Frantz Grenet

École pratique des hautes
études/Centre National de
la Recherche Scientifique,


In the second half of the 1980s, an unprecedented development in Sogdian studies began. This did not result from the discovery of a mass of new written documents (contrary to what happened with Bactrian studies), nor to a large extension of field archaeology (on the contrary, the great excavations inherited from the Soviet period have since shrunk due to financial difficulties, with a few exceptions such as Samarkand and Paykend). The main reason for the blossoming of Sogdian studies has been, on the one hand, better communication among the specialists involved, and, on the other hand, chance discoveries in China, which have added a new angle to the perception of the historical role of the Sogdians.

Archaeological information from the Soviet republics, hitherto very sparsely disseminated in Western publications, has quite suddenly become more abundant. This is partly because all Soviet scholars, not only the senior ones, have been systematically encouraged to publish abroad, and partly because two newly created journals took a great interest in Central Asia: The Bulletin of the Asia Institute (USA, published yearly since 1987) and Silk Road Art and Archaeology (Japan, published yearly since 1990 with special issues). Sogdiana and the Sogdians have exerted the greatest attraction, thanks to their historical role as intermediaries along the Silk Road and also to their particularly refined artistic culture (already in 1981 Sogdian Painting, published under the direction of Guitty Azarpay, was a revelation for many).

In reality, Sogdian studies have never ceased being cultivated in the West since the beginning of the 20th century, but for the main part had been confined to philologists working on the text material brought back by the British, German, French, and Russian expeditions in the Tarim region. The Sogdian part of this material is now fully published, except for some stray fragments. These generations of philologists achieved step-by-step a good understanding of the native Sogdian language, an Iranian language written in several scripts (in accordance to the various religions) which has been extinct since the eleventh century. In contrast, Western museums had contained very few items from Sogdiana (mostly coins), and just a few of these objects originated from Sogdian colonies in China (the funerary reliefs from Anyang and the religious image from the Pelliot collection, only recently recognized as Sogdian). What made Western archaeologists eventually come to the Sogdian field was the inaccessibility of Afghanistan after 1979 and, later, the invitations extended by the Soviet archaeological authorities as a consequence of perestroika. The French mission (MAFOUZ, i.e. Mission Archéologique Franco-Ouzbèke) opened the way at Samarkand in 1989, using the experience acquired by the DAFA (Délégation Archéologique Française en Afghanistan, 1922-1982) to which most of its founding members had belonged. Other foreign missions have followed recently: Italians in the Bukharan oasis (la Sapienza University, Rome) and now in the southern Zeravshan valley (Istituto Italiano per l’Africa e l’Oriente); and a joint mission of the University of California, Berkeley, and the Samarkand Institute of Archaeology in the Shahr-i Sabz oasis. Two German missions, a Polish one, and another French one (in Tajikistan) are also operating, but they specialize in the pre- and proto-historical periods which are not covered in the present paper.

Another decisive factor in the development of Sogdian studies has been the recent recognition of the Sogdian influx as a major factor in the cultural history of China in the Wei, Qi, Song and early Tang periods (fifth to eighth centuries) after many years of indifference or actual denial by Chinese scholars. Commercial records in Turco-Sogdian and Chinese, found in Turfan and Dunhuang, shed new light on the integration of Sogdian colonies into the social fabric of early mediaeval China. At the same time, the spectacular discovery of several sets of funerary reliefs commissioned by Sogdians in the second half of the sixth century has revealed a fully developed secular iconography in Sogdiana itself for this early period, of which almost no record survives. At present Sogdians are very much in fashion among Chinese archaeologists and historians, a trend one can only be pleased with, even if it occasionally is accompanied by some over-interpretation of the data. One can be sure that more texts and archaeological objects will surface in the near future. The masterly book by Etienne de la Vaissière, Histoire des marchands sogdiens (Paris 2002), was the first fruit of the recognition of the existence of a “Sogdian space” extending far beyond the narrow limits of Sogdiana itself: to lands of Sogdian agricultural colonization in southern Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, to communities in the heart of China and Crimea, to administrators at the court of the Turkish qaghans in Mongolia, and even to individual traders in the Southern Seas.

The international community of Sogdians was numerous, but today the community of “Sogdologists” is still very narrow. The reader will probably notice a tedious recurrence of authors’ names in the following listings. This situation, however, is rapidly changing as more and more students (especially American, Chinese, French, Italian, Japanese, and Russian) are entering this worthwhile field.

Reference journals

In addition to the two main journals already quoted (Bulletin of the Asia Institute and Silk Road Art and Archaeology), Studia Iranica (published in Paris) devotes much space to Sogdian subjects, both linguistic and archaeological. In Russian, Rossiiskaia arkheologiia [Russian archaeology, formerly Sovetskaia Arkheologiia] and Vestnik drevnei istorii [Journal of ancient history], both published in Moscow, still occasionally publish articles on Central Asia, but far less than before. For local information one has to consult Istoriia material’noi kul’tury Uzbekistana (IMKU) [History of the material culture of Uzbekistan], published by the Institute of Archaeology at Samarkand, and to Arkheolo-gicheskie raboty v Tadzhikistane (ART) [Archaeological works in Tajikistan], published by the Institute of History at Dushanbe. The first journal is published regularly, the second one with long delays. Both can be obtained only through academic contacts. The Samarkand Institute of Archaeology also publishes monographs, and a collection of yearly archaeological reports: Arkheologicheskie issledovaniia v Uzbekistane [Archaeological researches in Uzbekistan].

Bibliographical listings with commentaries

Some preliminary observations:

1) Almost all the works listed have been published since 1986. A few references prior to that date have been kept, however, when they still retain their value as books for daily consultation (e.g. I. Gershevitch, A grammar of Manichean Sogdian, 1954, or G. Azarpay, Sogdian Painting, 1981).

