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Fall 2012 Gallery Guide

eurasian c August 21 - December 8

801 S. Patterson Ave. | Oxford, OH 45056 | | (513) 529-2232 |

Art Museum Staff: Robert S. Wicks, Ph.D., Director Jason E. Shaiman, Curator of Exhibitions Cynthia Collins, Curator of Education Laura Henderson, Collections Manager/Registrar Mark DeGennaro, Preparator Sherri Krazl, Marketing and Communications Debbie Caudill, Program Assistant/ Security Sue Gambrell, Program Coordinator Scott Kissell, Photographer Curatorial Interns: Krista Dunkman Jacqueline Wallace

Student Workers: Ja’Shaun Clark Sha-Toree Crutchfield Isaiah Fleetwood Melissa Krueger Jessica Mickley Morgan Murray Cara Norton Sayalia Sakhardande Lauren Simon

Gallery Guide Contributors: Researched and written by: Patrick Jacobs, Undergraduate Summer Scholar and Dr. Trudy S. Kawami, Arthur M. Sackler Foundation Edited by: Dr. Daniel Prior, Department of History Layout and Design by: Morgan Murray, Undergraduate, Graphic Design

Curated by a collaborative team of art museum staff, university faculty and students in history, anthropology, archaeology, botany and zoology, this exhibition features ancient bronzes from the Arthur M. Sackler Collection and provides an exploration of Eurasian nomadic cultures. Miami University Exhibition Planning Team: Dr. Robert S. Wicks, Director, Art Museum Jason E. Shaiman, Curator of Exhibitions, Art Museum Dr. Daniel Prior, History Dr. Mary Jane Berman, Anthropology/Center for American and World Cultures Cynthia Collins, Curator of Education, Art Museum Dr. Perry Gnivecki, Anthropology Sherri Krazl, Marketing & Communications, Art Museum Dr. Chris Myers, Zoology Lynne Myers, Zoology/Project Dragonfly Dr. Michael Vincent, Turrell Herbarium Miami University Undergraduate and Graduate Students: Radhika Ahluwalia, Undergraduate, Botany Caroline Buck, Undergraduate, Curatorial Intern Eric Drongowski, Graduate, History Evan Hayes, BA, Classics Patrick Jacobs, Undergraduate, History Jack Little, Graduate, History Erin McCrate, Undergraduate, Russian and East European Studies Colin McKinstry, Undergraduate, Anthropology and History Greta Smith, Graduate, Classics Timmothy Winstead, Graduate, History

Special Thanks to: Dr. Trudy Kawami, Arthur M. Sackler Foundation Dr. Christopher Atwood, Central Eurasian Studies, Indiana University Dr. Michael Drompp, Department of History, Rhodes College Lois Hale, Portland, OR Anna Heran, Lloyd Library and Museum Dr. John M. Jeep, German, Russian, and East Asian Languages, Miami University Dr. John R. Krueger, Bloomington, IN Tserenchunt Legden, Central Eurasian Studies, Indiana University Dr. Katheryn Linduff, Department of Art History, University of Pittsburgh Dr. Sergey Miniaev, Archaeology of Central Asia, Russian Academy of Sciences Dr. Stephen Nimis, Classics, Miami University Dr. Uvsh Purev, Central Eurasian Studies, Indiana University Masha Stepanova, Special Collections, Miami University Libraries Dr. Stanley Toops, Geography, Miami University Kimberly Tully, Special Collections, Miami University Libraries The Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, New York, NY The Havighurst Center for Russian and PostSoviet Studies, Miami University Intermuseum Conservation Association, Cleveland, OH The Kauffman Museum, North Newton, KS The Mongolia Society The Ohio Humanities Council The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia

The Miami University Art Museum is accredited by the American Association of Museums.

