Transcending Patterns: Silk Road Cultural and Artistic Interactions through Central Asian Textile Images

Lecture | October 7 | 5 p.m. | 180 Doe Library

 Mariachiara Gasparini, San Jose State University

 Joyce Ertel Hulbert, Textile Conservator

 Institute of East Asian Studies (IEAS), Tang Center for Silk Road Studies, UC Berkeley Mongolia Initiative

In her book "Transcending Patterns: Silk Road Cultural and Artistic Interactions through Central Asian Textiles," author Mariachiara Gasparini investigates the origin and effects of a textilemediated visual culture that developed at the heart of the Silk Road between the seventh and fourteenth centuries. Through the analysis of the Turfan Textile Collection in the Museum of Asian Art in Berlin and more than a thousand textiles held in collections worldwide, Gasparini discloses and reconstructs the rich cultural entanglements along the Silk Road, between the coming of Islam and the rise of the Mongol Empire, from the Tarim to Mediterranean Basin.

Exploring in detail the iconographic transfer between different agents and different media from Central Asian caves to South Italian churches, the author depicts and describes the movement and exchange of portable objects such as sculpture, wall painting, and silk fragments across the Asian continent and across the ages. Gasparini’s history offers critical perspectives that extend far beyond an outmoded notion of “Silk Road studies.” Her cross-media work shows readers how
certain material cultures are connected not only by the physical routes they take but also because of the meanings and interpretations these objects engage in various places. "Transcending Patterns" is at once art history, material and visual cultural history, Asian studies, conservatory studies, and linguistics.

MARIACHIARA GARSPARINI received a Ph.D. in transcultural studies and global art history from Heidelberg University, Germany. Her research focuses on Central Asian material culture, wall painting, artist’s praxis, and Sino-Iranian and Turko-Mongol interactions. She has conducted extensive fieldwork in Asia. Since 2015 she has been teaching Asian art in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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