2) As usual (unfortunately) in scholarship, all the more so in Soviet and post-Soviet scholarship, many authors “recycle” material from articles to books, or from article to article, or from a version published in one language to a version in another. In such cases an effort has been made to retain only the most accessible and/or up-to-date presentation.

3) Materials of purely local relevance or miscellaneous character have not been retained, as they are incorporated (or destined to be incorporated) into broader synthesis. For such information the reader is referred to the tables of contents of the archaeological journals listed above. This rule does not apply, of course, to major sites, monuments or works of art, each of which generates a substantial bibliography by itself.

4) References in Russian (marked by an asterisk) have been kept to a minimum, i.e. to materials which have not been channelled through a Western language. Although their relative importance is decreasing, much important information is and will remain accessible only through publications in Russian and no student specializing in Sogdian studies can avoid learning this language (a most rewarding investment anyway).

The material is organized under the following headings:

1. General works on Sogdiana, books on the history and archaeology of Central Asia

2. Bibliographies

3. Sogdian language and literature (general)
4. Sogdian texts of direct historical relevance (editions and studies)

5. Toponymy, historical geography

6. Coins

7. Historiography of archaeological research

8. Architecture (general)

9. Visual arts (general)

10. Music

11. Archaeological sites

a. Samarkand
b. Middle Zeravshan valley (including the nomadic cemeteries
c. Bukhara and Paykend
d. Kashka-darya valley (southern Sogdiana)
f. Upper Zeravshan Valley
g. Ustrushana (northeast of Samarkand)
h. Chach (the Tashkent area)
i. Sogdian settlements in southern Kyrgyzstan

12. Studies on specific historical periods

13. The Sogdians in the interna- tional trade

14. Archeological and textual
testimonies of Sogdians in China

15. Religions

a.Local (Sogdian form of Zoroastrianism)
b. Buddhism in Sogdiana
c. Christianity in Sogdiana and in the Sogdian colonies
d. Manicheism in Sogdiana and in the Sogdian colonies

1. General Works on Sogdiana, books on the history and archaeology of Central Asia

* Brykina, G.A., editor. Sredniaia Aziia i Dal’nii Vostok v epokhu srednevekov’ia / Sredniaia Aziia v rannem srednevekov’e [Central Asia and the Far East in the mediaeval epoch / Central Asia in the early Middle Ages]. Moscow: “Nauka,” 1999 (series Arkheologiia).

Harmatta, J., editor. History of civilizations of Central Asia. Vol. II : The development of sedentary and nomadic civilizations: 700 B.C. to A.D. 259”; Vol. III : The crossroads of civilizations : A.D. 250 to 750, ed. B.A. Litvinsky. Paris: UNESCO Publishing, 1994 and 1996.

* Koshelenko, G.A., editor. Drevneishie gosudarstva Kavkaza i Srednei Azii [The most ancient states of the Caucasus and Central Asia]. Moscow: “Nauka,” 1985 (series Arkheologiia SSSR)

Litvinskij, Boris A. La civilisation de l’Asie centrale antique. Rahden / Westf.: Leidorf, 1998 (Archäologie in Iran und Turan, Bd. 3).

The two volumes of the UNESCO History of civilizations of Central Asia which cover the period under examination are very unevenly reliable and were loosely coordinated. The chapters were distributed according to principles of geopolitical “balance” hardly compatible with good scholarship. This inconvenience, does not, however, much affect the chapters concerning Sogdiana, which were entrusted to competent archaeologists, albeit too many (Mukhamedjanov, Litvinsky, Negmatov, Zadneprovskiy, Zeimal, Marshak, Zhang Guang-da). The publication was long delayed, which results in excessive outdating. Litvinskij’s handbook is solid, but also slightly outdated by the time of its publication. The same remark applies the two Russian volumes, which however recommend themselves (even to those who do not read Russian) by their plates combining on a homogeneous scale selections of material representative from all regions and sub-periods.

2. Bibliographies

Grenet, Frantz et collaborateurs: L’Asie centrale préislamique. Bibliographie critique 1977-1986. Téhéran- Paris: Institut Français de Recherche en Iran, 1988 (Abstracta Iranica, volume horssérie 3) [reprint of reviews published in Abstracta Iranica 1-10, with supplement and indexes; continued, mainly by É. de la Vaissière, in the subsequent volumes of Abstracta Iranica (11-23-), section “Est de l’Iran”].

“Bibliography,” in B.A. Litvinskii & Carol Altman Bromberg, editors. “The archaeology and art of Central Asia. Studies from the former Soviet Union.” Bulletin of the Asia Institute, 8 (1994 [1996]), 269-290.

3. Sogdian language and literature (general)

Gershevitch, Ilya. A grammar of Manichean Sogdian. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1954 (reprinted 1961).

Gharib, B. Sogdian dictionary. Tehran: Farhangan Publications, 1995.

Sims-Williams, Nicholas. “Sogdian.” In R. Schmitt, ed., Compendium Linguarum Iranicarum. Wiesbaden, 1989, 173-192.

Tremblay, Xavier. Pour une histoire de la Sérinde. Le manichéisme parmi les peoples et les religions d’Asie centrale d’après les sources primaires. Wien: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie des Wissenschaften, 2001.

Sims-Williams provides an update for Gershevitch’s Grammar which remains indispensable (not only for the Manichean variant of the Sogdian language). Yutaka Yoshida has announced The Sogdian language, a textbook which will be most useful. Tremblay is not easy reading, but his book (despite the limited scope of its title) offers the only existing exhaustive bibliography on every text which has come to us in every language once spoken in Central Asia.

