Saturday, 28 February 2015

Early Christian Remains of Inner Mongolia

Early Christian Remains of Inner Mongolia

Discovery, Reconstruction and Appropriation. Second Edition, Revised, Updated and Expanded

by Tjalling H.F. Halbertsma, University of Groningen

SBN13: 9789004288836
E-ISBN: 9789047443230
Publication Date: February 2015
Copyright Year: 2015
Format: Paperback
The early Christian presence in Inner Mongolia forms the subject of this book. These Nestorian remains must primarily be attributed to the Öngüt, a Turkic people closely allied to the Mongols. Writing in Syriac, Uighur and Chinese scripts and languages, the Nestorian Öngüt drew upon a variety of religions and cultures to decorate their gravestones with crosses rising from lotus flowers, dragons and Taoist imagery. This heritage also portrays designs found in the Islamic world. Taking a closer look at the discovery of this material and its significance for the study of the early Church of the East under the Mongols, the author reconstructs the Nestorian culture of the Öngüt.

The Origins of the Dunhuang Studies


Fri Apr-10-2015, 7:30pm


Knight Building, Room 102
521 Memorial Way
(Between Littlefield Center and Frost Amphitheatre)

Program / Series

Silk Road Buddhism 


The Silk Road Foundation

The Origins of the Dunhuang Manuscripts

Stephen F. Teiser

Princeton University

From the time the manuscripts from Dunhuang were first discovered in 1900, curious minds have wondered why the texts were deposited in the library cave (Mogao Cave 17) in the early 11th century. Two major reasons have been proposed. The “sacred waste” theory proposes that the texts, wrappers, and paintings in the cave had outlived their usefulness in religious and social life but were too sacred or rare to be simply burned or disposed of. Hence, batches of manuscripts from several temple libraries were collected and sealed up. Another theory is that the manuscripts were intentionally placed into the cave in order to “avoid disaster,” such as the rumored invasion of the Karakhanids.
These theories have guided research and generated important scholarship. But they have also encouraged us to ignore other important aspects of Buddhist manuscript culture. In particular, in assuming that the entire body of manuscripts from Dunhuang constitutes a library or single corpus, such theories obscure the multiple origins of the manuscripts and the diverse range of religious and social institutions in which the texts were produced. Instead of focusing on the end of the manuscripts, this lecture explores how the genesis of the manuscripts provides invaluable information about Buddhist religious practice and the institutions of literacy in medieval China.
Free and Open to the Public

Speaker's Bio

Stephen F. Teiser is the D. T. Suzuki Professor in Buddhist Studies and Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Princeton University. He specializes in the study of Buddhism and Chinese religions. His current research focuses on Chinese Buddhist practice and medieval liturgical manuscripts.

Inventing Silk Road Studies


Thu Apr-2-2015, 7:30pm


Knight Building, Room 102
521 Memorial Way
(Between Littlefield Center and Frost Amphitheatre)

Program / Series

Co-sponsored Lectures 


The Silk Road Foundation

Inventing Silk Road Studies

Tamara Chin

Brown University

Since the 1980s, the term Silk Road has had a popular and academic appeal, suggestive of an era of premodern globalization in which China played a central role.  Silk Road books, journals, exhibitions, conferences, and institutes are increasingly commonplace across Asia, North America, and Europe.  The talk introduces the modern idea of the Silk Road as a term first coined by a German geographer in 1877.  It sketches the early translation and circulation of the term in colonial geography, before its re-appropration in diplomatic discourses after the 1955 Bandung Conference and Nixon’s 1972 visit to China.  The talk then addresses the idea of Silk Road studies as an academic field.  Despite a general familiarity with what now falls under Silk Road studies (e.g., Central Asian art; Dunhuang manuscripts; contemporary Chinese geopolitics), insufficient attention has been paid to its potential parameters or usefulness.  I ask: as what kind of heuristic device has the Silk Road served, and in which disciplines? Is a more defined or institutionalized field of Silk Road studies desirable? If so, which model should it follow, and which other fields should it position itself with or against (e.g. Area Studies, postcolonial studies, comparative literature)? 
Free and Open to the Public

