Carpets in ancient Central Asia

He, Zhang. 2015. The terminology for carpets in ancient Central Asia. Sino-Platonic Papers 257. 1–35.

This study seeks to gather and clarify the terminology for carpets used by peoples of Central Asia from about 300 BCE to 1000 CE time, including terms in Kharoṣṭhi, Khotanese, Sanskrit and its relatives, plus Persian, Sogdian, Chinese, and Turkic.

Map of the Zerafshan valley

Etienne de la Vaissière has kindly shared this map of the Zerafshan valley in the 7th century on He states:

Map drawn for my Histoire des marchands sogdiens, Paris: Collège de France, 2002, map 5. Please feel free to modify and adapt it to your needs: the layers can be modified in Illustrator. Although I have drawn it I claim no copyright, but would welcome that you mention the source.


B.D. Kochnev Memorial Seminar

coinB.D. Kochnev Memorial Seminar in Central Asian and Middle Eastern Numismatics

Seventh Meeting, March 14, 2015
Hofstra University, Calkins Hall 206

Seminar is free and open to public
Please RSVP to

Session 1
10:00 – 11:00 am

Dmitrii Markov (New York), Aleksandr Naymark (Hofstra University)
“A Hoard of Archaic Greek Coins from the Banks of Amu-Darya. Preliminary Report”

Continue reading “B.D. Kochnev Memorial Seminar”

Cosmopolitanism in the Tang dynasty

Since most of this week’s posts relate to Eastern Iranian regions, I thought I would also post this announcement for a forthcoming publication by Valenstein, who has previously published Cultural Convergence in the Northern Qi Period: A flamboyant Chinese ceramic container. The forthcoming volume was already announced in 2012, but publication seems to now be imminent:

Valenstein, Suzanne. 2014. Cosmopolitanism in the Tang dynasty: A Chinese ceramic figure of a Sogdian wine-merchant. Los Angeles: Bridge21 Publications. Distributed by Transaction Publishers in Piscataway, NJ.

Getting to know Sogdian

When I started this bibliographic blog my main goal was to keep things simple, hoping that a modest and well-defined goal would allow me to update the site on a regular basis. I am very excited that with the help of my SOAS colleague and friend, Adam Benkato, we now take a first step towards hosting original content. Adam has written a very useful introduction to Sogdian, of which I post the first part today. The goal of this and hopefully forthcoming introductions is to offer brief and somewhat informal overviews. We hope that scholars from neighbouring disciplines and non-specialists will find them useful.

Read the first part of the introduction here.

Una pagina da un libro sogdiano manicheo

Morano, Enrico. 2013. Una pagina da un libro sogdiano manicheo di storielle, parabole e aforismi. In Mario Capaldo, Patrizia Lendinara & Mario Negri (eds.), ΦΙΛΟΙΝ: Scritti in onore di Mario Enrietti e Renato Gendre, 327–334. Alessandria: Edizioni dell’Orso.

Read the article here.

Go east, young man!

Go east, young man! A personal journey

In this informal talk the Chair of the Ancient India and Iran Trust, Nicholas Sims-Williams, will describe his research on the Sogdian language and literature, in particular on the Christian texts from the Turfan oasis in Western China, and will try to answer a question which he is often asked: What led you to study such an obscure subject?

Speaker: Nicholas Sims-Williams (SOAS)
Where: AIIT, Cambridge
When: 16 May 2014

Iranian in Wusun?

de la Vaissière, Etienne. 2013. Iranian in Wusun? A tentative reinterpretation of the Kultobe inscriptions. In Sergei Tokhtasev & Pavel Lurje (eds.), Commentationes Iranicae. Vladimiro f. Aaron Livschits nonagenario donum natalicium, 320–325. St. Petersburg: Nestor-Historia.

Read the article here.