Table of Contents

  • CHINESE TURKESTAN iv. In the Mongol Period

    Morris Rossabi

    On the eve of the Mongol conquests the eastern oases were inhabited by the Uighur Turks. The eastern oases south of the Takla Makan were controlled by the Tangut. The western portion of the Tarim basin was inhabited by a mixture of Turkic and Iranian peoples, many of whom were Muslims.

  • CHINESE TURKESTAN v. Under the Khojas

    Isenbike Togan

    Although an indigenous Muslim and non-Muslim Turkic literature is attested in eastern Turkestan from an early period, the earliest surviving works embodying the historical traditions of the Chaghatayids in the 16th century are in Persian.

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  • CHINESE TURKESTAN vi. Iranian Groups in Sinkiang since the 1750s

    Kim Ho-Dong

    Between the late 17th and 19th centuries many Iranian-speaking peoples from Šeḡnān (Shughnan) and Wāḵān (Wakhan) migrated to the region of the eastern Pamirs around Lake Zorkul, and mingled with the nomadic groups of Iranian descent already established there.

  • CHINESE TURKESTAN vii. Manicheism in Chinese Turkestan and China

    Samuel Lieu

    Manicheism was probably introduced into Inner Asia by Sogdian (Hu) merchants, though the process of its diffusion there is entirely obscure.

  • CHINESE TURKESTAN viii. Turkish-Iranian Language Contacts

    Gerhard Doerfer

    Contacts between the Iranian peoples and the Turks occurred at least as early as 552 C.E., when the Turks spread from their northern settlements and established an empire extending from the Greater Khingan mountains to the Aral Sea and Sogdians farther west.


    Multiple Authors

    This series of articles deals with Chinese-Iranian relations spanning from Pre-Islamic times to the Constitutional Revolution in Iran.


    Edwin G. Pulleyblank

    Contact between China and Iran was initiated toward the end of the 2nd century B.C.E. by the envoy Chang Ch’ien (Zhang Qian), who searched for the Yüeh-chih (Yue-zhi), a people that had migrated from the borders of China after having been defeated by the Hsiung-nu (Xiongnu).

  • CHINESE-IRANIAN RELATIONS ii. Islamic Period to the Mongols

    J. M. Rogers

    Ṣīn in Arabic sources referred not only to China but also to eastern Turkestan and the Far East as a whole, whereas Chinese texts rarely distinguished among Persian, Central Asian, and Arab Muslims. 

  • CHINESE-IRANIAN RELATIONS iii. In the Mongol Period

    Liu Yingsheng and Peter Jackson

    The incorporation of Persia into a vast empire that extended as far as China, following the conquests of Čengīz (Chinggis) Khan (602-24/1206-27) and his grandson Hülegü (Hūlāgū; 654-63/1256-65), inaugurated an era of intense contact between Persia and China. 

  • CHINESE-IRANIAN RELATIONS iv. The Safavid Period, 1501-1732

    J. M. Rogers

    In the Safavid period relations with China were, unsurprisingly, indirect. In eastern Khorasan the Uzbeks and their successors blocked the land route to northwest­ern China through Transoxania.

  • CHINESE-IRANIAN RELATIONS vi. Relations with Afghanistan in the Modern Period

    Daniel Balland

    Throughout history China and Afghanistan shared a certain amount of trade, mostly tea and fruit, via the direct caravan route from Chinese Turkestan across the high passes of the Pamirs and the Wāḵān corridor to northern Afghanistan.

  • CHINESE-IRANIAN RELATIONS vii. Persian Settlements in Southeastern China during the T’ang, Sung, and Yuan Dynasties

    Chen Da-Sheng

    Chinese authorities granted the foreign merchant communities in the major port cities a certain amount of autonomy.

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  • CHINESE-IRANIAN RELATIONS viii. Persian Language and Literature in China


    The earliest Persian inscription in China is the tombstone of the Zoroastrian Ma (Pahl. *Māhnūš), wife of General Su-liang (Pahl. Farroxzād; Humbach), inscribed in both Pahlavi and Chinese and dated 874, has been discovered at Xi-an, the capital of Shan-xi province.

  • CHINESE-IRANIAN RELATIONS ix. Persian Language Teaching in Modern China


    Persian has been taught in Muslim schools in China since the 1920s.

