Contact And Exchange in the Ancient World

Front Cover
Victor H. Mair
University of Hawaii Press, 2006 - History - 310 pages
Do civilizations independently invent themselves or are they the result of cultural diffusion? The contributors to this volume do not attempt to provide a definitive answer to this contentious question, one of the most debated issues of the past century. Instead, they shift the focus from theory to reality by presenting empirical evidence on a wide range of cultural phenomena in history and prehistory, thereby demonstrating the processes whereby cultural traits are acquired and modified--the dynamics of transmission and transformation. The range of topics covered in this volume is of extraordinary breadth: the distribution of belt hooks and belts from the steppes to North and Central China; textile exchange in the third millennium B.C.; the spread of bronze metallurgy across Asia; the adaptation of complicated technologies by distant peoples; the mechanisms whereby bronze implements were used to convey political messages in East Asia; the ethnogenesis of the Turks; the complex interrelationships among migratory and settled peoples in western Central Asia during the Bronze Age; the origins of the enigmatic Chinese goddess known as Queen Mother of the West; an account of hunting with trained cheetahs; and the use of abundant botanical and zoological evidence to affirm that the Old World and the New World must have been in contact long before the fifteenth century. Rounding out the volume is a survey of the problem of modernocentrism.
 

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Contents

Beyond Modernocentrism Toward Fresh Visions of the Global Past
17
The TransEurasian Exchange The Prehistory of Chinese Relations with the West
30
The Queen Mother of the West A Study of the Influence of Western Prototypes on the Iconography of the Taoist Deity
64
Natural History and Cultural History The Circulation of Hunting Leopards in Eurasia SeventhSeventeenth Centuries
118
Some Thoughts on the Origins of the Turks and the Shaping of the Turkic Peoples
138
Early Loan Words in Western Central Asia Indicators of Substrate Populations Migrations and Trade Relations
160
Textiles as a Medium of Exchange in Third Millenium BCE
193
Cultural and Political Control in North China Style and Use of the Bronzes of Yan at Liulihe during the Early Western Zhou
217
Biological Evidence for PreColumbian Transoceanic Voyages
240
Contributors
301
Index
303
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Page 288 - The Stupa of Bharhut. A Buddhist Monument. Ornamented with numerous Sculptures illustrative of Buddhist Legend and History in the Third Century BC By ALEXANDER CUNNINGHAM, CSI, CIE, Major-General, Royal Engineers (Bengal Retired) ; Director-General Archaeological Survey of India.

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