Asian Art and History
From Samarkand to Xi’an: Sogdians on the Silk Road
Judith Lerner, Ph.D., art historian
An East Iranian people, the Sogdians are best known for their mercantile activities along the “Silk Roads.” Indeed, Sogdian caravans and Sogdian trading communities across Central Asia and well into China abetted intense intercultural exchanges between East and West during the fifth to eighth centuries — the period in which Sogdiana flourished. Not only were Sogdians instrumental in the exchange of goods, their caravans brought different peoples and craft techniques. Importantly, Sogdians were instrumental in bringing Buddhism, Manichaeism, and Nestorian Christianity to China, as well as introducing their own religion, Zoroastrianism. But the Sogdians were not only intermediaries. Their own arts enjoyed great influence in China well into the mid-Tang period. This lecture focuses on Sogdian visual culture as known in Sogdiana itself and in China.
This presentation is part of the Asian Art and History series.
Lecture in John and Jeanne Rowe Performance and Learning Center, lunch in Signature Event Space.
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