  • CHINESE-IRANIAN RELATIONS v. Diplomatic and Commercial Relations, 1949-90

    Parviz Mohajer

    There were three distinct periods in Chinese-Persian diplomatic relations: 1328-49 Š./1949-70, 1350-57 Š./ 1971-78, and 1358-69 Š./1979-90.

  • CHINESE-IRANIAN RELATIONS x. China in Medieval Persian Literature

    Djalal Khaleghi-Motlagh

    In medieval writings Čīn may mean either China proper or eastern Turkestan; when it refers to the latter China proper is sometimes called Māčīn (contraction of Skt. Mahāčīna “great China”).

  • CHINESE-IRANIAN RELATIONS xi. Mutual Influence of Chinese and Persian Ceramics

    Oliver Watson

    Chinese ceramics were the single most important stimulus to the development of fine pottery in the Islamic world, arriving first in the 3rd/9th century.

  • CHINESE-IRANIAN RELATIONS xii. Mutual Influences in Painting

    Toh Sugimura

    In the Chinese cultural sphere Persian artistic influence was at its peak under the Tang dynasty (618-906 c.e.), contemporary with the end of the Sasanian period (30/651) and the first centuries after the Islamic conquest.

  • CHINESE-IRANIAN RELATIONS xiii. Eastern Iranian Migrations to China

    Étienne de la Vaissière

    There are two different stages in the history of Eastern Iranian migrations to China: the first, still extremely obscure, is dominated by Bactrian immigrants, coming from Bactriana and the Kushan empire, and the second, from the fourth to the ninth century CE is dominated by Sogdians.

  • CHINESE-IRANIAN RELATIONS xiv. The Influence of Eastern Iranian Art

    M. L. Carter

    Aspects of the artistic taste in personal adornment of the nomadic tribal confederations of northeast Asia, can be seen in the late 1st-millennium Chinese decorative metalwork.

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    Matteo Compareti

    Information on those Sasanians who avoided the submission to the Arabs and lived in Central Asia or at the Tang court can be found in the works of Muslim authors and in Chinese sources.

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  • CHINESE-IRANIAN RELATIONS xvi. Impact of the Constitutional Revolution in Iran

    Yidan Wang

    The Persian Constitutional Revolution of 1905-11 attracted the attention of the Chinese constitutionalists and revolutionaries immediately upon breaking out.





    Khushal Habibi

    or Chikara (Gazella bennetti, Indian gazelle), a small antelope of slender build; its tawny coat has poorly marked facial and body stripes.

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    Wolfgang Felix

    a tribe of probable Iranian origin that was prominent in Bactria and Transoxania in late antiquity.



    See CLOTHING i. Median and Achaemenid periods, iii. Sasanian period.


    Nigel J. R. Allan, Georg Buddruss

    The Chitral river drains the eastern Hindu Kush in the north and a spur of the Hindu Raj on the south and east. With its deeply incised bed and braided stream channels it constitutes the upper tract of the Kunar (Konar), which debouches into the Kabul river, a tributary of the Indus.

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    Philip Kohl

    Chlorite ranges in color from light gray to deep green and darkens when exposed to fire; it was highly valued during certain prehistoric periods. Elaborate stone ves­sels carved with repeating designs, both geometric and naturalistic, in an easily recognizable “intercultural style,” were made primarily of chlorite.

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    Rüdiger Schmitt

    name of an eastern Iranian tribe (perhaps located in western Bactria), mentioned only by Pomponius Mela in an enumeration of the inhabitants of the interior lands.


    Rüdiger Schmitt

    the name of two Iranian towns mentioned by Ptolemy.


    Rüdiger Schmitt

    or CHOARENE; a town or village in Parthia mentioned by Ptolemy (6.5.3) and called “the most attractive place of Parthia” by Pliny.


    Rüdiger Schmitt

    (or Coaspēs), ancient name of three rivers.


    Charles Melville and ʿAbbās Zaryāb

    Although at first the Chobanids maintained the fiction that they were vassals of the ruling house of Hülegü (Hūlāgū), after the collapse of Il-khanid authority they became effectively independent rulers of the areas that they were able to seize. 

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    Jean Calmard

    (b. 30 August 1804, in Krzywicze, Poland in the Russian Empire [the city is now in Belarus], d. Noisy-le-Sec, near Paris, 19 December 1891), Polish poet and diplomat, the first European scholar to work on Persian folklore.


