The 2000-year-old mummies of Ürümchi, found in central Asia along the famed Silk Road trading route, are so well preserved as to show clearly that they seem to be of Caucasoid origin. Where did these people come from? Where did they go? You can find their pale-skinned, light-haired descendents among the people of the region, but the story of their presence in this forbidding land leaves more mysteries than it answers. Mass migrations during the Bronze Age scattered many peoples across Europe and Asia, and these startlingly lively-looking mummies may help answer some questions about this period of human history. Their intact, fantastically colored and patterned clothing captures much of author Elizabeth Wayland Barber's attention--she is an expert on prehistoric textiles. Her enthusiastic descriptions of the sewing skills of these migrant people, while focusing on details, lend an immediacy to this fascinating tale. Black-and-white as well as color photos, maps, and diagrams illustrate Barber's colorful tale of anthropology. --Therese Littleton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
In 1994, a most astonishing discovery was made in Western China. Incredibly well-preserved mummies dating back 2000 years were unearthed in this remote region?mummies with large, colorful wardrobes, mummies that were distinctively Caucasian. The mystery of what six-foot-tall, fair-haired people were doing in China at the time took Barber, an expert on ancient textiles at Occidental College in L.A., to the desert city of Urumchi in 1995, where archeologists at the site hoped that her expertise might help them understand what these unlikely people were doing there. She had excellent material to work with: the mummies were in such remarkable condition that they still had full heads of hair and beards, and their skin was only slightly weathered. Most had been buried with plenty of brightly colored clothes to wear (one man was buried with 10 hats, each a different style), which gave Barber a treasure-trove of textiles with which to work. Barber structures her tale as a mystery, revealing information piecemeal until she presents her conclusions about the origin of the mummies. In the process, she treats readers to a lively story about the ebb and flow of ancient cultures, a story largely deduced from the development of weaving, dyeing, embroidery and fashion. Barber's hypothesis about how Caucasian mummies wound up in Urumchi, which has something to do with the Silk Road, is so clear and logical that readers will be satisfied that all relevant possibilities have been thoroughly examined. The only thing lacking is information on how to pronounce Urumchi. 16 pages of color photos; 50 b&w drawings.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Slightly dry writing, but I wanted to know more aobut these mummies of European origin that were found in China. Fascinating story, the facts seem right.Published 5 months ago by M. Pelland
Love this ... not only great research and information, but a narrative that is interesting and pulls one forward through the book.Published 13 months ago by L. Dusseault
Fascinating reading. In another lifetime I surely will be an anthropologist and be researching things like this. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Frances J Nelson
This is a good book to start with if you want some basic knowledge of 'European' peoples in East Central Asia, but for me it is more about textiles and the like than any really... Read morePublished on July 3, 2013 by T. S. C.
Having been intrigued with archaeology and having a love affair with textiles for many years, I found this book to be very interesting on both levels. Read morePublished on September 28, 2012 by Spikola
I am self taught in Hebrew and have raised Icelandic Sheep, spun and spindled .. I was interested to compare 1."cloth now and then" excellent report .. Read morePublished on November 28, 2011 by Noche
I am not an expert in textiles, so I can't verify this information and it IS an 11 year old book at this time, maybe more information has come to light, but I sure enjoyed the... Read morePublished on November 15, 2010 by Rowan
Okay, not a novel: this is an investigation into the facts. The facts are thousands of years old. The detective work is brand new. Read morePublished on October 28, 2009 by W. Vouk
Elizabeth Wayland Barber's book on the well-preserved mummies of Urumchi offers intriguing explanations of what an important role textiles can play in archaeology. Read morePublished on August 22, 2009 by Filiz