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Two German missions, a Polish one, and another French one (in Tajikistan) are also operating, but they specialize in the pre- and proto-historical periods which are not covered in the present paper. The same remark applies the two Russian volumes, which however recommend themselves (even to those who do not read Russian) by their plates combining on a homogeneous scale selections of material representative from all regions and sub-periods.
Another decisive factor in the development of Sogdian studies has been the recent recognition of the Sogdian influx as a major factor in the cultural history of China in the Wei, Qi, Song and early Tang periods (fifth to eighth centuries) after many years of indifference or actual denial by Chinese scholars. Grenet, Frantz et collaborateurs: L’Asie centrale préislamique. Téhéran- Paris: Institut Français de Recherche en Iran, 1988 (Abstracta Iranica, volume horssérie 3) [reprint of reviews published in Abstracta Iranica 1-10, with supplement and indexes; continued, mainly by É.
In reality, Sogdian studies have never ceased being cultivated in the West since the beginning of the 20th century, but for the main part had been confined to philologists working on the text material brought back by the British, German, French, and Russian expeditions in the Tarim region. Drevneishie gosudarstva Kavkaza i Srednei Azii [The most ancient states of the Caucasus and Central Asia]. “The Sogdian Ancient Letter V.” Bulletin of the Asia Institute, 12 (1998 ), 91-104. “The last days of Panjikent.” Silk Road Art and Archaeology, 8 (2002), 155-196. Osaka: The Society of Central Eurasian Studies, 1999. Sogdian and other Iranian inscriptions of the Upper Indus.
The Sogdian part of this material is now fully published, except for some stray fragments. Moscow: “Nauka,” 1985 (series Arkheologiia SSSR) Litvinskij, Boris A. Rahden / Westf.: Leidorf, 1998 (Archäologie in Iran und Turan, Bd. The two volumes of the UNESCO History of civilizations of Central Asia which cover the period under examination are very unevenly reliable and were loosely coordinated.
In contrast, Western museums had contained very few items from Sogdiana (mostly coins), and just a few of these objects originated from Sogdian colonies in China (the funerary reliefs from Anyang and the religious image from the Pelliot collection, only recently recognized as Sogdian). This inconvenience, does not, however, much affect the chapters concerning Sogdiana, which were entrusted to competent archaeologists, albeit too many (Mukhamedjanov, Litvinsky, Negmatov, Zadneprovskiy, Zeimal, Marshak, Zhang Guang-da). 4) References in Russian (marked by an asterisk) have been kept to a minimum, i.e. to materials which have not been channelled through a Western language. The main reason for the blossoming of Sogdian studies has been, on the one hand, better communication among the specialists involved, and, on the other hand, chance discoveries in China, which have added a new angle to the perception of the historical role of the Sogdians. Sims-Williams provides an update for Gershevitch’s Grammar which remains indispensable (not only for the Manichean variant of the Sogdian language). Archaeological information from the Soviet republics, hitherto very sparsely disseminated in Western publications, has quite suddenly become more abundant. Yutaka Yoshida has announced The Sogdian language, a textbook which will be most useful.