Gaochang called Karakhoja, Qara-hoja, Kara-Khoja, or Karahoja, is the site of a ruined, ancient oasis city on the northern rim of the inhospitable Taklamakan Desert in present-day Xinjiang, China. The site is known in published reports as Chotscho, Qocho, or Qočo. During the Yuan and Ming dynasties, Gaochang was referred to as "Halahezhuo" and Huozhou; the ruins are located 30 km southeast of modern Turpan. The archaeological remains are just outside the modern town of Gaochang, at a place called Idykut-schari or Idikutschari by local residents.. Artistic depictions of the city have been published by Albert von Le Coq. Gaochang is considered in some sources to have been a "Chinese colony", that is, it was located in a region otherwise occupied at the time by West Eurasian peoples. A busy trading center, it was a stopping point for merchant traders traveling on the Silk Road, it was destroyed in wars during the 14th century, old palace ruins and inside and outside cities can still be seen today.
Near Gaochang is another major archeological site: the Astana tombs. The earliest people known to have lived in the area were the Gushi; the region around Turfan was described during the Han dynasty as being occupied by the Jūshī, while control over the region swayed between the Han-Chinese and the Xiongnu. Gaochang was built in the 1st century BC, it was an important site along the Silk Road, it played a key role as a transportation hub in western China. The Jushi leaders pledged their allegiance. In 327, the Gaochang Commandery was created by the Former Liang under the Han Chinese ruler Zhang Gui; the Chinese organized the land into multiple divisions. Han Chinese colonists from the Hexi region and the central plains settled in the region. After the fall of the Western Jin Dynasty, northern China split into multiple states, including the Central Asian oases. Gaochang was ruled by the Former Liang, Former Qin, Northern Liang as part of a commandery. In 383 The General Lu Guang of the Former Qin seized control of the region.
In 439, remnants of the Northern Liang, led by Juqu Wuhui and Juqu Anzhou, fled to Gaochang where they would hold onto power until 460 when they were conquered by the Rouran Khaganate. Another version of this story says that in 439 a man named Ashina led 500 families from Gansu to Gaochang. In 460, the Rouran forced them to move to the Altai, they became the Ashina clan that formed the Gokturk KhaganateSix Dynasties Turfan tombs contained dumplings. From the mid-5th century until the mid-7th century, there existed four independent statelets in the narrow Turpan basin; these were controlled by the Kan clan, Zhang clan, Ma clan, Qu clan. A the time of its conquest by the Rouran Khaganate, there were more than ten thousand Han Chinese households in Gaochang; the Rouran Khaganate, based in Mongolia, appointed a Han Chinese named Kan Bozhou to rule as King of Gaochang in 460, it became a separate vassal kingdom of the Khaganate. Kan was dependent on Rouran backing. Yicheng and Shougui were the last two kings of the Chinese Kan family to rule Gaochang.
At this time the Gaoche was rising to challenge power of the Rouran in the Tarim Basin. The Gaoche king Afuzhiluo killed King Kan Shougui, the nephew of Kan Bozhou. and appointed a Han from Dunhuang, named Zhang Mengming, as his own vassal King of Gaochang. Gaochang thus passed under Gaoche rule. Zhang Mengming was killed in an uprising by the people of Gaochang and replaced by Ma Ru. In 501, Ma Ru himself was overthrown and killed, the people of Gaochang appointed Qu Jia of Jincheng as their king. Qu Jia hailed from the Zhong district of Jincheng commandery Qu Jia at first pledged allegiance to the Rouran, but the Rouran khaghan was soon killed by the Gaoche, he had to submit to Gaoche overlordship. During Qu rule, powerful families established marriage ties with each other and dominated the kingdom, they included the Zhang, Yin, Ma, Xin families; when the Göktürks emerged as the supreme power in the region, the Qu dynasty of Gaochang became vassals of the Göktürks. While the material civilization of Kucha to its west in this period remained chiefly Indo-Iranian in character, in Goachang it merged into the Tang aesthetics.
