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CANCELLED: Pourdavoud Lecture Series: Wu Xin

May 8 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Royce 306,

It is with sincere regret that we have decided to cancel the upcoming lecture by Professor Wu Xin. Our campus, like many others across the country, is experiencing turbulent times with ongoing protests. We will reschedule this event at a later date when we will be able to welcome safely to campus our friends and colleagues.


Regal Metamorphosis: A Transcultural Journey of the Achaemenid Royal Women to the East

Xiwangmu, also known as the Queen of the West, is a significant deity in ancient Chinese mythology, revered initially as the protector of departed souls. Her representation emerged during the late Western Han period around the 1st century BCE. Scholars have drawn parallels with Western deities such as Astarte, Kybele, and Athena, yet little attention has been given to the origins of her function in Chinese funerary art. Analysis suggests that her origin lies in the queenly figures of the Achaemenid royal court. Through trade and intermarriage, Persian noblewomen engaged with the Eurasian steppe nomads, especially the Sakas, who acted as cultural intermediaries between the Achaemenid court, the steppe, and China. This cultural exchange across Eurasia facilitated the transformation of Persian royal women into Chinese divine protectors.

About the Speaker

Wu Xin received her undergraduate and master’s training at Beijing University, focusing on Chinese archaeology and Central Asian Buddhist Art. She earned her PhD at the University of Pennsylvania, specializing in the art and archaeology of the ancient Near East. Her dissertation, titled “Central Asia in the Context of the Achaemenid Persian Empire (6th to 4th Centuries B.C.),” reflects her interest in the interactions between Central Asia and the Achaemenid imperial power. With extensive experience in archaeological projects, Wu Xin directed the Kyzyltepa Project in Uzbekistan and is finalizing a monograph titled Persia and the East, which presents her renewed scholarship on the relationships between Central Asia, the Eurasian steppe, and the Achaemenid Empire. Previously a professor in the Department of History at Fudan University in Shanghai, Wu Xin currently serves as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology at Bryn Mawr College.


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May 8
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
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Royce 306