Wall painting of “Tocharian Princes” from Cave of the Sixteen Sword-Bearers (no. 8), Qizil, Tarim Basin, Xinjiang, China The Tocharians or Tokharians (/təˈkɛəriənz/ or /təˈkɑriənz/) were inhabitants of medieval oasis city-states on the northern edge of the Tarim Basin (modern Xinjiang, China). Their Tocharian languages (a branch of the Indo-European family) are known from manuscripts from the 6th to 8th centuries AD, after which they were supplanted by the Turkic languages of the Uyghur tribes.
Probable Greek soldier in the Sampul tapestry, woolen wall hanging, 3rd–2nd century BC, Sampul, Urumqi Xinjiang Museum The Sampul tapestry is a woolen wall-hanging that was found in Sampul, in the Tarim Basin inside a 3rd-2nd century BCE mass grave.
The tapestry depicts a soldier, probably Greek, and a Centaur. It is probably a Greek work from Central Asia (Greco-Bactria) and uses more than 24 threads of different colors in a typical western technique.The soldier wears a tunic with rosette motifs. His headband could be a diadem, the symbol of kingship in the Hellenistic world, as represented on Macedonian and other Greek coins. The presence of the Centaur as a motif, a typical element of Greek mythology, floral motifs, and the realistic rendering further reinforce the identification of the soldier as Greek. The tapestry was, curiously, fashioned into a pair of trousers, indicating that it may have been used as a decorative trophy.
The existence of this tapestry tends to suggest that contacts between the Hellenistic kingdoms of Central Asia and the Tarim Basin, at the edge of the Chinese world occurred from around the 3rd century BCE.
Manichaean priests copy down texts in a cave painting from China’s Tarim Basin, 8th-9th century CE. Manichaeism was a central Asian religion that was begun by Mani, a Zoroastrian from Persia, in the 200s CE. The religion blended elements of Zoroastrianism, Christianity, and Buddhism, and spread widely in the early medieval period. Manichaean priests wore white garments and did not cut their hair as symbols of their austerity and purity.
Two men whose remains were recently excavated from tombs in western China put their pants on one leg at a time, just like the rest of us. But these nomadic herders did so between 3,300 and 3,000 years ago, making their trousers the oldest known examples of this innovative apparel, a new study finds.
With straight-fitting legs and a wide crotch, the ancient wool trousers resemble modern riding pants, says a team led by archaeologists Ulrike Beck and Mayke Wagner of the German Archaeological Institute in Berlin. The discoveries, uncovered in the Yanghai graveyard in China’s Tarim Basin, support previous work suggesting that nomadic herders in Central Asia invented pants to provide bodily protection and freedom of movement for horseback journeys and mounted warfare, the scientists report May 22 in Quaternary International. Read more.
The opening frame of this - the red and yellow hills, is China’s Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park. That part of the clip shows up in the last minute of this tour through the landscape of western China. Original caption:
Gansu Province is located in the northwestern China. To the west of Lanzhou and west of the Yellow River is the famous “Hexi Corridor,” an important strategic passage on the ancient Silk Road stretching to the west. This area abounds in rich historical and cultural heritage, including grottoes, ancient buildings and other cultural relics.
Through these lands, and in the Gobi Desert, you can admire some natural landscapes characterized by a tormented geological history.
Tarim Basin, Xinjiang Federation of Chinese Nations 206 August 12
Mariemaia had traveled halfway across the world from London to the European Mainland and then onward to Urumqi. There, she and at least half a dozen other volunteers were greeted by a tall, Icelandic woman, who introduced herself as Eva Mínervudóttir. Eva told them that she had been working in the Federation on L5 diaspora issues for the better part of the decade, but had joined the global citizenship program several months back, prior to its formal roll-out in June.