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Encyclopedia > Tocharian

Tocharian refers to an Indo-European culture that inhabited the Tarim basin in what is now Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, northwestern People's Republic of China. The people who belonged to this culture are referred to as Tocharians.

The Tocharians spoke an Indo-European language sometimes referred to as Kuchean. There is evidence both from mummies and Chinese writings that many of them had blond or red hair and blue eyes. This suggests the possibility that they were part of an early Indo-European migration from Armenia that ended in what is now the northwestern P.R.C.

The Kingdom of Khotan was one of the centers of this ancient civilization.

Textile analysis has shown some similarities to the Iron Age civilizations of Europe. One of the unusual finds with one of the mummies was a classical "witch's hat", which was worn by the witches of European myth, suggesting very ancient Indo-European roots for this tradition.

Women also wore the same kind of skirts as have been found preserved in graves from the Nordic Bronze Age.

Protected by the Taklamakan desert from steppe nomads, the Tocharian culture survived past the 7th century.

See also

  Results from FactBites:
Tocharian - encyclopedia article about Tocharian. (2604 words)
Tocharian A of the eastern regions seems to have declined in use as a popular language or mother tongue faster than did Tocharian B of the west.
Tocharian A speakers probably yielded their original language to Turkic languages of immigrating Turkic peoples, while Tocharian B speakers were more insulated from outside linguistic influences.
The native name of the historical Tocharians of the 6th to 8th centuries was, according to J. Mallory, possibly kuśiññe "Kuchean" (Tocharian B), "of the kingdom of Kucha and Agni", and ārśi (Tocharian A); one of the Tocharian A texts has ārśi-käntwā, "In the tongue of Arsi" (ārśi is probably cognate to argenteus, i.e.
  More results at FactBites »



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