With the rise of the Han Dynasty in China, the Silk trade between China and countries as far away as Iran flourished. However, silk was by no means the only merchandise that was traded between China and the West. The merchants, who were envied, esteemed and despised, led dangerous nomadic lives. Their caravans were often joined by missionaries, and merchants played a crucial role in favouring cultural exchange and the propagation of religions.
The first researcher of the Manichaean texts kept in the Asiatic Museum was it director (from 1890 to 1916) Academician Carl Germanovich Salemann (1849–1916). From the beginning of the 20th century up to his demise, he studied the Manichaean texts from Eastern Turkestan in the Middle Iranian languages: Middle Persian, Parthian and Sogdian. The collection of the Asiatic Museum (IOM RAS) included a considerable number of fragments of Manichaean texts in those languages, as well as in Chinese and Uighur...
In 1960 the participants in the International Congress of Orientalists in Moscow were offered an excursion to Leningrad. During the trip, two Sinologists (one of them from a western country, the other from the East) visited the Leningrad Branch of the Institute of the Peoples of Asia of the USSR Academy of Sciences (now the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts of the Russian Academy of Sciences) and discovered for themselves the collection of manuscripts from Dunhuang, of which nearly nothing had been previously known abroad.
The Tangut Collection of the IOM RAS originated from the dead city called Khara-Khoto by the Mongols, Heishuicheng by the Chinese and Ejina by the Tanguts themselves. The ruins of Khara-Khoto are located at a distance of about 40 km from the aimag (district) Ejina of the Autonomous Province of Inner Mongolia in the People’s Republic of China.
The Arabic language spread all over the former Islamic State from the Atlantic Ocean to the banks of the Indus. The advent of Islam, therefore, marked a crucial stage in the history of the Arabic language. Contacts between the Arabic world and modern Europe in the 18th/19th century left major imprints on the Arabic language and converted classical Arabic into modern Arabic. Also Arabic grammar and lexicography went through different stages of development in the last centuries.
Orhon scripts should be named according to the place they are discovered. The discovery of the monuments bearing these scripts enables the founding and development of ancient Turkish studies. An atlas of all the monuments with Orhon scripts is urgently needed. To study these monuments requires interdisciplinary and international collaboration.
Garhwali is spoken by 279,500 people in northern India, principally in Uttarakhand. Read more about this language on the UNESCO Atlas of Languages in Danger website.
Kati is spoken by 15,000 people in Afghanistan, where it is a statutory language of provincial identity in the Nuristan Province. It is also spoken in Pakistan. Read more about this language on the UNESCO Atlas of Languages in Danger website.
Swahili is the national language of Tanzania, spoken by at least 15,000,000 people across the country (according to a survey from 2012). It is also the national language of Kenya, where the language is known as Kiswahili, and is spoken in Somalia. Read more about this language on the Ethnologue website.
The national language of Mongolia, Mongolian is spoken by 2,330,000 people across the country (according to a census from 1995). It is also spoken in the Buryat region of the Russian Federation. Read more about this language on the Ethnologue website.