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Thread: What are those?
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Old January 23rd, 2013, 05:59 AM   #68
Pierre Galafassi
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 87

Hi Jeff,

Your information about the possible influence of Tibetan- and Indian- dragons is interesting indeed!
I believe I have seen similar hostile dragons in Seljuk miniatures, painted more than a century before the Il-khans. (I’ll try to retrieve the miniatures). As you rightly mentioned in an earlier post, the silk road was active (on- and off), way before the Mongol onslaught on Persia. Though it was surely at its busiest during the Pax Mongolica and the Il-khanid rule.

If I remember well, both the pre-Gengis-Khan Turkik- and Mongolian people (which were anyway quite close and intermixed frequently) were animists, sharing Tengri, the Sky, as their main deity. Both shared as well a very tolerant attitude, even curiosity, towards other religions. Buddhism and Manichaeism, and to a lesser extend also Nestorianism, had some success in several tribes of these ethnic groups. Long before Islam made inroads in the region.
For example the Turkik population of the Tarim basin (Uyghur etc.. had long Buddhist- and Manichaeist periods, from which many traces have been found by archeology near the silk road. The Kalmiks Turko-Mongols were Buddhist of Tibetan obedience. So, there was no shortage of west-bound vehicles for Buddhist symbols even long before the Pax Mongolica.

By the way, going back to our focus (Rugs),of which we have a little bit drifted away in this thread, the Berlin Museum shows several fragments of Manichaean rolls from the Tarim Basin (roughly 10th century), featuring rugs. FIG A. This brings some more water to Hans Bidder’s mill, who always claimed that this area was one of the oldest «cradles» of rug weaving.
FIG A: Turfan, Manichean roll fragments, ca 900-1000. Berlin.

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