In 607 the ruler of Gaochang Qu Boya paid tribute to the Sui Dynasty, but his attempt at sinicization provoked a coup which overthrew the Qu ruler. The Qu family was restored six years and the successor Qu Wentai welcomed the Tang pilgrim Xuanzang with great enthusiasm in 629 AD; the Kingdom of Gaochang was made out of Han Chinese colonists and ruled by the Han Chinese Qu family which originated from Gansu. Jincheng commandery 金城, district of Yuzhong 榆中 was the home of the Qu Jia; the Qu family was linked by marriage alliances to the Turks, with a Turk being the grandmother of King Qu Boya's. However, fearing Tang expansion, Qu Wentai formed an alliance with the Western Turks and rebelled against Tang suzerainty. Emperor Taizong sent an army led by General Hou Junji against the kingdom in 640, Qu Wentai died of shock at news of the approaching army. Gaochang was annexed by the Chinese Tang dynasty and turned into a sub-prefecture of Xizhou, the seat of government of Anxi. Before the Chinese conquered Gaochang, it was an impediment to Chinese access to Tarim and Transoxiania.
Under Tang rule, Gaochang was inhabited by Chinese and Tocharians.7th or 8th century old dumpl
Aniconism in Islam
Aniconism is the avoidance of images of sentient beings in some forms of Islamic art. Islamic aniconism stems in part from the prohibition of idolatry and in part from the belief that creation of living forms is God's prerogative. Although the Quran does not explicitly prohibit visual representation of any living being, it uses the word musawwir as an epithet of God; the corpus of hadith contains more explicit prohibitions of images of living beings, challenging painters to "breathe life" into their images and threatening them with punishment on the Day of Judgment. Muslims have interpreted these prohibitions in different ways in different places. Religious Islamic art has been characterized by the absence of figures and extensive use of calligraphic and abstract floral patterns. However, representations of Muhammad and other religious figures are found in some manuscripts from lands to the east of Anatolia, such as Persia and India; these pictures were meant to illustrate the story and not to infringe on the Islamic prohibition of idolatry, but many Muslims regard such images as forbidden.
In secular art of the Muslim world, representations of human and animal forms flourished in nearly all Islamic cultures, although because of opposing religious sentiments, figures in paintings were stylized, giving rise to a variety of decorative figural designs. There were episodes of iconoclastic destruction of figurative art, such as the decree by the Umayyad caliph Yazid II in 721 CE ordering the destruction of all representational images in his realm. A number of historians have seen an Islamic influence on the Byzantine iconoclastic movement of the 8th century, though others regard this is as a legend that arose in times in the Byzantine empire; the Quran, the Islamic holy book, does not explicitly prohibit the depiction of human figures. Interdictions of figurative representation are present in the hadith, among a dozen of the hadith recorded during the latter part of the period when they were being written down; because these hadith are tied to particular events in the life of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, they need to be interpreted in order to be applied in any general manner.
Sunni exegetes or tafsir, from the 9th century onward saw in them categorical prohibitions against producing and using any representation of living beings. There are variations between religious madhhab and marked differences between different branches of Islam. Aniconism is common among fundamentalist Sunni sects such as Salafis and Wahhabis, less prevalent among liberal movements within Islam. Shia and mystical orders have less stringent views on aniconism. On the individual level, whether or not specific Muslims believe in aniconism may depend on how much credence is given to hadith, how liberal or strict they are in personal practice. Aniconism in Islam not only deals with the material image, but touches upon mental representations as well, it is a problematic issue, discussed by early theologians, as to how to describe God and other prophets, indeed, if it is permissible at all to do so. God is represented by immaterial attributes, such as "holy" or "merciful" known from His "Ninety-nine beautiful names".
