Tokharistan

Tokharistan
CapitalBalkh
Historical eraEarly Middle Ages
Today part ofAfghanistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan
Tang dynasty map of its Western territories, showing Tokharistan (吐火罗) in the area of Bactria, at the extreme west of Chinese-controlled territories.

Tokharistan (formed from "Tokhara" and the suffix -stan meaning "place of" in Persian) is an ancient Early Middle Ages name given to the area which was known as Bactria in Ancient Greek sources.

In the 7th and 8th century CE, Tokharistan came under the rule of the Chinese Empire, administered by the Protectorate General to Pacify the West.[4] Today, Tokharistan is fragmented between Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Afghanistan.

Names of Tokharistan[]

Several languages have used variations of the word "Tokhara" to designate the region:

Ethnicities[]

Several portraits of ambassadors from the region of Tokharistan are known from the Portraits of Periodical Offering of Liang, originally painted in 526–539 CE. They were at that time under the overlordship of the Hephthalites, who led the embassies to the Southern Liang court in the early 6th century CE.

"Tocharians" in the Tarim Basin[]

The name of "Tocharians" was mistakenly applied by early 20th century authors to the Indo-European people of the Tarim Basin, from the areas of Kucha and Agni. These scholars erroneously believed that these Indo-Europeans had originated in Tokharistan (Bactria), and hence applied the term "Tocharians" to them. This appellation remains in common usage although the Indo-European people of the Tarim Basin probably referred to themselves as Agni, Kuči and Krorän.[17][18]

Chinese sources[]

In the Nestorian Stele of Xi'an, erected in 781 CE, the East Syriac Christian monk Adam, author of the stele, mentioned in Syriac that his grandfather was a missionary-priest from Balkh (Syriac: ܒܠܚ Balkh) in Tokharistan (Syriac: ܬܚܘܪܝܣܬܢ Takhouristan).[19][20][21]

Geography[]

Tokharistan and surrounding regions in the 8th century CE

Geographically, Tokharistan corresponds to the upper Oxus valley, between the mountain ranges of the Hindu-Kush to the south and the Pamir-Alay to the north.[4] The area reaches west as far as the Badakshan mountains, south as far as Bamiyan.[4] Arab sources considered Kabul as part of the southern border of Tokharistan, and Shaganiyan as part of its northern border.[4] In a narrow sense, Tokharistan may only refer to the region south of the Oxus.[4] The region used the East Iranian Bactrian language, which was current from the 2nd to the 9th century CE.[4]

The most important city of Tokharistan was Balkh, which was at the center of the trade between Iran (the Sasanian Empire) and India.[4]

The region of Tokharistan had been outside of Sasanian control for the three centuries preceding the Muslim conquest of Persia in 633–651 CE.[4] During that time, Tokharistan was under the rule of dynasties of Hunnish or Turkic origin, such as the Kidarites, the Alchon Huns and the Hephthalites.[4] At the time of the Arab conquest, Tokharistan was under the control of the Western Turks, through the Tokhara Yabghus.[4]

Art of early medieval Tokharistan[]

Numerous artefacts exist from the art of early medieval Tokharistan, which shows influence from the Buddhist art of Gandhara.[22]

5th–6th century CE[]

Many authors have suggested that the figures in the Dilberjin Tepe or Balalyk Tepe paintings are characteristic of the Hephthalites (450–570 CE).[23] In this context, parallels have been drawn with the figures from Kizil Caves in Chinese Turkestan, which seem to wear broadly similar clothing. The paintings of Balalyk Tepe would be characteristic of the court life of the Hephthalites in the first half of the 6th century CE, before the arrival of the Turks.[24][25]

7th century CE[]

In painting, there is "Tokharistan school of art" with examples from Kalai Kafirnigan, Kafyr Kala or Ajina Tepe,[28][29] as Buddhism and Buddhist art enjoyed a renaissance, possibly owing to the sponsorships and religious tolerance of the Western Turks (Tokhara Yabghus).[30]

Samanids and Ghaznavids 10–11th century[]

Islamic art developed with the Samanid Empire and the Ghaznavids from the 10th to 12th century CE.

References[]

