SOAS University of London

SOAS South Asia Institute

Kucha in the 4th-6th century CE: A kingdom rising on the Silk Road

Dr Chao-jung Ching 慶昭蓉 (Centre de Recherche sur les Civilisations de l'Asie Orientale)

Date: 13 March 2018Time: 2:00 PM

Finishes: 13 March 2018Time: 5:00 PM

Venue: The Wesley Hotel, 81-103 Euston Street, London, NW1 2EZ Room: Maathai Room

Type of Event: Workshop


After the fall of Eastern Han dynasty in 220 CE and the decline of Kushan Empire due to Sasanian invasions around the mid 3rd century, the oasis states around the Taklamakan Desert (Xinjiang, China) faced a kind of power vacuum between their East and West. Many local rulers were soon subordinated to the more powerful ones among them, i.e. Qiuci (Kucha) and Yanqi (Karashar) to the north, Shanshan to the south-east, Yutian (Khotan) to the south and Shule (Kashgar) to the west. Although the post-Han history of Kucha was rather obscure until the Tang Conquest of its capital in 648 CE, evidently it became one of the most powerful "Buddhist kingdoms" on the Silk Road in the 4th-6th century, as witnessed by splendid Buddhist grottoes that still survive in situ to this day.

In this talk, I shall explore the rise of Kucha from a historical perspective. Attention will be paid on various Kharoṣṭḥī material collected in this region, written in a local variant of Gāndhārī, as well as Brāhmī texts written in the Kuchean language (also known as Tocharian B). In particular, I shall reflect the traffic on the Silk Road around this main station, as well as its interactions with certain nomadic neighbors to its north.


Registration is required of all participants.

Organiser: SOAS University of London

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Contact Tel: +44 (0)20 7879 4892/3

Sponsor: European Research Council