Joanna’s Object Proposal

/Joanna’s Object Proposal

Joanna’s Object Proposal

I. Sale of a Slave Girl (Item #2)

http://sogdians.nyufasedtech.com/admin/items/show/2

I will use this document in my research on the status and life experiences of women in the world of Sogdiana. In the sources I have examined so far, women are discussed as either wives, concubines, or slaves. I am interested in studying the intersection of the slave trade and family life, and how those two elements came to bear on the understanding of women’s place in Sogdian society, in this case in the context of women with relatively little social capital.

Sources

  1. Goetzmann, William N. and Rouwenhorst, K. Geert, eds. The Origins of Value: The Financial Innovations That Created Capital Markets (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005).
  2. Hansen, Valerie. The Silk Road: A New History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015)
  3. Seibert, Ilse, Woman In Ancient Near East (German Democratic Republic: Edition Liepzig, 1974).

II. Tomb of Shi Jun (Wirkak) and His Wife (Item #144)

http://sogdians.nyufasedtech.com/admin/items/show/144

I believe that this object may be relevant to two of the themes I am working with: Sogdian women and the notion of safe passage. The Tomb of Shi Jun/ Wirkak presents a narrative of a Sogdian man rising to power through success in trade and eventually being appointed sabao by an imperial decree. The tomb itself is for both Shi Jun and his wife, Lady Kang, who also appears in the narrative depicted on this sarcophagus. I hope that this narrative can provide information on the lives of women of the upper class, and the way that marriage and family were defined in their world. I also believe that the Tomb of Shi Jun can provide valuable insight into the life of Sogdians abroad, which will help to frame the circumstances under which they were able to move relatively freely between power structures for the purposes of trade.

Sources

  1. Dien, Albert E. “Observations Concerning the Tomb of Master Shi”, Bulletin of the Asia Institute, Vol. 17 (2003), pp. 105-115.
  2. Grenet, Franz.  “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.
  3. Grenet, Franz and Riboud, Penelope. “A Reflection of the Hepthalite Empire: The Biographical Narrative in the Reliefs of the Tomb of the Sabao Wirkak (494-579). Bulletin of the Asia Institute Vol. 17 (2003), pp. 133-143)..
  4. Kagayama, Etsuko. “The Winged Crown and the Triple-crescent Crown in the Sogdian Funerary Monuments from China: Their Relation to the Hephthalite Occupation of Central Asia”. Journal of Inner Asian Art & Archaeology, Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, Volume 2. http://isaw.nyu.edu/publications/jiaaa/volume-2.
  5. Yakubovich, Ilya. Marriage, Sogdian Style. VERÖFFENTLICHUNGEN ZUR IRANISTIK HERAUSGEGEBEN VON BERT G. FRAGNER UND VELIZAR SADOVSKINR. 34. https://www.academia.edu/551389/Marriage_Sogdian_Style.

III. Rustam Epics 2 from Room 50 (Item #351)

http://sogdians.nyufasedtech.com/admin/items/show/351

The depiction of the Rustam Epics at Panjikent serves as a window into the complex system of mythological actors present in this Sogdian settlement. This specific set of stories is deeply connected with the historicized self-image of what Judith Lerner called “Greater Iran”, and I believe that will make it a useful resource in my examination of the utility of fables in Sogdian murals. The murals found in private homes can speak to the lifestyle and belief system of a specific citizen, and they can also speak to the collective self-presentation that allowed Sogdians to flourish at home and abroad. I hope to explore the qualities of Rustam as a national hero, and how that may relate to Sogdians’ concept of their own place in their world.

Sources

  1. Ciafaloni, Davide, and Della Roca de Candal, Geri. “Sassanian Traditions in Sogdian Paintings: Hunting and Fighting Scenes”, INCONTRI DI CULTURE NEL MONDO ANTICO, Vol. 13, 2011. https://www.academia.edu/3386461/Sasanian_traditions_in_Sogdian_paintings_hunting_and_fighting_scenes.
  2. Juliano, A.L. & Lerner, J.A., eds. Monks and Merchants: Silk Road Treasures from Northern China (New York: Abrams, 2002).
  3. Marshak, Boris. Legends, Tales and Fables in the Art of Sogdiana (New York: Bibliotheca Persica Press, 2002).

IV. Detail of a Sogdian Mural Depicting Members of the Chaghanian mission to the Royal Court at Samarkand (Item #3)

http://sogdians.nyufasedtech.com/admin/items/show/3

Within the theme of safe passage, I plan to explore both the official records that lay out the legalized frameworks for travel and trade in this region, and the artworks that can help us understand the way Sogdians saw themselves as actors in a political structure. I hope to examine the depictions in this mural in terms of their relation to the official record. As Judith Lerner points out, this scene depicts “a world with Samarkand at its center”, even though the Sogdians at this time relied on the Chinese for military support. I believe that this artistic depiction of the political scene can tell us a lot about the Sogdians as a people, particularly when taken in conjunction with official records of the inter-state interactions of the time.

Sources

  1. Juliano, A.L. & Lerner, J.A., eds. Monks and Merchants: Silk Road Treasures from Northern China (New York: Abrams, 2002).
  2. Marshak, Boris. Legends, Tales and Fables in the Art of Sogdiana (New York: Bibliotheca Persica Press, 2002).

V. Merchants Feasting (Item #268)

http://sogdians.nyufasedtech.com/admin/items/show/268

This scene from Panjikent is a rare instance in which we can see the Sogdians enjoying the fruits of their Silk Road commerce. I would like to look at the characteristics of physicality or costume which identify these figures as Sogdians, and as merchants. I hope to draw connections between these depictions and other descriptions of Sogdian merchants, at home and abroad, and find out how this identity played a role in the concept of safe passage within the commerce of the silk routes.

Sources

  1. de la Vaissière, Étienne. Sogdian Traders: A History, trans. James Ward (Leiden: Brill, 2005).
  2. Hansen, Valerie. The Silk Road: A New History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015)
  3. Marshak, Boris. Legends, Tales and Fables in the Art of Sogdiana (New York: Bibliotheca Persica Press, 2002).
  4. Yatsenko, Sergey A. The Costume of Foreign Embassies & Inhabitants of Samarkand on Wall Painting of the 7th c. in the “Hall of Ambassadors” from Afrasiab as a Historical Source, http://www.cais-soas.com/CAIS/Costume_and_Textile/samarkand_costume.htm.

VI. Letter to Nanaidhat (Item #67)

http://sogdians.nyufasedtech.com/admin/items/show/67

I plan to examine this letter fragment found in Dunhuang in order to better understand the structure of marriage in Sogdian society. The abandoned wife Miwnay is clearly financially reliant on her now-absent husband, which is not surprising in a traditional society. What I found intriguing was that she mentions that she disobeyed her mother and brothers, an act of independence or rebellion that I would not expect a young woman in that time to attempt. I hope to use this letter as a resource to flesh out the relationships between men and women, as well as the legal ramifications of marriage in the world of the Sogdians.

Sources

  1. Hansen, Valerie. The Silk Road: A New History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015)
  2. Yakubovich, Ilya. Marriage, Sogdian Style. VERÖFFENTLICHUNGEN ZUR IRANISTIK HERAUSGEGEBEN VON BERT G. FRAGNER UND VELIZAR SADOVSKINR. 34. https://www.academia.edu/551389/Marriage_Sogdian_Style.
By | 2018-01-07T14:25:20-05:00 March 15th, 2016|Joanna, Object Proposals|0 Comments

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