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Religions of the Silk Road: Transformation and Transmission in the Heart of Asia

Religions of the Silk Road: Transformation and Transmission in the Heart of Asia

The UCLA Central Asia Initiative and the Center for the Study of Religion present a joint lecture series

Before the rise of the maritime empires of Europe, the ancient trade routes of Central Asia served as one the world’s most vital thoroughfares of religious traffic. From the goddesses of prehistoric Eurasia through the Iranian religions of Zoroaster and Mani, to the Buddhism transferred from India and the Judaism, Christianity and eventually Islam carried in from the Mediterranean west, almost all of the major religions of Asia were imported into the oasis towns that lined the route between Persia and China. Yet if the monks, books and relics who moved along the ‘silk road’ point to a history of religious transmission both into and through Central Asia, important questions remain about what happened to these religious forms in their long periods in transit. Placing the question of transformation alongside that of transmission, the current series of talks excavates the neglected history of Central Asia’s own contributions to the religions of the old world.




October 7, 2010 Magical 'Display' and Dancing Female Figures in the Religions of Ancient Eurasia
November 4, 2010 Buddhist and Manichaean Textual Iconographies in Early Persian Poetry
January 21, 2011 The Monks of Kublai Khan: The Mongols and the Church of the East
April 7, 2011 Entwinements of Islam and Modernity in Central Asia
May 9, 2011 Buddhism and Islam on the Silk Road


September 26, 2011
The Red Buddha Hall Road Revisited: Tibet, China and their Struggle for the Silk Road through the Pamir
November 21, 2011 The Pictorial Canon of a Silk Road Religion: Mani’s Picture-Book and the Study of Manichaean Didactic Art
January 9, 2012 Religion and Politics on China's Silk Road: Muslims between Baghdad and Beijing
March 5, 2012 Shamanism and Healing in the Culture of the Kazakhs
May 21, 2012 Marriage and Mourning at the Edge of the Jewish World: Ritual Practice among Central Asia's Bukharan Jews


February 5, 2013 Said Sarmad the Jewish Saint
March 8, 2013 The Propagation of Islam in the Siberian Khanate: Legend, History and Aftermath
May 30, 2013 A Discussion of Local Customs in Hanafi Sources from the 10th to 16th Centuries