To stay true to my overarching theme: Sogdians in China: Jewelry, Heavenly Horses, and Iconographic Crossroads—the majority of the objects I’ve chosen were found or have an association with Chinese cultural influence. To explicate the Jewelry and Iconographic crossroads subthemes, I am interested in Item # 386: Pendant in the Form of Buddha Sakyamuni. My research will focus two-fold—on the object as a functional and accessory item, a pendant, as well as how it represents a crossroads of two iconographic and religious practices—Buddhism and Islam. Similarly, I will investigate Item # 381: Mirror with a Handle, Relief Ornament of Painted Sirens and an Arabic Inscription. Although this item requires additional research effort, I am interested in the object’s varied cultural iconography i.e., sirens, the filigree, the Arabic inscriptions—as well as its function as an accessory item.
To explicate the Iconographic Crossroads theme more thoroughly, I am also interested in researching objects with representations of exotic animals, namely the peacock and elephant. The two objects I am interested for this theme are Item 364: Deity with Peacock and Item 147: Building Tile with Elephant. What is the symbolic significance of these animal figures and where did the influence come from?
Lastly, with a strong interest in the introduction and proliferation of horses in China from Middle Asia, I would like to investigate Item # 167: Central Asians Presenting Tribute Horses and Item 43: Horse and its Attendant. I am stunned by their aestheticism and preservation and from these objects, I strive to discuss the cultural value behind ‘heavenly horses’ as well as the cultural and political importance of Central Asian horses and horsemen in China.
Étienne de la Vaissière, Sogdian Traders: A History, trans. James Ward (Leiden: Brill, 2005),
Chapter 3, 5, and 7.2 “The Horses of the Ordos: The Shi Families: sabao, Translators and Horse Breeders
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.
Julano, Annette L., Judith A. Lerner, and Michael Alram. 2001. “Monks and Merchants : Silk Road Treasures from Northwest China Gansu and Ningxia 4th-7th Century.” Harry N. Abrams with the Asia Society.
Lerner, Judith. “Zoroastrian Funerary Beliefs and Practices Known from the Sino-Sogdian
Tombs in China.” The Silk Road 9 (2011): 18-25.
“Lin Ying – Sogdian and Imitations of Byzantine Gold Coin Unearthed in the Heartland of China – Transoxiana Eran Ud Aneran.” 2016. Accessed February 26. http://www.transoxiana.org/Eran/Articles/lin_ying.html.
“Types and Forms of Ancient Jewelry from Central Asia – Neva – Transoxiana 10.” 2016. Accessed February 26. http://www.transoxiana.com.ar/0110/neva-jewelry.html.
“The Impact of the Horse and Silk Trade on the Economies of T’ang China and the Uighur Empire: On the Importance of International Commerce in the Early Middle Ages on JSTOR.” 2016. Accessed February 26. http://www.jstor.org/stable/3632244?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents.