Organized Panel Session
In Shaanxi province in China, a number of tombs and cemeteries featuring mural paintings dating back to the Tang dynasty have recently been discovered and unearthed. In the tomb of Su Sixu (745), the paintings from the tombs contain images of musicians, with some of the performance scenes including dancers. According to the tomb inscriptions, most of the owners were Tang court officials. However, the musical performance scenes in the tombs from the murals suggest strong Sogdian features.
Unlike previous studies which have only named those musical images as foreign elements, this paper presents the musical images found in the Tang officials’ tomb mural paintings in the Shaanxi province in comparison to the images related to Central Asian music (including images of musical instruments and performing styles from the murals in Kucha, Turfan, and Dunhuang, as well as the Sogdian tomb murals of Yuhong (592) in Shanxi province) in order to explain the transmission of the musical imageries. Moreover, the paper discusses whether or not the movement of musical images may reflect the migration of Central Asian musicians (i.e. the Sogdians living in Shaanxi province). More importantly, the adaptation of the Sogdian musical performance images in the Tang court officials’ tombs might prove the existence of the relationship between Central Asia and Tang especially among the court officials who were probably involved in political exchange.