Discovery, Reconstruction and Appropriation. Second Edition, Revised, Updated and Expanded
by Tjalling H.F. Halbertsma, University of Groningen
Publication Date: February 2015
Copyright Year: 2015
The early Christian presence in Inner Mongolia forms the subject of this book. These Nestorian remains must primarily be attributed to the Öngüt, a Turkic people closely allied to the Mongols. Writing in Syriac, Uighur and Chinese scripts and languages, the Nestorian Öngüt drew upon a variety of religions and cultures to decorate their gravestones with crosses rising from lotus flowers, dragons and Taoist imagery. This heritage also portrays designs found in the Islamic world. Taking a closer look at the discovery of this material and its significance for the study of the early Church of the East under the Mongols, the author reconstructs the Nestorian culture of the Öngüt.
The reader will find many newly discovered objects not published before. At the same time this study demonstrates how many remaining objects were appropriated and, in many cases, vanished after their discovery.
'I find myself obliged to make a special effort to avoid over-praising this book, a treasure-house of information, drawn on a comprehensive array of sources, some of them hitherto untapped, and splendidly presented on the important subject of Christian presence in East Asia.'
DENIS SINOR, (Indiana University), Journal of Asian History, 43/1 (2009)