G rassRoutes: pathways to eurasian cultures


he reality that Europe and Asia actually form one landmass is best represented by the continuous belt of grasslands known as the Eurasian steppe. Spanning from Eastern Europe to northeastern China, the steppe is a stretch of semi-arid grassland that is approximately twice the length of the United States from east to west. Geographically the relatively flat steppe provides a natural path between the forests to the north and the deserts and mountain ranges of southern Inner Asia. Economically the steppe was crisscrossed by the famous Silk Road, a term used to generalize a network of trade routes that moved many kinds of mostly high-value goods between

Buckle plaque (V-7021), Southern Siberia, 2nd century BCE; bronze; 4 x 2 1/2 inches. Collection of the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation

Mongolian nomadic encampment; engraving; P. S. Pallas, Samlungen historischer Nachrichten über die mongolischen Völkerschaften (St. Petersburg, 1776). Private Collection

China and the Mediterranean world. Culturally the steppe’s influence in linking Europe with Asia is difficult to overstate. Ideas in science, technology, government, economics, warfare, religion and art traveled back and forth. In the modern age, mass transit and communications serve to shrink the expanse of Eurasia; before these it was the steppe. By 2000 BCE, the steppe was populated by communities that engaged in hunting, gathering, fishing and agriculture. Around 1400 BCE, these communities changed strategies and began to rely on herds of domesticated animals for survival. These herds included sheep, goats, camels, cattle and horses. The horses, first domesticated in the steppes, were integral to this new way of life because they allowed for larger herds of animals, greater range of grazing migrations and rapid mobilization in time of war. By 900 BCE the steppe dwellers began to supply horses to the empires of eastern and western Asia. The steppe

peoples’ intimate knowledge of the routes across the steppes and mountains, the sources of water and the seasonal changes in climate were invaluable to trade caravans. Legendary as riders and animal breeders, these mobile pastoralists, or nomads, became the linchpin of the East–West connection, facilitating abundant exchange in both goods and ideas.

Horse and rider petroglyph, Kazakhstan; photograph, Kodachrome, 1995. Courtesy of Dr. Daniel Prior

Visible Earth map indicating the Eurasian Steppe region. Courtesy of NASA

Exploring Eurasia E

uropeans began recording their explorations of central and eastern Eurasia in the 13th century, the age of Mongol supremacy. Marco Polo’s 24-year journey to the court of Qubilai Khan in China resulted in what is perhaps the most famous book of travels ever written. Three decades prior to Polo’s journey, John of Plano de Carpini traveled to Mongolia on a diplomatic and reconnaissance mission at the behest of the Vatican. William of Rubruck was part of a missionary expedition to Mongolia under orders from King Louis IX of France. Both

journeys produced written accounts which, though not as popular as Polo’s Travels, added greatly to outsiders’ knowledge of the Eurasian grasslands and its peoples.

European exploration of the Eurasian landmass took a giant leap forward beginning in the 17th century due to the expansion of Muscovy into the continent-spanning Russian Empire. Between 1709 and 1722, Philipp

Map of Tartary; colored engraving; Abraham Ortelius, Theatrum orbis terrarum (facsimile of original Antwerp edition of 1584). Courtesy of Special Collections, King Library, Miami University

Map of Eurasia; engraving; Philipp Johann von Strahlenberg, An Historico-Geographical Description of the North and Eastern Parts of Europe and Asia (London, 1738). Private Collection

Johann von Strahlenberg, a prisoner of war held captive in Siberia, undertook a major study of Eurasian geography that resulted in the most comprehensive map of Russia, Siberia, and “Great Tartary” (the interior of Asia) to date. The detail and relative accuracy of Strahlenberg’s map was a huge accomplishment, considering both his status as a prisoner in the Russian Empire and the lack of modern mapmaking methods. The creation of the Russian Empire provided reasons for exploration other than diplomacy, defense, evangelism and trade. By 1768 Catherine II realized that successfully ruling the vast diversity of cultures and ethnicities within her empire required better understanding of both the

land and its people. The shift in motivations and methods that made exploration into a scholarly pursuit had its roots in the Enlightenment. In 1768, Peter Simon Pallas left St. Petersburg on an imperial expedition designed to study the natural history and human life of western and southern Siberia and the steppe. Upon his return, the Imperial Academy of Sciences published Pallas’s findings, which were well received by his colleagues. Steppe exploration had entered academia and assumed a more scientific perspective. The Englishman Thomas Witlam Atkinson explored the grasslands artistically. In the 1840s and 1850s Atkinson produced hundreds of renditions of Inner Asian landscapes, allowing people

Domestic interior of a Mongolian yurt; engraving; P. S. Pallas, Samlungen historischer Nachrichten über die mongolischen Völkerschaften. (St. Petersburg, 1776). Private Collection

far away from the steppes to visually appreciate a region that was still seldom visited.