    Xavier De Planhol, Daniel Balland

    It is possible to extrapolate some general conclusions about the routes by which cholera reached Persia. It arrived three times via Afghanistan, three times overland from the west, only twice through the Persian Gulf (the second time without spreading to the plateau), and perhaps once across the Caspian.

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    Multiple Authors

    region on the lower reaches of the Oxus (Amu Darya) in western Central Asia.

  • CHORASMIA i. Archeology and pre-Islamic history

    Yuri Aleksandrovich Rapoport

    At the turn of the 3rd millennium b.c.e. the Neolithic Kel’teminar culture flourished in the Chorasmian oasis (Vinogradov, 1968; idem, 1981). Remains of the Bronze Age Suyargan.

  • CHORASMIA ii. In Islamic times

    C. E. Bosworth

    The Islamic history of Ḵᵛārazm begins with the two invasions of Arab troops under the governor of Khorasan Qotayba b. Moslem Bāhelī in 93/712, who intervened in the region on the pretext of internecine strife among members of the native Afrighid dynasty of ḵᵛārazmšāhs

  • CHORASMIA iii. The Chorasmian Language

    D. N. MacKenzie

    Old Chorasmian was written in an indigenous script descended from the Aramaic, brought to the region by the administration of the Achaemenid empire and characterized by heter­ography, that is, the occasional writing of Aramaic words to represent the corresponding Chorasmian.


    B. I. Vainberg

    In the mid-19th century, coins that had been found in Russia and showed certain similarities to Indo-Parthian and Kushan coinages were for the first time identified as Chorasmian. In 1938, Sergei P. Tolstov (1907-76), who had conducted preliminary archeological fieldwork in the lower basin of the Oxus river, accepted this interpretation.

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    Marie Louise Chaumont

    Sogdian nobleman and opponent of Alexander.


    Jes P. Asmussen

    (b. Copenhagen 9 January 1875, d. Copenhagen 31 March 1945), Danish orientalist and scholar of Iranian philology and folklore.


    Multiple Authors

    This entry treats Christianity in pre-Islamic Persia as seen through literary sources and material remains, in Central Asia, in Christian literature in Middle Iranian languages, in Manicheism, and in Persian literature. It also covers Christian influences in Persian poetry and Christian missions in Persia.

  • CHRISTIANITY i. In Pre-Islamic Persia: Literary Sources

    James R. Russell

    In Middle Persian there are three terms used for Christians: KLSTYDʾN and NʾCLʾY in the inscription on the Kaʿba-ye Zardošt of the 3rd-century Zoroastrian high priest Kartir; and tarsāq, Sogdian loan-word trsʾq, New Persian tarsā.

  • CHRISTIANITY ii. In Pre-Islamic Persia: Material Remains

    Judith Lerner

    Although Christians may have been among the deportees from Roman Syria who worked on the monuments of Šāpūr I (240-70 c.e.) at Bīšāpūr (q.v.) and the dam at Šūštar, nothing identifiably Christian has been excavated in Persia itself.

  • CHRISTIANITY iii. In Central Asia And Chinese Turkestan

    Nicholas Sims-Williams

    By the late 3rd century the Syrian church was strongly established in the western Persian empire. The Nestorian church of Persia (“Church of the East”) conducted the most significant and endur­ing missionary work in Transoxania and beyond.

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  • CHRISTIANITY iv. Christian Literature in Middle Iranian Languages

    Nicholas Sims-Williams

    In Persia itself Syriac eventually regained its status as the sole literary and liturgical language of the church, with the result that none of this Christian Persian literature survived, apart from a few texts preserved in Syriac translation, such as two legal works by the metropolitans Išoʿbōḵt and Simon.

  • CHRISTIANITY v. Christ in Manicheism

    Werner Sundermann

    In Manicheism, as in earlier gnostic systems, the terms Christ (Gk. “the anointed”) and Jesus Christ were used in various ways, though less commonly than the name Jesus alone.

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  • CHRISTIANITY vi. In Persian Literature

    Qamar Āryān

    Christian beliefs and institutions are frequently mentioned in various genres (lyric, epic, didactic, mystic), and many works contain allusions to legends of Christian saints, martyrs, and ascetics.

  • CHRISTIANITY vii. Christian Influences in Persian Poetry

    Annemarie Schimmel

    Persian poetry contains a good number of allusions to Jesus Christ (ʿĪsā Masīḥ), Mary (Maryam), and Christians (naṣārā, tarsā) in general. Most of the images and ideas expressed in poetry are elaborations of the Koranic data about Jesus and his virgin mother, though sometimes developed very ingeniously.

