Issue 85/1-2017

01/05/2017 Tana Dluhosova




Arsen K. Shahinyan
The Colonization of the Early Medieval Vilayet of Armīniya by Arab Muslims…………………………………………………………………………………………………..1–17

The aim of this article is to establish the time frames and main directions of the colonization process in relation to the Greater-Armenian, Caucasian Albanian and Iberian lands captured by the Semitic-speaking Arab-Muslim tribes in the early Middle Ages. A parallel task is to identify the occupied areas in these countries of the Armenian Plateau and the Southern Caucasus and provide a list of the tribes that ruled over each of these areas. These lands were united by various tribal groups from the Arabian Peninsula, Syria and Upper Mesopotamia during the 8th and 9th centuries, and this was achieved within the framework of the Arab vilayet of Armīniya. Under the early ‘Abbasids (al-‘Abbāsīyūn, 750–1258) the colonizers gradually transformed these areas of Armīniya into their own domains, and then into their hereditary emirates. In order to fulfil the above aims, the author makes use of contemporary accounts and chronicles, as well as an examination of the coins in use in the area under scrutiny and its surroundings. At the end of the article, moreover, the author provides, in alphabetical order, a complete list of the Arab-Muslim tribes that settled in the different regions of Armīniya and, during the course of the 9th century, created their hereditary emirates. This identification is made by the author, who uses square brackets as a means of providing the reader with additions to the quoted translations emanating from the texts penned by classical authors.

Arab Caliphate | Arab vilayet of Armīniya | Arab-Muslim tribes | Arab-Muslim Emirates of Armīniya | Greater Armenia | Caucasian Iberia | Caucasian Albania | Arrān | Ǧurzān


About the Author

ARSEN K. SHAHINYAN, Orientalist-historian specializing in the early medieval history and geography of the Middle East and Southern Caucasus countries. He graduated from Saint Petersburg State University, Faculty of Oriental & African Studies, Department of History of the Middle East countries (1997). Currently, he holds the academic rank of Doctor-Professor of History (2010), and faculty position of Professor (since 2011), affiliated to the Faculty (Institute since 2014) of History, Saint Petersburg State University. He’s the author of about 80 scientific publications, including five monographs, concerning the Early Medieval history and geography of the Middle East and Caucasus, and 4 university textbooks and handbooks, concerning the history and geography of Armenia, Iranian Azerbaijan and Southern Caucasus countries from Ancient to the Modern times. He is a full member of the Association Internationale des Études Arméniennes (since 2011) and representative of the President of Yerevan State University (Republic of Armenia) in St. Petersburg and North-West Federal District of the Russian Federation (since 2006).


Sovan Chakraborty
The Abject Female: Exploring Contested Womanhood in Select Bengali Folk Ritual Stories and Rhymes (the Bratas)…………………………………………………..19–45

Bengali bratakathās are folk ritual tales and rhymes that women listen to and/or narrate at the time of the accomplishment of their ritual vows known as bratas (Sanskrit vratas), made for the fulfillment of worldly wishes and wants. The  bratas (ritual vows) and their kathās (tales), together with chāṛās (rhymes), create a space where women apparently dominate by becoming the performers, the narrators, the transmitters, the authorities of knowledge, the agencies of socio-familial wellbeing and the protectors of moral and ideological institutions. As these tales and rhymes portray, the “female force” crucially plays the central role in determining and retaining the power structures of society which otherwise would not be sustained for long. While very often an alternative female presence is found in these bratakathās, a complex patriarchal mechanism of relentless suppression, subjugation and marginalization of the same cuts through the narrative structures. At times, it is detected and explicitly voiced against – with grief, pain, anger and bantering criticism. At other times, it is only hinted at in the spirit of pleasing submission, interpolated by the ideological (and not entirely hegemonic) structures. Very often it becomes mystically inscrutable as they appear to be honest and apparently naturalizing forces in an attempt to dilute all inner complicacies and possibilities in the con/textuality of these narratives. The femaleness in these ritual stories and rhymes continuously keeps on swinging between the subject and the object positions, blurring all such dyadic constructions (male/female, centre/margin, and so on) situating itself, as Julia Kristeva terms it, in an existentially interstitial condition/space of “abjection.”

bratakathās | ritual tales | folklore | Bengali | women | abjection | Julia Kristeva


About the Author

SOVAN CHAKRABORTY is a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, India. He has also served as a faculty member in a number of general and technical degree institutes. He has a keen interest in the fields of folklore and oral narratives and has published a number of papers on Bengali folk ritual tales. Apart from this, his research interests and publications cover the Literatures of Indian Modernity, Indian Writing in English, Contemporary Literatures and Culture Studies.