Speaker's Bio

Tamara T. Chin is an Associate Professor of Comparative Literature at Brown University.  She specializes in early Chinese literature, and recently published Savage Exchange: Han Imperialism, Chinese Literary Style, and the Economic Imagination (Harvard 2014).  She is currently working on two book projects relating to the Silk Road: one on changes in literary and economic practices during the rise of the Silk Road (ca. 1-700 CE), and a comparative study of the modern idea of a more globalized premodernity (the "invention" of the Silk Road).

The Origins of the Lost Fleet of the Mongol Empire

The Origins of the Lost Fleet of the Mongol Empire

  • Hardcover: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Texas A & M University Press (28 Feb. 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1623491940

In The Origins of the Lost Fleet of the Mongol Empire, Randall Sasaki provides a starting point for understanding the technology of the failed Mongol invasion of Japan in 1281 CE, as well as the history of shipbuilding in East Asia. He has created a timber category database, analyzed methods of joinery, and studied contemporary approaches to shipbuilding in order to ascertain the origins and types of vessels that composed the Mongol fleet.

Although no conclusive statements can be made regarding the origins of the vessels, it appears that historical documents and archaeological evidence correspond well to each other, and that many of the remains analyzed were from smaller vessels built in China's Yangtze River Valley. Large, V-shaped cargo ships and the Korean vessels probably represent a small portion of the timbers raised at the Takashima shipwreck site.

RANDALL J. SASAKI is a PhD candidate in nautical archaeology at Texas A&M University. His previously published work has focused on the Battle of Bach Dang near Hai Phong, in northern Vietnam.

What Readers Are Saying:

"Randall Sasaki provides an insightful, detailed forensic study of the lost fleet of Khubilai Khan. The legend of the 'Divine Wind' is peeled back with careful detail as archaeology shows why such a well-equipped and experienced armada failed some seven centuries ago."—James P. Delgado, author, Khubilai Khan's Lost Fleet: In Search of a Legendary Armada

“This book reveals the interesting history and details of ship building and the strategy of the second Mongol invasion of Japan in 1281 through new maritime archaeological findings.”—Di Wang, Professor of History, Texas A&M University

Increased activity during the Yuan Dynasty

Kublai Khan was a notorious … polluter

Kublai Khan and his imperial Mongol brethren were legendary warriors, masters of the Silk Road, and, according to a new study, terrible polluters due to silver mining. Geologists discovered this legacy by visiting Erhai Lake (pictured above) in the southwestern Chinese province of Yunnan. The team extracted 2.5-meter-long sediment cores that accounted for the last 4500 years of the lakebed’s history. They scanned the silt for heavy metal pollutants, namely copper, lead, silver, cadmium, and zinc. They noted a bump in copper contaminants around 1500 B.C.E., which corresponds with the start of China’s Bronze Age and the broader adoption of metal mining. But mining pollution remained low and relatively stable for the next two-and-a-half millennia—until the Mongols conquered China in the late 1200s C.E. The imperialists loved using silver—for coins, jewelry, art, and taxes—but the wood-fire smelting process released ash clouds filled with metal impurities like lead oxide. These plumes settle onto the earth or bodies of water. Lead, for instance, spiked in Erhai Lake, reaching a peak of 119 micrograms per gram of sediment by 1300 C.E. Heavy metal pollution during the Mongol (Yuan) dynasty was three to four times higher than modern industrialized mining, the authors reported online this month in Environmental Science & Technology. Although preindustrial pollution has been detected in lake sediments (and ice cores) around the globe, only a handful of studies have seen levels that exceed modern day—and this observation is the first from China. Lead in sediments can impact aquatic organisms for centuries, so the environmental consequences for Erhai Lake likely persist to this day.