  • CHRISTIANITY viii. Christian Missions in Persia

    Yahya Armajani

    Christianity was introduced in Persia in the Parthian period, and several bishoprics were established there. The Persian church was itself active in proselytizing abroad at the end of the Sasanian period (224-651) and immediately after.

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    Kamran Ekbal

    Captain (d. 1812), of the Bombay Regiment, an Anglo-Indian officer under the command of Sir John Malcolm.


    Raḥmat-Allāh Ostovār

    FeCr2O4, a dark-brown or black mineral from which chromium is refined.


    Peter Kawerau

    a Syriac church history of Adiabene, written in the 6th century by Mĕšīḥā-Zĕḵā. A remarkable account from the Parthian period is that of the Feast of the Magi in the month of Iyyār. Equally noteworthy is the account of the fall of the Arsacids and the beginning of the reign of the Sasanians in 224.

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    Sebastian P. Brock

    a short local history of Edessa (modern Urfa), written in Syriac by an anonymous author and covering chiefly the period from 201-540 C.E. Events such as incursions by the Huns (403-04, 531) and relations be­tween the Byzantine and Sasanian empires are noted briefly.

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    J. T. P. de Bruijn

    dates incorporated into Persian texts in disguised form, espe­cially those in which the letters of the alphabet have numerical value.






    (Quan-zhou, formerly Jin-jiang; in Islamic sources Zaytūn), Chinese city in southeastern Fu-jian (Fukien) province on the lower reaches of the Jin-jiang river. See CHINA VIII. PERSIAN SETTLEMENTS IN SOUTHEASTERN CHINA.

  • CHUBAK, Sadeq

    Mohammad Reza Ghanoonparvar

    (1916-1998), one of most acclaimed Persian short story writers and novelists of the 20th century.

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    Marcel Bazin and Christian Bromberger

    There are three distinct ways in which milk is normally processed. In the first it is heated, pressed, and squeezed dry to make cheese (panīr). Cheese making is uncommon in the Persian world. The other two methods begin with conversion of the milk into yogurt.

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  • CIA




    Rüdiger Schmitt

    an Iranian personal name signifying “brave in lineage.”



    See ČĒČAST.


    Michael Weiskopf

    as a source for Parthian history; letters written by Roman statesman and political philosopher Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 b.c.e.) preserve a virtually unique con­temporary extra-Iranian source on Parthian military and diplomatic activities and the Roman response to them, particularly during the military-campaign season of 51­-50 b.c.e.


    Mansour Shaki

    (Selected precepts of the ancient sages), a post-Sasanian compendium of apothegms intended to instruct every Zoroastrian male, upon his attaining the age of fifteen years, in fundamental religious and ethical principles, as well as in the daily duties incumbent upon him.





    D. N. MacKenzie

    one of the lost nasks of the Avesta.


    Michael Weiskopf

    the southeastern portion of the present Turkish coast, a satrapy of the Achaemenid empire (6th-4th centuries BCE, subsequently incorporated into the Macedonian and Roman empires.



    See DRŌN.



    See KUSTĪG.


    Sergei R. Tokhtas’ev

    a nomadic people, most likely of Iranian origin, who flourished in the 8th-7th centuries B.C.


    Peter Jackson

    the first governor of Khorasan and Māzandarān on behalf of the Mongols.


    Multiple Authors

    This series of articles treats the history of cinema in Persia, Persian feature film, Persian documentary films, film censorship in Persia, and filmography in Persia.

  • CINEMA i. History of Cinema in Persia

    Farrokh Gaffary

    Regularly scheduled film screenings were introduced in Tehran by Ārdāšes Batmāngarīān, known as Ardašīr Khan, who had worked at Pathé in Paris at the turn of the century.


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  • CINEMA ii. Feature Films

    Jamsheed Akrami

    Feature-film production in Persia spans six decades and can be divided into four distinct periods, each reflecting contemporary social, cultural, and political realities.

  • CINEMA iii. Documentary Films

    Hamid Naficy

    Be­fore World War I most Persian documentaries were sponsored and viewed only by the Qajar ruling family and the upper classes. They were apparently technically primitive and in a simple narrative format, consisting of footage of news events, topics of current interest, and spectacles, usually filmed in long shot.

