Thursday, 14 May 2009


It has taken a while but it is out again, the latest issue of the Silk Road Newsletter from the Silk Road Foundation ( but in fact from Daniel Waugh, Editor Professor Emeritus, University of Washington, Seattle).

65 pages with new articles which can't be found anywhere else.
For the full text click: Silk Road Newsletter Volume 6 Number 2.


Korea and the Silk Roads,
by Staffan Rosén 3
The connections of Korea with the Silk Road often have been ignored. Objects buried in Korean tombs, especially those of the Silla Dynasty period, indicate important connections between the Korean peninsula and the cultures to the north and west. In particular there is evidence of connections with shamanistic traditions of peoples in North Asia. Also, there are imported objects such as glassware from West Asia.

Alexander the Great and the Emergence of the Silk Road,
by Yang Juping 15
It is common in explaining the origin of the Silk Road to cite the initiatives of Han Emperor Wudi, who sent his envoy Zhang Qian to the west in the 2nd century BCE. This article argues that the conquests of Alexander the Great in the 4th century BCE and the consequent spread of Hellenistic culture to the East were of equal significance in preparing the way for the opening of the Silk Roads.

Centaurs on the Silk Road: Recent Discoveries of Hellenistic Textiles in Western China,
by Robert A. Jones 23
Among the spectacular archaeological finds of recent decades in the Tarim Basin are wool textiles, some of which are decorated with Hellenistic motifs. This article explores the possible connections of two such finds, from Sampul and from Yingpan. The focus is on the artistic analogies in the Hellenistic West.

Dialogue among the Civilizations: the Origin of the Three Guardian Deities' Images in Cave 285, Mogao Grottoes,
by Zhang Yuanlin 33
Mogao Cave 285 at Dunhuang is known for its complex “multi-cultural” imagery. The author argues that key imagery on the west wall of the cave (in particular the depictions of sun and moon deities and of Maheshvara) and some of the donor identifications point to possible Sogdian involvement in the decoration of the cave.

Eighteen Songs of a Nomad Flute: Possible Religious Symbolism within the Late-Song Paintings,
by Lauren Arnold 49
The Eighteen Songs of a Nomadic Flute concern the tragic tale of a Han princess who was taken captive by the Xiongnu, raised a family among them, and then had to leave her family behind and return to China. This episode was the subject of paintings, whose dates have been disputed. The author argues for a date in the middle of the 13th century, at a time when in China details of nomadic culture would have been well known and when a presence of Eastern Christians among the Inner Asian nomads might help explain why cross motifs are to be found in the carpets the paintings depict.

Shrine Pilgrimage among the Uighurs,
by Rahilä Dawut 56
Pilgrimage to Islamic shrines is an important feature of Uighur culture in southern Xinjiang. The author describes a range of such shrines and explains the specifics of worship at them. She emphasizes the likely connection of the Islamic shrines and worship with pre-Islamic shamanistic and Buddhist beliefs in the same regions.

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