Unfortunately, the few written records produced by the peoples of the Eurasian grasslands in the past are not as well known as those of the settled societies with whom they interacted, often with mutual suspicion and conflict. Since the late 1800s, continuing archaeological excavations and research on the ancient burial mounds or kurgans that dot the Eurasian grasslands have yielded exciting discoveries about their makers and occupants. Frozen kurgans in South Siberia have revealed surprising confirmations of fantastic details about the nomadic Scythians written by the ancient Greek historian Herodotus (ca. 484–425 BCE).

Old Turkic inscription; engraving; Philipp Johann von Strahlenberg, An Historico-Geographical Description of the North and Eastern Parts of Europe and Asia (London, 1730). Private Collection


life in the grasslands T

hough they belong to different tribes and clans and speak several different languages, the people who live in the Eurasian grasslands have much in common in their manner of living, dress, social organization and spiritual beliefs. They also share the natural environment of their steppe home. Because of the semi-arid climate and northern latitude, the steppes naturally produce limited amounts of plant matter, which discouraged cultivation and settlement. Herds of animals on the move, however, can concentrate the limited food energy of steppe plants and support larger human populations.

The nomads rely heavily on animals. Domestication enables people to exploit their animals both alive (for example, by milking and shearing) and after slaughtering (for meat, bone, and hide). Wool from sheep is used in the making of felt which, among other things, is used in the construction and decoration of the nomads’ homes. Horn and sinew, along with wood, were used in the production of the compound-composite bow, a steppe invention that made militarized nomadism possible. Not all meat is taken from the herds, and hunting wild animals is a key form of subsistence among the nomads. To assist in hunting, nomads employ other animals such as hawks and eagles to catch and deliver game. For the pursuit of larger game, horses once played a crucial role in group hunts on the steppe. Aside from meat, Astragalus gebleri (found in Kazakhstan, Mongolia and China); engraving; G. H. hunting also provided military Bongard, Verzeichniss der im Jahre 1838 am training. The hunting skill of Saisang-Nor und am Irtysch gesammelten Pflanzen (St. Petersburg, 1841). Courtesy of shooting a bow from the saddle the Lloyd Library and Museum

Top: Przewalski horses of Mongolia; photograph; Courtesy of Chris and Lynne Myers

Middle: Milking horses of Kyrgyzstan; photograph, Kodachrome, 1994. Courtesy of Dr. Daniel Prior Bottom: Ashkana Chiy (Reed Screen, 93.01), Kyrgyzstan, 19th century; reeds, wool and natural dyes; 70 x 105 inches. Courtesy of the Kauffman Museum

was invaluable to the development of the nomads’ special cavalry tactics.

The portable structure called yurt or ger (from a Turkic and a Mongolian word, respectively; technically a “trellis-tent”) is the typical steppe dwelling. Two clothing inventions that helped steppe peoples live highly mobile lives on horseback are well known today, trousers and garments with sleeves. Under their clothing, in ancient times, Scythic nomads of South Siberia sported intricate tattoos of real and imaginary beasts drawn in the forceful “Animal Style” that is a hallmark of many kinds of ancient steppe art.

Left: Mongolian falconer and eagle; photograph, Jeremy Schmidt, 1997. Courtesy of the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation Right: A Kyrgyz girl and her little brother; photograph, Kodachrome, 1994. Courtesy of Dr. Daniel Prior

Left: Yurt or ger (Mongolia). Source: Shutterstock

Right: Tattoo on upper right arm of a Pazyryk man (and line drawing), 6th century BCE; Sergei I. Rudenko, Kul’tura naseleniia Gornogo Altaia v skifskoe vremia, Moscow and Leningrad, 1953. Courtesy of The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia



S BRONZE of the

A SI A N GRASSLANDS from the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation

The Spirit World


he people of the steppe practiced shamanism to engage the spirit world. The shaman was a special individual, male or female, who linked the mundane, real world and the supernatural. To enter a trance-like state the shaman would chant, drum, dance, repeatedly jingle small bells and inhale the fumes of psychotropic herbs from steaming cauldrons. In this condition the shaman could contact animal and human spirits and the forces of nature. Magical animal companions might serve the shaman as messengers and as means of transportation. At times the shaman could also take on the shape of these animals. Shamans are identifiable by their burial goods that included bells, jingles, rattles and small spoons with which to grind, measure and dispense sacred herbs. Finial with rattle (V-7415); Northwestern China, 12 century BCE; bronze; 3 1/2 x 1 1/2 inches

Spoon (V-3062); Northeastern China, 8th-6th century BCE; bronze; 1 1/2 x 1/2 inches