Friday, 27 February 2015

Translating twelfth century China from the Song Dynasty

With James M. Hargett’s lucid translation of the text and meticulous annotations of the Treatises of the Supervisor and Guardian of the Cinnamon Sea(Guihai yuheng zhi, hereafter Treatises) by Fan Chengda (1126–1193), a renowned official and scholar of the Song, this work has doubtlessly become more accessible to a much broader readership. Together with his translations of Fan’s other three works, Diary of Grasping the Carriage Reins (Lanpei lu), Diary of Mounting a Simurgh (Canluan lu), and Diary of a Boat Trip to Wu (Wuchuan lu)

Professor Hargett, a leading scholar in the fledgling field of Chinese travel literature, has accomplished his aim to provide English readers with translations of all four major prose works of Fan.
Read full article

Master's student discovers rare book signed by Hu Shih in Harvard-Yenching Library


Yifei Shi, a second-year student in the Regional Studies – East Asia (RSEA) A.M. program at Harvard and a recipient of the HYI-RSEA Fellowship, recently discovered a book in the Harvard-Yenching Library signed by Hu Shih that has now been reclassified as part of the Library’s rare book collection.
The book, entitled Two Newly Edited Texts of the Chan Master Shen-hui from the Pelliot collection of Tun-huang Manuscripts at the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris, is one of Hu Shih’s best known scholarly works. As Shi notes, "This book on early Chan (Zen) Buddhism in the Tang dynasty was written around 1926 after comparing Dunhuang manuscripts in Paris, Tokyo, and Beijing. During the writing of the book, Hu Shih also went to New York to consult with D.T. Suzuki, perhaps the most well-known Buddhist scholar in the US at the time. The research process was truly global, and the influence of his work is so far-reaching that the findings and arguments Hu Shih presented still engage scholars in debates today."
Shi discovered the book after requesting it from the library depository for a class taught by Professor James Robson on early Chan (Zen) Buddhism. As she describes, “Since most of the copies were checked out, this was the only one available at the time I checked…When I saw the copy, I was surprised at this thin booklet with a worn-out cover. I opened it, [and] Hu Shih's hand-written words were on the front page: ‘A gift to Harvard Chinese-Japanese Library with respect. Hu Shih March 4, 1959.’ There is a library stamp which reads, ‘The Chinese-Japanese Library of the Harvard-Yenching Institute at Harvard University. Gift of the Author, APR 15 1959’.”
This copy is part of the “Studies Presented to Yuen Ren Chao on his Sixty-fifth Birthday,” edited and reprinted by the Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica. Upon her discovery, Shi notes “I told Professor Lu Yang at Peking University about it. In his opinion, this copy has two historical significances. On the one hand, it is a work signed by the author; on the other, this was also a ‘birthday gift’ to another established scholar.”
After first coming across the book, Shi posted a photo of it on Weibo, where it was reposted by Prof. Lu and then seen by Jidong Yang (Head of the East Asia Library at Stanford University), among others. After seeing the post, Dr. Yang reached out to the Harvard-Yenching Library, which will now keep the book in its rare book room.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

