Dr. Mariachiara Gasparini: From Wool to Silk and Back: Development and Evolution of the Eurasian Roundel Motif

Dr. Mariachiara Gasparini

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Photo courtesy of Carlo Cristi Collection

In the 6th century, roundel motifs began to appear on wool and silk textiles in Chinese and Iranian territories. Through the spreading of Buddhism and Islam in the 8th century, textiles with beaded, lobed, and flowery roundels spread across Eurasia; they have been found in Christian Cathedral treasuries, Egyptian and Japanese repositories, and various archaeological sites. Often used as money by the Chinese, these textiles mainly crossed the borders of empires and kingdoms as diplomatic gifts. This talk examines the textile roundel motif from its development to the various adaptations until the 10th century, including material from the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau.

Dr. Gasparini is Assistant Professor of Chinese Art and Architectural History at the University of Oregon. Previously she taught at the University of California Riverside, San Jose State University, San Francisco State University, and Santa Clara University. She studied Oriental Languages and Civilizations at the University of Naples “L’ Orientale” and East Asian Art at Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London (University of Manchester). In 2015, she completed her Ph.D. in Transcultural Studies: Global Art History at the Cluster of Excellence Asia and Europe in a Global Context at Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg, Germany. Her interests include historical, theoretical, and visual investigation of the history of Eurasian art and culture. In particular, her research focuses on Central Asian textiles, material culture, wall painting, artist’s praxis, and Sino-Iranian and Turko-Mongol interactions.

She is the author of Transcending Patterns: Silk Road Cultural and Artistic Interactions through Central Asian Textiles (University of Hawai’i Press, 2019), and is currently coediting Trade and Industry: Global Circulation of Local Manufacture, and the Migration and Consumption of Textile Products, both Historically and Contemporaneously. Volume 6. Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of World Textiles (Forthcoming in 2023).

She is Henry Luce Foundation/ACLS Program in China Studies Early Career Fellow 21-22

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