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The Sasanian dynasty was a state that ruled in Persia (modern Iran, Iraq, and neighboring countries) from 224 to 651 CE. While the Sasanian state religion was Zoroastrianism, the empire also contained major Christian, Jewish, Manichaean, Buddhist, and Hindu populations. In 637, the Sasanians were decisively defeated by the Arab Muslims, paving the way for the conversion of most of Central Asia to Islam. Sasanian traders and envoys (including Sogdians) reached from India to the Mediterranean to China, and their culture and arts continued to be a major influence on Central Asian civilization even after the empire fell. In Tibetan, Inner Asian, and Chinese contexts, Sasanian metalwork, such as silver and gold vessels, and silks with distinctive intricately woven patterns were prized and often emulated.