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The figure, captured in mid action, held the reign of a horse or camel in his left hand.
Although “Barbarian” foreigners were depicted in a stereotypical manner, specialists all agree that figures wearing conical felt hats can be identified as Sogdians. This type of hat was characteristic of the inhabitants of ancient Sogdiana, a land extending over part of modern-day Uzbekistan, Tajikstan and Afghanistan. The Sogdians themselves are thought to have been settled Iranianised Scythians.
Sogdian merchants played a crucial role in international trade. Their language of ancient Iranian origins served for centuries as a lingua franca throughout central Asia. After the Arab conquest they were gradually supplanted by the Khotanese and the Uighurs, who came from principalities located farther east along the Silk Road.