Monday, 30 December 2019

Non-Han Literature Along the Silk Road

by Xiao Li (Editor)

  • Hardcover: 151 pages
  • Publisher: Springer; 1st ed. 2020 edition (2 April 2020)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9811396434

This volume includes outstanding scientific articles on documents written in ancient languages such as Tocharian, Sogdian, Khotanese, and Old Uyghur. Its chief aims are to contribute to the present state of research by adding essential findings on newly discovered historical documents; to present a multi-dimensional investigation of diverse aspects including the history, religion, art, literature, and social life along the Silk Road; and to outline potential future research directions for non-Han literature studies and inspire research into other aspects, such as economics and comparative studies.

    About the Author

Dr. Xiao Li, a professor at the School of Chinese Classics, Renmin University of China, has participated in archaeological fieldwork and pursued extensive research on the prehistoric and historical periods in northwestern China and Central Asia. With his outstanding experience, both in fieldwork and theoretical research, he has considerable expertise in the archaeology and history of Xinjiang, the origin and development of the central Asian civilizations, and the modes of interactions between Xinjiang and Central Asia.

Friday, 27 December 2019

Caravanserai: Traces, Places, Dialogue in the Middle East

By Tom Schutyser

  • Hardcover: 180 pages
  • Publisher: 5 Continents Editions; Bilingual Edition: English & French ed. edition (30 Jan. 2019)
  • Language: English, French
  • ISBN-10: 887439604X

A 'caravanserai' is a roadside inn found along ancient caravan routes in the Muslim world. For centuries the caravanserais served as staging posts in the Middle East and Central Asia, providing accommodation to traders, pilgrims, and other travellers along the Silk Road that connected China, India, and Europe. The caravanserais were vital nodes in what was in effect the first globalised overland network and trading system. Thousands of these caravanserais were built and successfully operated. They survived empires, caliphates and wars until the demise of the caravan trade. Those that have not vanished, have become crumbling ruins, or survive as hotels, museums, shops, storage space, living quarters, or military outposts. In the tumultuous state of relations between the Western and Muslim worlds today, the caravanserais stand as evidence of ancient multi-cultural exchange and trade. They inspire the quest to find such new platforms of multi-cultural dialogue for the future.

Belgian photographer Tom Schutyser has travelled the Silk Road numerous times in fifteen years, first photographing caravanserais in northeast Iran. For this project, Schutyser chose the levant region of Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan, photographing both ruined and restored caravanserais as well as the landscape and surroundings of these buildings, seeking to capture the sense of history still present in these places. His stunning, powerful photographs, illuminated by contributions from some of the most eminent writers, thinkers, and journalists specialising in the Middle East and foreign relations, combine to present a new dimension on the debate about the region as it is today.

Text in English and French.

      About the Author

Tom Schutyser is a Belgian documentary photographer and researcher who specialises in architecture and history. His coverage of caravanserais has been shown in galleries in Paris, Beirut, and Portland, Oregon. Andrew Lawler, a contributing editor to science and archaeology magazines, also writes for Smithsonian, Discover, National Geographic and other publications. Reza Aslan, a scholar of religions and Professor of Creative Writing at University of California at Riverside, a member of the Council on Foreign relations and a bestselling author. Rachid al-Daif is a writer whose novels have been translated from Arabic into eleven languages. Robert Fisk is a multiple award-winning journalist on the Middle East, based in Beirut. He writes for The Independent and other publications. Dominique Moïsi is a senior adviser at the French Institute for International relations (IFrI), and the author of several books on international affairs. Paul Salem is director of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Middle East Center.

Thursday, 26 December 2019

The Mongols in Iran: Qutb Al-Din Shirazi's Akhbar-i Moghulan

  • By George Lane

  • Hardcover: 136 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (7 May 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1138500526

The polymath, Qutb al-Dīn Shīrāzī, operated at the heart of the Ilkhanate state (1258–1335) from its inception under Hulegu. He worked alongside the scientist and political adviser, Nasir al-Dīn Ṭūsī, who had the ear of the Ilkhans and all their chief ministers. 

The Mongols in Iran provides an annotated, paraphrased translation of a thirteenth-century historical chronicle penned, though not necessarily authored, by Quṭb al-Dīn Shīrāzī. This chronicle, a patchwork of anecdotes, detailed accounts, diary entries and observations, comprises the notes and drafts of a larger, unknown, and probably lost historical work. It is specific, factual, and devoid of the rhetorical hyperbole and verbal arabesques so beloved of other writers of the period. It outlines the early years of the Chinggisid empire, recounts the rule of Hulegu Khan and his son Abaqa, and finally, details the travails and ultimate demise and death of Abaqa’s brother and would be successor, Ahmad Tegudar. Shirazi paints the Mongol khans in a positive light and opens his chronicle with a portrait of Chinggis Khan in almost hallowed terms. 
Throwing new light on well-known personalities and events from the early Ilkhanate, this book will appeal to anyone studying the Mongol Empire, Medieaval History, and Persian Literature.

Wednesday, 25 December 2019

Making Mongol History: Rashid Al-Din and the Jami' Al-Tawarikh

by Stefan Kamola

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Edinburgh University Press (31 Aug. 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1474421423

This book examines the life and work of Rashid al-Din Tabib (d. 1318), the most powerful statesman working for the Mongol Ilkhans in the Middle East. It begins with an overview of administrative history and historiography in the early Ilkhanate, culminating with Rashid al-Din's Blessed History of Ghazan, the indispensable source for Mongol and Ilkhanid history. Later chapters lay out the results of the most comprehensive study to date of the manuscripts of Rashid al-Din's historical writing. The complicated relationship between Rashid al-Din's historical and theological writings is also explored, as well as his appropriation of the work of his contemporary historian, `Abd Allah Qashani

The Muslim Merchants of Premodern China: The History of a Maritime Asian Trade Diaspora, 750-1400

by John W. Chaffee

  • Paperback: 212 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (23 Aug. 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1107684048

In this major new history of Muslim merchants and their trade links with China, John W. Chaffee uncovers 700 years of history, from the eighth century, when Muslim communities first established themselves in southeastern China, through the fourteenth century, when trade all but ceased. These were extraordinary and tumultuous times. Under the Song and the Mongols, the Muslim diaspora in China flourished as legal and economic ties were formalized. At other times the Muslim community suffered hostility and persecution. Chaffee shows how the policies of successive dynastic regimes in China combined with geopolitical developments across maritime Asia to affect the fortunes of Muslim communities. He explores social and cultural exchanges, and how connections were maintained through faith and a common acceptance of Muslim law. This ground breaking contribution to the history of Asia, the early Islamic world, and to maritime history explores the networks that helped to shape the pre-modern world.