Asian Art and History
Zoroastrian and Manichaean Arts of the Silk Road
Zsuzsana Gulasci, Ph.D., Professor of Art History, Asian Studies, and Comparative Religious Studies at Northern Arizona University
The Zoroastrian and Manichaean religions are both rooted in Iranian culture; but they had distinctly different histories. Zoroastrianism originates from the 6th century A.D. and has remained practiced by a variety of Iranian-speaking peoples until today. Manichaeism is an extinct missionary world religion that originated from Southern Mesopotamia during the 3rd century A.D. and exited in phases across the Mediterranean region, West and Central Asia, as well as China until the early 17th century. This lecture focuses on Zoroastrian and Manichaean images of the afterlife portrayed on stone sarcophagi and painted banners. It explores the visual culture of death rituals during medieval times documented among Sogdian and Uygur communities living in their Central Asian homelands and, as foreigners, in the capital cities of China during the Northern Zhou (557-581 A.D.) and Tang (618-907 A.D.) dynasties.
Artwork pictured: Chinese Manichaean silk painting depicting a sermon on Mani’s teaching on salvation from Ningpo, S. Song dynasty, 12th -13th cc. A.D. (Yamato Bunkakan, Nara, Japan).
This presentation is part of the Asian Art and History series.
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