4. Sogdian texts of direct historical relevance (editions and studies)

Grenet, Frantz & Sims-Williams, Nicholas. “The historical context of the Sogdian Ancient Letters.” In Transition periods in Iranian history. Actes du symposium de Fribourg-en-Brisgau (22-24 mai 1985). Paris: Association pour l’Avancement des études iraniennes, 1987, 101-122 (Studia Iranica - Cahier 5).

Grenet, Frantz; Sims-Williams, Nicholas; la Vaissière, Étienne de. “The Sogdian Ancient Letter V.” Bulletin of the Asia Institute, 12 (1998 [2001]), 91-104.

Grenet, Frantz & la Vaissière, Étienne de. “The last days of Panjikent.” Silk Road Art and Archaeology, 8 (2002), 155-196.

Moriyasu, T. & Ochir, A., eds. Provisional report of researches on historical sites and inscriptions in Mongolia from 1996 to 1998. Osaka: The Society of Central Eurasian Studies, 1999.

Sims-Williams, Nicholas. Sogdian and other Iranian inscriptions of the Upper Indus. 2 vols. London: Corpus Inscriptionum Iranicarum, 1989-92.

----. “The Sogdian inscriptions of Ladakh.” In K. Jettmar, ed., Antiquities of Northern Pakistan. Reports and Studies, vol. 2. Mainz: Verlag Philipp von Zabern, 1993, 151-163.

----.“The Iranian inscriptions of Shatial.” Indologica Taurinensia, 23-24 (1997-98), 523-541.

----. “The Sogdian Ancient Letter II.” In M.G. Schmidt und W. Bisang, ed., Philologica et Linguistica. Historia, Pluralitas, Universitas. Festschrift für Helmut Humbach zum 80. Geburstag am 4. Dezember 2001. Trier: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier, 2001, 267-280.

Sims-Williams, Nicholas & Hamilton, James. Documents turco-sogdiens du IXe-Xe siècle de Touen-houang. London: Corpus Inscriptionum Iranicarum, 1990.

Yakubovich, Ilya. “Mugh 1.I. revisited.” Studia Iranica, 31 (2002), 231-253.

Yoshida, Yutaka. “Translation of the contract for the purchase of a slave girl found at Turfan and dated 639.” Appendix to V. Hansen, review of de la Vaissière, Etienne, Histoire des marchands sogdiens, and Rong, Xinjiang, Zhonggu Zhongguo yu wailai wenming. T’oung Pao (forthcoming).

The two main collections of primary historical sources in Sogdian are:

a) the five Ancient Letters (written in 313-314 by Sogdian merchants in Kansu, discovered in 1907 by Sir Aurel Stein near Dunhuang, kept in the British Library);

b) the Mugh documents (the archive of Dewashtich, last king of Panjikent, hidden in 722 in a mountain castle on the Upper Zeravshan, discovered in 1932, kept in the Institute of Oriental Studies in Saint-Petersburg). For the latter the documents are accessible in facsimile (Documents from Mt. Mugh, Moscow: Corpus Inscriptionum Iranicarum, 1963) and in a complete Russian edition which retains most of its value: Sogdiiskie dokumenty s Gory Mug. Chtenie, perevod, kommentarii [Sogdian documents from Mount Mugh. Reading, translation, commentaries]. Moscow, 3 vols, 1962-63 (A.A. Freiman, V.A. Livshits, M.N. Bogoliubov, O.I. Smirnova). Several documents have been recently re-edited (see above Grenet & de la Vaissière, “The last days of Panjikent”; Yakubovich), others are in the process of re-edition.

For the Ancient Letters the pioneering edition by H. Reichelt (Die soghdischen Handschriftenreste des Britischen Museums, II: Die nicht-buddhistischen Texte, Heidelberg, 1931), accompanied with facsimiles, is obsolete and will eventually be replaced by a new edition by N. Sims-Williams, who has already published articles alone or with collaborators who have written the historical commentaries (see above). Sogdian epigraphy is covered by Moriyasu and Ochir (the Sogdian inscriptions commissioned by the first Turkish empire) and by Sims-Williams (in particular for the Upper Indus inscriptions discovered since 1979; his publication also provides the main reference to date on Sogdian onomastics). For recently discovered documents of a day-to-day character concerning Sogdian communities in China (merchants, peasants, monks), see below, the section “Archaeological and textual testimonies of Sogdians in China” (de la Vaissière & Trombert, Sims-Williams). Taken all together, these written records in the Sogdian language provide no more than glimpses on specific places and periods. The bulk of information on Sogdiana itself comes from Chinese records from the sixth to eighth centuries (E. Chavannes, Documents sur les Tou-kiue (Turcs) occidentaux. Saint-Pétersbourg, 1903) and from Arabic chronicles concerning the conquest (mainly The History of al-Tabari, 38 vols., Albany: State University of New York Press, 1987-97).

5. Toponymy, historical geography

Grenet, Frantz & Rapin, Claude. “Alexander, Ai Khanum, Termez: remarks on the spring campaign of 328.” Bulletin of the Asia Institute, 12 (1998 [2001]), 79-89.

Lurje, Pavel B. “Arabosogdica: place-names in Transoxiana as written in Arabic script.” Manuscripta Orientalia, 7/4 (2001), 22-29.

----.“The element -KAQ / -KAND in Transoxanian place-names.” Studia Iranica, 32/2 (2003) (in press).

Tremblay, Xavier. "La toponymie de la Sogdiane et le traitement de *xΦ et *fΦ en iranien." Studia Iranica, 32/2 (2003) (in press).