Muhammad's physical appearance, however, is amply described in the traditions on his life and deeds recorded in the biographies known as Sirah Rasul Allah. Of no less interest is the validity of sightings of holy personages made during dreams. Titus Burckhardt sums up the role of aniconism in Islamic aesthetics as follows: The absence of icons in Islam has not a negative but a positive role. By excluding all anthropomorphic images, at least within the religious realm, Islamic art aids man to be himself. Instead of projecting his soul outside himself, he can remain in his ontological centre where he is both the viceregent and slave of God. Islamic art as a whole aims at creating an ambience which helps man to realize his primordial dignity. Nothing must stand between the invisible presence of God, thus Islamic art creates a void. In practice, the core of normative religion in Islam is aniconic, its embodiment are spaces such as the mosque and objects like the Quran or the white dress of pilgrims entering Mecca, deprived of figurative images.
Other spheres of religion exhibit in this regard significant variability. Aniconism in secular contexts is more fluctuating. Speaking, aniconism in Islamic societies is restricted in modern times to specific religious contexts. In the past, it was enforced only in some places; the representation of living beings in Islamic art is not just a modern phenomenon or because of current technology, Westernization or the cult of the personality. Frescos and reliefs of humans and animals adorned palaces of the Umayyad era, as on the famous Mshatta Facade now in Berlin. Figurative miniatures in books occur in most Islamic countries but somewhat less in Arabic-speaking areas; the human figure is central to the Persian miniature and other traditions such as the Ottoman miniature and Mughal painting, represents a good deal of the attractiveness of Islamic art for non-Muslims. The Persian miniature tradition began when Persian courts were Sunni but continued after the Shia Safav
Silk is a natural protein fiber, some forms of which can be woven into textiles. The protein fiber of silk is composed of fibroin and is produced by certain insect larvae to form cocoons; the best-known silk is obtained from the cocoons of the larvae of the mulberry silkworm Bombyx mori reared in captivity. The shimmering appearance of silk is due to the triangular prism-like structure of the silk fibre, which allows silk cloth to refract incoming light at different angles, thus producing different colors. Silk is produced by several insects. There has been some research into other types of silk. Silk is produced by the larvae of insects undergoing complete metamorphosis, but some insects, such as webspinners and raspy crickets, produce silk throughout their lives. Silk production occurs in Hymenoptera, mayflies, leafhoppers, lacewings, fleas and midges. Other types of arthropods produce most notably various arachnids, such as spiders; the word silk comes from Old English: sioloc, from Ancient Greek: σηρικός, translit.
Sērikós, "silken" from an Asian source — compare Mandarin sī "silk", Manchurian sirghe, Mongolian sirkek. Several kinds of wild silk, which are produced by caterpillars other than the mulberry silkworm, have been known and used in China, South Asia, Europe since ancient times. However, the scale of production was always far smaller than for cultivated silks. There are several reasons for this: first, they differ from the domesticated varieties in colour and texture and are therefore less uniform. Thus, the only way to obtain silk suitable for spinning into textiles in areas where commercial silks are not cultivated was by tedious and labor-intensive carding. Commercial silks originate from reared silkworm pupae, which are bred to produce a white-colored silk thread with no mineral on the surface; the pupae are killed by either dipping them in boiling water before the adult moths emerge or by piercing them with a needle. These factors all contribute to the ability of the whole cocoon to be unravelled as one continuous thread, permitting a much stronger cloth to be woven from the silk.
Wild silks tend to be more difficult to dye than silk from the cultivated silkworm. A technique known as demineralizing allows the mineral layer around the cocoon of wild silk moths to be removed, leaving only variability in color as a barrier to creating a commercial silk industry based on wild silks in the parts of the world where wild silk moths thrive, such as in Africa and South America. Silk was first developed in ancient China; the earliest example of silk has been found in tombs at the neolithic site Jiahu in Henan, dates back 8,500 years. Silk fabric from 3630 BC was used as wrapping for the body of a child from a Yangshao culture site in Qingtaicun at Xingyang, Henan. Legend gives credit for developing silk to Leizu. Silks were reserved for the Emperors of China for their own use and gifts to others, but spread through Chinese culture and trade both geographically and and to many regions of Asia; because of its texture and lustre, silk became a popular luxury fabric in the many areas accessible to Chinese merchants.
