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The Silk Road and China and Southeast Asia. HIST 1007 11/25/13. The Silk Road. Silk? Road?. Not just a single road – Networks Not just a single commodity Standard of Ur – Lapis Road. Han Empire (202BCE-220CE). Zhang Jian. Han General

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silk road
Silk? Road?
  • Not just a single road – Networks
  • Not just a single commodity
  • Standard of Ur – Lapis Road
zhang jian
Zhang Jian
  • Han General
  • 128BCE – Expedition beyond Tarim Basin, Taklamakan Desert, and Tian Shan mountains
zhang jian1
Zhang Jian
  • Ferghana Valley
  • Alfalfa, wine grapes, pistachios, walnuts, pomegranates, sesame, coriander, and spinach.
  • Horses!
the silk road1
The Silk Road
  • Turkmen and the Bactrian Camel
  • Soghdia
  • Parthian Empire (r. 247BCE-225CE)
  • Silk Road or Horse Road?
but why silk
But Why Silk?
  • Silk Diplomacy
  • Sumptuary Laws
  • Invest – “to clothe”
silk road and islam
Silk Road and Islam
  • Conversion of the Turks
  • Qarakhanids (r. 840-1212)– Steppe Turks who converted to Islam, conquer Samanids
  • Encourage conversion of the Turks
  • Shakyh Ahmad

al-Yasavi (d. 1166) –

Naqshbandi Sufi

who spread Islam among

nomadic peoples of

modern Kazakhstan

Mausoleum of Ahmad al-Yasavi,

Turkestan, Kazakhstan

islam on the steppes
Islam on the Steppes
  • Islam as part of popular identity
  • Islam not a part of social organization
    • Family, clan, confederation (horde)
  • Urban centers saw state organized religion
  • Syncretism
    • Sufis replace shaman
    • Jinn replace spirit gods
    • Quranic amulets
  • Poets and storytellers

preserve older traditions

islam on the steppes1
Islam on the Steppes
  • Islamic identity used to reinforce membership in coalition
  • Golden Horde or Ulus of Jochi (1240s-1502)
  • Uzbek Khan (r. 1313-1340): Makes Islam official religion
  • 15th century – breakdown of Golden Horde
  • Uzbek and Kazakh “nations”
  • Tatars – Muslim Volga Bulgars

and Qipchaqs

  • 16th-18th centuries – Russian

conquest and colonization,

forced conversion

15th century Tatar mosque in Kasimov, Russia

shaybanid empire r 1500 1598
Shaybanid Empire (r. 1500-1598)
  • Turko-Persian empire?
    • Uzbek ruling family
    • Persian administration
    • Islamic religious institutions
    • Turkic uymaqs
  • Centered on control of Silk

Road trading entrepots

(Bukhara, Samarqand, etc.)

  • Khalifat al-rahman –

Lieutenant of the Merciful God

  • Imam al-zaman – Ruler of the


Muhammad Shaybani (r. 1500-1510) and his yurt

shaybanid empire
Shaybanid Empire
  • Decline of the steppe
  • SafavidShi’ism vs. ShaybanidSunnism and Naqshbandism
    • Loss of trade with Iran
  • Russian expansion on the steppe
    • Loss of trade with Russia, Eastern Europe, and Scandinavia
  • European maritime trade

in Indian Ocean and China

    • Loss of European market

for overland trade

  • Uymaqindependence
  • Return of Central Asian


eastern turkestan
Eastern Turkestan
  • Tarim Basin
  • Chagatay Khanate (r. 1225-1687) – Muslim, but held nominal authority
  • Khwajas – Sufi masters who claim descent from Muhammad and Chinggiz Khan
  • 15th century – mosques

and Muslim communities

appear along trade routes

deep into China

  • Travels with Turkic


Id Kah Mosque, Kashgar, China

islam and buddhism
Islam and Buddhism
  • Dzungarian Confederation – Tibetan Lamaist Buddhist Oirat Mongols
  • 1368 – End of Mongol rule in China
  • Mongols pushed out of China
  • Buddhist Oirats and

Muslim Chagatay compete

in Tarim Basin

  • 1759 – China invades Tarim

Basin in order to pacify


Buddhist inscriptions in Almaty, Kazakhstan

islam in china
Islam in China
  • 8th century – Arab officials and merchants in Canton
  • Yuan Dynasty (r. 1271-1368) – importation of Muslim administrators from greater Mongol world
  • Primarily settled in northwestern China, along Silk Road routes
  • Separate independent

Muslim quarters under

shaykh al-Islam and Muslim


Great Mosque of Xian, oldest mosque in

China, built in 742

is islam an ethnicity
Is Islam an Ethnicity?
  • Ming Dynasty (r. 1368-1644)
  • Attempt to establish Chinese identity after Mongol rule
  • Hui – Chinese Muslims
    • Assimilated foreign Muslims
    • Chinese converts to Islam
  • Adoption of Chinese

language, names, manners,

clothes, etc.

  • Reconcile Islam with

Confucianism and Chinese


Jinjue Mosque (Pure Enlightenment Mosque),

Nanjing, China, built by

the Hongwu Emperor (r. 1368-1398)


Highly predictable

Seasonal shifts in winds

sailing the indian ocean
Sailing the Indian Ocean

Arab Dhow

Chinese Junk

Ming era junk shown in comparison to

contemporary Spanish caravel.

decentralization and cooperation
Decentralization and Cooperation

Swahili Coast


Gujarat and

Malabar Coast


southeast asia before islam
Southeast Asia before Islam
  • Rice agriculture
  • Indian Ocean trade
  • Small kingdoms built on control of agricultural land
  • Cultural influence from India, including Hinduism and Buddhism
  • Srivijaya Kingdom (r. 650-1377) –

controls Malacca

Straits, master of

maritime trade to


Borobudur, Buddhist Temple

Java, Indonesia

trade and religion
Trade and Religion
  • 1400-1700 – Indian Ocean trade spreads universalist religions throughout SE Asia
  • Islam – Indonesia and Malaysia
  • Confucianism –


  • Buddhism –

Mainland SE Asia

  • Christianity –


Angkor Wat, Cambodia

spread of islam
Spread of Islam
  • Difficult to identify
  • 1292 – Marco Polo reports Muslim community in Sumatra
  • 1297 – tomb of Sultan Malik al-Salih in Perlak
  • 1345-46 – Ibn Battuta

visits Muslim community in


  • ca. 1400 – Iskander Shah

(Parameswara) founds

Sultanate of Malacca

Palace of Malacca Sultans