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Claudine Doury: Loulan Beauty (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, & Uzbekistan)

I had read “Djamila”, by the Kyrghyz poet Tchinguiz Aitmatov, and it made me dream of the kolkhozes lost in the steppes and of its peoples : Uzbeks, Kazakhs, Kyrgyzs, Karakapalks…


From 2002 to 2005, I managed to travel to the Aral region in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, on the banks of the Issyk Kul lake in Kyrgyzstan and in Xinjiang. "Loulan Beauty" is the story of people from the middle of the world, heirs of sunken kingdoms, of fishermen without a sea, of children who dance to bring back their parents who work far away, of Lola who dreams of America, of men who listen to the sands singing, of girls with a thousand braids, just like those found on Loulan, their four thousand year old ancestor.

The inspiration for the project came from the discovery of the “Loulan Beauty”, a 4,000 year old mummy unearthed in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. Thanks to the extreme dryness and the preservative properties of salt, the corpse was remarkably intact - her eyelashes, the fine hair on her skin, even the lines on her skin were visible… all revealing  Nordic origins through a telltale large nose, narrow jaw and reddish-brown hair.

The Loulan Beauty is one of more than 200 remarkably well-preserved mummies discovered in the western deserts here over the last few decades. The ancient bodies have become protagonists in a very contemporary political dispute over who should control the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region.

[…]Uighur nationalists have gleaned evidence from the mummies, whose corpses span thousands of years, to support historical claims to the region.

The Tarim mummies seem to indicate that the very first people to settle the area came from the west — down from the steppes of Central Asia and even farther afield — and not from the fertile plains and river valleys of the Chinese interior. The oldest, like the Loulan Beauty, date back 3,800 years.

Some Uighurs have latched on to the fact that the oldest mummies are most likely from the west as evidence that Xinjiang has belonged to the Uighurs throughout history.

read more via nytimes

Vanished Silk Road city studied in China

BEIJING (UPI) — Chinese archaeologists say they’ve found evidence of agricultural activity in an ancient vanished city that was a pivotal stop along the famous Silk Road.

Scientists from the Institute of Geology and Geophysics said remote sensing procedures, field investigations and sample testing in the area showed there were once large tracts of farmland in Loulan, an important trading city that mysteriously disappeared in the third century A.D., China’s official news agency Xinhua reported Sunday.

Farmland featuring regular and straight plots stretching for 200 to 1,000 yards, as well as irrigation ditches running throughout, have been found, Qin Xiaoguang, a member of the research team, said.

Grain particles in the area’s ground surface are very likely the remains of crop plants, Qin said.

Evidence of an ancient canal measuring 10 to 20 yards wide and 5 feet deep suggest the city, which is thought to have perished in drought, was once rich in water resources, the researchers said. (source)

there are several times I couldn’t help picturing one woman with Yao-.-

and I thought she should be Loulan(ancient kingdom in Xinjiang,but it was killed by the sand and desert). I’ve seen such a similar character in many Chinese novels for the youth.Seemingly,China has nostalgia for the disappeared kingdom

The perfectly preserved mummy known as the Sleeping Beauty of Loulan is one of 200 mummies found in the Western Deserts of Xinjiang, in China. Though they eternally sleep, their startling looks are a source of mystery and controversy. These mummies show the diversity of ethnicity in the area, where the Uyghur people of the region still dispute ancient ownership with the ruling Chinese.

The Loulan Beauty died on the Silk Road, at a time when it was firmly believed no Caucasians had ever ventured that far. But she is clearly Caucasian, with her high cheekbones, high bridged nose and blonde hair. She died sometime in her 40s, and is still dressed in her red robes, her hair crisply braided in what was probably a very fashionable ’do 3800 years ago. In fact, for 3800 years old, she is remarkably well preserved. She was and is indeed a beauty, tall and stately, with finely carved features.

Neither is she alone. She has for company another unearthed mummy called the Cherchen Man, a six foot redhead whose DNA has revealed he was a Celt. How these two came to be buried by the Silk Road, along with two other women and a baby, and surrounded by hundreds of other mummies of European origin found in the same area, is a tantalizing mystery, but it does show in the incredible diversity of travelers on the Silk Road, far further back than was imagined before this discovery.

The Loulan Beauty was discovered in 1980, when a film was being made about the Silk Road. Even though they were buried in relatively shallow graves, and with no elaborate embalming rituals, the mummies are in far better condition than mummies found in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt. The dry soil of the salt lake in which they lay acted as the perfect preservative.

Today the Loulan Beauty lies in a glass case in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region Museum, specially climatized to prevent any deterioration. She is more like Snow White than the Sleeping Beauty, although she will not awaken with a Prince’s kiss, and her life was certainly no fairy tale. She died from the hard life she lived, traveling the Silk Road to an unknown destination, breathing in a toxic mix of dust, sand and smoke from open fires that eventually destroyed her lungs.