Ritual implement (V-3088); Northwestern China, 13th-11th century BCE; bronze; 12 1/4 x 5 1/8 inches

Cauldron (V-68); Northern Hebei and western Liaoning, China, 7th-6th century BCE; bronze; 10 5/8 x 8 5/8 inches

Photographs courtesy of Š Simon Feldman

Personal Ornament

Tools for Survival


he mobile lifestyle of the ancient steppe dwellers required art objects that were easy to wear, carry or pack. They favored bronze for its light weight and durability. Decoration on clothing varied according to the rank, status and wealth of the wearer. High-ranking men and women were buried in clothes covered with small gold plaques. Decorative one- and two-piece bronze buckles, which varied in size and intricacy of design, were important in conveying status. The larger and more ornate the buckle, the higher the rank of the person who wore it. Steppe artisans made small bronze ornaments in abstracted animal and bird forms. Similar bronze ornaments decorated the horses that carried the steppe dwellers in life and were often buried with them in death. Violent struggle and forceful opposition are central themes in the art of the grasslands. The belt buckles, plaques and ornaments usually feature predators, wild felines attacking deer and camels, raptors attacking felines, and even horses fighting each other. The rare human figures are men armed with swords, and wrestlers. These themes of conflict may refer to political, territorial or ethnic strife among the steppe peoples themselves.


Ornament (V-7185); Northern China or Inner Mongolia, 5th-3rd century BCE; bronze; 3/4 x 2 inches

Garment plaque (V-3165); Beijing district, northern China, 6th-5th century BCE; bronze; 1 3/8 x 1 1/5 inches

Buckle plaque (V-7013); Mongolia, eastern or southern Siberia, 2nd-1st century BCE; bronze; 2 3/4 x 5 1/8 inches

Buckle plaque (V-7021); Southern Siberia, 2nd Century BCE; bronze; 4 x 2 3/8 inches

he peoples of the grasslands were often on the move and carried with them the equipment necessary for survival. Every individual, both male and female, needed a knife to cut vegetation, meat, leather and wood; an awl or punch to make holes in leather; needles for sewing, and cases in which to keep these pointed tools. Steppe dwellers used axes and adzes to cut firewood and fashion Knife (V-2029); Northwestern China, wooden 13th-11th century bowls and BCE; bronze; cups, and 12 5/8 x 2 inches to dig holes and pound in pegs for tents, canopies and animal tethers. For hunting they used bows and arrows tipped with bone or metal points, kept in bowcases and quivers that could be highly decorated. Weapons, such as short swords or daggers and battle axes, were relatively rare, probably because they had no use in daily life. Short Sword (V-7420); Northwestern China, 12th-11th century BCE; bronze; 11 x 2 3/8 inches

The Animal World


Garment plaque (V-7108); Northern Hebei and Western Liaoning, China, 6th-5th century BCE; bronze; 1 1/2 x 3/4 inches

he ancient steppe dwellers depended upon the domestic animals that they herded and the wild animals they hunted, especially deer, giant argali sheep and ibex. The powerful predators of the nearby mountains—leopards, Siberian tigers, bears and birds of prey—appear in their art. The representation of wild and domesticated animals in the personal ornament of the steppe peoples illustrates their profound identification with the animal life around them. Some animals were probably tribal or clan totems. Their image proclaimed membership in a specific social group. Fantastic animals like wolves with stag antlers and dragon-like creatures may refer to myths, epic and legends, aspects of religious beliefs now forgotten.

Buckle plaque (V-7009); Northwestern China, 2nd-1st Century BCE; bronze; 5 1/2 x 2 1/2 inches

Buckle plaque (V-3925); Buryatia, eastern or southern Siberia, 2nd century BCE; bronze; 2 3/4 x 5 1/2 inches

