Archeology and History of the Silk Road

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Friday, 30 November 2012

More beautiful photos from Mes Aynak, Afghanistan

More beautiful photos from Mes Aynak, Afghanistan, now from the Flickr page from the US Embassy of Kabul
Logar Province, Afghanistan on Saturday, October 29, 2011/US EMbassy Kabul
A fragment of stamped pottery featuring a pomegranate recently excavated at Mes Aynak in Logar Province, Afghanistan on Saturday, October 29, 2011/ US Embassy, Kabul
Mes Aynak in Logar Province, Afghanistan on Saturday, October 29, 2011/ US Embassy, Kabul
A stupa at Mes Aynak, Logar Province, Afghanistan on Saturday, October 29, 2011, US Embassy, Kabul
A fragment of stamped pottery unearthed at Mes Aynak in Logar Province, Afghanistan on Saturday, October 29, 2011, US Embassy, Kabul
Artifacts from Mes Aynak in Logar Province, Afghanistan on Saturday, October 29, 2011, US Embassy, Kabul
A decoratively carved piece of wood unearthed at Mes Aynak in Logar Province, Afghanistan on Saturday, October 29, 2011, US Embassy, Kabul
Detail of draped fabric on a standing Buddah in a chapel at Tepe Kafiriat in Mes Aynak, Logar Province, Afghanistan on Saturday, October 29, 2011, US Embassy, Kabul
Fragments of wall paintings at Mes Aynak, Logar Province, Afghanistan on Saturday, October 29, 2011, US Embassy, Kabul
A reclining Buddah with visible paint at Tepe Kafiriat in Mes Aynak, Logar Province, Afghanistan on Saturday, October 29, 2011, US Embassy, Kabul
The remains of standing figures in a chapel at Tepe Kafiriat in Mes Aynak, Logar Province, Afghanistan on Saturday, October 29, 2011, US Embassy, Kabul

Beautiful photos from Mes Aynak, Afghanistan

On Flickr a beautiful photo stream about this mysterious site Mes Aynak in Afghanistan, made by Michal Przedlacki is available.
Have a look and enjoy
 ....while it is still there.....

Michal Przedlacki (photos from May 2012):
In May 2012 I have travelled to Afghanistan on an assignment for the Czech edition of National Geographic Magazine.
I have photographed excavation and rescue efforts at the world’s largest archaeological excavations site, located in Mes Aynak (“copper well”) area, Logar Province, Afghanistan.
Being an equally inspiring and unique place, experts on site believe that uncovering Mes Aynak ancient city would not only re-write the history of the Silk Route, but also the history of Buddhism.
That is however unlikely to happen. At the end of December 2012 the first part of the ancient site will be destroyed.
Due to economic interests of China and Afghanistan a massive open copper mine complex just where the ancient city lays will be established.
Mes Aynak is also a home to a second-largest unworked cooper deposit in the world.
To give you a hint. This earth-covered ancient city, yet to be excavated, sprawls across a territory of approximately 1,5 by 1,5 kilometers.
Recent findings suggest that underneath the 2600 years-old town, Mes Aynak was inhabited in an organized manner as early as 5,000 years ago, well into Bronze Age.
It is considered literally as a missing link between the civilizations of East and West, a trading hub, a money factory, a place where these two civilizations met and interacted. According to international archaeologists on site, Mes Aynak becomes one of the five most important findings in the history of archaeology ever. That is, in the same category as Petra or Machu Piccu.
Unfortunately we will not learn about it.
Underneath Mes Aynak city lays the second-largest known unworked copper deposit in the world. China Metallurgical Group Corporation (MCC), a government-owned giant bought rights to it for a round $3 billion and will excavate copper for the next 30 years, aiming to extract approximately $100 billion in it.
A massive open copper mine, visible from outer space, will completely destroy this ancient site. So far, perhaps 15% of the newest archaeological layer was uncovered. The second, or the earliest settlements will never be accessed. The entire city’ history, including its administrative center, Buddhist stupas, monasteries, as well as Bronze Age-era past will be forever lost.
Archaeologists state they require between 20 to 30 years to fully uncover and document this site but cannot oppose decision taken by the government of Afghanistan and MCC. A team consisting of international and Afghan archaeologists conducts the so called “rescue archaeology” - basically to dig out as much as possible in the remaining few months.
 The reportage (text by Jiri Unger and Nicolas Engel) has been published as exclusive in the September edition of the Czech version of National Geographic magazine and is available here: www.national-geographic.cz/detail/exkluz ivne-pro-ng-meden... (in Czech).


