Soley Esteves

Soley Esteves 2018-01-07T14:25:03-05:00

Object Proposal – Soley Esteves

March 22nd, 2016|0 Comments

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.

Soley Esteves – Theme Proposal

March 1st, 2016|0 Comments

Sogdians in China: Jewelry, Heavenly Horses, and Iconographic Crossroads

           The three themes I will focus on for my object analysis fall under an umbrella theme—Sogdians in China. From the class readings and sessions we’ve engaged with thus far, Lerner’s texts and the Chinese-Sogdian archaeological oeuvre captivated my interest. For this project, I will delve into this broader interest via a honing in on the following subthemes—Sogdian Jewelry, Heavenly Horses, and Objects as Iconographic Crossroads—each of which will focus on archeological and/or art historical Sogdian objects excavated or had once resided in China.

As an undergrad, I’ve taken various art history classes and have always been fascinated by ancient jewelry—particularly Hellenistic and Islamic jewelry. This project provides a chance to discover the cultural, aesthetic, and industrial significance of Sogdian Jewelry in China and the ‘Silk Road’ at large. With my chosen objects for this theme, I will expand upon the precious stone and lapis lazuli industries as well as the influence of Sogdian accessories on Chinese culture and fashionware.

I will also choose two objects that speak to the cultural and political importance of Central Asian horses and horsemen in China, the concept and iconography of ‘heavenly horses’, as well as the Shi family’s horse breeding, training, and trading legacy.

Lastly, Objects as Iconographic Crossroads explore the symbolic and iconographic inconsistencies of Sogdian art-historical works found in China. For example, the panels of the Miho couch visually depict funerary rites only previously read about in Zoroastrian texts. While at the same time, however, they depict practices that strictly go against Zoroastrian tradition (i.e., burying of the deceased, wounding of faces, emotional mourning). Additionally, the Miho funerary couch panels allude to Indian and Byzantine iconography and aesthetic motifs—both of which my chosen objects will illustrate.

 

My preliminary list of bibliographic sources is as follows:

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.

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