Historical Background: State Formation on the Steppe


etermining and enforcing grazing patterns for immense herds of animals required some form of government on the steppe, much as irrigation regimes did in agricultural societies. Other reasons for government included the settlement of disputes (often over grazing rights) and protection from outsiders. Despite the need for centralized authority, low population densities meant that people felt the effects of government relatively little during times of peace. But in times of war central authority increased, and this provided talented leaders with an opportunity to solidify gains and create lasting states. Nomad civilizations had a major impact on the sedentary civilizations with which they came in contact. In fact, the

before the nomads formed interactions between nomad empires. The Scythians, and sedentary societies speakers of an Iranian provided the catalyst for the language, dominated the creation of what some believe steppes north of the Black to be the first “Eurasian Sea, where they fought, traded world-system.” The dynamic and forged intercultural ties and reciprocal relationships with the Greeks and Persians between nomadic and and spread a vigorous culture sedentary societies allowed eastward across the steppes. civilizations on the periphery of the Eurasian steppe to establish contact with one another. The stories of the major nomadic empires that formed on the steppe are filled with examples of the vital interactions between ‘steppe and sown’ that Pile carpet (detail), Pazyryk barrow No. 5, 252-238 propelled the BCE; wool; 72 x 78 3/4 inches. Sergei I. Rudenko, history of Eurasia. These Frozen Tombs of Siberia: The Pazyryk Burials of IronAge Horsemen (Berkeley, 1970) interactions began even

The Xiongnu Empire


he Xiongnu (Hsiungnu) people formed the first great nomad empire. In the late third century BCE, Xiongnu power was consolidated by Motun, who usurped the royal title of shanyu from his father in a clever yet ruthless manner. In 209 BCE, Motun and the Xiongnu began to bring other tribes under their banner, mostly by force. At its height, the empire included presentday Manchuria, Mongolia, the Ordos region within the great bend of the Yellow River, and northwest China, while its influence reached into the easternmost cities of Central Asia. (Some of the “Ordos Bronzes” in the Arthur M. Sackler collection date from the Xiongnu era.)

Administration of the empire reached new levels of sophistication for a steppe power structure, but perhaps Motun’s greatest achievement was how he changed diplomatic relations between the steppe and China. These changes came in the form of treaties struck with China’s Han Dynasty. The evolving system of treaties established political equality between the shanyu and the Han emperor, provided the shanyu with royal brides from the Han, and bestowed massive tribute payments, largely in silk, on the shanyu. The shanyu then redistributed this wealth downward throughout the ruling

elite, solidifying his power by enriching his supporters. Surpluses were traded farther west through Central Asia.

The Han, for a time, recognized that the treaties were well worth the enormous costs. The Han tribute payments supported the centralized power of the shanyu on the steppe, and the wealth gave the shanyu the

leverage to reduce the number of destructive raids by Xiongnu bands on the Chinese frontiers. The symbiotic relationship between China and the nomads required both a stable Chinese dynasty and a centralized steppe power. Xiongnu power declined for centuries, and in 220 CE the last shanyu died. The Xiongnu Empire and the Han Dynasty collapsed almost simultaneously.

Belt buckle (72.2.441); Northern China (Xiongnu), 3rd–2nd century BCE; bronze; 1 5/8 x 2 3/8 inches Buckle plaque (V-3127); Northern China (Xiongnu), 2nd century BCE; bronze; 2 7/8 x 4 1/2 inches


The Türks and Their Successors


fter the fall of the Xiongnu, the steppe experienced a period of political fluidity which saw the rise and fall of a number of minor empires, such as the Avars. In 551 CE, the Avar ruler, or qaghan, refused to grant a royal bride to Bumin, leader of the Türks and a rising star on the steppe. In response to this refusal Bumin formed an alliance and quickly destroyed the Avar Empire. He, and his sons after him, forged a steppe empire larger than any that came before it. The First and Second Türk Empires used many of the same economic strategies that the Xiongnu had with their settled neighbors: a combination of raids, trade and tribute extraction. What was novel about the Türks was their expansion into the developed oasis cities of Central Asia, the region north of present-day Afghanistan and eastern Iran. These oases were major trading centers, and their literate populations both enhanced and extended the reach of the Türk Empire. In 568, the Türks sent an embassy to the Byzantine emperor in Constantinople (present-day Istanbul, Turkey). This contact was the first direct political exchange between the Far East and the Roman– Mediterranean world.