The historical geography of metropolitan Sogdiana is for the most pa rt the domain of philologists (the ultimate reference being W. Barthold, Turkestan down to the Mongol invasion. 3rd ed. London, 1968, chap. I: Geographical survey of Transoxiana). Archaeologists in Soviet Central Asia, and now in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, undertook various regional surveys, but they were (and still are) not in a position to back them with a proper apparatus of large-scale maps, air photographs, and satellite photographs, which are not accessible to them or, when they are, cannot be published. Consequently, the results of these surveys often take the form of bare lists of sites which are not precisely located. At the moment the best map of the Sogdian principalities (but with a limited choice of sites) is in la Vaissière 2002 (see below, section “The Sogdians in the international trade”). An issue presently under discussion concerns where the exact border of the historical regions of Bactria and Sogdiana was in Antiquity. The present author’s opinion, shared with Claude Rapin (see joint article quoted), but not with all specialists, is that the area called Sogdiana initially extended southward to the Oxus river (the Amu-darya) and shrank subsequently, the limit being established on the Hisar and Baysun ranges only from the Kushan period (first to third centuries CE). Taken in this perspective, the Hellenistic temple of the Oxus excavated at Takht-i Sangin on the northern bank was originally on Sogdian territory. On these excavations, the main references in Western languages are now : Litvinskii, B.A. & Pichikian, I.R., “The Hellenistic architecture and art of the temple of the Oxus,” Bulletin of the Asia Institute, 8 (1994 [1996]), 47-66; Litvinskij, Boris A. & Pichikjan, Igor R., Taxt-i Sangin, Der Oxus-Tempel, Mainz: Verlag Philipp von Zabern, 2002 (Archäologie in Iran und Turan, Bd. 4); Bernard, Paul, “Le temple du dieu Oxus à Takht-i Sangin en Bactriane: temple du feu ou pas?,” Studia Iranica, 23 (1994), 81-121 (a critical assessment of some interpretations of the excavators).

6. Coins

Rtveladze, E.V. “Pre-Muslim coins of Chach.” Silk Road Art and Archaeology, 5 (1997/98), 307-328.

* Smirnova, O.I. Svodnyi katalog
sogdiiskikh monet. Bronza. [General catalogue of Sogdian coins. Bronze]. Moscow, 1981.

Zeimal, E.V. “The political history of Transoxiana.” In E. Yarshater, ed., Cambridge History of Iran, III.1. Cambridge, 1983, 232-262, Pl. 19-24.

----. “The circulation of coins in Cen tral Asia during the early medieval period” (fifth to eighth centuries A.D.).” Bulletin of the Asia Institute, 8 (1994 [1996]), 245-267.

Zeimal’s article in the Cambridge History of Iran, a translation of an article originally published in Russian, presents the best analysis (despite a bias for late dating) of the early stage of the coinage of Sogdiana, from the imitations of Greek coinage untill the seventh century. His article in BAI follows up.

7. Historiography of archaeological research

Gorshenina, Svetlana. “Un précurseur de l’archéologie et de l’ethnologie françaises en Asie centrale: Joseph-Antoine Castagné (1875-1958).” Comptes rendus de l’Académie des inscriptions & Belles-lettres, 1997, 255-272.

----. “Premiers pas des archéologues russes et français dans le Turkestan russe (1870-1890). Méthodes de recherche et destin des collections.” Cahiers du Monde russe, 40/3 (1999), 365-384.

Gorshenina, Svetlana & Rapin, Claude. De Kaboul à Samarcande. Les archéologues en Asie centrale. Paris: Découvertes Gallimard, 2001.

8. Architecture (general)

Chmelnizkij,Sergej. Zwischen Kuschanen und Arabern. Die architektur Mittelasiens im V.-VIII. Jh. Berlin: Hosemann & Goebel GmbH u. Co Verlag KG, 1989.

* Semenov, G.L. Sogdiiskaia fortifikatsiia V-VIII vekov [The Sogdian fortification in the Vth-VIIIth centuries]. Sankt-Peterburg, 1996.

Chmelnizkij is good reference for the abundance and quality of the illustrations, but his interpretations of the functions of some individual monuments are controversial. Together with a first-class study of the fortifications Semenov provides very interesting analyses on the historical context of the period covered.

9. Visual arts (general)

Azarpay, Guitty. Sogdian Painting. The pictorial epic in oriental art. Berkeley; Los Angeles; London: University of California Press, 1981 (with contributions by A.M. Belenitskii, B.I. Marshak, and Mark J. Dresden).

Chuvin, Pierre, editor. Les arts de l’Asie centrale. Paris: Citadelles & Mazenod, 1999 (contributions by B. Marshak and F. Grenet on the arts of Sogdiana).

Lapierre, Nathalie. “La peinture monumentale de l’Asie centrale soviétique: observations techniques.” Arts Asiatiques, 45 (1990), 28-40.

Marshak, Boris. Silberschätze des Orients. Metallkunst des 3.-13. Jahrhunderts und ihre Kontinuität. Leipzig: VEB E.A. Seemann Verlag, 1986.

----. Legends, tales, and fables in the art of Sogdiana. New York: Bibliotheca Persica Press, 2002. (With an Appendix by V.A. Livshits).

----. “Pre-Islamic Painting of the Iranian Peoples and Its Sources in Sculpture and the Decorative Arts,” Ch. 1 in Eleanor Sims et al., Peerless Images: Persian Painting and Its Sources. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2002, esp. pp. 15-19.

Tanabe, Katsumi, editor. New History of World Art, 15. Shogakukan, 1999 (in Japanese). (contributions by M. Tanabe and B. Marshak on the arts of Sogdiana).

The books edited by Chuvin and by Tanabe provide the best selection of colour photographs now available.

10. Music

Karomatov, F. M.; Meshkeris, V. A.; Vyzgo, T.S.. Musikgeschichte in Bildern, Bd. II: Musik des Altertums / Lieferung 9: Mittelasien. Leipzig: VEB Deutscher Verlag für Musik, 1987.

