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The Journal of Asian Studies
protracted discussion of Yangdi’s move of the capital to Luoyang from out of that frontier military center (not until Tang was Ch’ang’an the center of the world), there is barely a whisper reminding us that just over a century before, the Northern Wei lord Xiaowen (r.471–99) had done much the same thing, for much the same reasons: to escape the domination of generals in militarized borderlands, and ease transportation of wealth extracted from the richer Chinese lands that lay south and east. On page 3 of the introduction, Xiong points out the tendency to focus on the Tang and to leave Sui as unstated background. I will cautiously suggest that the author does much the same for the dynasty under discussion, leaving as “unstated background” the social and political welter of which Sui was fundamentally still a part. And in this writer’s opinion, we cannot fully understand Sui politics, policies, or personalities without placing them in that broader context. The general reader needs a few defter, broader strokes to understand this age. Nevertheless, Xiong serves the medieval China specialist well, richly fortifying our understanding of important aspects of the state in early seventh-century China by gathering, summarizing, and expanding on a huge body of data. Emperor Yang of the Sui Dynasty is a worthy contribution for those studying this period of Chinese history. SCOTT PEARCE Western Washington University
Mongols, Turks, and Others: Eurasian Nomads and the Sedentary World. Edited by REUVEN AMITAI and MICHAL BIRAN. Leiden: Brill, 2005. xx, 550 pp. $156.00 (cloth).
The essays in this ambitious volume, the fruit of a research group on “The Interaction of Nomadic Conquerors with Sedentary People in China and the Middle East,” are a welcome addition to the work on nomads and sedentary peoples. They cover a huge swath of chronological and geographic territory, from the second millennium BCE in northeastern Asia to contemporary Russia, China, and Central Asia, but they focus on the Mongols and Turkicspeaking nomadic groups during the tenth to ﬁfteenth centuries CE. The volume is divided into four sections. Part I, “Early Contacts,” comprises three essays. First, Gideon Shelach takes a true comparative approach to understanding a commonly shared “steppe identity” (p. 37) among peoples in northeast China. Shelach taps early and late Xiajiadian archeological data to argue that
Beatrice Manz examines the roles of the Iranians in the Timurid military and ﬁnds. “The Mongol Empire and Its Successors. “Into the Modern Period. arguing persuasively that. Michal Biran takes an innovative approach in explaining the unusual phenomenon of the Qara Khitai nomads not adopting the culture of their sedentary subjects in the strong Chinese-Liao cultural tradition and the Qara Khitai’s goal of restoring the Liao kingdom. but that settlement ultimately proved disastrous for them. Part IV. Peter Jackson demonstrates that realpolitik rather than toleration guided Mongol attitudes toward their subjects and enemies. that the Iranian notables and urban populations were actively involved in the defense of their own cities. Yehoshua Frenkel then describes how Turkic nomadic peoples were viewed in Arabic literature. He uncovers the active role of the Mongols in promoting Black Sea trade while also showing that the Italian lack of interest was just as responsible for the drop in long-distance trade between Europe and China as was the demise of the Pax Mongolica. arguing persuasively that their “failure” to conquer all of northern China was. Like their more famous successors. even when Turco-Mongolian personnel were also present. Finally.” concludes this volume with three essays of broad geographic and chronological scope. the Scythians. He uses Zhou-era sources to argue that an inclusive. “The Pre-Mongol Period. not least because it surveys the entire western steppe region. if viewed from a non-Toluid perspective. Reuven Amitai proposes that the Ilkhanid Mongols saw deﬁnite advantages in peaceful relations with the Mamluk sultanate in the 1320s. Naomi Standen revises our traditional views of the Liao “conquest” of northern China in 947. and only thereafter did the Chinese think in racially exclusive terms. His is perhaps the best example of the “world history” approach advocated by the editors. David Morgan revisits the thorny issue of Chinggis Khan’s legal code and argues provocatively that it was a collection of laws or decrees. Nicola Di Cosmo examines the interactions of the Italians and Mongols in the Black Sea. Güyüg Khan was not the illegitimate and incompetent ruler that we have been led to believe. Next. in fact.” is also weighted in favor of eastern Eurasia. Askold Ivantchik moves further west to describe the Cimmerians. Yuri Pines next presents a much-needed corrective to the usual view that the Chinese have always viewed the “other” in exclusive and racial terms. a “Great Book of Yasas.” rather than a single. Part III. contrary to received wisdom. fundamental law. they raided rather than migrated permanently to the Near East. Elizabeth Endicott argues . First. culturally determined view of the “other” was normative before 221 BCE. or “Book of the Great Yasa.” Hodong Kim reappraises the third Mongol qa’an.Book Reviews—Inner Asia 233 socioeconomic choice was a determinative factor in the rise of pastoralism in the area. Finally. Liu Yingsheng adopts a comparative approach in his study of heretofore relatively neglected Yuan–Chaghadaid relations by using a combination of Chinese and Persian sources. a result of Emperor Yelü Deguang’s primary concern with his status. Part II.” comprises seven essays. the ﬁrst Eurasian nomads in Asia Minor and a group that has not been well studied. He concludes by proposing that the mamluk system actually preserved the ﬁghting ability and élan of the nomadic peoples.
By ROBERT BARNETT. Read together. this volume presents signiﬁcant advances in the ﬁeld of nomadic studies generally and on Mongol and Turkic studies in particular. This history of Lhasa. doi: 10. Did any speciﬁc comparative or world historical issues guide this research group beyond the general theme of nomadic–sedentary relations? Apart from this. especially if we take the full last eight centuries. economic. however. 219 pp. 3). Some authors even consciously adopted these approaches. The city is a palimpsest. with eight distinct architectural styles inscribed on its surface at different times.1017/S0021911807000253 Beautifully crafted. The scholarship is ﬁrst rate. and cultural forces. vivid prose. New York: Columbia University Press. $24. of narrative threads that could run among the studies of the Mongols in Russia or those investigating the religious concerns of nomadic peoples.50 (cloth). with graceful. into account. MICHAEL C. 2006. xxix. for example. by contrast. looking “at similar phenomena diachronically and synchronically” (p. through speciﬁc conjunctures of political. the writing engaging. xii) of the city. and the wide range of the essays will certainly further our understanding of world history. owing mainly to the loss of traditional forms combined with the blockage of more market-oriented forms of pastoralism. BROSE University of Wyoming Lhasa: Streets with Memories. beginning with the aftermath of the demonstration that he witnessed in October 1987.234 The Journal of Asian Studies that nomadism in Mongolia is more ﬂexible than most studies have presented. . these essays are also comparative. Finally. Lhasa: Streets with Memories presents an evocative and multilayered account of Lhasa. read through its changing urban form. both more personal and gripping: Barnett’s recollections of his own interactions with Lhasa residents. something that would have made this collection hang together better. Moshe Gammer. rather than only the last century. Anatoly Khazanov and Kenneth Shapiro ﬁnd a similarly bleak view of pastoralism in Central Asia. The book reads Lhasa’s streets and architecture as a text through which the aspirations and ideologies of its builders can be excavated and examined. Its nine short chapters interweave several narratives in what Robert Barnett describes as “an attempt to scrape a little of the topsoil off the affective history” (p. But I was surprised by a noticeable lack of conversation or comment among the authors and essays. is interwoven throughout the book with another narrative. One thinks. The editors introduce this collection as an example of world and comparative historical approaches. Tibet’s capital. argues that Russia has experienced a different type of interaction with nomads than most other Eurasian states and posits the end of nomadism there. It is essential reading for anyone interested in these issues. But this volume reads as a collection of individual essays rather than a joint effort.