The Empire of the Qara Khitai in Eurasian History: Between China and the Islamic World

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Cambridge University Press, Sep 15, 2005 - History - 279 pages
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The empire of the Qara Khitai, which was one of the least known and most fascinating dynasties in the history of Central Asia, existed for nearly a century before it was conquered by the Mongols in 1218. Arriving in Central Asia from China, the Qara Khitai ruled over a mostly Muslim population. Their history affords a unique window onto the extensive cross-cultural contacts between China, Inner Asian nomads and the Muslim world in the period preceding the rise of Chinggis Khan. Using an extensive corpus of Muslim and Chinese sources, Michal Biran comprehensively examines the political, institutional and cultural histories of the Qara Khitai. Her book explores a range of topics including the organization of the army, the position of women, the image of China in Muslim Central Asia,the religions of the Qara Khitai and the legacy they left for the Mongols. Crucially she asks why they did not, unlike their predecessors and successors in Central Asia, embrace Islam. The book represents a groundbreaking contribution to the field of Eurasian history for students of the Islamic world, China and Central Asia.
 

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Contents

Introduction I
1
Yelii Dashi and the establishment
19
The quiet period the reign of Yelii Yilie and the empresses
48
between the Khwarazm Shah and the Mongols
60
China
93
Nomads
132
Islam
171
Conclusion
202
The Northern Song and Liao empires ca 1000 page
218
Tables
222
Central administration titles from Liao shi 30
224
Glossary of Chinese characters
231
Bibliography
239
Index
270
Plates
293
Copyright

Qara Khitai and Western Liao
215

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About the author (2005)

Michal Biran is Lecturer at the Institute of Asian and African Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Her previous publications include Qaidu and the Rise of the Independent Mongol State in Central Asia (1997) and Mongols, Turks and Others: Eurasian Nomads and the Sedentary World (2005; co-edited with Reuven Amitai).

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