  1. ^ "The account herewith quoted as 3.5. shows that this king of Tokhara had political power to control the principalities belonging to the Governors-General to the north and the south of the Hindukush, not to mention the Yuezhi Governor General." in Kuwayama, Shoshin (2005). "Chinese Records on Bamiyan: Translation and Commentary". East and West. 55 (1/4): 153, 3–5. ISSN 0012-8376. JSTOR 29757642.
  2. ^ Detailed list of vassal cities and regions in ancient Chinese sources: Taishan, Y. U. (2012). 歐亞學刊 新3辑 (Eurasian Studies III): Records Relevant to the Hephthalites in Ancient Chinese Historical Works. 中華書局. p. 250.
  3. ^ Kuwayama, Shoshin (2005). "Chinese Records on Bamiyan: Translation and Commentary". East and West. 55 (1/4): 143–144. ISSN 0012-8376. JSTOR 29757642.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Akasoy, Anna; Burnett, Charles; Yoeli-Tlalim, Ronit (14 December 2016). Islam and Tibet – Interactions along the Musk Routes. Routledge. p. 51. ISBN 978-1-351-92605-8.
  5. ^ "Tushara ( snowy , frigid ) and Tushkara are used as equivalents of Tukhara" in Tchouang, Hiuan. Chinese Accounts of India. Susil Gupta. p. 103.
  6. ^ a b c "The population was called by the Greeks Tokharoi, Thaguroi; by the Romans Tochar; or Thogarii (in Sanskrit, Tukhara; in Tibetan, Thod-kar or Tho-gar; in Khotanese, Ttaugara; in Uigurian, Twghry; in Armenian, T'ukri-k'" in Diringer, David (1948). Alphabet A Key To The History Of Mankind. p. 348.
  7. ^ Namba Walter, Mariko (October 1998). "Tokharian Buddhism in Kucha: Buddhism of Indo-European Centum Speakers in Chinese Turkestan before the 10th Century C.E." (PDF). Sino-Platonic Papers. 85: 2–4.
  8. ^ Religions and Trade: Religious Formation, Transformation and Cross-Cultural Exchange between East and West. BRILL. p. 81. ISBN 978-90-04-25530-2.
  9. ^ For 覩货罗 as "Tokharistan" see 冯承钧学术著作集中 (in Chinese). Beijing Book Co. Inc. June 2015. p. 175. ISBN 978-7-999099-49-9.
  10. ^ "In the Record of the Northern – Wei Dynasty it is transcribed as T'u-hu-luo" in Chinese Monks in India: Biography of Eminent Monks who Went to the Western World in Search of the Law During the Great Tʻang Dynasty. Motilal Banarsidass. 1986. p. 7. ISBN 978-81-208-0062-5.
  11. ^ Compareti, Matteo. "Some Examples of Central Asian Decorative Elements in Ajanta and Bagh Indian Paintings": 41–42. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  12. ^ "Silver bowl, British Museum". The British Museum.
  13. ^ "Silver bowl, British Museum". The British Museum.
  14. ^ Brancaccio, Pia (2010). The Buddhist Caves at Aurangabad: Transformations in Art and Religion. BRILL. pp. 80–82, 305–307 with footnotes. ISBN 978-9004185258.
  15. ^ DK Eyewitness Travel Guide India. Dorling Kindersley Limited. 2017. p. 126. ISBN 9780241326244.
  16. ^ Compareti, Matteo. "Some Examples of Central Asian Decorative Elements in Ajanta and Bagh Indian Paintings": 40–42. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  17. ^ Namba Walter, Mariko (October 1998). "Tokharian Buddhism in Kucha: Buddhism of Indo-European Centum Speakers in Chinese Turkestan before the 10th Century C.E." (PDF). Sino-Platonic Papers. 85: 2.
  18. ^ Diringer, David (1948). Alphabet A Key To The History Of Mankind. pp. 347–348.
  19. ^ Havret, Henri (1848–1901) Auteur du texte (1895–1902). La stèle chrétienne de Si-ngan-fou. 3 / par le P. Henri Havret,... ; avec la collab. du P. Louis Cheikho,... [pour la IIIe partie]. p. 61.
  20. ^ Kurian, George Thomas; III, James D. Smith (2010). The Encyclopedia of Christian Literature. Scarecrow Press. p. 251. ISBN 978-0-8108-7283-7.
  21. ^ Godwin, R. Todd (2018). Persian Christians at the Chinese Court: The Xi'an Stele and the Early Medieval Church of the East. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 10. ISBN 978-1-78673-316-0.
  22. ^ LITVINSKY, BORIS; SOLOV'EV, VIKTOR (1990). "The Architecture and Art of Kafyr Kala (Early Medieval Tokharistan)" (PDF). Bulletin of the Asia Institute. 4: 61–75. ISSN 0890-4464.
  23. ^ Kurbanov, Aydogdy (2014). "THE HEPHTHALITES: ICONOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS" (PDF). Tyragetia: 317–334.
  24. ^ "Several murals at Dilberjin date from the 5th to the 7th century. A comparison between some of the Dilberjin paintings and those at Kyzyl (“the cave of the 16 swordsmen" and "the cave with picture of Maya") demonstrates a link between them (Litvinsky 1996, 151)." Kurbanov, Aydogdy (2014). "THE HEPHTHALITES: ICONOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS" (PDF). Tyragetia: 317–334.
  25. ^ Frumkin, Grégoire. Archaeology in Soviet Central Asia. Brill Archive. pp. 116–118.
  26. ^ Dani, Ahmad Hasan; Litvinsky, B. A. (1996). History of Civilizations of Central Asia: The crossroads of civilizations, A.D. 250 to 750. UNESCO. p. 151. ISBN 978-92-3-103211-0.
  27. ^ "Les fouilles de la mission archéologique soviéto-afghane sur le site gréco-kushan de Dilberdjin en Bactriane" (PDF). Comptes rendus des séances de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres: 407–427. 1977.
  28. ^ Dani, Ahmad Hasan; Litvinsky, B. A. History of Civilizations of Central Asia: The crossroads of civilizations, A.D. 250 to 750. UNESCO. p. 150. ISBN 978-92-3-103211-0.
  29. ^ UNESCO Collection of History of Civilizations of Central Asia : Online chapter.
  30. ^ Baumer, Christoph (18 April 2018). History of Central Asia, The: 4-volume set. Bloomsbury Publishing. pp. 203–204. ISBN 978-1-83860-868-2.
  31. ^ Baumer, Christoph. History of Central Asia, The: 4-volume set. Bloomsbury Publishing. pp. 203–204. ISBN 978-1-83860-868-2.
  32. ^ Litvinskij, B. A. (1981). "Kalai-Kafirnigan Problems in the Religion and Art of Early Mediaeval Tokharistan" (PDF). East and West. 31 (1/4): 35–66. ISSN 0012-8376.