"The Dragon and the Pearl: Late Antique Christian Renditions of a Eurasian Motif"
Dragons chasing or guarding pearls became a popular motif throughout medieval Eurasia. This presentation considers three renditions of the dragon-and-pearl motif in the art and literature of the Syriac Christian tradition. Moving from late antique Mesopotamia to Syria to the Tang Dynasty capital of Xian (Chang'an), the presentation highlights the process of adaptation and cultural blending that facilitated Christianity's spread across Eurasia.
Joel Walker (Associate Professor, History) is a historian of Late Antiquity, whose research focuses on the East Syrian or "Nestorian" Christian traditions of Mesopotamia, Iran, and Central Asia. At the University of Washington, he teaches courses on the Ancient World, Late Antiquity, Jerusalem, and animal-human relations.