11. Archaeological sites

a. Samarkand

Bernard, Paul. “Marcanda-Afrasiab, colonie grecque.” In La Persia e l’Asia centrale da Alessandro al X secolo (Atti dei convegni Lincei, 127). Rome : Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, 1996, 331-365.

Bernard, Paul; Grenet, Frantz; Isamiddinov, Muxammedzhon, et collaborateurs. “Fouilles de la mission franco-soviétique à l’ancienne Samarkand (Afrasiab): première campagne, 1989." Comptes Rendus de l’Académie des Inscriptions & Belles-lettres, 1990, 356- 380.

----.“Fouilles de la mission franco-ouzbèke à l’ancienne Samarkand (Afrasiab): deuxième et troisième campagnes (1990-1991).” Comptes Rendus de l’Académie des Inscriptions & Belles-lettres, 1992, 275-311.

Grenet, Frantz. “L’Inde des astrologues sur une peinture sogdienne du VIIe siècle”. In C. Cereti, M. Maggi, E. Provasi, eds. Religious themes and texts in pre-Islamic Iran and Central Asia. Studies in honour of Professor Gherardo Gnoli. Wiesbaden : Dr. Ludwig Reichert Verlag, 2003 (forthcoming).

----. “La contribution respective des sources écrites et de l’investigation archéologique à la connaissance de la Samarkand pre-mongole (VIIe siècle av. n.è. - XIIIe siècle de n.è.).” Annales. Histoire et civilisations (2004) (forthcoming).

Grenet, Frantz & Rapin, Claude. “De la Samarkand antique à la Samarkand médiévale: continuités et ruptures.” In R.-P. Gayraud, ed., Colloque international d’archéologie islamique. Cairo: Institut Français d’Archéologie Orientale, 1998, 387-402.

* Inevatkina, O.N. “Fortifikatsiia akropolia drevnego Samarkanda v seredine pervogo tysiacheletiia do n.e. [The fortification of the acropolis of ancient Samarkand in the middle of the first millenium BC].” Materialnaia kul’tura Vostoka, 3 (2002), 24-46. (Moscow: Gosudarstvennyi muzei Vostoka).

Kageyama, Etsuko. “A Chinese way of depicting foreign delegates discerned in the paintings of Afrasiab.” In Ph. Huyse, ed., Iran: questions et connaissances, vol. I: La période ancienne. Paris: Association pour l’avancement des études iraniennes, 2002, 313-327.

Marshak, Boris. “Le programme iconographique des peintures de la ‘Salle des Ambassadeurs’ à Afrasiab (Samarkand).” Arts Asiatiques, 49 (1994), 5-20.

Rapin, Claude. “Fortifications hellénistiques de Samarcande (Samarkand-Afrasiab)”. Topoi, 4/ 2 (1994), 547-565.

Shishkina, G.V. “Ancient Samarkand: Capital of Soghd.” Bulletin of the Asia Institute, 8 (1994 [1996]), 81-99.

Shishkina gives a clear and complete summary of the state of knowledge on pre-Islamic Samarkand before the Franco-Uzbek archaeological mission started its work in 1989. Work is still progressing in the interpretation of the cycle of mural paintings known as the “Ambassadors’ painting,” executed c. 660 in a royal residence and discovered in 1965 (see Grenet, Kageyama, Marshak).

b. Middle Zeravshan valley (including the nomadic cemeteries)

Abdullaev, Kazim. “Nomadism in Central Asia: the archaeological evidence (2nd-1st centuries B.C.).” In A. Invernizzi, ed., In the land of the Gryphons. Turin: Casa editrice Le Lettere, 1995, 151-161.

Ilyasov, Jangar Ya. and Rusanov, Dmitriy V. “A study of the bone plates from Orlat.” Silk Road Art and Archaeology, 5 (1997/98), 107-159.

* Obel’chenko, O.V. Kul’tura antichnogo Sogda [The culture of Soghd in Antiquity]. Moscow: “Nauka,” 1992.

* Pugachenkova, G.A. Drevnosti Miankalia [The antiquities of the Miankal]. Tashkent: “Fan,” 1989.

Rapin, Claude; Isamiddinov, Mukhammadjon; Khasanov, Mutallib. “La tombe d’une princesse nomade à Koktepe près de Samarkand.” Comptes Rendus de l’Académie des Inscriptions & Belles-lettres, 2001, 33-92.

c. Bukhara and Paykend

*Askarov A.A., editor. Gorodishche Paikend [The ancient town of Paykend] (contributors: A.R. Mukhamedzhanov, Sh.T. Adylov, D.K. Mirzaakhmedov, G.L. Semenov). Tashkent: “Fan,” 1988.

Marshak, Boris I. “The ceilings of the Varakhsha palace.” Parthica, 2 (2000), 153-167.

Semenov, Grigori L. Studien zur sogdischen Kultur an der Seidenstrasse. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 1996.

* Semenov, G.L. and Mirzaakhmedov, Dzh.K., editors. Raskopki v Pajkende v 1999 godu [Excavations at Paykend in 1999; continued in 2000, 2001]. Sankt-Peterburg: Gos. Ermitazh, 2000. (with English summaries).

Semenov, “Studien...,” tackles also some questions not related to finds in Paykend, e.g. the repertory of tales in the painting of Panjikent.

d. Kashka-darya valley (southern Sogdiana)

Sulejmanov, R.X. “L’architecture monumentale d’Erkurgan. Complexes cultuels et communautaires.” Histoire et cultes de l’Asie centrale préislamique, ed. P. Bernard & F. Grenet. Paris: Editions du CNRS, 1991, 167-172. Pl. LXV-LXVIII.

