Uncovering Hidden Silk Road Stories: Sogdian Wives, Kroranic Kings and Indian Merchants, with Dr. Susan Whitfield
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the University of Hong Kong Museum Society, our two past chairs, Jean Ho and Margaret Yu are generously sponsoring a dinner lecture with renowned Silk Road scholar, Dr. Susan Whitfield on Uncovering Hidden Silk Road Stories: Sogdian Wives, Kroranic Kings and Indian Merchants. Filled with evocative stories of the ancient past, this fascinating lecture will be presented with dinner at the Chariot Club, which is reputable for its fine Cantonese cuisine. All proceeds from the evening will be donated to The University of Hong Kong Museum Society’s 25th anniversary fund.
The Taklamakan Desert in western China has guarded its past well. Its aridity has preserved Chinese forts, Tocharian vineyards, Buddhist temples and the cemeteries of the diverse people who lived, worked and died there since the heyday of the Silk Road in the first millennium. For over a thousand years, this past remained hidden and largely forgotten until serendipitous finds in the late 19th century awakened the interest of scholars excited by the potential of the relatively new discipline of archaeology. A century later, the desert continues to reveal fresh insights to new generations of archaeologists. In this illustrated talk, Susan Whitfield will tell the stories of some of these archaeologists, and the peoples whose lives their work has uncovered.
Dr. Susan Whitfield is a historian of medieval China and the Silk Road, and curator of the Stein and related collections of 50,000 Central Asian manuscripts from Dunhuang and other Silk Road sites at the British Library. An international lecturer, she has curated several major exhibitions and published many books and articles related to the history of the Silk Road.
An essential part of Whitfield’s work at the British Library is in preserving collections for future generations while making them fully accessible to this generation. In 1994, she was instrumental in establishing the International Dunhuang Project (IDP), an international collaboration with colleagues worldwide to achieve these aims. With ten major partners hosting multilingual websites in IDP Centres worldwide, it makes hundreds of thousands of images of the Silk Road archaeological artefacts and manuscripts from sites throughout Chinese Central Asia accessible together for the first time.
Most recently, Dr. Whitfield has started work with British Library colleagues to develop projects with institutions and scholars in Afghanistan. She is currently working on a book and several articles, as well as a complete redesign of the IDP database.