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Terms about Colors in Kuchean Texts
Ching Chao-jung
Postdoctorante, CRCAO
Adjunct Research Fellow, Center for Research on Ancient Chinese History, Peking University
(Visiting researcher, Ryukoku University)
The mural paintings found in Kucha are famous for the richness of their colors, which still remain distinct and saturated to this day. According to previous studies, the basic colors in these paintings were blue, green, red, yellow, black, white, and etc. Some caves might even have once been decorated by numerous pieces of gold foil and jewels, as well as many painted objects including statues and wooden artifacts. Ancient artists in Kucha not only used precious mineral colors from the West, such as lapis-lazuli from Afghanistan, but also some basic colors likely produced around Kucha. Given the composition and coloring of the paintings, one can suggest that these artists had high chromatic sensitivity, and they specially matched some colors. This paper will examine the Kuchean (Tocharian B) texts already known to scholars in order to discuss the local terminology of colors. The categories for hues and colors in Kuchean culture, as well as the colors and visual effects favorite among Kuchean speaking people will be approached in a fresh way. This study will shed light more light on the particularities of Kuchean art and its status among the arts of the Western Regions.