This archaeological and art-historical study is woven around rock art and ancient metallic articles attributed to Tibet. The silver bowls, gold finial, and copper alloy spouted jars and trapezoidal plaques featured are assigned to the Iron Age and Protohistoric period. These rare objects are adorned with zoomorphic subjects mimicking those found in rock art and embody an artistic zeitgeist widely diffused in Central Eurasia in Late Prehistory. Diverse sources of inspiration and technological capability are revealed in these objects and rock art, shedding light on their transcultural dimension. The archaeological and aesthetic materials in this work prefigure the Tibetan cosmopolitanism of early historic times promoted through the spread of Buddhist ideas, art and craft from abroad. The metallic articles and petroglyphs of this study are markers of relationships between Tibet and her neighbours. These transactions enabled a fusion of Tibetan innovation and foreign inventiveness, a synthesis of disparate ideas, aesthetics and technologies in the objects and rock art presented.
John Vincent Bellezza PhD is an archaeologist and cultural historian specializing in the pre-Buddhist heritage of Tibet. Author of twelve books and numerous articles, Bellezza has over many years comprehensively charted archaic monuments and rock art in Upper Tibet and has worked extensively on Old Tibetan mytho-ritual texts.
I have never encountered a work of this depth on these regions of East and Inner Asia. What is more, Bellezza demonstrates a deep knowledge of the existing research literature from the past 40+ years and is able to weave his citations and observations together effectively to make a very important argument linking the Tibetan cultural sphere into the larger Inner Asian region. This is a rare, significant, and welcome contribution to academic research on ancient Tibet.’ Professor William Honeychurch, Yale University
‘There is a broad range of scholars who would find this volume of interest, including Tibetologists, art historians of Central and East Asia, archaeologists, and historians.’ Professor Mark Aldenderfer, UC Merced