The Central Eurasian Studies Society (CESS) announces its Fifth Annual Conference, to be held October 14-17, 2004 at Indiana University, Bloom-ington, Indiana, U.S.A.

CESS invites panel and paper proposals on topics relating to all aspects of humanities and social science scholarship on Central Eurasia. The deadline for submission of panel/paper proposals: APRIL 2, 2004. The geographic domain of Central Eurasia extends from the Black Sea and Iranian Plateau to Mongolia and Siberia, including the Caucasus, Crimea, Middle Volga, Afghanistan, Tibet, and Central and Inner Asia. Given the substantial interest in this conference, the program committee will be able to accept only a portion of the proposals submitted. The conference web pages for additional information are:

Main conference website:
Program: (available in June 2004):

Full information about hosting and location at Indiana University:


CESS 2004 Annual Conference
Inner Asian and Uralic National Resource Center (IAUNRC)
Indiana University
Goodbody Hall 324
Bloomington, IN 47405 U.S.A.
fax: +1 (812) 855-8667
tel.: +1 (812) 856-5263

The Mongolia Society will hold its annual meeting in conjunction with the CESS conference. For more information:

Current and upcoming exhibitions (as announced on the web sites of the hosting institutions):

Salvation: Images of the Buddhist Deity of Compassion

August 14, 2003–July 5, 2004

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) celebrates the importance of the Buddhist deity Avalokiteshvara—also known as Guanyin, Kwanum, and Kannon—across Buddhist Asia. “Salvation: Images of the Buddhist Deity of Compassion” is on view in the Masterpiece in Focus gallery. Avalokiteshvara, the primary source of Buddhist salvation, was the subject of extraordinary works of devotional art in various forms across many cultures. Spanning 1,500 years, these works represent the finest creative achievements of India, Central Asia, China, Korea, Japan, and Tibet. For more information, visit the Museum’s website at

Tibet: Treasures from the Roof of the World

October 12, 2003 - May 16 2004
The Bowers Museum of Cultural Art
2002 North Main Street
Santa Ana, CA 92706

Through the prism of its finest art, “Tibet: Treasures from the Roof of the World” offers Americans a rare glimpse into a great and mysterious world culture. Travelers trekked thousands of miles to see these treasured and priceless artifacts. Emperors presented them as gifts. Now, for the first time in the Western World, Americans will be able to see nearly 200 of these exquisitely created sacred objects, all with great cultural significance. The objects are from collections in Lhasa, including the Potala Palace and from the Tibet Museum. For a preview: /Tibet/exhibits_tibet.asp
Founded in 1936 as the Charles W. Bowers Memorial Museum and re-opened in 1992, the Bowers Museum of Cultural Art is one of Southern California’s finest museums and Orange County’s largest. International partnerships have been developed with the Palace Museum, Beijing, the British Museum, and many others.

Freer Gallery of Art / Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Smithsonian Institution

The galleries are located on the National Mall in Washington D.C., steps from the Smithsonian Metro stop. The Sackler Gallery is located at 1050 Independence Avenue, SW. The Freer Gallery of Art is located at Jefferson Drive at 12th Street, SW. As the national museum of Asian art for the United States, the Freer and Sackler ( contain some of the best collections in the world and also feature outstanding visiting exhibits. Note the following:

Fountains of Light: Islamic Metalwork from the Nuhad Es-Said Collection

Through February 29, 2004
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

The Nuhad Es-Said collection, arguably the finest collection of Islamic metalwork in private hands, consists of twenty-seven inlaid brass, bronze, and steel objects dating from the tenth to the nineteenth century. “Fountains of Light: Islamic Metalwork from the Nuhad Es-Said Collection,” the first exhibition of this superb group of objects in the United States, provides an in-depth view of the history of inlaid metalwork from its inception in Iran and present-day Afghanistan and Uzbekistan to its later development in Syria, Egypt, Iraq, and Anatolia (present-day Turkey).

Guardians of the Law: Chinese Luohan Paintings

December 2, 2003 - May 23, 2004
Freer Gallery of Art

Originating in India, the concept of “Luohan”—enlightened beings exempted by the great Buddha from the cycle of rebirth in order to act as guardians of the law—became a part of Buddhist cultic worship in China, where a small number of monks who were considered to have realized enlightenment, were selected to be luohans. The earliest Chinese representations of luohans can be traced to the 4th century, but it was not until after the 8th century that sinicized dragon-subduing, tiger-taming, or sea-crossing luohans evolved, forming a new group known as the Eighteen Luohans. Over time, depictions of luohans evolved from individualized to more formalized portraits. Arranged in chronological order, this exhibition presents 22, late 12th to 18th century works as well as an 8th century T’ang ewer and describes major trends in the evolution of luohan paintings as executed by both regional or court professionals and followers of literati traditions. The exhibition also includes a discussion of current scholarship about the Eighteen Luohans.