Continue reading..

Scientists to map out vast ancient Chinese city of Loulan

image

Loulan was an ancient kingdom based around an important oasis city along the Silk Road in China, and was made famous by the incredibly preserved Tarim mummies that display distinct Caucasian features. Plans are now underway to map out the entire ancient city and investigate the cause of its rapid demise in the 3rd century AD. 

You can read more here.

I walk into a city abandoned by its stones. On fading sands, sighing, then sinking behind my feet. The way back home dries. I drift past windows like haunted eyes, makeshift housings for yesterday’s lux. Reams of broken songs creasing against the walls. Homeless souls at my feet.

but….I want Loulan and Yao had some happy memories;-;

I meant they already would have a sad end…..it is too miserable…T_T

THAT’S CRUEL….I like her,I want her like a happy bird,a free wind

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“Artek” was, first of all, a documentary work on the life of the biggest summer camp in what was the Soviet Union. After going there over a ten year period, I slowly began to focus on the relationship between young people amongst themselves, on their moods and their apparent passivity during the holidays. I then focused on rites of passage (“Sweet Sixteen” in the USA, “Quinceanera” in Cuba, etc.). Then the idea and desire to photograph not so much the social rituals of adolescence, but rather the secret rituals, as it were, took hold” - via the Leica blog. 

Claudine Doury is a photographer born in Blois and living in Paris. She received the Leica Oscar Barnack award in 1999, the World Press in 2000 and the Prix Niepce for her entire work in 2004. Her first monograph, Peuples de Sibérie, was published in 1999. Since then she has published Artek, un été en Crimée (2004), Loulan Beauty (2007) and Sasha (2011).

More from Claudine Doury here www.claudinedoury.com

Loulan city

If I ask you, which is the famous city that exists in ancient times, but now disappear now, what would you say. Yes, Loulan city is the case in point. Have you heard of a city called Loulan? What do you know about it? Have you get some knowledge about it from your online Chinese tutor ? Today le me share with you some information.

Loulan(楼兰Lóulán) is located nearly 300 km northeast of Ruoqiang County, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. It’s adjacent to another ancient city, Dunhuang in Gansu. AsI got from  Chinese mandarin language website, one of the great mysteries in Chinese history is the disappearance of the ancient city of Loulan. Loulan was originally the capital of the 36 kingdoms in the western region of the Han Dynasty as well as an important thoroughfare on the ancient Silk Road, flourished from the 2nd century B.C. to the 4th century. But unfortunately the world-famous city ruins. The Loulan Kingdom, was swallowed up by the shifting sands of the Taklamakan Desert 1,400 years ago, which leaves the history a big mystery.

When Loulan city disappeared, many countries reported this news and the disappearance of Loulan attracted worldwide attention, among which the most precious are the hand-written copy of the Strategies of the Warring States période. Now many historians are committed to find out the real reason behind it. And we hope the mystery would be find out as soon as possible.

For more information about Loulan city, you can visit at the elementary Chinese            website and  speak in Chinese website.

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“Artek” was, first of all, a documentary work on the life of the biggest summer camp in what was the Soviet Union. After going there over a ten year period, I slowly began to focus on the relationship between young people amongst themselves, on their moods and their apparent passivity during the holidays. I then focused on rites of passage (“Sweet Sixteen” in the USA, “Quinceanera” in Cuba, etc.). Then the idea and desire to photograph not so much the social rituals of adolescence, but rather the secret rituals, as it were, took hold” - via the Leica blog. 

Claudine Doury is a photographer born in Blois and living in Paris. She received the Leica Oscar Barnack award in 1999, the World Press in 2000 and the Prix Niepce for her entire work in 2004. Her first monograph, Peuples de Sibérie, was published in 1999. Since then she has published Artek, un été en Crimée (2004), Loulan Beauty (2007) and Sasha (2011).

More from Claudine Doury here www.claudinedoury.com

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“Artek” was, first of all, a documentary work on the life of the biggest summer camp in what was the Soviet Union. After going there over a ten year period, I slowly began to focus on the relationship between young people amongst themselves, on their moods and their apparent passivity during the holidays. I then focused on rites of passage (“Sweet Sixteen” in the USA, “Quinceanera” in Cuba, etc.). Then the idea and desire to photograph not so much the social rituals of adolescence, but rather the secret rituals, as it were, took hold” - via the Leica blog. 

Claudine Doury is a photographer born in Blois and living in Paris. She received the Leica Oscar Barnack award in 1999, the World Press in 2000 and the Prix Niepce for her entire work in 2004. Her first monograph, Peuples de Sibérie, was published in 1999. Since then she has published Artek, un été en Crimée (2004), Loulan Beauty (2007) and Sasha (2011).

More from Claudine Doury here www.claudinedoury.com

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