21 September 2007

The Mummies of Urumqi

I couldn't post yesterday because I was too busy reading this book by Elizabeth Wayland Barber. Barber's research includes textiles, archaeology, and linguistics which makes her particularly adept in writing about the mummies of Central Asia and their probable origins. Instead of the wild speculation you often get about these Central Asian mummies, Barber methodically looks at the possibilities of their origins.

I thought the book was a perfect mix of details about textiles, archaeology, and linguistics. Some commenters at Amazon seem to think it's too heavy on the textiles, but if you read more than the first few chapters, you'll find that textiles are only one part of the book. The section on textiles is also clearly explained and diagrammed so even those who know nothing about textiles can understand what Barber is writing about.

The book is well-documented and has a good bibliography (lots of ideas for further reading). Barber is an expert on the subject but assumes the reader isn't really familiar with the area or the subject and explains things clearly (and the many maps are wonderful; too many books skimp on the maps). But even you are familiar with the topic and the area, it's still a fascinating book.

Highly recommended.

No comments:

Post a Comment