1,000 year-old mummified monk reveals more of his secrets

 (Drents Museum)
A 1,000-year old mummified monk hidden inside a statue of Buddha has revealed more of his secrets.
The Chinese statue, part of a joint exhibition between museums in Holland, Germany, Switzerland, and Hungary, is attracting plenty of attention after scientists performed a CT scan and endoscopy on the mummy inside.
After a seven-month exhibition at the Drents Museum in Assen, Holland, that ended in August 2014, experts decided to conduct a closer analysis of the hidden mummy.
“After the exhibition, we had some more questions about the inner part of this mummy,” Vincent van Vilsteren, curator of archaeology at the Drents Museum, told”
The statue’s owner, a private individual in Holland, is considering making a life-sized reconstruction of the mummy, according to van Vilsteren. “For that reason, we decided to do a 3D scan,” he said.
The owner bought the Buddha statue in 1996, unaware of its grisly contents. The mummy was discovered the following year while experts were restoring the statue.
In addition to the CT scan, which was performed at Meander Medical Center in Amersfoort, Holland, last year, scientists also performed an endoscopy, carefully inserting a small camera into the mummy.
“What we thought was lung tissue, was not lung tissue, but what seems to be the remains of little pieces of paper with Chinese writing on them inside the body,” van Vilsteren told “There are still some investigations going on, DNA research is going on,” he added.
The CT scan was the mummy’s second -- an earlier scan was performed at Mannheim University Hospital in Germany in Spring 2013.
The mummy is believed to be a Buddhist master of the Chinese Meditation School. The monk, named Liuquan, died around 1100 A.D.
Van Vilsteren told that, while the mummy is around 1,000 years old, a 14th-century textile roll found beneath the body provides some key archaeological clues. “We think that the body was worshipped in a temple as a mummy and, only in the 14th century, was made into a statue,” he said.
The expert noted that the recent discovery of a 200-year-old monk’s corpse in Mongolia has fueled interest in the 1,000-year old mummified monk. The amazingly intact remains of the monk in lotus position were found in Mongolia’s Songinokhairkhan province, attracting huge media attention.
The Buddha statue will be on display at the Hungarian Natural History Museum in Budapest until early May, when it heads to Luxembourg.
Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

108 Buddha-Variationen im Frankfurter Museum Angewandte Kunst

Buddha meditiert: Aus Nordwest-Pakistan stammt diese Figur, die als Leihgabe aus einer privaten Sammlung im Frankfurter Museum Angewandte Kunst gezeigt wird.  Foto: Museum/Rainer Drexel

