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‘Steppe’ into the past on a cultural journey covering half the globe and 2500 years, from the first millennium BCE to the Qing period. Explore the art styles, cultural legacies and religions of lost kingdoms and mercantile communities along the so-called silk road. The cultural encounters along the trading networks facilitated the spread of ideas and development of artistic expressions.
Fourteen lectures by prominent scholars will dig into Achaemenid Persian and Bactrian golden hordes from the Oxus river valley, some of the oldest knotted carpets and embroidered silks from Pazyryk’s Iron Age culture, early Buddhist images from Gandhara, as well as the Eurasian trade in incense, spice and everything nice, and Tocharian cave murals near Kucha by the Taklamakan desert. Speakers will also decode Central Asian textile designs and illuminated Uighur manuscripts of the Manicheans of northwest China and tantric murals of the Dalai Lama’s private meditation chapel. They will also follow Sogdian merchants along their routes, the trade in jade boulders from the Kunlun Mountains, and more.
Series Introduction: Imag(in)ing the Silk Roads Study Guide
Sanjyot Mehendale, UC Berkeley
Transfers and Transformations along the Silk Road: Examples from Pazyryk and Tillya Tepe Study Guide
Karen Rubinson, Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at New York University
Persia in Central Asia: The Oxus Treasure Study Guide
Kim Codella, Cosumnes River College, Sacramento
Spread of Gandhara Art in Iranian and Central Asian Context Study Guide
Osmund Bopearachchi, UC Berkeley
Silk and Spice, and Everything Nice: Trade in Luxuries and Commodities Across Eurasia Study Guide
Sanjyot Mehendale, UC Berkeley
Art of Kucha on the Northern Silk Road Along the Taklamakan Desert Study Guide
Monika Zin, Ludwigs-Maximilians-University of Munich
Textiles Along the Silk Road Study Guide
Mariachiara Gasparini, San Francisco State University
Ming China and the Silk Roads Study Guide
Craig Clunas, Oxford University
The Uygur Era of Manichaean Art: Three Centuries of Innovation and Splendor Study Guide
Zsuzsanna Gulacsi, Northern Arizona University
Sogdian Traders and Others Along the Silk Roads Study Guide
Judith Lerner, Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at New York University
The Jade Road in the Qing Dynasty Study Guide
Patricia Berger, UC Berkeley
The Hero Rostam in Persian and Central Asian Art Study Guide
Soroor Ghanimati, UC Berkeley
The Afghan Discovery of Buddha: Archeology and Art History in Pre-Taliban Afghanistan Study Guide
Nile Green, UCLA
November 23 - Day after Thanksgiving
November 30 (Originally scheduled on November 2)
Visions of Emptiness: Unpacking the Murals of the Dalai Lama’s Nāga-House Study Guide
Jacob Dalton, UC Berkeley
*Head of a Buddhist deity, approx. 600—700. China; Kucha, Xinjiang Province, Tang dynasty (618—907). Mural fragment, tempera on plaster. Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, Gift of Dr. Richard P. Scherman in memory of Lucian and Christine Scherman, B79D2. Photograph © Asian Art Museum of San Francisco.
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