* _ _ Drevnii Nakhshab. Problemy tsivilizatsii Uzbekistana VII v. do n.e. - VII v. n.e. [Ancient Nakhshab. Problems of the civilization of Uzbekistan in the 7th c. BC - 7th c. AD]. Samarkand; Tashkent: “Fan,” 2000.
This last book, unfortunately difficult to obtain, gives an account of combined surveys and excavations of the hitherto little known south-western part of Sogdiana (the historical region of Nakhshab) which flourished mostly in the period between the first and the sixth century AD, before the main focus of Sogdian civilization shifted to the Zeravshan valley. There is still no specific study of the upper Kashka-darya valley (the Shahr-i Sabz region).

e. Panjikent

* Belenitskii, A. M.; Marshak, B. I.; Raspopova, V. I. Yearly reports on the Panjikent excavations in Arkheologicheskie raboty v Tadzhikistane, continued until the 1985 season, in issue 25 (published 1994). Followed by Marshak, B.I.; Raspopova, V. I.; Shkoda, V. G. “Kratkii otchet o rabotakh na gorodishche Pendzhikenta v 1986-1999 godakh [Short report on the works at the ancient site of Panjikent in 1986-1999],” in issue 27 (published 2000), 189-208 (with full bibliography of the materials found during these seasons). Then superseded by:

* Marshak, B. I.; Raspopova, V. I.; Shkoda, V. G. Otchet o raskopkakh gorodishcha drevnego Pendzhikenta v 1998 godu [Report on the excavations at the site of ancient Panjikent in 1998; continued in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002...]. Sankt-Peterburg : Gos. Ermitazh, 1999 (with English summaries).

Marshak, B., “Les fouilles de Pendjikent.” Comptes Rendus de l’Académie des Inscriptions and Belles-lettres, 1990, 286-313.

Marshak, B. I. & Raspopova, V. I. “A hunting scene from Panjikent.” Bulletin of the Asia Institute, 4, 1990 [1992], 77-94.

* Raspopova, V.I. Zhilishcha Pendzhikenta [The dwellings of Panjikent]. Leningrad: “Nauka,” 1990.

Raspopova, Zhilishcha... is fundamental for a social study of the town. Marshak, Legends, tales, and fables in

the art of Sogdiana (see above, section “Visual arts [general]”) is mostly based on material from Panjikent and gives the fullest subject analysis so far attempted. For separate publications of some paintings see also the articles by Marshak, Marshak & Raspopova, section “Religions”.

f. Upper Zeravshan valley

* Iakubov, Iu. Rannesrednevekovye sel’skie poseleniia gornogo Sogda [The early medieval rural settlements in mountainous Soghd]. Dushanbe: “Donish,” 1988.

g. Ustrushana (northeast of Samarkand)

* Negmatov, N.N. “Bozhestvennyi i demonicheskii panteony Ustrushany i ikh indoiranskie parallely [The divine and demoniac pantheons of Ustrushana and their Indo-Iranian parallels].” In V.M. Masson, ed., Drevnie kul’tury Srednei Azii i Indii. Leningrad: “Nauka,” 1984, 146-164.

* Negmatov, N.N. & Mamadzhanova, S.M. “Bundzhikat - srednevekovaia stolitsa Ustrushany [Bundzhikat, the medieval capital of Ustru-shana]”. In G.A. Pugachenkova, ed., Kul’tura srednego Vostoka. Gradostroitel’stvo i arkhitektura. Tashkent, “Fan”, 1989, 91-99.

Color reproductions of the remarkable paintings from Shahristan (Bundzhikat), which include an image of the Roman she-wolf suckling the twins, are unfortunately incomplete and scattered in various books on the art of Central Asia and Sogdiana.

h. Chach (the Tashkent area)

Bogomolov, G. I. & Burjakov, Ju. F. “Sealings from Kanka.” In A. Invernizzi, ed., In the land of the Gryphons. Turin: Casa Editrice Le Lettere, 1995, 217-237.

* Buriakov, Iu.F. (ed.). Drevnii i srednevekovyi gorod vostochnogo Maverannakhra [The ancient and medieval town in Eastern Maverannahr]. Tashkent: “Fan,” 1990.

----. “A propos de l’histoire de la culture de la région de Tachkent au Ier millénaire av. n.è. et au Ier millénaire de n.è.” In P. Bernard & F. Grenet, ed., Histoire et cultes de l’Asie centrale préislamique. Paris: Editions du CNRS, 1991, 197-204, Pl.LXXIX-LXXXII.

* Filanovich, M.I. “Sistema rasselenia i gradostroitel’nye formy tashkentskogo mikrooazisa v drevnosti i rannem srednevekov’e [Distribution of population and urbanistic forms in the Tashkent micro-oasis in the Antiquity and Middle Ages].” In G.A. Pugachen-kova, ed., Kul’tura srednego Vostoka. Gradostroitel’stvo i arkhitektura. Tashkent, “Fan,” 1989, 35-51.

----. “Les relations historiques, culturelles et idéologiques et les échanges entre le Châch, la Sogdiane et la Chorasmie au début du Moyen-Age, d’après les données de l ‘étude des résidences fortifiées au VIe-VIIIe s. de notre ère.” In P. Bernard & F. Grenet, ed., Histoire et cultes de l’Asie centrale préislamique. Paris : Editions du CNRS, 1991, 197-204, Pl.LXXIX- LXXXII.

i. Sogdian settlements in southern Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan

* Baipakov, K.M. Srednevekovaia gorodskaia kul’tura Iuzhnogo Kazakhstana i Semirech’ia [The medieval urban culture in South ern Kazakhstan and Semirechie]. Alma-Ata, 1986.

----. “Nouvelles données sur la culture sogdienne dans les villes médiévales du Kazakhstan” (avec une note additionnelle par F. Grenet). Studia Iranica, 21, 1992, 33-48, Pl. II-IX.

