FERGANA VALLEY: IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF ZHANG QIAN, A Cultural Trip to Kyrgyzstan & Uzbekistan With Dr. Joseph Ting

Date :
16-27 September 2016
Enquiries :
Winnie Tong at [email protected] or 9471 2673

"Fergana Valley is an intermountain depression of 22,000 square kilometres located in Central Asia west of Xinjiang Province, China, south of the majestic Tian Shan range, and north of the Pamirs, covering part of present day Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. Melted snow from surrounding snow-capped mountains irrigates the land, making Fergana Valley one of the most fertile and densely populated areas in Central Asia."

"The history of Fergana Valley could be traced back to 500BC when it was part of the mighty Achaemenid Empire. Since then, it has come under the rule of Greco-Bactrian kingdom, Kushan, Sassanid, Hephthalite, Samanid, Karakhanid, the Mongols, and Russia. The land was divided up between Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan when these countries declared independence in the early 1990s."

"The valley played a key role in the opening of the Silk Road. Zhang Qian, (張騫) a renowned diplomat, traveler and explorer, was dispatched by Emperor Wudi of Western Han dynasty (漢武帝) to Dayuan (大宛) in present day Fergana Valley to build an alliance with the Yuezhi (月氏), an Indo-European people, to fight against the aggressive nomadic Xiongnu tribes (匈奴) and to look for the legendary “blood-sweating horses” (汗血馬). While the plan did not materialize, Zhang Qian brought back invaluable information about Central Asia and beyond hitherto unknown to the Chinese imperial court. His exploration opened up ties between China and Central as well as Western Asia, thus initiated the development of the great Silk Road."

"Subsequent to our previous trips to Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, we follow the footsteps of Zhang Qian to visit Fergana Valley in September this year. Major highlights of the trip would include among others, Issyk-kul, a scenic lake surrounded by the snow-capped Tian Shan mountains, the historical site of Suyab, (modern day Ak-Beshim), an ancient town along the Silk Road reputed to be the birth place of Li Bai, (李白), the romantic poet of the Tang dynasty, Osh, one of the oldest settlements in Central Asia, and a major trading post of the Silk Road, Andijan, located on the site of an ancient caravan route linking China with Central Asia and many other interesting and beautiful places."

Dr. Joseph Ting

Resource Person
The University of Hong Kong Museum Society is pleased to present the fourth of a series of Silk Road trips with Dr. Joseph Sun Pao Ting (丁新豹博士).

Dr. Ting graduated with a BA degree in Chinese Literature and Chinese History in 1974, was conferred an MPhil in 1979, and followed by a PhD in 1989 from The University of Hong Kong (HKU).

Dr. Ting began his professional career as Assistant Curator in 1979 at the Hong Kong Museum of Art, was appointed Chief Curator of the Hong Kong Museum of History in 1995 and retired in 2007 after serving for 28 years. He is currently an Honorary Assistant Professor in the HKU School of Chinese, and was an Honorary Research Fellow at the former Centre of Asian Studies. He is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of History at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and a Member, inter alia, of the Antiquities Advisory Board, the Lord Wilson Heritage Trust and the Education Bureau of Hong Kong.

Dr. Ting is the Honorary Advisor to the Hong Kong Museum of Art, the Hong Kong Museum of History, the Hong Kong University Museum and Art Gallery, the Shenzhen Museum and the Guangdong Provincial Museum. He is an Honorary Fellow of the HKU and Hong Kong Institute of Education.

Travel Grantee
In support of scholarship, the Museum Society is proud to fully sponsor Konstance Chuntung Li (李俊彤) to join this trip as a Travel Grantee. He received his BA degree with a double major in English Studies and Fine Arts in 2008 and a MPhil in 2012 from HKU. Konstance was a recipient of the COSF Award, China Oxford Scholarship Fund and completed his Master in Studies in Archeology from the Oxford University in 2015. His dissertation title was "Recent archaeological finds in China have provided a new perspective on the role of the Sogdians in Central Asia and China".