Project (2019)

Xixia’s Contributions to Astrology as Reflected by Visual Materials

As one of the key stations on the traffic route between the East and the West, Tangut was famous for its ability to learn comprehensively from various cultures and then create its own. This project focuses on the following topics:

  1. A new iconography of the astral deities created by the Xixia people which showed the influence of Indian systems and exemplifies the achievements of cultural communication, both cross-regional, and cross-religious.
  2. A new sequence of main astral deities, nine to eleven luminaries, according to their monthly descent to the world. Unlike the usual weekday sequence, it probably came from Inner China. Up to now the earliest evidence is found in Tangut materials.
  3. A new cosmological location of astral deities demonstrated by a Grahamātṛkā-maṇḍala painting which was discovered in Khara-Khoto and is still regarded as the only example found in China.