Frantz Grenet, More Zoroastrian Scenes on the Wirkak (Shi Jun) Sarcophagus

This article is a response to Zs. Gulacsi and J. BeDuhn, "The Religion of Wirkak and Wiyusi," published in the previous issue of the BAI about the Wirkak (Shi Jun) Sino-Sogdian sarcophagus (579 c.e.). Their interpretation of the entire set of religious panels as Zoroastrian (and not, as hitherto assumed including by the present author, syncretic Zoroastrian-Manichaean) is accepted, as well as the identification of the preaching figure of panel 1 as the Sōshans. Two scenes hitherto misinterpreted or unexplained also find precise parallels in Pahlavi texts: panel 8 (the souls imploring the triad Good Thoughts, Good Words, Good Deeds during the three nights after death), and the top of panel 10 (the struggle between the Good Dēn and the Bad Dēn). The ascetic figure on top of panel 8 is tentatively identified as Zoroaster.