Organized Panel Session
Scholars have long considered the topic of interactions and diplomacy between Medieval China and Central Asia to have been exhausted, much like studies of the transition of artifacts and traditions between the two. Our panel revitalizes and synthesizes these fields by exploring the transculturation of mediums and the significance their local adaptations had in conceptualizing the political representations of the time. Lin rethinks the practice of “transculturation” by investigating the changes in the forms and functions of huping, a type of ewer. She also observes how Tang emperors used huping to nurture ties within the court and with foreign entities. Wang explores the adaptation of various artistic traditions presented in the mural paintings in Varakhsha, a Central Asian palace of local Sogdian rulers in Bukhara. Combining the images with an analysis of archaeological and textual materials, her paper reveals the intense diplomatic negotiations amongst the Sogdians, Arabs, and Tang China. Xu examines the usage of Sogdian musical performance scenes in Tang officials’ tomb mural paintings. By presenting imagery evidence, Xu aims to draw a connection between the Tang court officials and their adaptation of Sogdian musical images in the tombs. Through analysis of intermarriages among the “Five Barbarians” and Inner Asian states, Han argues that this distinctive use of human mediums during the period should be understood as a mutual adaptation for coexistence rather than a dichotomic power game between Han and non-Han. She also proposes that the female players should be christened linhe Princesses rather than hefan Princesses.