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The Xixia idiosyncrasy in the light of its funerary architecture and its art

A civilization at a crossroads: the Xixia idiosyncrasy in the light of its funerary architecture and its art

by Diane Zhang-Goldberg, CRCAO.

A nomadic people living in the pastures along the northwestern borders of the Chinese Empire, the Tangout eventually settled in the northern part of Chinese territory at the invitation of the Tang, and adopted a more sedentary life with the development of agriculture, crafts and trade. The establishment of an administration, the adoption of Buddhism and the formation of a competent army then laid the foundations for a future empire. They can give the impression that the rulers of the new Xixia empire drew heavily on the Chinese world. However, the Tangout’s relationship with the Chinese Empire, whether politically, economically or ideologically, has never been straightforward. It has multiple wars, fruitful trade, constant mutual mistrust, but certainly no submission or domination. Studying this relationship relying exclusively on written sources often leads to conveying, consciously or not, the Chinese point of view, as the available written sources are mainly Chinese chronicles. In the absence of historical records written by the Tangouts themselves, how can we broaden our horizon of study and measure the cultural transfers that have marked the history of the Tangouts? This conference aims to show, by combining the interpretation of historical written sources, the study of some archaeological remains and iconographic research, that even if China was undoubtedly a fascinating neighbor for the young Xixia empire, the Tangouts also integrated various heterogeneous influences from multiple origins, and retained traditional elements, which generated a complex idiosyncratic process within the cultural network of Inner Asia.


Topic: Conférence SEECHAC Diane Zhang-Goldberg

Time: Apr 20, 2021 18:00 Paris

Meeting ID: 837 0811 1564

Passcode: Vf7C6C