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Transoxiana 8 - Junio 2004

The Bukhara oasis. Antiquity and Middle Ages. International Conference held in Bukhara Citadel, Kushbegi Court 26th-27th September 2003.

Abstract by Matteo Compareti

The conference was organized by the Republic of Uzbekistan Academy of Sciences Institute of Archaeology "Ja. Gul'jamov", the Bukhara State Museum of Architecture and Art, the Università degli Studi "La Sapienza", Roma Facoltà di Studi Orientali.

The Kushbegi Court, in the Bukhara Citadel, was chosen also as a site for the exhibition "Archaeological research in Bukhara oasis" which inauguration took place on Friday, 26th September. Several panels with maps and explanations of the different rooms in Russian and English accompanied the visitor along the whole of the exhibition. The objects were divided according to their period or place of excavation. Among the most interesting pieces were some Greco-Bactrian coins showed for the first time and several relics from Paykend (in particular, the fragment of terracotta wares probably part of ossuaries), Uch Kulakh and especailly Varakhsha, the ancient residence of the Bukhar Khudat (the Governor of Bukhara) or -according to recent researches- the Vardan Khudat (the Governor of Vardana. I owe this information to Prof. A. Naymark). It is worth noting that the panel which was displayed in the room dedicated to the excavation of Varakhsha was an extremely well-done translation of the History of Bukhara by Narshakhi operated directly from the original Persian. Some mistakes linked to the calendarian data proposed by R. Frye long ago (R. N. Frye, The History of Bukhara. Translated from a Persian Abridgment of the Arabic Original by Narshakhi, Cambridge, 1954) were already corrected by the organizer in harmony with the paper which S. Cristoforetti would have presented only after the inauguration of the exhibition.

After the opening speech of Dr. R. V. Almeev (Director of the Bukhara State Museum of Arcitecture and Art) and the wishes by Prof. C. Silvi Antonini (Director of the Department of Oriental Studies, University "La Sapienza", Rome) started the talks of the Uzbek, Russian and Italian scholars.

The official languages of the conference were Russian and English.

The program for Friday, 26th was:

Almeev, R., On the musealization of ancient monuments: the Paykend museum.

Chamraeva, Ju., A brief history of the archaeological research in Bukharan Sogdia

Filipponi, F., Preliminary results of the excavations at the site of Uch Kulakh

Lo Muzio, C., A terracotta figurine from Uch Kulakh

Noci, F., Kurgan Vardanze: a preliminary archaeological survey

Silvi Antonini, C., On a subject in the paintings in the Varakhsha palace

Compareti, M., Textile patterns in Sogdian paintings: the Sasanian and the local components

The program for Saturday, 27th was:

Semenov, G. L., On the street layout of Paykend

Kulakova, L. Ju., The reconstruction of a reception hall in a VIII c. Paykend house

Torgoev, A., Early medieval pottery from Paykend

Malkiel', I. K., Technical aspects of Paykend metalware (IX-XI c.)

Scarcia Amoretti, B. M., Bukhara and the Ahl al-Bayt: preliminary notes

Cristoforetti, S., Calendarian data in Muhammad Narshaki's "History of Bukhara"

Nekrasova, E. G., Holy places in Bukhara

Nemceva, N. B., Caravanserais on the routes of Western Sogdia

Mirzaachmedov, Dz. K., Bukharan glazed pottery in the second half of the XIX century

Zejmal', T. I., Malkiel', I. K., On a group of jewellery artefacts from XIX century Bukhara

Both the exhibition and the conference were quite small and arranged in a sort of "familiar" atmosphere. However, the scientifical level of the papers presented and the singleness of several relics are unquestionable.

The wish is that the proceedings of the Conference could be published as soon as possible exactly as the catalogue of the exhibition that was not available during the inauguration because of a delay in the general organization.

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