Among the exhibits continuing indefinitely, note:

Buddhist Art

Freer Gallery of Art
This exhibition features painted scrolls, bronze and wood sculptures, and bronze ritual bells from Japan; stone carvings and sculptures from India; and Buddhist cave carvings and bronze statues from Imperial China all reflecting the influence Buddhism has had on these cultures.
For an online gallery guide:


Luxury Arts of the Silk Road Empires
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

The exhibit features examples of metalwork and ceramics from the collections of each museum which illustrate the effect of multicultural interaction on the arts of the first millennium CE. Ornaments, bowls, cups, bottles, jars, mirrors, ewers, and ritual objects in gold, silver or silver and gilt, earthenware, or porcelain from Iran, China, Turkey, Syria, and Afghanistan are included.

For an online preview of the material:

Note also the online exhibition of Silk Road art:
the gallery guide for Arts of the Islamic World:


Selected Pottery Treasures from Xian

March 16 - June 10, 2004

The Miho Museum (Shiga Prefecture, Japan)
Chang’an (present-day Xian) was the capital of seven dynasties in China, beginning with the Han (206 B.C.–A.D. 220) and ending in the Tang (618–907) period. Come see the flowering of clay figurines from the pre-Han to Yüan (1271–1368) dynasties, through many masterworks—highlighting swift horses from the West that fascinated the ancient Chinese and beautiful women of the various dynasties—excavated from the vicinity of Xian.

The Silk Road: Trade, Travel, War and Faith

23 April - 5 September 2004

The British Library (London) in association with the British Museum presents priceless and rarely seen Silk Road treasures from Aurel Stein’s collection - considered one of the richest in the world - on display alongside key items from around the globe. The scholar, archaeologist and explorer Sir Aurel Stein fought rivals at the turn of the last century to be the first to uncover long-lost multicultural civilisations. The evidence had lain buried for up 2,000 years in tombs, tips and temples beneath the desert sands of eastern Central Asia. This exhibition brings together over 200 of Stein’s seldom seen Central Asian manuscripts, paintings, objects and textiles, along with other fascinating artefacts from museums in China, Japan, Germany and France.

Take a journey eastwards from Samarkand via Dunhuang to Turfan through the Taklamakan and Gobi deserts. You will be immersed in the landscape, history and cultures of the Silk Road, as well as learning about the everyday lives of people living along the route. Their concerns are timeless to the human condition. Exhibits range from anti-war poetry, court documents to reclaim land from squatters and plague down to mousetraps, desert shoes and a letter apologising for getting drunk and behaving badly at a dinner party.

A valuable exhibition catalogue containing essays by Dr. Susan Whitfield (who is also the organizer of the exhibition) and other important specialists on the Silk Road will be available. For more information on the British Library and its collections:

Dr. Whitfield is Director of the International Dunhuang Project, based at the British Library, which is a multi-year effort to make available on the Internet the documentation from the Inner Asian expeditions along the Silk Road, starting with the Stein materials in the British Library. To date, facsimiles of a great many of the documents have been posted along with Survey of India maps incorporating the Stein expeditions’ data, photographs taken by Stein, and some additional materials intended for educational use by younger audiences. The Project’s web page is at:


China: Dawn of a Golden Age (200–750 AD)

October 5, 2004–January 23, 2005
The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York)

Spanning the centuries that witnessed the rise and fall of the Roman Empire and the early Middle Ages in the West, the Han (206 B.C.–A.D. 220) and Tang (618–907) dynasties mark the two great eras in early imperial China. During these periods of dynamic expansion, through political disunity and foreign invasion, Chinese civilization underwent a major transformation. This landmark exhibition will tell the story of Chinese art and culture during this formative period, focusing especially on cross-cultural interchange between East and West. Comprising some 300 objects in all, this will be one of the largest exhibitions ever to come out of China. While most of the objects are Chinese in origin, the exhibition will also present gold artifacts of the nomadic peoples from Mongolia, who occupied north China after the collapse of the Han dynasty, and luxury articles of glass and precious metals imported from Western and Central Asia during the 4th to 6th century. Works associated with the early spread of Buddhism in China will be displayed as well, including some of the most famous early Chinese Buddhist sculptures. The exhibition will conclude with a spectacular assemblage of works in every medium from the Tang period, interpreted as the culmination of several centuries of cultural exchange and adaptation resulting mass migrations and long-distance international trade. For information on the Metropolitan Museum of art: http://www. metmuseum. org/.

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