Silk was in great demand, became a staple of pre-industrial international trade. In July 2007, archaeologists discovered intricately woven and dyed silk textiles in a tomb in Jiangxi province, dated to the Eastern Zhou Dynasty 2,500 years ago. Although historians have suspected a long history of a formative textile industry in ancient China, this find of silk textiles employing "complicated techniques" of weaving and dyeing provides direct evidence for silks dating before the Mawangdui-discovery and other silks dating to the Han Dynasty. Silk is described in a chapter of the Fan Shengzhi shu from the Western Han. There is a surviving calendar for silk production in an Eastern Han document; the two other known works on silk from the Han period are lost. The first evidence of the long distance silk trade is the finding of silk in the hair of an Egyptian mummy of the 21st dynasty, c.1070 BC. The silk trade reached as far as the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East and North Africa; this trade was so extensive that the major set of trade routes between Europe and Asia came to be known as the Silk Road.
The Emperors of China strove to keep knowledge of sericulture secret to maintain the Chinese monopoly. Nonetheless sericulture reached Korea with technological aid from China around 200 BC, the ancient Kingdom of Khotan by AD 50, India by AD 140. In the ancient era, silk from China was the most lucrative and sought-after luxury item traded across the Eurasian continent, many civilizations, such as the ancient Persians, benefited economically from trade. Chinese silk making process Silk has a long history in India, it is known as Resham in eastern and north India, Pattu in southern parts of India. Recent archaeological discoveries in Harappa and Chanhu-daro suggest that sericulture, employing wild silk threads from native silkworm species, existed in South Asia during the time of the Indus Valley Civilization dating between 2450 BC and 2000 BC, while "hard and fast evidence" for silk production in China dates back to around 2570 BC. Shelagh Vainker, a s
Persian art or Iranian art has one of the richest art heritages in world history and has been strong in many media including architecture, weaving, calligraphy and sculpture. At different times, influences from the art of neighbouring civilizations have been important, latterly Persian art gave and received major influences as part of the wider styles of Islamic art; this article covers the art of Persia up to 1925, the end of the Qajar dynasty. Rock art in Iran is its most ancient surviving art. Iranian architecture is covered at that article. From the Achaemenid Empire of 550 BC–330 BC for most of the time a large Iranian-speaking state has ruled over areas similar to the modern boundaries of Iran, much wider areas, sometimes called Greater Iran, where a process of cultural Persianization left enduring results when rulership separated; the courts of successive dynasties have led the style of Persian art, court-sponsored art has left many of the most impressive survivals. In ancient times the surviving monuments of Persian art are notable for a tradition concentrating on the human figure and animals.
Persian art continued to place larger emphasis on figures than Islamic art from other areas, though for religious reasons now avoiding large examples in sculpture. The general Islamic style of dense decoration, geometrically laid out, developed in Persia into a supremely elegant and harmonious style combining motifs derived from plants with Chinese motifs such as the cloud-band, animals that are represented at a much smaller scale than the plant elements surrounding them. Under the Safavid dynasty in the 16th century this style was used across a wide variety of media, diffused from the court artists of the shah, most being painters. Evidence of a painted-pottery civilization around Susa has been dated to c 5000 BCE. Susa was within the Sumerian Uruk cultural sphere during the Uruk period. An imitation of the entire state apparatus of Uruk, proto-writing, cylinder seals with Sumerian motifs, monumental architecture, is found at Susa. Susa may have been a colony of Uruk; as such, the periodization of Susa corresponds to Uruk.
