The New Silk Road. Oasis Cities, Artisans and Muslim-Jewish Interaction in the Reports of Russian Ethnographers, 1920-1930
The Silk Road is the popular name for the routes that for centuries stretched across the ancient world bridging Asia and Europe. The goods carried along those routes demonstrate a rich transmission of knowledge and design that has been kept alive by artisans in the oasis cities Bukhara and Samarkand in modern Uzbekistan, once the backbone of the Silk Road. Two aspects stand out in this respect: the Muslim-Jewish cooperation required to make complex textiles, and the fact that their ornamental patterns were not governed by their creators’ ethnic background or religion but rather by the style of the city in which the textiles were manufactured. In my proposed project I will study these two aspects in the light of reports by Russian ethnographers during their active period 1920-30.