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Iranian Religious Elements in Chinese Medieval Art: Remarks on “Zoroastrian Protective Spirits”

In: Iran and the Caucasus
Author: Li Sifei1
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  • 1 Shaanxi Normal University
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This article aims at discussing the possible origin and meaning of winged fantastic creatures, which appear quite often in the 6th century A.D. Sogdian funerary monuments in China and specifically on the Shi Jun 史君 one (580 A.D.). It cannot be ruled out that composite creatures like the one on the Shi Jun funerary monument originated from the Greek ketos and hippocampus that were introduced into Persia, Central Asia and northwestern India after the conquest of the Persian Empire by Alexander the Great. The impact of Chinese cultural elements on this little investigated group of funerary monuments contributed to create a long forgotten unique and still enigmatic artistic production that scholars called “Sino-Sogdian”.

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