Eurasian Silver

A 6th- to 8th-century silver bowl display at the Perm Regional Museum, Perm, Russia, which I visited for research in July 2018 (author’s own photograph)

Eurasian Silver is a digital knowledge-sharing platform that I created to undertake foundational research for my second book project.  Provisionally titled, Creating Cosmopolitanism: the Banquet in Central Eurasia (5th–13th century CE), the book will explore how the material culture circulated at dinner and drinking parties was an integral component for negotiating cross-cultural relations. 

With silver vessels operating as the footholds for the book, I built this website to comprehensively map surviving Iranian and Central Asian banqueting vessels found in hoards thousands of kilometers north across the Steppe, Taiga, and Tundra. The data presented on this website is focused on provenance, mapping, and historiography. The corpus of fifth- through thirteenth-century silver vessels is extraordinarily rich. However, only a handful of objects– most without provenance– in American or Western European collections are regularly researched and published, and citations are too often limited to works in English, French or German. This imbalance is often the result of inaccessibility to materials held in collections across Eurasia or publications only available in Russian and other Slavic languages. Thus I envision this platform as a foundation from which future studies can jump by pooling together raw data on objects and essential bibliographies, as well as a network for communication between researchers, curators, archivists, and librarians.

This project runs in dialogue with the current work of Arkadii Baulo, Tat’iana Chichko, and Natal’ia Fedorova, whose research investigates the movement and later lives of Eurasian silver vessels. It builds on the foundational knowledge established in the first half of the twentieth century by Valerii Chernetsov, Iakov Smirnov,  and Kamilla Trever, and the rigorous studies undertaken in the second half of the twentieth century by Vladislav Darkevich, Boris Marshak, and Vasilii Leshchenko.