New Pb 236 pp.
This book documents the extraordinarily significant transfers and cultural diffusion between the Mongol Yuan Dynasty of China and Central and West Asia, which had a broad impact on Eurasian history in the 13th and 14th centuries. The Yuan era witnessed perhaps the greatest inter-civilisational contacts in world history and has thus begun to attract the attention of both scholars and the general public. This volume offers tangible evidence of the Western and Central Asian influences, via the Mongols, on Chinese, and to a certain extent Korean, medicine, astronomy, navigation, and even foreign relations. Turkic peoples and other Muslims played particularly vital roles in such transmissions. These inter-civilisational relations led to the first precise Western knowledge of East and South Asia and stimulated Europeans to discover new routes to the East. The authors of these essays, specialists in their respective fields, shine a light on these vital exchanges, which anyone interested in the origins of global history will find fascinating.
“In this volume of wide-ranging essays, scholars from the United States, China and Europe present new insights into how the close relationship between Mongol China and Ilkhanid Persia, and the Mongol employment of Eurasians (many Muslims) of diverse origins, shaped Yuan politics, foreign trade, and culture (scientific knowledge, architecture, medicine), as well as the life of East Asia in the 13th to 14th centuries and beyond. Not surprisingly, in addressing the nature of cultural influence, and how it should or can be identified, measured, and assessed, these authors do not reach a consensus, but do shed light on issues of agency - Mongol, Chinese, and other - and in so doing offer up a wealth of fascinating detail about an era of broad interest to comparative historians of the premodern world as well as specialists on China.”
Ruth W. Dunnell
James P. Storer Professor of Asian History, Kenyon College