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Past Event

Saturday University: The Begram Hoard of Afghanistan

Oct 12 2019

Seattle Art Museum

Plestcheeff Auditorium

10 AM – 11:30 AM

Silk Roads Revealed: The Begram Hoard of Afghanistan
Sanjyot Mehendale, Tang Center for Silk Road Studies, University of California, Berkeley

The ancient site of Begram in Afghanistan revealed a cache of extraordinary objects traded along Eurasian trading networks, commonly referred to as the Silk Road. These include Roman glassware and bronzes, Chinese lacquer, and a significant number of ivory and bone carvings. The Begram hoard offers a glimpse into the nature of international sea and overland trade and the extent of cross-cultural exchanges among the Roman, Parthian, Kushan, and Han empires. Many individual objects also present visual narratives. This talk will take a close look at the images of women on the ivory and bone carvings and consider whether they might depict dramatic enactments.

About the Presenter

Sanjyot Mehendale is Director of the Tang Center for Silk Road Studies, at the University of California, Berkeley. She is an archaeologist specializing in trade and cultural exchange of the early Common Era, and has worked extensively in Afghanistan and Uzbekistan. She has also worked in Sri Lanka, especially on the excavation of a shipwreck off its southern coast carrying merchandise from the ancient Near East.

Please join us for coffee and tea in the South Hall at 9:30 am when doors open.


OCT 12

Silk Roads Revealed: The Begram Hoard of Afghanistan

OCT 19

Picturing the Buddha’s Last Moment c. 840 CE

OCT 26

The Maritime Silk Road: Goods, Ships and Cultural Diversity


Authenticity and the Reproduction of Buddhist Art and Artifacts in Medieval China


Zoroastrian and Manichean Arts of the Silk Roads

JAN 11

Silk and the Logics of Cosmopolitan Empire in Tang China

JAN 18

The 21st Century Silk Road: China’s Belt and Road Initiative



Full series tickets: $76; SAM members $43
Individual lecture tickets available at the door: $11, SAM members $7; free at the door for students with ID
Please arrive to your seat 10 minutes before the program starts, or your seat may be released.

Image: Afghanistan, Kabul, National Museum of Afghanistan, Begram Ivories from Kapissa, found in vaults in Presidential Palace. Danita Delimont / Alamy Stock Photo.

The Seattle Art Museum acknowledges that we are located on the ancestral land of the Coast Salish people.