Shortly after Susa was first settled 6000 years ago, its inhabitants erected a temple on a monumental platform that rose over the flat surrounding landscape. The exceptional nature of the site is still recognizable today in the artistry of the ceramic vessels that were placed as offerings in a thousand or more graves near the base of the temple platform. Nearly two thousand pots were recovered from the cemetery most of them now in the Louvre; the vessels found are eloquent testimony to the artistic and technical achievements of their makers, they hold clues about the organization of the society that commissioned them. Painted ceramic vessels from Susa in the earliest first style are a late, regional version of the Mesopotamian Ubaid ceramic tradition that spread across the Near East during the fifth millennium B. C. Susa I style was much a product of the past and of influences from contemporary ceramic industries in the mountains of western Iran; the recurrence in close association of vessels of three types—a drinking goblet or beaker, a serving dish, a small jar—implies the consumption of three types of food thought to be as necessary for life in the afterworld as it is in this one.
Ceramics of these shapes, which were painted, constitute a large proportion of the vessels from the cemetery. Others are course cooking-type jars and bowls with simple bands painted on them and were the grave goods of the sites of humbler citizens as well as adolescents and children; the pottery is made by hand. Although a slow wheel may have been employed, the asymmetry of the vessels and the irregularity of the drawing of encircling lines and bands indicate that most of the work was done freehand; the rock reliefs of the mountain kingdom of Lullubi the Anubanini rock relief, are rock reliefs from circa 2300 BC or the early 2nd millenium BC, the earliest rock reliefs of Iran. They are located in Kermanshah Province; these reliefs are thought to have influenced the Achaemenid Behistun reliefs, about a millenium and a half later. Elamite art, from the south and west of modern Iran shared many characteristics with the neighbouring art of Mesopotamia, though it was less sophisticated. Cylinder seals, small figures of worshippers and animals, shallow reliefs, some large statues of rulers are all found.
There are a small number of fine gold vessels with relief figures. Luristan bronzes are small cast objects decorated with bronze sculptures from the Early Iron Age which have been found in large numbers in Lorestān Province and Kermanshah in west-central Iran, they include a great number of ornaments, weapons, horse-fittings and a smaller number of vessels including situlae, those found in recorded excavations are found in burials. The ethnicity of the people who created them remains unclear, though they may well have been Persian related to the modern Lur people who have given their name to the area, they date to between about 1000 and 650 BC. The bronzes tend to use openwork, like the related metalwork of Scythian art, they represent the art of a nomadic or transhumant people, for whom all possessions needed to be light and portable, necessary objects such as weapons, horse-harness fittings, pi
A mural is any piece of artwork painted or applied directly on a wall, ceiling or other permanent surface. A distinguishing characteristic of mural painting is that the architectural elements of the given space are harmoniously incorporated into the picture; some wall paintings are painted on large canvases, which are attached to the wall. Whether these works can be called "murals" is a subject of some controversy in the art world, but the technique has been in common use since the late 19th century. Murals of sorts date to Upper Paleolithic times such as the cave paintings in the Lubang Jeriji Saléh cave in Borneo, Chauvet Cave in Ardèche department of southern France. Many ancient murals have been found within ancient Egyptian tombs, the Minoan palaces, the Oxtotitlán cave and Juxtlahuaca in Mexico and in Pompeii. During the Middle Ages murals were executed on dry plaster; the huge collection of Kerala mural painting dating from the 14th century are examples of fresco secco. In Italy, circa 1300, the technique of painting of frescos on wet plaster was reintroduced and led to a significant increase in the quality of mural painting.
In modern times, the term became more well-known with the Mexican muralism art movement. There are many different techniques; the best-known is fresco, which uses water-soluble paints with a damp lime wash, a rapid use of the resulting mixture over a large surface, in parts. The colors lighten; the marouflage method has been used for millennia. Murals today are painted in a variety of ways; the styles can vary from abstract to trompe-l'œil. Initiated by the works of mural artists like Graham Rust or Rainer Maria Latzke in the 1980s, trompe-l'oeil painting has experienced a renaissance in private and public buildings in Europe. Today, the beauty of a wall mural has become much more available with a technique whereby a painting or photographic image is transferred to poster paper or canvas, pasted to a wall surface to give the effect of either a hand-painted mural or realistic scene. In the history of mural several methods have been used: A fresco painting, from the Italian word affresco which derives from the adjective fresco, describes a method in which the paint is applied on plaster on walls or ceilings.
