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Major Monuments in Central Eurasia: New Perspectives on Entanglements and Receptivity in Recent Archaeological Discoveries 
Petya Andreeva (Parsons School of Design (The New School))
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Petya Andreeva (Parsons School of Design (The New School))
Anthropology & Archaeology
Thursday 14 October, 9:15-10:45 (UTC-4)

Long Abstract

This panel brings together interdisciplinary and cross-cultural perspectives on Central Eurasian monuments which have received little attention in the archaeological and art-historical canon. Syncretic architecture styles and tomb layouts point to novel narratives in human-object entanglement, "Other-ing", and receptivity. The panel's vast temporal and geographical scope allows for broader inquiries and macro-framework probes into Central Eurasian monuments and their makers throughout the medieval period (6th-14th century).

Nancy Steinhardt's paper sheds light on a Yuan-dynasty brick mausoleum situated in Guyuan county, Hebei. The study suggests that 10th-century structures in Uzbekistan might have been the source for this unusual Mongol-period monument. The author then proceeds to explain the particular traits of this complex and uncover the identity of the tomb occupants.

Through a close study of newly-unearthed residential remains, Petya Andreeva investigates the Golden Horde elite's continued attachment to nomadism even in the midst of increased urbanization and Islamification of the steppe core in the 13th and early 14th century. She shows that while the Golden Horde was at the heart of newly-emerging trade networks, its alleged cosmopolitan culture was never at odds with centuries-old nomadic traditions in funerary art and design.

Ahrim Park studies the cross-cultural interactions between various Central Asian populations and members of the Hephthalite and Sogdian elite. Her main corpus of evidence for their economic exchanges comes from clusters of coins found in Mongolian and Chinese tomb inventories dated to the early medieval period.

By investigating the architectural structure and mural program of a tomb in Loulan, Xinjiang, Fan Zhang articulates how this funerary monument served as a nexus of various cultural traditions and a statement of the tomb occupants' cosmopolitan taste.

Gerald Kozicz and Di Luo's study of the mandala plan behind the Stupa Temple 1 of Saspotse provides insight into the function of Tantric Buddhist architecture in the Western Himalayas and sheds light on a major development in Buddhist philosophy in the 12th century, namely the equation of the teacher (guru) and the Buddha, as demonstrated by the depiction of a triad of siddhas (yogic teachers) on the elaborately embellished central stupa.

Accepted papers: