ㅇTiitle: TURPAN ARTIFACTS WITH CHINESE CHARACTERS
- Life in the Borderland of the Silk Road
ㅇPeriod: June 14 (Mon.), 2021 - June 30 (Thu.), 2022
ㅇVenue: Central Asia Gallery, National Museum of Korea
ㅇExhibits: 19 exhibits, including the Tang-dynasty Documents Attached to a Corpse Mat
Rediscovering Ancient Central Asian Writings in the National Museum of Korea
The Turpan artifacts with Chinese characters in the National Museum of Korea were collected from Turpan, the northeast part of China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in 1912 by Yoshikawa Koichiro (1885-1978), a member of the Otani expedition of Japan. Created from the late 6th century during the period of the Gaochang kingdom of the Han Chinese Qu Family and to the early 8th century during the Tang occupation period, these artifacts are on view for the first time.
Among the highlights in this exhibit are fragments of Tang-dynasty documents attached to a corpse mat. Other parts of the same documents are housed in Chinese and Japanese collections, and especially a fragment in China had originally formed an adjoining part of the pieces in the National Museum of Korea. These Tang-dynasty official documents contain the financial affairs and military system of the Tang dynasty in the late 7th century. This exhibit also features epitaph tablets for commemorating the deceased. Especially, the epitaph tablets are presented with translations where additional fragments have been newly incorporated.
Lastly, a Buddhist votive stele excavated from the ruins of the ancient city of Gaochang is also on view. The stele records the creation of a Tripiṭaka by a Sogdian Buddhist layman. With the newly identified bibliographical catalogues of Buddhist scriptures that the list on the stele was based on, the engraved list of transcribed scriptures has been restored in its entirety.
The Turpan artifacts with Chinese characters provide an excellent glimpse into the life in the borderland of the Silk Road where the Han Chinese and Central Asians coexisted.