12. Studies on specific historical periods

Grenet, Frantz. “Crise et sortie de crise en Bactriane-Sogdiane aux IVe-Ve siècles: de l’héritage antique à l’adoption de modèles sassanides.” La Persia e l’Asia centrale da Alessandro al X secolo (Atti dei convegni Lincei, 127). Rome: Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, 1996, 367-390.

----. “Regional interaction in Central Asia and Northwest India in the Kidarite and Hephtalite periods.” In N. Sims-Williams, ed., Indo-Iranian languages and peoples (Proceedings of the British Academy, 116). Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2002, 203-224.

Lyonnet, B. “Les Grecs, les nomades et l’indépendance de la Sogdiane, d’après l’occupation comparée d’Aï Khanoum et de Marakanda au cours des derniers siècles avant notre ère.” Bulletin of the Asia Institute, 12 (1998 [2001]), 141-159.

* Rtveladze, E.V. Aleksandr Makedonskii v Baktrii i Sogdiane [Alexander the Great in Bactria and Sogdiana]. Tashkent, 2002.

13. The Sogdians in the international trade

Grenet, Frantz. “Les Sogdiens dans les Mers du Sud.” Cahiers d’Asie centrale, 1-2 (1996), 65-84.

Kageyama, Etsuko. “Use and production of the silks in Sogdiana.” Bulletin of the Society for Near Eastern Studies in Japan (Nippon Oriento Gakkai), 45/1, (2002), 37-55 (in Japanese, with English summary).

la Vaissière, Étienne de. “Les marchands d’Asie centrale dans l’empire khazar.” In M. Kazansky, A. Nercession, C. Zuckerman, ed., Les centres protourbains russes entre Scandinaves, Byzance et Orient. (Réalités Byzantines, VII), Paris : Lethielleux, 2000, 367-378.

----. Histoire des marchands sogdiens. Paris: Collège de France, 2002 (Bibliothèque de l’Institut des Hautes Etudes chinoises, vol. 32).

Sims-Williams, Nicholas. “The Sogdian merchants in China and India.” In A. Cadonna & L. Lanciotti, ed., Cina e Iran da Alessandro Magno alla dinastia Tang. Florence: Leo S. Olschki editore, 1996, 45-67.

Trombert, Eric. “La vigne et le vin en Chine. Misères et succès d’une tra dition allogène.” Journal Asiatique, 289 (2001), 285-327.

14. Archaeological and textual testimonies of Sogdians in China

China Archaeology and Art Digest, vol. IV, number 1: Zoroastrianism in China. Beijing, 2000.

Grenet, Frantz & Guangda, Zhang. “The last refuge of the Sogdian religion: Dunhuang in the ninth and tenth centuries.” Bulletin of the Asia Institute, 10 (1996 [1998]), 175-186.

Kageyama, Etsuko. “The ossuaries (bone-receptacles of Zoroastrians) unearthed in Chinese Turkestan.” Bulletin of the Society for Near Eastern Studies in Japan (Nippon Oriento Gakkai), 40 /1 (1997), 73-89 (in Japanese, with English summary).

Juliano, Annette L. & Lerner, Judith A. “Cultural crossroads: Central Asian and Chinese entertainers on the Miho funerary couch.” Orientations, Oct. 1997, 72-78.

----. “The Miho couch revisited in the light of recent discoveries.” Orientations, Oct. 2001, 54-61.

la Vaissière, Étienne de & Trombert, Eric. “Des Chinois et des Hu. Migration et intégration des Iraniens orientaux en milieu chinois dans le haut Moyen Age.” Annales. Histoire et civilisations (2004)

Lerner, Judith. “Central Asians in sixth-century China: a Zoroastrian funerary rite.” Iranica Antiqua, 30, 1995, 179-190.

Luo Feng. “Sogdians in Northwest China.” In A.L. Juliano & J.A. Lerner, ed., Monks and merchants. Silk Road treasures from Northern China. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., with the Asia Society, 2002, 239-245.

Marshak, Boris. “La thématique sogdienne dans l’art de la Chine de la seconde moitié du VIe siècle.” Comptes rendus de l’Académie des Inscriptions & Belles-lettres, 2001, 227-264.

Mode, Markus. “Sogdian gods in exile. Some iconographic evidence from Khotan in the light of recently excavated material from Sogdiana.” Silk Road Art and Archaeology, 2, 1991/92, 179-214.

Riboud, Pénélope. “Le cheval sans cavalier dans l’art funéraire sogdien en Chine: à la recherche des sources d’un thème composite.” Arts Asiatiques, 58 (2003) (in press).

Marshak’s article is now the main reference on the Sogdian funerary reliefs found in Northern China, as it gives the only systematic comparative study of the five main graves, together with excellent parallels with the art of metropolitan Sogdiana.

15. Religions

a) Local (Sogdian form of Zoroastrianism)

Berdimuradov, Amruddin & Samibaev, Masud. “Une nouvelle peinture murale dans le temple de Dzhartepa II” (avec notes additionnelles par F. Grenet & B. Marshak). Studia Iranica, 30 (2001), 45-66.

Grenet, Frantz. Les pratiques funéraires dans l’Asie centrale sédentaire de la conquête grecque à l’islamisation. Paris: Editions du CNRS, 1984.

----. “L’art zoroastrien en Sogdiane. Etudes d’iconographie funéraire.” Mesopotamia, 21 (1986), 97-131, figs. 35-48.

----, ed. “Trois nouveaux documents d’iconographie religieuse sogdienne.” Studia Iranica, 22 (1993), 49-68, Pls. I-VI (with con tributions by K. Abdullaev, N.I. Krasheninnikova, S.B. Lunina, N.P. Stoljarova).

