Catalogue from the exhibition at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, November 19, 1995-September 2, 1996.; The pastoral tribes on China's northern borders played a major role in the cultural development of China during antiquity. By the first millennium b.c., the region's inhabitants were trading in horses, wool, carpets, and fur-articles in constant demand by their settled, urban Chinese neighbors.
Trade, intermarriage, and war between the pastoral tribes and the urban dwellers continued throughout the first millennium b.c. The artistic creations of the two groups reflect centuries of flourishing contact and complex interrelation-ships. The pastoral tribes favored belt buckles, chariot and harness fittings, weapons and tools in cast gold, silver, and embellished bronze. The urban dwellers preferred wine and food vessels and bronzes bells to use in elaborate rituals. Recently excavated finds from along the northern border on both sides of the Great Wall are enabling scholars to describe a plausible picture of contact, trade, and intercultural influence. Traders and Raiders on China's Northern Frontier seeks to clarify the nature of the exchanges by exploring works of art produced by these two groups. For the first time, Chinese and pastoral artifacts are studied and illustrated side by side in light of the most recent archaeological discoveries in China. Taking an unusual point of view, this book emphasizes the character of consumerism in these ancient neighboring societies and the effects of commerce and migration on the appearance and production of everyday and luxury goods. Filled with illustrations of previously unpublished objects, Traders and Raiders on China's Northern Frontier promises to be absorbing for art and cultural historians, anthropologists, and all those interested in the societies of ancient China.
Published by Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.in association with University of Washington Press, Seattle and London, 1995
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