Michael Ashkin

February 13 – March 21, 1998
Main Gallery
Installation Views
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Press Release

"The plains north of Mazar are mostly unpopulated. Today the military uses the area for target practice and ballistics testing….

In the thirteenth century a nomadic tribe, the Adjanib, displaced by Genghis Khan's invasion, settled in the region. They occupied a vas area of the plains for about two centuries and then disappeared, leaving little historical record and no archeological remains. The great Arab traveler, al-Isfahani, spent some time with them on his journey east in the mid-fourteenth century. They spoke a dialect unknown to him, and he was able to compile only a limited lexicon. Several vocabulary entries indicate their conception of the barren and flat landscape that surrounded them.

The area surrounding a shepherd which could be measured by the reach of a rock sling was called dariban. Beyond that was an area called namgan, defined by the distance within which a shepherd could distinguish the features, sex and ownership of grazing goats. Beyond that to the horizon was called isfaran. And finally, beyond the horizon was an area considered somewhat imaginary, called adjnaban. Al-Isfahani makes mention that wherever an Adjanib nomad wandered, he existed perpetually in dariban, never reaching namgan, israran or adjnaban."

From Traveling the Route of Genghis Khan, by Roger McFadden, 1972.