Zum Nachdenken über Tod und Religion will die neue Ausstellung im Museum Angewandte Kunst anregen: Am Frankfurter Museumsufer werden 108 Buddha-Statuen gezeigt.
Am Anfang ist das Loch. Das wandgroße gepixelte Foto zeigt die leere Höhle, in der die weltgrößte Buddha-Statue im zentralafghanischen Bamiyan aus Stein gemeißelt stand, bis die Taliban sie 2001 sprengten. Der Anfang der Ausstellung „Buddha. 108 Begegnungen“ in Frankfurt erinnert daran, wie Religion Kriege legitimiert – und wie sie die Friedfertigkeit verbreitet hat.
Gerade jetzt passe eine Ausstellung zu einer Spiritualität der Friedfertigkeit in die Zeit, sagt der Direktor des „Museums Angewandte Kunst“, Matthias Wagner K. Das Museum präsentiert von heute (26.) an bis 7. Juni 108 Buddha-Figuren aus West- und Ostasien. Die Exponate seien „Meisterwerke sakraler Ausdrucksform aus zwei Jahrtausenden“, sagt Wagner K.
Die Ausstellung zeigt asiatische Buddha-Darstellungen in umfassender Weise, wie Kurator Stephan von der Schulenburg erläutert. Mit Schutzgötter- und Dämonen-Skulpturen sei das gesamte Pantheon der Buddha-Figuren versammelt. Die Schau solle zum Nachdenken über die Angst vor dem Tod und den Umgang mit Religion anregen. Die Exponate sind ihrer Herkunft nach entsprechend der alten Handels- und Pilgerwege durch Asien angeordnet, von Pakistan über Indien, Nepal, Birma, Thailand, Kambodscha, Indonesien, China, Korea bis Japan.
Bis 7. Juni im Museum Angewandte Kunst am Frankfurter Museumsufer, dienstags bis sonntags 10 bis 18 Uhr, mittwochs auch bis 20 Uhr.
Die Zahl der 108 Skulpturen ist analog zu der im Buddhismus heiligen Zahl 108 gewählt. In 108 Bänden seien die Lehren des Gautama Buddha versammelt. Buddhistische Rosenkränze hätten 108 Perlen, um ein Mantra zu wiederholen, erklärt von der Schulenburg. Ein Fünftel der Exponate stammt aus dem eigenen Depot, das eine Sammlung des 1925 gegründeten und 1944 zerstörten Frankfurter China-Instituts beherbergt. Die übrigen Stücke stammen von privaten Leihgebern aus verschiedenen Ländern.
Siddharta Gautama, genannt Buddha (Sanskrit: „der Erwachte“), sei in den ersten Jahrhunderten nach seinem Tod um 350 vor Christus nicht abgebildet worden, erläutert die Leiterin des Tibethauses Deutschland, Elke Hessel. Aus Sorge, dem Religionsstifter nicht gerecht zu werden, sei er mit Fußabdrücken oder einem Rad symbolisiert worden. Erst in den Jahrhunderten nach Christus hätten Künstler Buddha-Skulpturen gefertigt. Zunächst waren es lebensnahe Abbilder, später immer ikonenhaftere Figuren, die Buddha als Prinzip versinnbildlichten.
Die ältesten Exponate der Schau stammen aus den ersten zwei Jahrhunderten nach Christus, aus der Gandhara-Kultur im afghanisch-pakistanischen Grenzgebiet. Aus bläulichem Schieferstein ist ein Kopf gearbeitet, der mit üppigen Haarlocken, Stirnband und gepflegtem dünnen Schnurrbart das Porträt eines Adligen sein könnte. Dagegen haben die Gesichtszüge der wohlgenährten Figur im Lotussitz, deren Zeigefinger sich berühren, aus dem indischen Gupta-Reich des 5. bis 6. Jahrhunderts nach Christus ihre individuelle Form zugunsten einer typisierten eingebüßt.
Weltreligion Buddhismus
Die Buddha-Abbildungen und -Skulpturen hätten dem Volk eine Bildsprache gegeben, erklärt von der Schulenburg. Sie seien eine asiatische Bibel der Armen. Je nach dem Land der Herkunft variieren die Gesichtszüge Buddhas. Eine Holzfigur aus dem China des 15. bis 16. Jahrhunderts hatte es in sich: Aus dem Buddha im Meditationssitz operierten Wissenschaftler „Eingeweide“ aus Seide heraus und Papierrollen mit Sutra-Lehrtexten auf Sanskrit.
Am Schluss der Schau ist Buddha in der Pop-Art angekommen: Der tibetische, im New Yorker Exil lebende Künstler Gonkar Gyatso hat eine klassische, sitzende Figur aus dem 14. Jahrhundert in Tibet mit einem 3D-Drucker aus Kunstharz nachgebildet. Bunte Aufkleber verzieren den Körper, bis sie Arme und Beine unter der Collage gänzlich bedecken.

Der Große Buddha von Kamakura/JapanBronzeguss, Mitte 13. Jahrhundert.  Foto: Stephan v. d. Schulenburg

Das Parinirvāna des Buddha(Fragment) Gandhāra, Nordwest-Pakistan, Zweites Jahrhundert, Grauer Schiefer, Privatsammlung  Foto: Rainer Drexel

Schreitender Buddha, Thailand, Sukhothai-Periode, 13./14. Jahrhundert.  Foto: Anja Jahn

Der fastende Prinz Siddharta Gandhāra, Nordwest-Pakistan, Zweites bis Drittes Jahrhundert, Grauer Schiefer,Privatsammlung.  Foto: Rainer Drexel

Haupt eines Adoranten China, Ming-Dynastie (1368-1644), wohl 15. Jahrhundert, Schenkung , Cords 1943.  Foto: Rainer Drexel

Schreitender Buddha, Thailand, Sukhothai-Periode, 13./14. Jahrhundert.  Foto: Anja Jahn

Buddha Shākyamuni China, Ming-Dynastie (1368–1644), 16. Jahrhundert, Holz, rote Lackgrundierung, Goldfassung verloren, Weltkulturen Museum Frankfurt, vormals China-Institut Frankfurt, Inv. Nr. NS 51774  Foto: Museum Angewandte Kunst

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Symposium "The Belitung Shipwreck and the maritime Silk Road"

Saturday, February 28, 2014, 10 am–5 pm

Cost: $50 general public; $45 Aga Khan Museum members; $25 students and seniors. 
Venue: Aga Khan Museum, Toronto 
To register, please visit or call 416.646.4677.

