140 Cultural Relics Excavated from the Site of Buddhist Temple at Subashi in Xinjiang, providing evidences for studying the Qiuci culture

2016-8-31 17:22| Editor: 武子| view: 645| comment: 0|Author: Translated by Jinchao Zhao|Source: IA CASS

Summaryuuuuuu: Recently, 140 cultural relics were discovered by archaeologists from the Northwestern Uuniversity during their investigation and excavation of the site of the Subashi Temple at present Kuqa county, Aksu Region, Xinjiang Province. This discovery supports t

Recently, 140 cultural relics were discovered by archaeologists from the Northwestern Uuniversity during their investigation and excavation of the site of the Subashi Temple at present Kuqa county, Aksu Region, Xinjiang Province. This discovery supports the study of the cultural interactions and trading activities flourished at the ancient Kucha Kingdom on the Silk Road.
    This group of cultural remains incude potteries, copper coins, copper lotus flowers, pieces of sculptures and glass, animal bones, and stones. Most of them are dated to the period spanning from the third to the fifth century, corresponding to the ruling dynasties of Wei-Jin, and the Northern and Southern Dynasties in the Central Plain of China. The most recent remains are coins and potteries produced during the Tang Dynasty. This discovery reveals that the culture of the Central China has already exerted influences on the ancient Kucha region since the Wei-Jin period. The establishment of the Anxi Frontier Command marked the commence of the Tang Government’s control over the plenty of kingdoms in the Western Regions.
    Ran Wanli, professor from the Department of the Cultural Relics at the Northwestern University, said that “the most important pieces among this discovery are the coins brought from the Central Plain of China, such as the Yongtong wanguo coins of the Northern Zhou period, Qiangyuan zhongbao, Qianyuan tongbao, Jianzhong tongbao, and Dali yuanbao of the Tang Dynasty. The finding of these coins demonstrates that the ruling dynasties of the Central Plain once governed the Kucha Kingdom and even the Western Regions.”
    The ancient Kucha Kingdom occupies an important place on the Silk Road. Kucha gradually cultivated its unique culture by admitting its status as the crossroad where cultures of the East and the West interact, and various religions encounter with each other. The pieces of Persian glass of the Sassanian Dynasty reveal that western civilizations already arrived at China, and nongovernmental Silk Road was already opened as early as the second century BC. It is also worth noting that the copper lotus flower was excavated for the first time. A large amount of decorative objects and utensils that are used for worshipping buddhas indicate the popularity of Buddhism at Kucha during the Tang Dynasty.
    Professor Ran said that “Kucha was an intersection of the Eastern and the Western civilizations, whether it is from the perspective of the transmission of Buddhism or of the richness of cultural remains produced in Central China as well as the West. Meanwhile, the large amount of remains from Central China manifest that the ruling dynasties in the Central Plains consistantly have effective controls over the Kucha Kingdom.”
    Commonly known as “the Lost City of Subashi,” the Subasi Temple is the largest Buddhist temple ruin found in Xinjiang. Previous excavations at Subashi found coins of the Han Dynasty, Northern and Southern Dynasties, and Tang, pieces of glass from the Sassanian Persia, copper, iron, potteries, wooden artifacts, mural paintings, clay Buddhist statues, and also reliquaries decorated with musical and dancing figures. These remains have great significance for the study of cultures of the Central Plain of China, Western Region, India, as well as Persia back then.
    The student who majored in archaeology at the Northwestern University, Fu Shenglong, said that “these findings on one hand indicate the important status of Kucha in the cultural intersection between the East and West, on the other hand imply that this region has long been controlled by the ruling dynasites of the Central Plain from the Wei-Jin period to the Sui and Tang dynasties. The profound influence exerted by the Central Plain reveals that Xinjiang has been an integral part of the Chinese nation since ancient times.”

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