Who were the Tanguts and Why study them

Date: You need to load the T4EventsCalendar Class 17 May 2024
Time: 14:00 - 16:00

Among political regimes established in the Central Plains during the 10-13th centuries, the Tangut Realm occupies a specific position. The Tangut tribes, known in the traditional sources as the dangxiang 党項 were not indigenous to the area of the great loop of the Yellow River, but migrated from the intersection of modern Qinghai and Sichuan provinces, i.e. from the mountainous areas of the Eastern fringes of the Tibetan Plateau. Unlike their contemporaries, the Kitan and Jurcen, who spoke variations of Mongolic languages, the Tanguts were Tibeto-Burman speakers, and their languages remains the best documented TB language, apart from Tibetan. The original title of the Tangut state, normally known as the “Western Xia” 西夏 in the Chinese records, was in the fact “The Great State of White and High”, reminiscent of both their geographical origins, and of certain mythological connotations, many of which remain to be clarified. In the talk we will discuss the hypothesis of the Tangut ethnic origins, the most characteristic features of the Tangut civilization, including their unique language and script, and will try to show the continuity of the Tangut culture during the Yuan and Ming periods. We will specifically concentrate on the indigenous materials, including Tangut poetry and didactic literature, which is now becoming increasingly known to a wider scholarly community. We will also discuss the perpectives of the Tangut studies. Kirill Solonin currently holds the position of professor at the School of Chinese Classics, Renmin University of China. He obtained the degree of Doctor of Science from Saint Petersburg State University. As a leading scholar in his fields, Solonin’s research concentrates on Tangut studies, the history of religions, linguistics and philology. His significant contributions include Двенадцать Царств (1995), 大鹏展翅:藏传新旧密咒在西夏的传播 (2022), and "Śāntideva’s Bodhicaryāvatāra in Tangut Translation" (co-authored with Shintaro Arakawa in 2024).

Campus Location

Arts Building


All levels


One-time event

Type of Event

Lectures and Seminars,Public


Researchers,Retired Staff,Undergrad,Postgrad,Alumni,Faculty & Staff,Public

Contact Name

Nathan Hill

Contact Email


All levels


TRiSS Seminar Room, Arts Building, sixth floor