I. Political change in West and Central Asia.
A. Rome and Byzantium.
B. Parthians (ca. 250 BCE- ) and Sasanians (ca. 224 CE- ).
C. The Turkish Empires (552-745 CE).
D. The Uighurs (745-840 CE).
E. The rise of Islam (622 CE- ) and its spread into Central Asia (ca. 720 CE- )
II. The lessons of the Nestorian inscription.
A. Coincidence (?) of Nestorians' appearance when Xuanzang in India.
B. Syrian monks on the Silk Road.
C. The role of foreigners in Chinese affairs.
D. Openness to various religious beliefs.
E. Reliance on Imperial patronage. F. A look ahead: the importance of Nestorians under the Mongols.
III. Images of foreigners.
A. In painting.
B. In funerary sculptures (mingqi).
IV. Foreign fashions at the T'ang court.
B. Fabrics: Western (esp. Sasanian and Sogdian) motifs in China; also Chinese motifs in Central Asia.
C. Foreign entertainments.1. Title IX at the T'ang court.D. "Traditionalist" responses to the undermining of traditional values.
2. Acrobats and jugglers.
3. Dance and music.
V. Imports of material objects from the west.
B. The response to foreign metalwork: examples of indigenization.1. Western (esp. Iranian) silver and gold; its impact on T'ang pottery.
2. Jewelry: the evidence from images of Avalokiteshvara and from Li Jingxun's tomb.