Despite its early and rapid successes, internal struggles weakened and divided the First Türk Empire, and it collapsed in 630. Burial inscriptions found in the heartland of the Türk empires in present-day Mongolia (the oldest surviving words written by steppe people in their own language) tell of the rise of the Second Old Turkic inscription; lithograph; W. Radloff, Atlas der Alterthümer der Mongolei, vol. 3 Türk Empire and offer a warning against the mistakes (St. Petersburg, 1896) made by the people of the first. Significantly, the inscriptions say that getting too close to the Chinese and too accustomed to their “soft” luxuries was what weakened the steppe people and their state. The Türk Empire revived under Ilterish Qaghan, though its success was short-lived, and only 60 years after its re-establishment the empire fell due to a mixture of royal succession strife and external threats. The Türks were succeeded by the Uighurs, whose empire approached nomad–Chinese relations in a new way. They consolidated their power by coming to the aid of the Chinese Tang Dynasty, putting down a rebellion in North China and receiving in return permission to sack its major cities. The Uighurs became the “protectors” of China, while also ruling the steppe. This close relationship with a sedentary agricultural civilization began to have an effect on the Uighurs’ mobile pastoral traditions. They built cities and relied less on herds of animals and more on trade and agriculture. In 840, the Uighurs were overrun by the Kyrgyz from South Siberia. The steppe returned to an era of political fluidity that lasted for 350 years, when an empire emerged that came to represent the apex of steppe power.

The Mongols


hinggis (Genghis) Khan’s boyhood name was Temüjin. His father was the head of one of many noble families on the eastern steppe, and not even one of the most important or powerful. Temüjin’s father was assassinated by a rival, sparking a power struggle that sent the boy and his family into hiding. During his exile, Temüjin formed some of the ideas that led to his success in later years. He began to rely on personal relationships, instead of familial ones, to form his power base. Loyal friends and fighters from other tribes pledged service, forming a devoted leadership cadre for the future empire. His reputation as a generous khan grew, bringing more soldiers under his banner. When the time came, Temüjin took advantage of one of his father’s old alliances to eliminate a major rival and leverage his rising fortunes. In 1206, Chinggis Khan was recognized as the ruler of all of Mongolia. Unlike previous steppe rulers, he actively sought the conquest and occupation of China. The invasion began in 1211 and was not completed until 1234, seven years after Chinggis Khan’s death. By 1223 his conquests stretched from Manchuria in the east to the Caspian Sea in the west, and from South Siberia in the north to the Tarim Basin and the Ordos region of North China in the south. Chinggis Khan’s death in 1227 ended his career, but not the expansion of the Mongol Empire; his sons and grandsons conquered Russia, Iran, parts of the Middle East and all of China.

For the Mongols, as in other steppe states, political power was passed on “lateral succession,” in which brothers and cousins as well as the sons of the khan could be candidates for supreme rule. This system was based on the steppe principle of family ownership of the realm by the members of the royal clan, but it tended to create many competitors for the throne. In the years after the death of Chinggis Khan, political deals were made that split the empire into nearly autonomous subdivisions. It did not take long, though, for competition between brothers, uncles and cousins to boil over into civil war. Qubilai Khan, Chinggis Khan’s grandson, established the Yuan Dynasty in northern China in 1271, effectively renaming the Mongol Empire in the process. The Yuan Dynasty was the first and only time a steppe power had direct and total control of both northern China and the eastern steppe. Fatefully, this control necessitated moving the center of power off of the steppes and building a capital city in China, which became present-day Beijing. The divisions into regional sections meant that Mongol rule ended at different times in different parts of Eurasia. Mongol rule in China ended in 1368, whereas in the Middle East control was lost in 1330. On the steppe they were able to maintain power longer, as dynasties such as the Golden Horde sustained their rule in Russia until the early 16th century. Mongol tribes and Chinggisid princes continued to vie for power in Mongolia and southern and western Siberia until the expansion of the Russian and Chinese (Qing) empires in the 1700s.

Portrait of Chinggis (Genghis) Khan; ink and colors on silk; 14th century. National Palace Museum, Taipei, Taiwan.

The Nomad Legacy


Kyrgyz herdsmen; photograph, Kodachrome, 1994. Courtesy of Dr. Daniel Prior

Kyrgyz women and children in a yurt; photograph, Kodachrome, 1994 . Courtesy of Dr. Daniel Prior

n some cases, modern states evolved systems of colonial imperialism. Advancements in technology and, arguably, political theory have allowed some states to exercise durable sovereignty over vast amounts territory, today almost always with some claim of national right to power. For the nomads, guarded national borders and the expansion of private property have interfered with traditional migration routes, grazing grounds and social structures. State policies have attempted to force nomads to embrace agriculture, with some success. Yet pastoral nomadism has proven to be very resilient. Today, steppe pastoralists still carry on a way of life similar in many ways to that of their predecessors. They can be found in a geographically wide range of current socio-political structures: Turkey in the Middle Eastern and European spheres, the “Stans� of Central Asia and, of course, Mongolia. The nomads have had a lasting impact on the peoples of Eurasia. For instance, the idea of identifying culturally with the label Turk has traveled a long way through time and space. The movement of cultural identity over such long distances is evidence of the communication networks that the Eurasian steppe made possible. Control of these networks, so valuable to human development, is, perhaps, the nomads’ greatest legacy.

