The concept of tomb under the nomadic traditions: redefining the tombs of Khitan nobles in the Liaq Empire (907-1125 CE) Public Deposited

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  • March 22, 2019
  • Lu, Qi
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Art and Art History
  • In this thesis, I examine the tombs of Khitan nobles in the Liao Empire (907-1125 CE), established by the Khitan, nomadic people originating from the steppe zone of the Eurasian landmass. I redefine the concept of the tomb of the Khitan in Liao Empire within within this larger geographic and cultural context during the Middle Period, approximately the tenth through thirteenth centuries. The Khitan had an early burial history of not burying the deceased in the tombs, but placing them on the trees in the mountain and cremating the remains three years later. However, the Khitan built Chinese-looking tombs during the Liao period once they had intimate interactions with the Chinese. I argue that although the Khitan learn from the Chinese to build tombs, they changed the Chinese concept of tomb and applied the Chinese forms to gradually concretize a unique Khitan understanding of burial. Tomb, for the Khitan, is not supposed to be an enduring posthumous residence but a space that enables the ephemeral ritual practice to happen on the deceased and transform the body.
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  • In Copyright
  • Lin, Wei-Cheng
  • Master of Arts
Graduation year
  • 2014

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