- Stone used for weighing, inscribed with the weight 485 (drahms)I am excited to further research this object as I hope it will provide a unique illustration of how Sogdian’s used stones as a record material and also give insight into the economic trade system.
Valerie Hansen, The Silk Road: A New History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015)
Étienne de la Vaissière, Sogdian Traders: A History, trans. James Ward (Leiden: Brill, 2005)
- Merchant with Donkey and Camel, Hermitage collection, Turfan, Xinjiang, Bezeklik, 11th century, Fresco secco
- Xuanzang, Sun Wukong and a horse before Bodhisattva Guanyin, Hermitage Collection
These two fragmentary wall paintings from the Hermitage will be used in my thematic essay regarding the Sogdian people. Furthermore, Buddhist monks and their travels along the “silk road,” such as Xuanzang’s travel accounts he wrote to Huili. I will research the provenance of these paintings and how they might have been originally viewed in context.
Expedition Silk Road: Journey to the West, Catalogue from the Hermitage
- Sogdian Ancient Letter II, Written by Nanai-vandak in June/July c. 313 CE
For the economics and paper documents thematic essay I am going to focus on two aspects: the evolution of paper and use of recycled paper (exploring the materiality) and paper as economic and trade documents (the remnants of Sogdian trade network). In my opinion the Ancient Letters from Mount Mugh are one of the most important paper documents we have from the Sogdians. I will investigate what we can learn from these letters in relation to Sogdian trade, religious, and social life.
Valerie Hansen, The Silk Road: A New History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015) Chapter 4
- Ossuary, Mulla-Kurgan, 7-8th century. Samarkand State Museum of History, Art and Architecture
- Eleven Panels & Two Gate Towers with Relief Carvings from a Funerary Couch, Miho MuseumThese two objects will be my prime examples (although I will reference others) for the narrative of Sogdian burial practice and Zoroastrianism. I will investigate where they were found and whose burial they may relate to. I will also explore the iconography on these two well-preserved funerary objects. I will connect these two specific examples to the many others in our catalogue.
A.L. Juliano & J.A. Lerner, eds, Monks and Merchants: Silk Road Treasures from Northern China (New York: Abrams, 2002)
Judith Lerner, “Zoroastrian Funerary Beliefs and Practices Known from the Sino-Sogdian Tombs in China,” The Silk Road 9 (2011)
Judith Lerner, “Central Asians in sixth-century China: A Zoroastrian funerary rite,” Iranica Antiqua 30 (1995)
Frantz Grenet, “Religious Diversity among Sogdian Merchants in Sixth-century China: Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Manichaeism, and Hinduism,”Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 27/2 (2007): 463-478
- Female Figure, Tang Dynasty, wood pigments, paper, and silk. Xinjiang MuseumExcavated from tomb (dated 688) of Zhang XIong and his wife in Astana, Turfan.
This figurine is padded with paper to help shape the body. The figure’s costume was steamed apart and revealed various documents, including pawn tickets. The pawn tickets mention place names in Chang’an (far from Turfan where it was excavated). I hope to use this object as an example of the many uses of paper during Sogdian trade and also show how this object travelled.
Valerie Hansen, The Silk Road: A New History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015) Chapter 5
Watt, James C. Y., An Jiayao, Angela F. Howard, Boris I. Marshak, Su Bai, and Zhao Feng. China: Dawn of a Golden Age, 200–750 A.D. (New York: MetPublications, 2004)