Mes Aynak archaeological excavations, Logar, Afghanistan
Mes Aynak archaeological excavations, Logar, Afghanistan
Mes Aynak archaeological excavations, Logar, Afghanistan
Mes Aynak archaeological excavations, Logar, Afghanistan
Mes Aynak archaeological excavations, Logar, Afghanistan
Mes Aynak archaeological excavations, Logar, Afghanistan
Mes Aynak archaeological excavations, Logar, Afghanistan
Mes Aynak archaeological excavations, Logar, Afghanistan
Mes Aynak archaeological excavations, Logar, Afghanistan
Mes Aynak archaeological excavations, Logar, Afghanistan
Mes Aynak archaeological excavations, Logar, Afghanistan
Mes Aynak archaeological excavations, Logar, Afghanistan
Mes Aynak archaeological excavations, Logar, Afghanistan
Mes Aynak archaeological excavations, Logar, Afghanistan
Mes Aynak archaeological excavations, Logar, Afghanistan
Mes Aynak archaeological excavations, Logar, Afghanistan
Mes Aynak archaeological excavations, Logar, Afghanistan
Mes Aynak archaeological excavations, Logar, Afghanistan
Mes Aynak archaeological excavations, Logar, Afghanistan
Mes Aynak archaeological excavations, Logar, Afghanistan
Mes Aynak archaeological excavations, Logar, Afghanistan
Mes Aynak archaeological excavations, Logar, Afghanistan
Mes Aynak archaeological excavations, Logar, Afghanistan
Mes Aynak archaeological excavations, Logar, Afghanistan
Mes Aynak archaeological excavations, Logar, Afghanistan
Mes Aynak archaeological excavations, Logar, Afghanistan
Mes Aynak archaeological excavations, Logar, Afghanistan
Mes Aynak archaeological excavations, Logar, Afghanistan
Mes Aynak archaeological excavations, Logar, Afghanistan
Mes Aynak archaeological excavations, Logar, Afghanistan
Mes Aynak archaeological excavations, Logar, Afghanistan
Mes Aynak archaeological excavations, Logar, Afghanistan





Thursday, 29 November 2012

Interesting Mes Aynak Lecture In Leiden, Friday 11-12-2012



December

11
2012


Recent excavations of the Buddhist remains from Mes Aynak, Afghanistan


The remains of standing figures in a chapel at Tepe Kafiriat in Mes Aynak, Logar Province, Afghanistan. 
Photo courtesy U.S. Embassy, Kabul, Afghanistan:

A lecture will be given about the recent excavations of Buddhist Remains from Mes Aynak, Afghanistan on TUESDAY, 11 December 2012 from 15.15- 17.00 hours at the Gravensteen Building, Room 111, Pieterskerkhof 6 in Leiden by Khair Mohammed Khairzada, Institute of Archaeology, Kabul, and Dr. Willem Vogelsang, IIAS, Leiden.

Since the early nineteenth century, Afghanistan has become known for its Buddhist sites that date back to the early centuries of the modern era. Most famous of all are, or better, were, the two giant Buddha statues in Bamiyan, which were destroyed by the Taliban regime in the spring of 2001. But all over the country, and especially in the east, Buddhist stupas and other remains still crown many hilltops.

Mes Aynak excavation
Archaeological investigations were started again soon after the fall of the Taliban in late 2001, and one of the most spectacular sites is that of Mes Aynak, some 40 km south of the Afghan capital, Kabul. Here the Afghan Institute of Archaeology and the French Archaeological Mission in Afghanistan (DAFA)  have unearthed, since 2009, a huge site of some 40 ha that includes a number of stupas, five monastic complexes, many clay and wooden statues, some of which with the original colours, wall paintings, and a commercial centre. Hundreds of Buddha images were found, including a stone statue of Prince Siddartha.

