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An Unusual Fabric from Jety-Asar-2, Eastern Aral Sea Region, in the Context of the Central Asian Textile Tradition

https://doi.org/10.17746/1563-0110.2020.48.3.050-058

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Abstract

We present the results of an interdisciplinary study of an unusual sample of wool fabric, found at the Jety-Asar-2 fortifi ed site, representing the Jety-Asar culture of the late 4th century BC to early 1st century AD, in the central Turan Plain. We outline the results of the analysis of the dyes and technological characteristics of the fabric. The woven pattern is described in detail. The specimen is compared with the tapestry from Shanpula (Sampul) cemetery in the Hotan oasis, Xinjiang, China. We examine the idea that the Jety-Asar fabric had been manufactured in Shanpula and transported to the Aral basin along the Great Silk Road. Previously, this type of tapestry was believed to have been used only in the Hotan oasis, because no direct parallels with other areas were known. A direct parallel with such a remote westerly region is all the more intriguing. Apparently, colorful strips of woolen tapestry depicting animals, birds, humans, fantastic beings, mountains, and fl owers were in big demand. The tradition, then, may have been distributed much more widely than previously thought. Many anthropomorphic, zoomorphic, plant, and purely decorative motifs have numerous parallels in the Early Iron Age art of the Eurasian steppes, highlands, and piedmont areas. The Shanpula people used such fabric for decorating skirts. In other cultures, it was destined for various purposes.

About the Authors

N. V. Polosmak
Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, Siberian Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences
Russian Federation

Chief Researcher

Pr. Akademika Lavrentieva 17, Novosibirsk, 630090



E. V. Karpova
Vorozhtsov Novosibirsk Institute of Organic Chemistry, Siberian Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences
Russian Federation

Senior Researcher

Pr. Akademika Lavrentieva 9, Novosibirsk, 630090

 



E. V. Amosov
Vorozhtsov Novosibirsk Institute of Organic Chemistry, Siberian Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences
Russian Federation

Junior Researcher

Pr. Akademika Lavrentieva 9, Novosibirsk, 630090



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For citation:


Polosmak N.V., Karpova E.V., Amosov E.V. An Unusual Fabric from Jety-Asar-2, Eastern Aral Sea Region, in the Context of the Central Asian Textile Tradition. Archaeology, Ethnology & Anthropology of Eurasia. 2020;48(3):50-58. https://doi.org/10.17746/1563-0110.2020.48.3.050-058

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ISSN 1563-0110 (Print)