The buon fresco technique consists of painting in pigment mixed with water on a thin layer of wet, lime mortar or plaster. The pigment is absorbed by the wet plaster. After this the painting stays for a long time up to centuries in brilliant colors. Fresco-secco painting is done on dry plaster; the pigments thus require a binding medium, such as egg, glue or oil to attach the pigment to the wall. Mezzo-fresco is painted on nearly-dry plaster, was defined by the sixteenth-century author Ignazio Pozzo as "firm enough not to take a thumb-print" so that the pigment only penetrates into the plaster. By the end of the sixteenth century this had displaced the buon fresco method, was used by painters such as Gianbattista Tiepolo or Michelangelo; this technique had, in reduced form, the advantages of a secco work. In Greco-Roman times encaustic colors applied in a cold state were used. Tempera painting is one of the oldest known methods in mural painting. In tempera, the pigments are bound in an albuminous medium such as egg yolk or egg white diluted in water.
In 16th-century Europe, oil painting on canvas arose as an easier method for mural painting. The advantage was that the artwork could be completed in the artist's studio and transported to its destination and there attached to the wall or ceiling. Oil paint may be a less satisfactory medium for murals because of its lack of brilliance in colour; the pigments are yellowed by the binder or are more affected by atmospheric conditions. The canvas itself is more subject to rapid deterioration than a plaster ground. Different muralists tend to become experts in their preferred medium and application, whether that be oil paints, emulsion or acrylic paints applied by brush, roller or airbrush/aerosols. Clients will ask for a particular style and the artist may adjust to the appropriate technique. A consultation leads to a detailed design and layout of the proposed mural with a price quote that the client approves before the muralist starts on the work; the area to be painted can be gridded to match the design allowing the image to be scaled step by step.
In some cases the design is projected straight onto the wall and traced with pencil before painting begins. Some muralists will paint directly without any prior sketching, preferring the spontaneous technique. Once completed the mural can be given coats of varnish or protective acrylic glaze to protect the work from UV rays and surface damage. In modern, quick form of muralling, young enthusiasts use POP clay mixed with glue or bond to give desired models on a canvas board; the canvas is set aside to let the clay dry. Once dried, the canvas and the shape can be painted with your choice of colors and coated with varnish; as an alternative to a hand-painted or airbrushed mural, digitally printed murals can be applied to surfaces. Existing murals can be photographed and be reproduced
The Silk Road was an ancient network of trade routes that connected the East and West. It was central to cultural interaction between the regions for many centuries; the Silk Road refers to the terrestrial routes connecting East Asia and Southeast Asia with East Africa, West Asia and Southern Europe. The Silk Road derives its name from the lucrative trade in silk carried out along its length, beginning in the Han dynasty; the Han dynasty expanded the Central Asian section of the trade routes around 114 BCE through the missions and explorations of the Chinese imperial envoy Zhang Qian. The Chinese took great interest in the safety of their trade products and extended the Great Wall of China to ensure the protection of the trade route. Trade on the Road played a significant role in the development of the civilizations of China, Japan, the Indian subcontinent, Iran/Persia, the Horn of Africa and Arabia, opening long-distance political and economic relations between the civilizations. Though silk was the major trade item exported from China, many other goods were traded, as well as religions, syncretic philosophies and technologies.
