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The Mummies of Urumchi Hardcover – 5 Feb 1999

4.6 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan; First Edition edition (5 Feb. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0333730240
  • ISBN-13: 978-0333730249
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 15.8 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 637,160 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

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 Caucasian origin. Where did these people come from? Where did they go? You can find their pale-skinned, light-haired descendants 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 coloured 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 colour photos, maps, and diagrams illustrate Barber's colourful tale of anthropology. --Therese Littleton, Amazon.com

About the Author

Elizabeth Wayland Barber is the author of Women's Work and The Mummies of Urumchi. Professor emerita of archaeology and linguistics at Occidental College, she lives in California. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Calf-length A-line dresses with contrastive piping lead the ladies fashions, in this year of the great burial. Read the first page
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Format: Hardcover
This book is written with compassion,scholarship and wit. Usually esoteric subjects like philology and textile history are transformed by the author's ability to make the reader see into the past and out into the world - a world described with love and a zestful appreciation. Ranging across a multitude of disciplines, intriguing information is presented to nourish discussion and debate, but best of all, everything is invariably described with humanity, wit and a warm-heart. I would like to thank the author for a delightful reading experience.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a well-written and engaging account of the mummified remains of the ancient people of the Tarim Basin housed in the museum in Urumchi. I had expected it to be an analysis of the astonishingly well-preserved textiles, but the book covers a lot more ground than that. There's a lot in depth on historical accounts and lingusitics, as academically wide-ranging as the plains and mountains of central Asia, but expressed clearly for non-specialists. Her central theory of migrations of people from central Europe around 2000 BC is undoubtedly a simplification, and the book does have an old-fashioned feel to it. My chief disappointment is that the photographs, both colour and monochrome are not of the best quality and some of the line drawings too sketchy to be helpful. Poor copy editing means that all the colour plates are misreferenced in the text. I'm sure there must be a better presentation of this subject and material out there or coming soon, but this is a good starting point.
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Format: Hardcover
Fascinating description of archaeological findings and study, unraveling the history of early peoples in the heart of central Asia. Barber is an expert on textiles, and uses her expertise to deduce a lot of interesting and unexpected information about the movement of people thousands of years ago.
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Format: Hardcover
It's some while since I read this book but it's sehr interessant,With plenty of stuff on textiles and perhaps more archaologically absorptive than one would think,Unless one is a keen reenactive fashionista-The origin of many of the oldest Ch'inese words such as 'Mak',Turn out to be Eurasian or Paleo-European in origin,that is,'Mak',is Cognate with words like 'Maha',as in 'Maha-Rajah'(Where the 'Raja' part means 'Reich','Reach', or 'Kingdom')and 'Magi' as in 'Magic' and 'Major' as in the classic Latin for 'Big' or simply 'Great'-Barber also describes the dress of these wandering Eurasian Magi or 'Gandalfs' in 'Welsh' hats and lists the numbers of other Non-Ch'inish words and names found in ancient texts.

As such,Philology can teach us a lot about the past but it can also teach us about identity and thus I recommend this bulky book to Europeans for that reason,For their ancestors are here, Locked in the obscurity that followed the Christian censorship of ancestor worship,ironically normal to those pagan Ch'inese,Who were forced to build the great wall of old Ch'ina to keep the Iranian Scyths,Huns and Oigurs and their horse warrior ilk out,The latter of whose rowdy descendants have been rioting in the New territory or Shinjiang Oigur-If you interest yourself in Textiles,History,Ethnology,then this book has all of that and is also a revelatory read on some other counts,Such as in its description of the various techniques of weaving and so is a worthy addition to any well-read readers philosophical bookhoard-It's depth and detail will fulfill your curiosity.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was a great revelation to me as I have learned so much not only about the mummies but also the importance of textiles in archeology. I loved reading every page and I strongly recommend it.
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