The discovery of the 9th-century Belitung shipwreck in the Java Sea in 1998 revealed an astonishing cargo of close to 60,000 Tang period ceramic vessels as well as a rare collection of intricately worked silver and gold boxes, bronze mirrors, and silver ingots. 
It also revealed some of the belongings of an international crew that was once on board of this Arab trade ship.

The Aga Khan Museum, Toronto, and the Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore, are co-hosting a one-day symposium about the shipwreck’s discovery, excavation, its exceptional Tang period cargo, and the important narratives it provides of an active cultural and commercial maritime silk route. 
International experts discuss the maritime silk route, including the Belitung shipwreck and other recently excavated shipwrecks in the Indian Ocean. 
The symposium includes a round-table discussion of the historical and ethical implications of shipwrecks and the role of museums as venues for exploring and showcasing archaeological materials.

Admission to the exhibition The Lost Dhow: A Discovery from the Maritime Silk Route curated by John Vollmer included with registration.

  • Stephen Murphy. Curator (Southeast Asia),
    Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore
    Shipwrecks, Ceramics and Tribute: Situating Southeast Asia on the Maritime Silk Route of the 7th – 9th centuries

  • Derek Heng. Associate Professor of Humanities, Yale- NUS College, Singapore                                                                                   The Belitung Wreck and the Nature of China’s Maritime Trade During the Late Tang Period

SESSION TWO: 11:30 AM–12:30 PM
  • Ruth Barnes. Thomas Jaffe Curator of Indo-Pacific Art at the Yale University Art Gallery
    Village Looms and Palace Workshops: Textiles in Early Indian Ocean Trade

  • Dionisius A. Agius. Exeter University, UK                                                                                                                                                   Sea Stories, Surprises and Secrets of the Medieval Western Indian Ocean: The People and the Dhows


  • Jun Kimura. Field Chicago Museum                                                                                                                                                    Nautical Archaeology on the Oldest Known Shipwreck in the South China Sea 



  • Dan Rahimi (Moderator)                                                                                                                                                                    Executive Director of Galleries, University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
  • James P. Delgado                                                                                                                                                                                    Director of Maritime Heritage, National Marine Sanctuaries, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
  • Bobby Orillaneda                                                                                                                                                                                 Underwater Archaeology Section, National Museum of the Philippines. Hilti Foundation Scholar, School of Archaeology, Oxford University
  •  Chen Shen                                                                                                                                                                                                    Vice President, World Cultures. Senior Curator, Bishop White Chair of East Asian Archaeology, Royal Ontario Museum
In association with
  • Nautical Archaeology on the Oldest Known Shipwreck in the South China Sea 

Buddhist Manuscript Traditions Across Asia

Merits of the Book: Buddhist Manuscript Traditions across Asia

For some two millennia, throughout much of Asia, the Buddhist religion has promoted the arts of the book as a primary means for preserving and diffusing its scriptural legacy together with many other fields of learning. Recent decades have seen an upsurge of scholarship devoted to the manuscript traditions of the major Buddhist cultural areas, but relatively little comparative work aiming to explore the possible relations among them. The Merits of the Book: Buddhist Manuscript Traditions Across Asia invites scholars working on the culture of the book in different parts of the Buddhist world—including India, China, Japan, and Tibet—to begin a collective conversation. In conjunction with The Merits of the Book, a workshop on Tibetan manuscripts will be held to advance the project, A Manual of Tibetan Manuscript Studies, based at the University of Chicago Divinity School, with the generous support of the Henry Luce Foundation and projected for publication by the Cornell University Press.

