عنوان مقاله [English]
نویسنده [English]چکیده [English]
The Samanid capital, Bukhara, was a cultural and intellectual center on a par with the other major cities of the Islamic world in the tenth century. In the tenth century, another major trading route also flourished between Central Asia and northeastern Europe. Furs and slaves were sent from Scandinavia, Russia and Eastern Europe in exchange for silver which was mined in the realm of the Samanids in Central Asia. Not only were Samanid coins used as currency by the Vikings, but Samanid luxury metalwork objects have also been found in Europe. Using the evidence of such finds, this paper posits the Fur Route as a major avenue of cultural interchange in the Middle Ages and the Samanids as important actors on the medieval global stage. An examination of their far-flung trading connections along the Fur Route not only reveals transmission between these regions, but also reiterates the importance of the Samanids in the history of Islamic art and in that of the broader medieval world. The Samanids originated from the area around Termez, on the Oxus River, and the border between Uzbekistan and Afghanistan, an area then inhabited by the Bactrians, a group who spoke another Iranian language. The Samanid capital, Bukhara, was a cultural and intellectual center on a par with the other major cities of the Islamic world in the tenth century such as Baghdad, Cairo and Cordoba. The famous doctor and philosopher Avicenna (Ibn Sina) (d. 1037), for example, found patronage at the Samanid court. Samanid artistic production included ceramics made for domestic consumption that have been hailed as among the very best produced in the Islamic world in any era. Made in Samanid cities such as Samarqand and Nishapur, these ceramics were generally covered with a white slip and decorated with bold Arabic inscriptions in black around the rim (black vessels with white inscriptions are also common, as are red accents). Samanid silver and textiles, on the other hand, were used locally and exported. Textiles show a strong continuity from the pre-Islamic period, with pearl-bordered roundels enclosing birds or animals, often confronting one another. Birds and animals frequently sport fluttering scarves
round their necks and birds often hold necklaces in their beaks. All of these features can be seen in pre-Islamic Sasanian and Sogdian silks, and, for this reason, attributing and dating Samanid textiles is often difficult. Just as the earlier silks have been found from Western Europe to Japan, Samanid silks likewise enjoyed a wide distribution. Silver vessels, such as the magnificent silver in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin, have also been found in Western Europe and in former Samanid territory. These vessels are stylistically distinct from their Sasanian precursors, although they do exhibit similar techniques of hammering, engraving, chasing and gilding, as well as the same artistic vocabulary seen in the silks. Their shapes and the way the roundels interlace are two details that are characteristic of the tenth century and hence indicate a Samanid provenance. The peripheral status of the Samanids in standard survey books is not solely due to the geographical boundaries of the discipline, however. Very few North American or Western European historians of Islamic art work on the Samanids, undoubtedly due to the geopolitics of the twentieth century. Since the Samanid capital, Bukhara, and much of their former territory falls in the former Soviet Union, this material was the province of Soviet archaeologists. Hence it was logistically very difficult for Westerners to access before the fall of the Soviet Union, and most of the literature remains inaccessible to the majority of Western scholars because it is in Russia. Outside of the former Soviet Union, study of Islamic Central Asia falls under the remit of those who work on Iran.