Copper ore concessionThe ancient settlement may have developed mainly because of the large deposits in this area of copper ore, which were mined, and the extracted copper being worked, from an early age. Unfortunately, these copper deposits, which are now known to be the second largest in the world, may also lead to the complete destruction of the ancient site, since the China Metallurgical Group won a concession in late 2007, for thirty years, for a price of some three billion dollar, to extract the copper ore from the area, which now extends over five square km. Provisions were made to carry out further excavations at the site, but it remains to be seen whether these can satisfactorily be concluded before the actual ore extraction will start.


Khair Mohammed Khairzada
 is an Afghan archaeologist who in 2007-2008 studied at Leiden University with a grant from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and has since his return to Kabul been mainly involved in the excavations at Mes Aynak. From 2011-2012 he was the acting director of the Afghan Institute of Archaeology, and general director of the Mes Aynak excavations.

Willem Vogelsang has been working, intermittently, in Afghanistan since 1978, when he worked at the ancient site of Old Kandahar, in the south of the country, and which is also crowned by a Buddhist stupa from the mid first millennium. He will provide a brief introduction to the Buddhist remains in Afghanistan, after which Khairzada will talk about the excavations at Mes Aynak.

Buddhist rhetoric of power in Late Antique Afghanistan/ Buddhism and the Sakas


Two Lectures | Friday 7 December 2012

Time: 13.00 - 16.00
Venue: Lipsius Room 228, Cleveringaplaats 4, Leiden

First Lecture | Buddha, Monks and Lay Devotees: the Buddhist rhetoric of power in Late Antique Afghanistan

First speaker: Dr. Anna Filigenzi
Chinese pilgrims often describe public Buddhist ceremonies performed by lay rulers, such as a king, humbly crownless and barefoot, welcoming with offerings a procession of Buddhist images or another king symbolically renounced all earthly goods – including his own kingdom and family – on behalf of the Buddha. These and similar manifestations hint to a synthesis of philosophical, religious and social instances that seems to have deeply permeated the Late Antique Buddhist world.
Confirmation of the widespread rhetoric of the “Buddhist kingdom”, in which rulers act not only as patrons but as true terrestrial Bodhisattvas entrusted with the protection ofdharma, is provided by paintings and sculptures which witness a variegated range of ritualised customs, in the form of pious metaphors or hieratic acts of devotion and homage performed by individuals, families or distinctive social groups of high rank. Newly excavated sites such as Tepe Narenj and Mes Aynak now provide fresh and strikingly explicit evidence, which in turn allow us to re-examine the old documentation with stronger interpretative models.
Anna Filigenzi is temporary researcher at the University of Naples “L’Orientale” and the holder of the FWF stand-alone project “The cultural history of Uddiyana 4th to 8th century CE” at the Numismatic Commission of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. Since 2004 she is the director of the Italian Archaeological Mission in Afghanistan and since 1984 a member of the Italian Archaeological Mission in Pakistan.

Second Lecture | Buddhism and the Sakas: Nomads of Central Asia in Greek, Persian, Indian, and Chinese Sources

Second speaker: Prof. Meiji Yamada
A nomad group called Sakai or Scythai in 5th century BCE Greek sources, and Saka in Persian sources, as well as Sak in 2nd century BCE Chinese sources, appeared in the Indian subcontinent after the 2nd century BCE, and played a central role in the spread of Buddhism. They probably introduced a sort of non-doctrinal Buddhism  to Southern China. Some strange Buddha images are found in Chinese graves along the Yangtze River from the 2nd to the 4th centuries. It seems that the Sakas introduced these Buddha images to Southern China.  Their presence in China however appears in few written historical accounts. Using these accounts along with archaeological sources, Prof. Yamada will try to trace their movements in Central Asia, India and China.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

The Silk Road: Key Papers (2 Vols)


Edited, with an Introduction by Valerie Hansen, Yale Universit

€295.00$419.00

Editor:

Category: 
Volume: 
4
Series: 
ISBN13: 
9781906876234
Publication Year: 
Edition info: 
1
Version: 
Publication Type: 
Pages, Illustrations: 
Set: 2 Vols: 414 pp.; 292 pp.
Imprint: 
Language: 
Publication Value: 

Biographical note
Valerie Hansen is Professor of History at Yale University (since 1998). She teaches courses on Traditional China (2000 BC-AD 1600), Voyages in World History to 1500 and The Silk Road Rediscovered. Her books include Voyages in World History (with Ken Curtis) (Wadsworth CENGAGE, 2010), The Open Empire: A History of China to 1600 (W.W. Norton & Co., 2000), Negotiating Daily Life in Traditional China: How Ordinary People Used Contracts, 600-1400 (YUP, 1995), and The Silk Road: A New History (OUP, forthcoming).

