Treasures from the Oxus

Treasures from the Oxus : The Art and Civilization of Central Asia

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In history, this grand arterial 1500-mile waterway was always seen as the natural frontier between the northern provinces of the Iranian empires and the outer Turanian lands. It was for centuries central to Achaemenid and later Persian power. But, as the author shows, it has a prehistory which goes very much further back: and a succession of skilled yet still elusive Bronze Age cultures flourished here well before the rise of Cyrus the Great in the 6th century BCE. This richly illustrated book explores the fascinating history, art and archaeology of the region, including its primal trade in silk and foodstuffs; the mineral wealth of the Oxus basin; its exotic myths and beliefs; and the converging tribes and peoples which led to a new stability, economic growth and urbanism. The volume contains 150 full-colour photographs of notable artefacts, including silver decorated vessels, inlaid stone pots, agate beads and 25 'Bactrian Princesses': remarkable statuettes made in chlorite and limestone. Most of these rare objects have never been seen, let alone published, before.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 264 pages
  • 237 x 289 x 25.4mm | 1,769.01g
  • I.B.Tauris
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 150 colour illustrations
  • 1784537721
  • 9781784537722
  • 1,267,371

Review quote

'Treasures from the Oxus offers a comprehensive coverage of the region and its unique content, which includes previously unpublished artefacts of great importance. Although many of these objects are in private collections or have been acquired by museums from antique dealers, Professor Vidale has the requisite expertise, due to his long experience in the field, to identify the ones that have archaeological relevance. The author is one of the most highly accomplished among those scholars who have an intimate understanding of the materials, as well as wide experience in the surrounding regions; and this knowledge gives him a very balanced perspective in his discussions. This book, in short, is a major contribution to our knowledge of a region that is once again becoming an important crossroads linking cultures throughout Asia. Massimo Vidale is an excellent writer and one of the most prolific archaeologists that I know. I highly recommend his book, and am looking forward to being able to use it in my teaching for years to come.' - Jonathan Mark Kenoyer, Professor of Anthropology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 'Dr Vidale's academic reach stretches from South Asia and across the Iranian plateau to include Central and Western Asia. His publications play an important role in my thinking about a raft of issues, and also in the courses that I teach to undergraduate and graduate students. Dr Vidale has published extensively on the archaeology of each of these regions, and his research consistently incorporates a careful balance between clever ideas and insights, on the one hand, and first rate archaeological investigation on the other. In many ways his background and approach make him the ideal person to write this interesting and innovative volume on the Oxus civilization, which I recommend with enthusiasm.' - Cameron Petrie, Senior Lecturer in South Asian and Iranian Archaeology, University of Cambridge
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About Massimo Vidale

Massimo Vidale is Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology at the University of Padua where he lectures on ancient crafts and cultures. An internationally prominent scholar of the archaeology and material culture of the Bronze Age, he has held Chairs at the universities of Bologna, Genoa and Rome. His previous books, published in English and Italian, include The Archaeology of Indus Crafts (2000), What is Ethnoarchaeology? (2004) and Ceramics and Archaeology (2007).
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