Suggested Readings Barfield, Thomas J. The Perilous Frontier: Nomadic Empires and China. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell, 1989. Barfield, Thomas J. The Nomadic Alternative. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1993. Christian, David. A History of Russia, Central Asia, and Mongolia, vol. I: Inner Eurasia from Prehistory to the Mongol Empire. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 1998. Davis-Kimball, J., et al Nomads of the Eurasian Steppes in the Early Iron Age. Berkeley, CA: Zinat Press, 1995.

Di Cosmo, Nicola, Allen J. Frank, and Peter B. Golden. The Cambridge History of Inner Asia: The Chinggisid Age. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

Frye, Richard N. The Heritage of Central Asia: From Antiquity to the Turkish Expansion. Princeton, NJ: Markus Wiener Publishers, 1996. Golden, Peter B. Central Asia in World History. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.

Höllmann, T.O. and Georg W. Kossack, eds. Maoqinggou: Ein eisenzeitliches Gräberfeld in der Ordos-Region (inner Mongolei). Mainz, Germany: Philip von Zabern, 1992.

Khazanov, Anatoly M. Nomads and the Outside World. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1984. Khazanov, Anatoly M. and André Wink. Nomads in the Sedentary World. Richmond, Surrey: Curzon Press, 2001. Kohl, P. L., ed. The Bronze Age Civilization of Central Asia: Recent Soviet Discoveries. Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 1981.

Kwanten, Luc. Imperial Nomads: A History of Central Asia, 500–1500. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1979. Morgan, David. The Mongols, 2nd edition. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2007.

Rossabi, Morris. The Mongols and Global History: A Norton Documents Reader. New York: W.W. Norton, 2011.

Rudenko, Sergei I. Frozen Tombs of Siberia: The Pazyryk Burials of Iron Age Horsemen. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1970. Sneath, David. The Headless State: Aristocratic Orders, Kinship Society, and Misrepre sentations of Nomadic Inner Asia. New York: Columbia University Press, 2007.


The Arthur M. Sackler Foundation T

he Arthur M. Sackler Foundation was founded in 1965 by Arthur M. Sackler, M.D. (1913–1987), a research psychiatrist, medical publisher, connoisseur and collector of art. Dr. Sackler established the Foundation to make his extensive art collections available to the general public. He once said, “Great art, like science and the humanities, can never remain as the possession of one individual, creator or collector . . . great art and all culture belongs to all humankind.”

The Foundation collection was formed through purchases of art selected by Dr. Sackler and gifts from Dr. Sackler and his family. It consists of over 900 works of art ranging from Chinese ritual bronzes and ceramics to Buddhist stone sculpture and the renowned Chu Silk Manuscript, the oldest existing Chinese written document.

Since 1973, the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation has organized exhibitions of the Foundation’s collection and the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, and published eleven scholarly catalogues of the Arthur M. Sackler Collections. The Foundation has donated art to several museums in the United States and currently has art on loan to many museums, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Washington, D.C., and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Events Fall 2012 of

Lecture: Lager on Leica

Exhibition Symposium

Tuesday, October 16, 6 p.m. James L. Lager, Leica expert and author Internationally recognized as an authority on Leica cameras and systems, Lager will share personal stories about his relationship with Charles M. Messer and discuss the advisory role he played in assisting him with his collection of Leica cameras.

Miami University

ArtMuseum and Sculpture Park

The Steppes:

Crucible of EURasia

The most complete privately assembled collection of Leica cameras and accessories in the United States, The Charles M. Messer Collection was donated to the university between 1970 and 1978. Now on display.

NOVEMBER 30 - December 1

Join scholars from around the world in the fields of history, archeology and art history for discussions on different steppe regions and time periods, from the Bronze Age through the era of the Turkic empires (1000 BCE-1000 CE). This unique international event is intended to foster a lively exchange of views on current problems such as pastoral land use and technology, state formation, social history and cultural exchange.