Readership
Professional and scholarly

Table of contents

Introduction;

SECTION I: The beginnings of the Silk Road;
1. The Development of Trade Between The Roman Empire and the East Under Augustus;
2. On the Question of Silk in pre-Han Eurasia;
3. The Desert Crossing of Hsüan-Tsang, 630 A.D;
4. Land route or sea route? Commentary on the study of the paths of transmission and areas in which Buddhism was disseminated during the Han period;

SECTION II: The Kushan Empire and Beyond;
5. La Vieille Route Reconsidered: Alternative Paths for Early Transmission of Buddhism Beyond the Borderlands of South Asia;
6. New Light on Ancient Afghanistan: the decipherment of Bactrian;
7. Life in Third-fourth Century Cad’ota: A Survey of Information gathered from the Prakrit documents found north of Minfeng (Niya);
8. Some Comments on Third-Century Shan-shan and the History of Buddhism;

SECTION III: Kuche, Kumarajiva, and Broader Issues of Translation;
9. Perspectives in the Study of Chinese Buddhism;
10. India and China: Observations on Cultural Borrowing;
11. On the Interrelationship of the Tocharian Dialects;
12. The Position of Tocharian among the Other Indo-European Languages;

SECTION IV: Samarkand and the Sogdians;
13. The Sogdian merchants in China and India;
14. The Self-Image of the Sogdians;
15. Wall Paintings from a House with a Granary. Panjikent, 1st Quarter of the Eighth Century A.D.; 16. New Work on the Sogdians, the most Important Traders on the Silk Road, A.D. 500-1000;
17. The Migrations and Settlements of the Sogdians in the Northern Dynasties, Sui and Tang;

SECTION V: Turfan;
18. A Concise History of the Turfan Oasis and its Exploration;
19. The Impact of the Silk Road Trade on a Local Community: The Turfan Oasis, 500-800;
20. Women in Turfan During the Sixth to Eighth Centuries: A Look at their Activities Outside the Home;
21. Textiles et tissus sur la route de la soie: eléments pour une géographie de la production et des échanges;
22. Sasanian and Arab-Sasanian Silver Coins from Turfan: Their Relationship to International Trade and the Local Economy;
23. Money in Eastern Central Asia before AD 800;

SECTION VI: Dunhuang and Khotan;
24. Multilingualism in Tun-huang;
25. Silk Road or Paper Road;
26. Tang;
27. The Khotanese in Dunhuang;
28. On the taxation system of pre-Islamic Khotan;
29. The Nature of the Dunhuang Library Cave and the Reasons for Its Sealing;

Index


SOURCE: BRILL.COM

The role of metal icons in the spread and development of Buddhism


Friday 30 November | 20th Gonda lecture

Carrying Buddhism

The role of metal icons in the spread and development of Buddhism

The Gonda Foundation and the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences cordially invite you to the 20th Gonda Lecture by Robert L. Brown, Professor of Indian and Southeast Asian art at the University of California at Los Angeles, and Curator of South and Southeast Asian art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Date and time: 30 November 2012, 4 pm
Venue: Trippenhuis, Kloveniersburgwal 29, Amsterdam
It is usually assumed that icons of metal have played an important role in Indian religious traditions from the earliest appearance of art, specifically in Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist traditions from as early as the third century BCE. Evidence indicates, however, that the production of metal icons was rare up until the fifth century CE, and even then was unusual. The production of metal icons began in any numbers only in the sixth and seventh centuries, at which time they were produced in enormous numbers.

In his lecture, Professor Brown will explore the implications of this dating of Buddhist metal image production. He will argue that the creation of metal images in India happened at the same time as the appearance of metal images in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia. Thus, the appearance of the icons in both South and Southeast Asia does not follow the standard scholarly explanation that Buddhism arrived sequentially as Hinayana, Mahayana, and Tantric. In fact, the Buddhism of the sixth and seventh centuries reflects elements of all these categories that were moving together at the same time.

About Robert L. Brown
Robert L. Brown is Professor of Indian and Southeast Asian art at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), and Curator of South and Southeast Asian art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). His research focuses on the relationship of South Asian culture, religion, and art to the cultures, religions, and art of Southeast Asia.

