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Reflection of Geopolitical Context of the Silk Road in the First- and Second Indo-Iranian Style Wall Paintings in Kucha
Dr. Satomi Hiyama
(Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz, Max-Planck-Gesellschaft Museum für Asiatische Kunst, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin)
A lot of research has been dedicated to two local artistic styles in Kucha, the so-called First Indo-Iranian Style and the Second Indo-Iranian Style. These styles decorate the inner spaces of the Buddhist rock monasteries in Kucha. To the day, the main point of dispute about these styles concerns their relative ages. Which style is the earliest, and which is a later development of the other?
This dissertation opens up the possibility that these two painting styles may reflect two different cultural entities. Some details in the First Style Paintings can be regarded as markers of the period when the Kucha Kingdom was integrated into the eastern territory of the Hephthalite Empire. The Second Style Paintings include some motifs which were typically circulated in Central and Eastern Asia in the subsequent Turkic period.
This paper will mainly focus on the analysis of the methods and modes represented in the First- and the Second Style Paintings. A reconstruction of the different historical settings of the ancient Kucha Kingdom, in which the First- and the Second Style Paintings in Kucha were produced, will be presented.