Diseases, most notably plague spread along the Silk Road. In addition to economic trade, the Silk Road was a route for cultural trade among the civilizations along its network. In June 2014, UNESCO designated the Chang'an-Tianshan corridor of the Silk Road as a World Heritage Site; the Indian portion is on the tentative site list. The Silk Road derives its name from the lucrative Asian silk, a major reason for the connection of trade routes into an extensive transcontinental network; the German terms Seidenstraße and Seidenstraßen were coined by Ferdinand von Richthofen, who made seven expeditions to China from 1868 to 1872. The term Silk Route is used. Although the term was coined in the 19th century, it did not gain widespread acceptance in academia or popularity among the public until the 20th century; the first book entitled The Silk Road was by Swedish geographer Sven Hedin in 1938. Use of the term'Silk Road' is not without its detractors. For instance, Warwick Ball contends that the maritime spice trade with India and Arabia was far more consequential for the economy of the Roman Empire than the silk trade with China, which at sea was conducted through India and on land was handled by numerous intermediaries such as the Sogdians.
Going as far as to call the whole thing a "myth" of modern academia, Ball argues that there was no coherent overland trade system and no free movement of goods from East Asia to the West until the period of the Mongol Empire. He notes that traditional authors discussing East-West trade such as Marco Polo and Edward Gibbon never labelled any route a "silk" one in particular; the southern stretches of the Silk Road, from Khotan to China, were first used for jade and not silk, as long as 5000 BCE, is still in use for this purpose. The term "Jade Road" would have been more appropriate than "Silk Road" had it not been for the far larger and geographically wider nature of the silk trade. Central Eurasia has been known from ancient times for its horse riding and horse breeding communities, the overland Steppe Route across the northern steppes of Central Eurasia was in use long before that of the Silk Road. Archeological sites such as the Berel burial ground in Kazakhstan, confirmed that the nomadic Arimaspians were not only breeding horses for trade but great craftsmen able to propagate exquisite art pieces along the Silk Road.
From the 2nd millennium BCE, nephrite jade was being traded from mines in the region of Yarkand and Khotan to China. These mines were not far from the lapis lazuli and spinel mines in Badakhshan, although separated by the formidable Pamir Mountains, routes across them were in use from early times; some remnants of what was Chinese silk dating from 1070 BCE have been found in Ancient Egypt. The Great Oasis cities of Central Asia played a crucial role in the effective functioning of the Silk Road trade; the originating source seems sufficiently reliable, but silk degrades rapidly, so it cannot be verified whether it was cultivated silk or a type of wild silk, which might have come from the Mediterranean or Middle East. Following contacts between Metropolitan China and nomadic western border territories in the 8th century BCE, gold was introduced from Central Asia, Chinese jade carvers began to make imitation designs of the steppes, adopting the Scythian-style animal art of the steppes; this style is reflected in the rectangular belt plaques made of gold and bronze, with other versions in jade and steatite.
An elite burial near Stuttgart, dated to the 6th century BCE, was excavated and found to have not only Greek bronzes but Chinese silks. Similar animal-shaped pieces of art and wrestler motifs on belts have been found in Scythian grave sites stretching from the Black Sea region all the way to Warring States era archaeological sites in Inner Mongolia and Shaanxi in China; the expansion of Scythian cultures, stretching from the Hungarian plain and the Carpathian Mountains to the Chinese Kansu Corridor, linking the Middle East with Northern India and the Punjab, undoubtedly played an important role in the development of the Silk Road. Scythians accompanied the Assyrian Esarhaddon on his invasion of Egypt, their distinctive triangular arrowheads have been found as far south as Aswan; these nomadic peoples were dependent upon neighbouring settled populations for a number of important technologies, in addition to raiding vulnerable settlements for these commod
The Persians are an Iranian ethnic group that make up over half the population of Iran. They share a common cultural system and are native speakers of the Persian language, as well as related languages; the ancient Persians were a nomadic branch of the ancient Iranian population that entered the territory of modern-day Iran by the early 10th century BC. Together with their compatriot allies, they established and ruled some of the world's most powerful empires, well-recognized for their massive cultural and social influence covering much of the territory and population of the ancient world. Throughout history, the Persians have contributed to various forms of art and science, own one of the world's most prominent literatures. In contemporary terminology, people of Persian heritage native to present-day Afghanistan and Uzbekistan are referred to as Tajiks, whereas those in the eastern Caucasus, albeit assimilated, are referred to as Tats; however the terms Tajik and Persian were synonymous and were used interchangeably, many of the most influential Persian figures hailed from outside Iran's present-day borders to the northeast in Central Asia and Afghanistan and to a lesser extent to the northwest in the Caucasus proper.