Find out more at:

Gpathways rassRoutes: to eurasian cultures August 21- December 8

Coming to the Art Museum in 2013... Department of Art Exhibition January 8May 11 High School Art Show - May 24June 29 Collections Highlights May 24-June 29 Art Therapy August 20December 7

Symposium organized by Dr. Daniel Prior, Assistant Professor, Department of History

“Art on Tap” Miami University Art Museum Beer Tasting Fundraiser event Saturday, September 22 5:30 p.m. Grandfather’s Barn Buy tickets at the Art Museum

Cultivating the next generation of art enthusiasts

A free program at the Art Museum including storytime led by the Lane Public Library children’s department, paired with a related craft. For children ages 3-5, accompanied by an adult. 10 a.m.-Noon September 27, October 25, and November 15

Exhibition Events of Fall 2012 Tuesday, August 21, 6 p.m. Ancient Bronzes of the Asian Grasslands Dr. Trudy S. Kawami, Director of Research for the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation Curator Trudy Kawami will present an illustrated lecture on ancient Eurasian bronzes on display in the current exhibition on loan from the Sackler Foundation. She will examine how the animal world became a source of symbols to indicate tribe, social rank and connection to the spirit world among the equestrian cultures of the Asian grasslands of Mongolia and Central Asia.

Tuesday, September 11, 6 p.m. The Ecology of the Eurasian Grasslands: A Case Study of the Mongolian Steppes Dr. Richard Munson, Lecturer in Botany and Manager of The Conservatory, Miami University Hamilton During a visit to the Central Steppes and the Gobi Desert in 2007, Dr. Richard Munson was struck by the stark beauty of the landscape. The Mongolian Steppes were degraded significantly during the Soviet era by forced collectivization, but efforts are now underway to restore the Steppes to support the nomadic lifestyle of sheep, goat, yak and camel herders. Tuesday, September 18, 6 p.m. Contemporary Geography of the Eurasian Grasslands Dr. Stanley W. Toops, Associate Professor of Geography, Miami University The recent co-author of the book, The Routledge Atlas of Central Eurasian Affairs, Dr. Toops will discuss the geography of the Eurasian grasslands during the 20th and 21st centuries. Tuesday, September 25, 6:30 p.m. Riding Through a Kirghiz Epic Poem Dr. Daniel Prior, Assistant Professor of History, Miami University Dr. Prior will talk about the traditions and culture of the people he met during a six-week horseback journey through the Tian Shan Mountains of Kyrgyzstan and southern Kazakhstan, tracing the itinerary of the hero of the epic poem, Bok Murun.

Tuesday, October 9, 6 p.m. Victor and Vanquished: Animal Encounters in Ancient Eurasian Art Dr. Robert Wicks, Director, Art Museum This illustrated lecture explores the widespread theme of animal combat in personal adornment and small-scale portable sculpture. Chiefly in the form of bronze or gold belt ornaments, this art tradition often features tigers, bears, wolves and raptors engaged in battling other animals and humans. The geographical distribution of this tradition will be examined, with an emphasis on archaeological discoveries from the nomadic world of the Eurasian steppes, migration-period Europe and the frontiers of early dynastic China. Tuesday, November 13, 6:30 p.m. Horizons of Oral Tradition in Inner Asia: Analyzing History, Myth and Folklore Dr. Daniel Prior, Assistant Professor of History, Miami University Nomadic herders of the Eurasian steppes used oral traditions together with material arts to convey their unique cultural heritage and values. Dr. Prior will use examples from the Eurasian steppes and beyond to draw cross-cultural connections between narratives and images over vast stretches of time and space. Tuesday, November 28, 6 p.m. Iron Age Textiles of Ancient Siberia Lois Hale, Hale! ART, Portland, Oregon Lois Hale will discuss her recreations of ancient textiles used by Iron Age peoples who inhabited the Altai Mountain region in Siberia (6th-3rd centuries BCE). To maintain the historical integrity of the material culture, Hale researches existing objects in museum collections and strives to use materials authentic to the region in which the original artifacts were produced. November 30-December 1 The Steppes: Crucible of Eurasia Symposium (see page 19)

Museum Gallery Hours: Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Noon-5 p.m. Sunday-Monday, CLOSED

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Gallery Guide-Grass Routes: Pathways to Eurasian Cultures  
Gallery Guide-Grass Routes: Pathways to Eurasian Cultures  

Grass Routes: Pathways to Eurasian Cultures (Galleries I-III) August 21-December 8, 2012 The Miami University Art Museum and a collaborativ...