Stylized depiction of a camel inside a rectangular border.

Casting Model for Belt Plaque; Metropolitan Museum of Art, Accession number: 18.43.2

Chinese Frontiers and Central Eurasia: Art, Archaeology and History at the Turn of the Common Era

Online Conference organized by Fanghan Wang (ISAW) and Shujing Wang (NYU Shanghai & ISAW Alumna)

The contact between Han China and Central Eurasia had been drastically intensified around the turn of the Common Era when the so-called Silk Road network took shape. The northern frontiers of Han China, as important nodes of the network, were the prominent arenas in which diverse cultural, economic, and socio-political interactions took place among the people who lived a pastoral, agricultural or mixed mode of life. This workshop intends to revisit this interconnectivity with special attention to the complexity of interregional communication and the interactions in frontier region. Introducing new material/textual discoveries and reassessing current scholarship, this workshop highlights a variety of interlocked factors of the frontier process, such as ecological impacts, material exchanges, cultural encounters, and socio-political transformations. Within an interdisciplinary framework, this workshop also stimulates conversations of researchers from different scholarly circles on various issues surrounding the study of frontiers.


9:00am – Welcome
Lillian Tseng, Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, New York University

Session 1

9:10am – “Frontier Encounters in Excavated Materials from the Han Northwest”
Charles Sanft, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

9:25am – “Economic Integration and Political Expansion along Western Han Frontiers: A Numismatic Survey”
Chris Kim, Columbia University 

9:40am – “Guarding the Granary: Art, Agriculture and Frontier Politics between the Han Empire and Xiongnu”
Fanghan Wang, Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, New York University

9:55am – Discussion 

10:15am - Break

Session 2

10:25am - “The Great Game on the Silk Road: Contested Nodes and Competing Networks in the Western Regions during the Xiongnu-Han Era”
Bryan Miller, University of Michigan 

10:40am – “Burials at the Frontier: Jiaohe Tombs Revisited”
Shujing Wang, New York University, Shanghai 

10:55am – Discussion

11:15am - Break

Session 3

11:25am – "Bronzes in the Xiongnu Empire: Production, Commissioning, Circulation and Deposition"
Ursula Brosseder, Bonn University (with Yiu-Kang Hsu, Bergbau Museum Bochum, Germany)

11:40am – “Research on the Xiongnu Aristocratic Tombs”
Yeruul-Erdene Chimiddorj, Cultural Resource Analysts, Inc.

11:55am – “Animal-Style Tropes and the Making of Visual Language across Central Eurasia”
Petya Andreeva, The New School 

12:10pm - Discussion

12:25pm - Final Discussion

This conference is co-sponsored by ISAW and Columbia University’s Tang Center for Early China.

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