detailed programme is available here: “Sogdians and Turks on the Silk Road” Summer School”

Participation is free.

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,
10117 Berlin

1. Scripts

  • Sogdian script
  • Uyghur script
  • Turkic Runic
  • Nestorian script
  • Manichaean script
  • Brāhmī script

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
  • history
  • religions
  • research history

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 or in writing at: Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften AV Turfanforschung, Jägerstraße 22-23, D-10117, Berlin.




Turks and Iranians: Interactions in Language and History

Csató, Éva, Lars Johanson, András Róna-Tas & Bo Utas (eds.). 2016. Turks and Iranians: Interactions in language and history (Turcologica 105). Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag.

The contributions by an international group of leading scholars discuss the historical and cultural relations of old and modern Turkic and Iranian languages. A main topic is how contacts of spoken and written languages from pre-Islamic times until various periods of the Islamic era have influenced the emergence and development of Iranian and Turkic varieties. The purpose is to contribute to a better understanding of the interrelations between cultural-historical contacts and linguistic processes, and to stress the necessity of cooperation between experts of Turkic and Iranian studies.

-See the Table of the Contents here


From Samarkand to Istanbul

Schiltz, Véronique (ed.). 2015. De Samarcande à Istanbul: étapes orientales. (Hommages à Pierre Chuvin 2). Paris: CNRS Éditions.
 Pierre Chuvin, the renomate scholar of hellenistic studies has devoted his academic life to the study of the Central Asian World in its most diverse aspects.
He founded and directed the French Institute for the Study of Central Asia (1993-1998), before taking the responsibility as the head of the French Institute of Anatolian Studies (2003-2008). Succeeding first collection of tributes dedicated to the world of Greek mythos to logos, this volume brings together contributions devoted to East Central Asian and Turkish studies. Their diversity is a reflection of the tireless curiosity, to whom they are dedicated. From Mausoleums of Samarkand to the Sublime Porte, from antiquity to modern times, from mythology to medicine, as well as the Poetry are very many aspects of a culture of extreme wealth, which are shown here.

Vom Aramäischen zum Alttürkischen

J. P. Laut, K. Röhrborn (eds.). 2014. Vom Aramäischen zum Alttürkischen: Fragen zur Übersetzung von manichäischen Texten (Abhandlungen der Akademie der Wissenschaften Zu Gottingen. Neue Folge, Band 29). De Gruyter.

Manichaeism claimed to be a world religion. Thus, the problem of translating the Holy Scriptures was of paramount importance. The twelve studies in this volume examine the linguistic and cultural diversity and unique features of the translated texts of Eastern Manichaeism. This book will be of great interest to scholars of religious studies and to researchers in the fields of cultural history and language contact.

For more information, see the ToC of this volume.


The Humorous in Arabic, Persian, and Turkish Narrative

Brookshaw, Dominic Parviz, ed. Ruse and Wit: The Humorous in Arabic, Persian, and Turkish Narrative. Ilex Foundation Series 8. Boston, Mass: Ilex Foundation ; Center for Hellenic Studies, 2012.
The essays in Ruse and Wit examine in detail a wide range of texts (from nonsensical prose, to ribald poetry, titillating anecdotes, edifying plays, and journalistic satire) that span the best part of a millennium of humorous and satirical writing in the Islamic world, from classical Arabic to medieval and modern Persian, and Ottoman Turkish (and by extension Modern Greek). While acknowledging significant elements of continuity in the humorous across distinct languages, divergent time periods, and disparate geographical regions, the authors have not shied away from the particular and the specific. When viewed collectively, the findings presented in the essays collected here underscore the belief that humor as evidenced in Arabic, Persian, and Turkish narrative is a culturally modulated phenomenon, one that demands to be examined with reference to its historical framework and one that, in turn, communicates as much about those who produced humor as it does about those who enjoyed it.
Table of Contents
– Introduction / Dominic Parviz Brookshaw
– Amphigory and other nonsense in classical Arabic literature / Geert Jan van Gelder
– Persian Humor in the International Context / Ulrich Marzolph
– Have you heard the one about the man from Qazvin? Regionalist humor in the works of Ubayd-i Zakani / Dominic Parviz Brookshaw
– Bawdy anecdotes in religious settings: examples from medieval Persian literature / Olga M. Davidson
– Playful figures of script in Persian and Chinese / Paul Sprachman
– Despots of the world unite! satire in the iranian constitutional press: the Majalla-yi istibdad, 1907-1908 / Ali Gheissari
– Humor for in-betweeners: Sadiq Hidayat’s myth of creation as a cross-cultural phenomenon / Marta Simidchieva
– Ottoman Karagöz and Greek shadow theater: communicational shifts and variants in a multi-ethnic and ethnic context / Anna Stavrakopoulou.


About the Editor:

Dominic Parviz Brookshaw is Associate Professor of Persian Literature and Senior Research Fellow in Persian at Wadham College. Among his recent publications see:

“Mytho-Political Remakings of Ferdowsi’s Jamshid in the Lyric Poetry of Injuid and Mozaffarid Shiraz,” Iranian Studies, 48:3 (2015), 463-487.


Carpets in ancient Central Asia

He, Zhang. 2015. The terminology for carpets in ancient Central Asia. Sino-Platonic Papers 257. 1–35.

This study seeks to gather and clarify the terminology for carpets used by peoples of Central Asia from about 300 BCE to 1000 CE time, including terms in Kharoṣṭhi, Khotanese, Sanskrit and its relatives, plus Persian, Sogdian, Chinese, and Turkic.


Religious trends in late ancient and early Islamic Iran

The latest issue  of the journal Iranian Studies 48(1), dated 2015 and entitled Religious trends in late ancient and early Islamic Iran, is a treasure trove of highly recommended articles. This special issue has been edited by Jason Mokhtarian & David Bennett.

Read the editors’ introduction here.