----. “Vaishravana in Sogdiana. About the origins of Bishamonten.” Silk Road Art and Archaeology, 4 (1995/96), 277-297.
----. “Mithra, dieu iranien: nouvelles données.” Topoi, 11 (2003) (in press).

Grenet, Frantz and Marshak, Boris. “Le mythe de Nana dans l’art de la Sogdiane.” Arts Asiatiques, 53 (1998), 5-18.

la Vaissière, Etienne de & Riboud, Pénélope, avec note additionnelle de F. Grenet. “Les livres des sogdiens.” Studia Iranica, 32, 2003.

Marshak, B.I. “The historico-cultural significance of the Sogdian calendar.” Iran, 30 (1992), 145-206.

----. “On the iconography of ossuaries from Biya-Naiman.” Silk Road Art and Archaeology, 4 (1995/96), 299-321.

Marshak, B.I. and Raspopova, V.I. “Wall paintings from a house with a granary, Panjikent, 1st quarter of the 8th century.” In Silk Road Art and Archaeology, 1 (1990), 123-176.

----. “Cultes communautaires et cultes privés en Sogdiane.” In P. Bernard & F. Grenet, ed., Histoire et cultes de l’Asie centrale préislamique. Paris: Editions du CNRS, 1991, 187-195, Pl. LXXIII-LXXVIII.

----. “Worshippers from the northern shrine of Temple II, Penjikent.” Bulletin of the Asia Institute, 8 (1994 [1996]), 187-207.

Sims-Williams, Nicholas. “Mithra the Baga.” In P. Bernard & F. Grenet, ed., Histoire et cultes de l’Asie centrale préislamique. Paris: Editions du CNRS, 1991, 177-186.

----. “Some reflections on Zoroastrianism in Sogdiana and Bactria.” In D. Christian & C. Benjamin, ed., Silk Road Studies, IV: Realms of the Silk Roads: Ancient and Modern. Macquarie University. Turnhout: Brepols, 2000, 1-12.

Shkoda, V.G. “The Sogdian temple: structure and rituals.” Bulletin of the Asia Institute, 10 (1996 [1998]), 195-206.

Most of the literature is about individual deities, paintings, and objects (the most informative of these being the ossuaries, terracotta receptacles used for keeping the bones preliminarily excarnated according to the Zoroastrian ritual and sometimes carrying images). A complete repertory of all known images of Sogdian gods, together with their possible identifications in the Zoroastrian and/or Hindu pantheons, is now much in need. Sims-Williams, “Some reflections...” provides a stimulating approach to the specificity of Sogdian (and Bactrian) Zoroastrianism compared with the “orthodox,” i.e. Sasanian, one. For a criticism of some of Marshak’s views on the Sogdian calendar see de Blois, François, “The Persian calendar,” Iran, 34 (1996), 39-54, esp. 46-49.

b) Buddhism in Sogdiana

* Karev, Iu.V. “Statuetka Bodkhisattvy Avalokiteshvary iz Samarkanda [A Statuette of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara from Samarkand].” Vestnik drevnei istorii, 1998, 108-117 (with English summary).

Marshak, Boris and Raspopova, Valentina. “Buddha icon from Panjikent.” Silk Road Art and Archaeology, 5 (1997/98), 297-305.

c) Christianity in Sogdiana and in the Sogdian colonies

Klein, Wassilios. Das nestorianische Christentum an den Handelswegen durch Kyrgyzstan bis zum 14. Jh. Turnhout: Brepols, 2000 (Silk Road Studies III).

Sims-Williams, Nicholas. “Christianity: iii. In central Asia and Chinese Turkestan. iv. Christian literature in Middle Iranian languages.” Encyclopaedia Iranica, V/5 (1991), 530-532.

---. “Sogdian and Turkish Christians in the Turfan and Tun-huang
manuscripts.” In A. Cadonna, ed., Turfan and Tun-huang. The texts. Encounter of civilizations on the Silk Route (Orientalia Venetiana, IV). Firenze: Leo S. Olschki editore, 1992, 43-61.

d) Manicheism in Sogdiana and in the Sogdian colonies

Sundermann, Werner. “Iranian Manichaean Turfan texts concern ing the Turfan region.” In A. Cadonna, ed., Turfan and Tun-huang. The texts. Encounter of civilizations on the Silk Route. (Orientalia Venetiana, IV). Firenze: Leo S. Olschki editore, 1992, 63-84.

(see also Tremblay 2001).

About the Author

Frantz Grenet heads the program in Religions of the Ancient Iranian World in the Division of Religious Studies at the École pratique des hautes études/Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris. Since 1989 he has been director of the Mission archéologique franco-ouzbèke (MAFOUZ) in Samarkand (, which is in charge of the ongoing excavations at Afrasiab and other important sites. Dr. Grenet is one of the most distinguished specialists on the archaeology and history of religions in Central Asia. His publications include Les pratiques funéraires dans l’Asie centrale sédentaire, de la conquête grecque à l’islamisation (1984), A History of Zoroastrianism, vol. III: Zoroastrianism under Macedonian and Roman Rule (1991) (with Mary Boyce), and numerous important articles, many dealing with the Sogdians. He is a Corresponding Member of L’Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres. He may be contacted at:

From the Editor | The Archaeology of Sogdiana | Returning to Varakhsha |Sogdians in China: A Short History and Some New Discoveries | The Pre-Islamic Civilization of the Sogdians (seventh century BCE to eighth century CE): A Bibliographic Essay (studies since 1986) | Bamiyan: Professor Tarzi's Survey and Excavation Archaeological Mission, 2003| 'Knowing the Road That Leads You Home': Family, Genealogy, and Migration in Post-Socialist Kazakhstan¹ | Among the Kazakhs of Xinjiang | Announcements