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    Wertmann, Patrick Wagner, Mayke and Tarasov, Pavel 2017. Sogdian careers and families in sixth- to seventh-century northern China: a case study of the Shi family based on archaeological finds and epitaph inscriptions. The History of the Family, Vol. 22, Issue. 1, p. 103.

  • Print publication year: 1983
  • Online publication date: March 2008

13 - Iran and China

By the middle of the first millennium BC, the combination of nomadic pastoralism and Scythic culture reigned from south Russia and the north-eastern provinces of Iranian settlement to northern China. The secret of silk is said to have been closely guarded by the Chinese. The exact date of its communication to Iran is not certain, but it cannot have been long after AD 419, if the story of a Chinese princess who smuggled the silkworm into Khotan in that year, is to be believed. In art, China experienced the influence of Iran from the 4th century onwards as a more or less direct transmission from the east Sasanian provinces. The chief Iranian influence on the iconography of Central Asian and Chinese Buddhism was however of a more general and theological kind. The full impact of this iconography in China follows the end of Sasanian rule, falling in the T'ang dynasty and particularly the first half of the 8th century.
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