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YINAN AND MYLASA: SINO-HELLENIC EXCHANGES IN TOMB ARCHITECTURE

By July 29, 2022July 31st, 2022New, Vol. 8.3

by Di Luo

ABSTRACT

This paper compares the lantern ceilings of Han and Wei-Jin period tombs in China with similar contempora-neous and earlier examples found in Korea and Anatolia. Highlighting 13 tombs with illustrations, I question whether or not such visual and technological connections imply the transmission of architectural knowledge across long distances during or prior to the opening of the Silk Road. By tracing specific roofing techniques to burials in the 4th – 2nd century BCE near the Black Sea and Northeast Asia, I suggest that the corbel vault—from where the lantern ceiling emerged—had been widely distributed across Eurasia probably via the no-madic “steppe highway,” setting the stage for later flourishing of the square-and-diamond lantern structure before Buddhism entered the global stage.

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