Sarah Fisk

Sarah Fisk 2018-01-07T14:25:02+00:00

Sarah’s Object Proposal

March 14th, 2016|0 Comments

  •  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.

// Sources

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.

// Sources

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.

// Sources

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.

// Sources

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.

// Sources

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)

 

Sarah’s Theme Proposal

February 29th, 2016|0 Comments

The People

-Who are they? -Physical aspects (at home and abroad) -Self-image -Biographies/stories

I am interested in humanizing the Sogdian’s history and I can do so through focusing on biographies and stories. This was inspired by the story of Xuanzang and how we know of his travels through his detailed writings to Huili (Hansen). In order to focus on one group of peoples, such as Buddhist monks, like Zuanzang, could connect this thematic essay to religion thematic essay.

Economics – Paper Documents

-Products of trade such as coins/currency, silk, silver, paper

I am interested in studying how/why people were buried in paper goods and what paper might have meant to the communities beyond being just a consumable object. In addition, how recycled paper and documents that were re-purposed for everyday use actually contained important information that can tell us about their way of life (Hansen pg. 15, 137). This could possibly connect religious burial practices with trade goods.  I am specifically going to use the market contract from Tufran, the Ancient Letters, among other paper records. I think this theme will permeate into all of the thematic essays.

Religion

I am interested in the religious variety and freedom that was practiced. Some possible topics within religion that interest me are: how religion can be reflected in the coinage (Hansen 97), ossuary decoration, burial practices, Buddhist motifs mixing with other religious content in murals, Chinese monks that travelled to India, and depictions of deities in art and murals (Marshak and Judith Lerner). This topic definitely needs to be more narrowly focused, but I am leaning towards burial practices in Sogdiana.

Visualization

I am interested in visualizing and giving clear examples of how/what was traded. This was inspired by the trade and market contracts. In my head I am picturing simplified line drawings of trade products and showing for instance – how many camels could be traded for how many bolts of silk. Possibly using Adobe Illustrator to create simple representations. Refer to trade contracts found in tomb of Zuo (Hansen pg, 96, 99 Turfan market records pg. 106) Visualizing how people would have travelled: how many camels or donkeys and how much goods with them. I will explore ways of depicting complex social networks/relationships of objects through infographics.

Ideas

Using questions as heading for thematic essays

Using young adults as my target audience

Sources

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)

Boris Marshak, Legends, Tales and Fables in the Art of Sogdiana (New York: Bibliotheca Persica Press, 2002)

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)

Nicholas Sims-Williams, “The Sogdian Merchants in China and India,” in Cina e Iran da Alessandro Magno alla dinastia Tang, ed. A. Cadonna & L. Lanciotti (Florence: Leo S. Olschki Editore, 1996)

Mariko Namba Walter, “Sogdians and Buddhism,” Sino-Platonic Papers 174 (November 2006)

 

 

Sarah’s Object Proposal

  •  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.

// Sources

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.

// Sources

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.

// Sources

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.

// Sources

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.

// Sources

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)

 

By | March 14th, 2016|Categories: Object Proposals, Sarah|0 Comments

Sarah’s Theme Proposal

The People

-Who are they? -Physical aspects (at home and abroad) -Self-image -Biographies/stories

I am interested in humanizing the Sogdian’s history and I can do so through focusing on biographies and stories. This was inspired by the story of Xuanzang and how we know of his travels through his detailed writings to Huili (Hansen). In order to focus on one group of peoples, such as Buddhist monks, like Zuanzang, could connect this thematic essay to religion thematic essay.

Economics – Paper Documents

-Products of trade such as coins/currency, silk, silver, paper

I am interested in studying how/why people were buried in paper goods and what paper might have meant to the communities beyond being just a consumable object. In addition, how recycled paper and documents that were re-purposed for everyday use actually contained important information that can tell us about their way of life (Hansen pg. 15, 137). This could possibly connect religious burial practices with trade goods.  I am specifically going to use the market contract from Tufran, the Ancient Letters, among other paper records. I think this theme will permeate into all of the thematic essays.

Religion

I am interested in the religious variety and freedom that was practiced. Some possible topics within religion that interest me are: how religion can be reflected in the coinage (Hansen 97), ossuary decoration, burial practices, Buddhist motifs mixing with other religious content in murals, Chinese monks that travelled to India, and depictions of deities in art and murals (Marshak and Judith Lerner). This topic definitely needs to be more narrowly focused, but I am leaning towards burial practices in Sogdiana.

Visualization

I am interested in visualizing and giving clear examples of how/what was traded. This was inspired by the trade and market contracts. In my head I am picturing simplified line drawings of trade products and showing for instance – how many camels could be traded for how many bolts of silk. Possibly using Adobe Illustrator to create simple representations. Refer to trade contracts found in tomb of Zuo (Hansen pg, 96, 99 Turfan market records pg. 106) Visualizing how people would have travelled: how many camels or donkeys and how much goods with them. I will explore ways of depicting complex social networks/relationships of objects through infographics.

Ideas

Using questions as heading for thematic essays

Using young adults as my target audience

Sources

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)

Boris Marshak, Legends, Tales and Fables in the Art of Sogdiana (New York: Bibliotheca Persica Press, 2002)

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)

Nicholas Sims-Williams, “The Sogdian Merchants in China and India,” in Cina e Iran da Alessandro Magno alla dinastia Tang, ed. A. Cadonna & L. Lanciotti (Florence: Leo S. Olschki Editore, 1996)

Mariko Namba Walter, “Sogdians and Buddhism,” Sino-Platonic Papers 174 (November 2006)

 

 

By | February 29th, 2016|Categories: Sarah, Theme Proposals|Tags: , , , , , , , , |0 Comments
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