Details of the program can be found here (click for PDF).

February 26-28, 2015

Keynote address: “In Praise of Error: What Can We Learn from Mistakes in Buddhist Manuscripts?”

by Prof. Richard Salomon, University of Washington
4:30pm, Thursday, Feb. 26, Swift Lecture Hall (3rd floor)
Reception to follow

Friday, February 27, 9am,-12:30 and 2-5:30,
Saturday, February 28, 9am-12:30pm
Franke Institute for the Humanities, Joseph Regenstein Library
Sponsored by the Franke Institute for the Humanities, the Martin Marty Center for the Advanced Study of Religion, the Luce Foundation, the Committee on Southern Asian Studies (COSAS), the Committee on Chinese Studies of the Center for East Asian Studies (CEAS), the Committee on Japanese Studies of the Center for East Asian Studies (CEAS).


Richard Salomon
University of Washington (keynote speaker)

Brandon Dotson
University of Munich

Agnieszka Helman-Wazny,
University of Arizona/University of Hamburg

Gregory Heyworth
University of Mississippi

Jinah Kim
Harvard University

Bryan Lowe
Vanderbilt University

Sam van Schaik
British Library

Michael Sheehy
Tibetan Buddhist Research Center

Stephen F. Teiser
Princeton University

Stacey van Vleet
University of California, Berkeley

Vesna Wallace
University of California, Santa Barbara

Jeff Wallman
Tibetan Buddhist Research Center

For more information, please contact Jetsun Deleplanque at

Organized by Matthew Kapstein, Numata Visiting Professor of Buddhist Studies, in association with the University of Chicago Buddhist Studies faculty members Dan ArnoldSteven CollinsPaul CoppJames KetelaarChristian K. Wedemeyer and Brook A. Ziporyn.

Kushan, Kushano-Sasanian, and Kidarite Coins

Kushan, Kushano-Sasanian, and Kidarite Coins
Spring 2015
by David Jongeward and Joe Cribb with Peter Donovan
List price: US$150
ISBN-13: 978-0-89722-334-8 
Hardback, 1 vols, 414pp

The Kushan Empire was a vast inland empire that stretched across Central and South Asia during the first to fourth centuries AD. The origins of Kushan dynasty continue to be debated, and precise dates, especially for the late Kushan kings, remain elusive, but the coinage reveals the Kushan dynasty as a major force in the cultural and political history of the ancient Silk Road.
Kushan coinage began c. AD 50 with issues of the first Kushan king, Kujula Kadphises(c. AD 50-90). The first Kushan coins were based on Greek, Scythian and Parthian coin designs already current in the territory of present day Afghanistan and Pakistan. Under Kujula Kadphises’ son Wima Takto (c. AD 91-113) and grandson Wima Kadphises (c. AD 113-127) the coinage system was gradually centralized to serve the entire Kushan empire, stretching from Uzbekistan and Tajikistan to northern India. Gold and copper denominations were established during the reign of Wima Kadphises which were maintained through the reigns of ten more kings until the demise of the Kushan empire in the mid-fourth century AD.
This catalogue presents all the Kushan coins in the American Numismatic Society, with selected illustrations, detailed descriptions and commentary. The production system of Kushan coinage is presented with major revisions of chronology and organization compared with previous publications. This presentation has been based on the latest coin-based research, including die studies and site find analysis. The coins are classified by ruler, metal, mint, production phase, denomination, type and variety. Introductory essays present the historical and cultural contexts of the kings and their coins. All the ANS gold coins and a selection of copper coins are illustrated. This catalogue also features two series of coins issued by the Kushano-Sasanian and the Kidarite Hun rulers of former Kushan territory because they followed and adapted the Kushan coinage system.
The authors intend this catalogue to be a tool for scholars and collectors alike for understanding, identifying, and attributing these fascinating coins that represent four centuries of Central and South Asian ancient history.

Expected ship date: Spring 2015