Funeral rite borrowed from the Chinese‌‌


Funeral rite borrowed from the Chinese‌‌

Having consolidated their position in China as a result of trade on the Silk Road, leaders (sartpau) and other high-ranking members of Sogdian communities adapted to the local culture.

In particular, they adopted the system of funeral burial couches common in China in the period of the Northern Dynasties. Instead of coffins, however, they laid their dead directly on stone funerary couches surrounded by stone panels decorated in a distinctive manner that originated in the spiritual world of Central Asian Zoroastrianism. The funerary couch of the Miho Museum collection has 11 stone reliefs in a U-shaped line around it. The front gates denoted a symbolic monumental entrance.

Doubtless these three scenes were the most important to the clan of the deceased. In order to get to paradise after death, the funeral had to be carried out carefully and correctly. In panel 5, a Zoroastrian priest wearing a mouth cover (pad.m) carries out the burial rite before a fire altar.

You can learn more about the topic in the book-album "Cultural legacy of Central Asia in Japanese Museums" (volume XX) in the series "Cultural Legacy of Uzbekistan in the World Collections".

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