Court art of Sogdian Samarqand in the 7th century AD

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Western wall

The upper part of the western wall

reconstruction by M. Mode (2002)

This sketch illustrates our opinion concerning the original placement of the main actors, i. e. the ruler of the Western Turks and the ruler of Samarqand. The size of their images must have been as impressive as those of the main persons depicted on the northern wall and on the southern wall.

Our principal argument for the placement of the two rulers was the identification of their personal banners. Concerning the position of Varxuman's image we have to add one further point: Figure no. 27 (image above, in the upper left) bears the great inscription which mentions Varxuman's encounter with certain ambassadors. In our opinion the placement of this inscription was directly connected with the position of Varxuman's image. Placement and movement of figure 27 indicate, that the context of the great inscription must have been restricted to the painted contents of the western wall's left half. It seems not impossible to suppose a once existing second inscription somewhere on the right half, refering to the Turkish ruler. And certainly the same is true for the other walls in the room.

As we have seen, the great inscription refers to a very limited area of the wall paintings. This is one of the main differences between our attempt and that of several other scholars to intepret the murals. L. Al'baum, for instance, saw an immediate connection with the southern wall paintings, and consequently he expected there the image of an ambassador of Chaghaniyan.

The above sketch makes clear that we do not deny a once existing image of gods in the western wall's uppermost parts (as it was supposed by B. Maršak). Alternatively a placement of the rulers and the god(s) alltogether at the same level might be possible, too.

The above sketch is intended only to illustrate the general situation. On another page we present an overall reconstruction of the western wall with slightly differing arrangement of the (lost) main figures.

Cp. discussion in main text (western wall)

Cp. question of modular scheme

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