In historical contexts in English, "Persians" may be defined more loosely to cover all subjects of the ancient Persian polities, regardless of ethnic background. The English term Persian derives from Latin Persia, itself deriving from Greek Persís, a Hellenized form of Old Persian Pārsa. In the Bible, it is given as Parás —sometimes Paras uMadai —within the books of Esther, Daniel and Nehemya. A Greek folk etymology connected the name to a legendary character in Greek mythology. Herodotus recounts this story, devising a foreign son, from whom the Persians took the name; the Persians themselves knew the story, as Xerxes I tried to use it to suborn the Argives during his invasion of Greece, but failed to do so. Although Persis was one of the provinces of ancient Iran, varieties of this term were adopted through Greek sources and used as an official name for all of Iran for many years. Thus, in the Western world, the term Persian came to refer to all inhabitants of the country; some medieval and early modern Islamic sources used cognates of the term Persian to refer to various Iranian peoples, including the speakers of the Khwarezmian language, the Mazanderani language, the Old Azeri language.
10th-century Iraqi historian Al-Masudi refers to Pahlavi and Azari as dialects of the Persian language. In 1333, medieval Moroccan traveler and scholar Ibn Battuta referred to the people of Kabul as a specific sub-tribe of Persians. Lady Mary Sheil, in her observation of Iran during the Qajar era, describes Persians and Leks to identify themselves as "descendants of the ancient Persians". On March 21, 1935, the former king of Iran, Reza Shah of the Pahlavi dynasty, issued a decree asking the international community to use the term Iran, the native name of the country, in formal correspondence. However, the term Persian is still used to designate the predominant population of the Iranian peoples living in the Iranian cultural continent; the earliest known written record attributed to the Persians is from the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III, an Assyrian inscription from the mid-9th century BC, found at Nimrud. The inscription mentions Parsua as a tribal chiefdom in modern-day western Iran; the ancient Persians were a nomadic branch of the Iranian population that, in the early 10th century BC, settled to the northwest of modern-day Iran.
They were dominated by the Assyrians for much of the first three centuries after arriving in the region. However, they played a major role in the downfall of the Neo-Assyrian Empire; the Medes, another branch of this population, founded the unified empire of Media as the region's dominant cultural and political power in c. 625 BC. Meanwhile, the Persian dynasty of the Achaemenids formed a vassal state to the central Median power. In c. 552 BC, the Achaemenids began a revolution which led to the conquest of the empire by Cyrus II in c. 550 BC. They spread their influence to the rest of what is called the Iranian Plateau, assimilated with the non-Iranian indigenous groups of the region, including the Elamites and the Mannaeans. At its greatest extent, the Achaemenid Empire stretched from parts of Eastern Europe in the west, to the Indus Valley in the east, making it the largest empire the world had yet seen; the Achaemenids developed the infrastructure to support their growing influence, including the creation of Pasargadae and the opulent city of Persepolis.
The empire extended as far as the limits of the Greek city states in modern-day mainland Greece, where the Persians and Athenians influenced each other in what is a reciprocal cultural exchange. Its legacy and impact on the kingdom of Macedon was notably huge for centuries after the withdrawal of the Persians from Europe following the Greco-Persian Wars; the empire collapsed in 330 BC following the conquests of Alexander the Great, but reemerged shortly after as the Parthian Empire. During the Achaemenid era, Persian colonists settled in Asia Minor. In Lydia, near Sardis, there was the Hyrcanian plain, according to Strabo, got its name from the Persian settlers that were moved from Hyrcania. Near Sardis, there was the plain of Cyrus, which further signified the presence of numerous Persian settlements in