Admission and more information Admission to the lecture is free, but please register in advance by submitting the online registration form or by sending an e-mail to bernadette.peeters@bureau.knaw.nl

More information on the 20th Gonda Lecture by Robert L. Brown can be found at theKNAW website

Last Modified: 16-10-2012

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Colors of the Silk Road



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2012 has been the cultural year of China in Turkey and with the closing of the year comes the closing of the exhibitions and events. "Colours of the Silk Road" encompasses two exhibitions, giving visitors a taste of 5000 years of Chinese culture.
From Istanbul, Natalie Carney reports on the presentations enhancing rich cultural exchanges between the two countries.
Visitors watch the duplicate of ancient mural paintings at "The Colors of Dunhuang: A
Magic Gateway to the Silk Road" exhibition held in Mimar Sinan University in Istanbul
of Turkey, on Nov. 20, 2012. The Exhibition kicked off here on Tuesday. (Xinhua/Ma n)
Turkey has hosted a number of events throughout the year to showcase China’s rich culture and the history that connects the two civilizations by way of the ancient Silk Road.
These latest exhibitions are the last in a series celebrating ‘The Year of China in Turkey’.
The Minister of Culture inaugurated the “Treasures of China” exhibition with a tour of five rare terracotta soldiers representing the armies of the first Emperor of China. A terracotta horse and other artwork from the Shanghai Museum and Beijing’s “Forbidden City” are also on display.
Some of these pieces have never left China.
Ertugtul Gunay, minister of Culture and Tourism of Turkey, said, “This exhibition gives us a chance to see very import pieces from 5000 years of Chinese culture. The Terracotta Soldiers are one of the world’s main archeological discoveries. This is great cultural opportunity for everyone.”
Complementing the exhibition is the “Impressions of Dunhuang”, offering a glimpse into the unique Dunhuang caves, which consist of 492 temples.
Equally as important to Chinese civilization, the caves were elaborately painted for the use in Buddhist meditation and teachings.
Like Istanbul, Dunhuang was one of the main traffic and trade hubs along the Silk Road. Some of the Turkish visitors can see the deeply imbedded cultural exchanges.
Turkish art student Feyza Delik said, “You can see reflections of the Turkish culture in most of their cultural elements, such as the Chinese alphabet. I think there is a huge tie between Turkish and Chinese culture, language and history.”
Turkish art lover Yunus Mutlu said, “Of course there must be a tie between the two cultures. I am here to discover that through Buddhist art and its progress between the forth and the fourteenth centuries.”
With the geographical distance making it difficult for many in Turkey to experience the richness of Chinese civilization, the organizers say these displays aim to bring that culture to them.
Both exhibitions are open until February when the cultural exchange heads east and China begins hosting events to promote the history and heritage of Turkish.
Reporter: “The profound content and exquisite art found in the region and now here on display in Turkey are testament that it wasn’t only trade that traveled along the ancient Silk Road, but also rich cultures and history.”
Photo taken on Nov. 20, 2012 shows the duplicate of an ancient cave at "The Colors of
Dunhuang: A Magic Gateway to the Silk Road" exhibition held in Mimar Sinan University
in Istanbul of Turkey. The Exhibition kicked off here on Tuesday. (Xinhua/Ma Yan)
A visitor poses for photos in front of the duplicate of a Buddha statue at "The
Colors of Dunhuang: A Magic Gateway to the Silk Road" exhibition held in Mimar Sinan
University in Istanbul of Turkey, on Nov. 20, 2012. The Exhibition kicked off here on
Tuesday. (Xinhua/Ma Yan)
Photo taken on Nov. 20, 2012 shows the duplicate of an ancient cave at "The Colors of
Dunhuang: A Magic Gateway to the Silk Road" exhibition held in Mimar Sinan University
in Istanbul of Turkey. The Exhibition kicked off here on Tuesday. (Xinhua/Ma Yan)
Visitors watch the duplicate of a statue at the"The Colors of Dunhuang: A Magic
Gateway to the Silk Road" exhibition held in Mimar Sinan University in Istanbul of
Turkey, on Nov. 20, 2012. The Exhibition kicked off here on Tuesday. (Xinhua/Ma Yan)

Editor:Zhang Rui |Source: CCTV.com