  • CINEMA iv. Film Censorship

    Jamsheed Akrami

    Persian cinema has been subject from its beginnings to official censorship responding to the concerns of the government, religious establishments, professional groups, and even film distributors.

  • CINEMA v. Filmography


    A list of films discussed in i-iv above, listed here by year of release and alphabetically within each year. When the information is available producers are listed after the translated titles.

  • ČĪNĪ

    John Carswell

    (lit. “Chinese”; borrowed in Arabic as ṣīnī), generic term for Chinese ceramic wares, including porcelain, a translucent, white-bodied ware fired at very high temperatures.



    See DĀRČĪNĪ.


    Marie Louise Chaumont

    putative rival of Artabanus II (12-38) as king of the Arsacids.


    Priscilla Soucek

    the “wish-fulfilling jewel,” a motif consisting of either a single globe with a pointed extension at the apex or three such globes; either version could be surrounded by a flaming halo.


    Aḥmad Tafażżolī

    traditionally thought to mean “the bridge of the separator” but recently shown to be “the bridge of the accumulator/collector,” the name of a bridge that, according to a Mazdayasnian/Zoroastrian eschatological myth, leads from this world to the next and must be crossed by the souls of the departed.



    See ČARKAS.


    Joseph Wieseh

    a Roman border fortress in Mesopotamia, on the spit of land formed where the Ḵābūr, the present-day al-Boṣayra, flows into the Euphrates (see maps in Kettenhofen).


    Ebrāhīm Šakūrzāda and Mahmoud Omidsalar

    Pers. ḵatna, sonnat (formally also taṭhīr or ḵetān), ḵatnakonān, and sonnatkonān; the last two terms also refer to the festivities associated with the circumcision ritual.


    Rüdiger Schmitt

    (ca. 675-640 BCE), the son of Achaemenes, legendary founder of the Achaemenid dynasty and father of Darius’s great-grandfather Ariaramnes.


    Rüdiger Schmitt

    a name for the Susians, the Elamite inhabitants of Susiana.


    Jean Kellens

    and Čisti; Avestan derivatives of the verb cit “to notice, to understand.”



    See RIDDLE.



    See  ĀB-ANBAR.

  • ČĪT

    Jennifer M. Scarce

    cotton cloth decorated with block-printed or painted designs in multiple colors.


    Multiple Authors

    i. Geographical introduction. ii. City planning, construction, and architecture. See Supplement. iii. Administration and social organization. iv. Modern urbanization and modernization in Persia. v. Modern urbanization and modernization in Afghanistan. vi. Urban Informal Settlements in Modern Iran.

  • CITIES i. Geographical Introduction

    Xavier De Planhol

    There is a long history of settlement on Persian territory, where urban life was firmly established in antiquity, and cities continued to proliferate, though, owing to fluctuations in the population, they were highly unstable.

  • CITIES iii. Administration and Social Organization

    Ann K. S. Lambton

    This article on the administration and social organization of Persian cities in the Islamic period discusses the following terms and offices: aḥdāṯ, amīr, amīr al-sūq, beglarbegī, ʿasas, čerāḡčī, dārūḡa, dārūḡa-šāgerd, dārūḡačī, dīvānbegī, farrāš, gazma, goḏaṛčī, ḥākem, kadḵodā, kalāntar, mehmāndār-bāšī, mīr-šab, mīrāb, moḥaṣṣes, moḥtaseb, moqtaʿ, naqīb, naqīb al-ašrāf, raʾīs, ṣāḥeb al-šorṭa, šeḥna, wālī.

  • CITIES iv. Modern Urbanization and Modernization in Persia

    Eckart Ehlers

    Over a period of decades the rapidly growing popula­tion of Persia has simultaneously become increasingly urbanized. More and more people live in increasingly larger cities, and the largest cities tend to grow at a rate above the average.

  • CITIES v. Modern Urbanization and Modernization in Afghanistan

    Erwin Grötzbach

    Since 1359 Š./1980 the flight of millions of Afghans, not only out of the country but also to relatively secure cities like Kabul and Mazār-e Šarīf, has been reflected in a sharp increase in the level of urbanization.

  • CITIES vi. Urban Informal Settlements in Modern Iran

    Pooya Alaedini

    This article discusses the development of informal settlements in Iran and the evolution of government policies and programs dealing with them.

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