Court art of Sogdian Samarqand in the 7th century AD

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Northern wall

The oversized hunter

The hunting composition is dominated by a more than doublesized leader. Our sketch below roughly outlines the situation. The rectangle indicates the (doubtful) reconstruction by Al'baum.

sketch by M.Mode (1993)

Unfortunatly the hunting composition is one of the most decayed sections of the Afrasiab murals. Below: the shadowy remains of the great hunter:

image by M.Mode (1988)

In the center the lower part of the hunter's yellow clothes as well as a boot are visible. Note that at the same spot there seem to be no traces of a staff wrapped in red textiles. Furthermore, on the horse's body no indication of a quiver can be recognized. The left of the image shows the hind part of the horse with legs and hoofs.

If we take for granted a Chinese identity of the scene, the great hunter should be a person of highest rank. As in our opinion the remaining hunters seem to be members of a guard (cp. the banners and yellow clothes) we suppose the leader to represent the Chinese emperor in persona. In this we share the same point of view with Boris Maršak, but my next conclusion differs completely: The name of the imperial hunter must have been Taizong (died in AD 649), because he was the one who offered a princess to the Western Turk Shekui. [Read more about Shekui as a main subject of the western wall's paintings].

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