Note to readers
: Should you need to install the Adobe Acrobat reader
(free), which is necessary to read pdf files, click
For the full pdf text of The Silk Road
, Vol. 3, No. 1 (June 2005),
Individual articles in html are linked below.
From the Editor
Xinjiang, the focus of several contributions to this issue, hardly needs to be introduced to readers of The Silk Road. While the designation Xinjiang is a modern one, the territory occupied by today's Xinjiang-Uighur Autonomous Region in China embraces the earliest history of exchange in and across Inner Asia. That framing of the region as an administrative unit has to be considered rather artificial though in view of its vast size and its geographic and ethnic diversity. Whatever the modern political myths and realities, Xinjiang was never really a unified territory historically. In the longue durée Chinese control of the region occupies a relatively small part of its history. It was even more rarely the center of an indepedent state with any longevity. The history is often one of attempting to control some portion of the region from its periphery - from just beyond its eastern edge at Dunhuang, or north of the mountains in Urumqi, or at its far western end at Kashgar. Not infrequently the political and cultural centers of importance for the region were beyond the Kunlun and Karakorum Mountains or over the passes in Ferghana.
Xinjiang: China’s Pre- and Post-Modern Crossroad
The author, one of the leading specialists on ethnic relations in China and modern developments in Xinjiang, offers a sweeping introduction to that region. He explores the paradoxes of official policies that on the one hand are intended to promote integration but simultaneously heighten ethnic consciousness. Xinjiang and its Turkic population face significant challenges in an era of globalization and "modernization."
Uyghur Art Music and the Ambiguities
of Chinese Silk Roadism in Xinjiang*
Author of a forthcoming sweeping history of Xinjiang, James Millward uses the example of Uyghur music to illustrates the impact of official cultural policies on the preservation, study and promotion of the culture of Xinjiang's ethnic minorities. In particular, there is a discordant note between promotion of "silkroadism" as an international and cross-cultural exchange and the artificial isolation of the traditional musical form of the muqam as emblematic of Uyghur cultural autonomy. This apparent contradiction is analogous to that which has been studied with regard to the cultures of other peoples of Central Asia in countries such as Uzbekistan.
The Polychrome Rock Paintings in the Altay
A distinguished archaeologist who has specialized on Xinjiang, the author brings to the attention of English-speaking readers the little known rock paintings of the Altay Mountains of Northern Xinjiang. He interprets them as evidence of late Paleolithic beliefs and shamanic ritual, especially in matters concerning hunting and human fertility.
Viticulture and Viniculture in the Turfan
Well known for her publications on the relationship between religion and material culture along the silk roads, the author explores the history of viticulture and viniculture in the oases of the northern Silk Road. It seems likely that these enterprises spread from the Middle East into Central Asia simultaneously with the spread of Buddhism. The Turfan region became famous for its grapes and wine. Documents from Dunhuang provide interesting details about wine-drinking and production in Buddhist monasteries.
Annotated Bibliography of the History and Culture
of Eastern Turkistan, Jungharia/Zungaria/Dzungaria, Chinese Central
Asia, and Sinkiang/Xinjiang
Nathan Light, who maintains an extensive web site about Xinjiang and its cultures and specializes on Uyghur music and literature, presents here an updated systematized and annotated bibliography for the region and adjoining territories. Included is work in various languages, including the Turkic ones of the region and Chinese.
Bactrian Camels and Bactrian-Dromedary
The author presented this material in the Stanford lecture series sponsored by the Silkroad Foundation. He brings together material from across Eurasia which illustrates the importance of hybridization of Bactrian camels and dromedaries and helps us to understand the evidence for the presence of the Bactrian ones in Western Eurasian regions that are beyond their indigenous range.
One of the Last Documents of the Silk Road:
The Khataynameh of Ali Akbar
This communication brings to our attention a neglected source for the history of exchange across Inner Asia in early modern times, the "Khataynameh" of 'Ali Akbar Khata'i. Dr. Kauz, an specialist on Iranian culture, is preparing an annotated translation of this early sixteenth-century description of China.