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 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 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 in internal affairs.

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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 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, often labeled “animal style,” 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 article 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 Christina 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 end of the 3rd century the Syrian church was strongly established in the western Persian empire. The Nestorian church of Persia, the “Church of the East,” was responsible for 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.