Court art of Sogdian Samarqand in the 7th century AD

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The Chinese delegation

The Chinese delegation moves from right to left and then upwards and slightly to the left:

image by S. Stark (2000)

Above: Note the yellow clothes of the persons. Yellow is the the imperial Chinese colour, and therefore the delegates certainly came on behalf of the emperor, most probably Tang Taizong (reg. 626-649) [cp. copy of this section]. - In the lower left of the image the remains of figure no. 7 are visible. Look below:

Right: The white coated figure (no. 7) does not belong to the Chinese delegation. Obviously the person looks to the left and is slightly bended. Otherwise, the figure should be visible in the centre of the blue spot (upper half of image). But there are only some lines on the left border of this spot and whitish traces left of it [cp. further discussion of this subject].     image by M. Mode (1988)

Our following close-up shows the top of the Chinese delegation:

image by M. Mode (1988)     Right below the upper edge of the picture one can see boots and lower part of a white caftan marking figure 33. The white colour makes clear that the person doesn't belong to the Chinese but is one of the three leading group captains. In a new reconstruction by B. Maršak, figure 33 is erroneously given a Chinese outfit. But as the person with certainty is a group captain, his ethnic identity must be everything else Chinese (most probably a Turk).

According to L. I. Al'baum and V. A. Livšic, figure no. 8 (image above, in yellow coat) has a (secondary) Sogdian inscription reading "a Tibetan person".  This may be of some interest concerning the date of the paintings. Up to AD 641 the relations between China and Tibet were extremely bad. Only in this year the situation changed with the marriage of Tang princess Wen Cheng to king Srong-btsan sgam-po of Tibet. Therefore, a Tibetan as member of a Tang mission to Central Asia gives a terminus post quem for the Afrasiab paintings.

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