Alessandra Consolaro
For Her Eyes Only: Embodiment in Prabhā Khetān’s Autobiography……….47–65

This article focuses on the way embodiment is articulated in Prabhā Khetān’s autobiography Anyā se ananyā, first published in 2007. It is introduced as an existentialist autobiography – focusing on the existential self – emphasizing the complexity of embodiment and its implications for identity and self-representation. Best known as the writer who introduced French feminist existentialism to Hindi-speaking readers through her translation of Simone de Beauvoir’s  The Second Sex, Prabhā Khetān has written an autobiography that is at the same time a unique woman’s intellectual and personal journey, the success story of a professional woman, as well as a profoundly moving reflection on human relationships. Prabhā Khetān never taught in the world of academia, but her influence as a poet, novelist, and feminist has been extensive. Anyā se ananyā has been acclaimed as a piece of “extreme sincerity,” insofar as it pulls the veil off the “other woman,” a very rare voice in Hindi autobiographical literature.

Prabha Khaitan | Prabhā Khetān | autobiography | Hindi literature | Existentialism | embodiment | gender | Simone de Beauvoir

About the Author

ALESSANDRA CONSOLARO is an Associate Professor of Hindi Language and Literature at the University of Torino (Italy). She completed her MA in Sanskrit (the University of Milan, Italy 1986) and Hindi (the University of Torino, Italy 2000). She was awarded a Fulbright scholarship in 1991 and studied at the Jackson School of International Studies (South Asia) of the University of Washington (Seattle, USA). She obtained her PhD in History, Institutions and International Relationships at the University of Pisa, Italy (1997). She was visiting researcher at the University of Uppsala (Sweden) in 2010 and visiting professor at the Shivaji University of Kolhapur (India) in 2016. Her field of interest and research is marked by interdisciplinarity and is based on feminist and gender critique (“Respectably queer? Queer visibility and homophobia in Hindi literature.” In Jolanda Guardi, ed., Queerness in the Middle East and South Asia, special issue of DEP Deportate, Esuli e Profughe 25 (2014): 1–16; “Queer Hinduism: from mythology to activism for human and civil rights.” Daimon: Omosessualità e matrimonio nei diritti delle religioni e degli Stati, special issue 2015: 165–85). She has published on South Asia history (Ri-orientarsi nella storiografia dell’Asia meridionals. Rappresentazioni e intersezioni. Torino: Trauben, 2008); the history of the Hindi language (Madre India e la Parola. La lingua hindi nelleuniversità « nazionali » di Varanasi (1940-1900). Alessandria, 2003); colonial and postcolonial theory; contemporary Hindi fiction: critical study and translation (La prosa nella cultura letteraria hindī dell’India coloniale e postcoloniale. Torino: Stampatori, 2011; Premcand, I giocatori di scacchi/ La partita a scacchi. A tri-lingual edition, edited by Alessandra Consolaro, with an Italian translation from Hindi by eadem, an Italian translation from Urdu by Daniela Bredi, and an introductory essay by Frances W. Pritchett, Milano 2015).


Jae-hoon Shim
The Eastward Relocation of the Zhou Royal House in the Xinian Manuscript: Chronological and Geographical Aspects……………………………………………….67–98

The Xinian in the second volume of the Tsinghua Bamboo Slips provides a different understanding of the so-called eastward relocation (dongqian) of the Zhou royal house than suggested in transmitted texts such as the Shiji and  Zhushu jinian. Introducing the controversial issues concerning the relocation in the Xinian, this study focuses mostly on the problematic place name Shao E, where King Ping is said to have stayed for a while until Lord Wen of Jin brought him back to the capital region and enthroned him. In particular, while criticizing the later commentators’ identification of E with Xiangning, Shanxi, this study argues that Shao E in the Xinian should be more properly located in the Nanyang region. This relocation suggests that the year 770 BCE, inscribed for so long as the turning point between the Western Zhou and the Eastern Zhou periods, is problematic. It further proposes that the narrative on the eastward relocation in the  Xinian does not necessarily contradict the transmitted texts, but rather tends to resolve some inconsistencies inherent in those texts.

Tsinghua Bamboo Slips | Xinian |  Zuo zhuan | Shao E | Zhou royal house – eastward relocation

About the Author

JAE-HOON SHIM, PhD in early Chinese history from the University of Chicago (1998), is Professor in East Asian history at Dankook University, Yong’in, South Korea. He specializes in Shang and Zhou history, with a focus on the paleographic sources such as oracle bone and bronze inscriptions. In addition to a number of articles written in Korean on the subject, his publications in English include: “An Ever-contested Poem: The Classic of Poetry’s ‘Hanyi’ and the Sino-Korean History Debates,” Journal of Asian Studies 71, no. 2 (2012); “The Dilemma of Chosŏn in Traditional Chinese Texts,” Journal of Asian History 40, no. 1 (2006); “The Political Geography of Shanxi on the Eve of the Zhou Conquest of Shang: An Alternative Interpretation of the Establishment of Jin,” T’oung Pao 88, no. 1–3 (2002); “A New Understanding of Kija Chosŏn as a Historical Anachronism,” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 62, no. 2 (2002); “The ‘Jinhou Su Bianzhong’ Inscription and Its Significance,” Early China 22 (1997).


Federico Brusadelli
Transforming Benevolence: Classicism, Buddhism and Politics in Kang Youwei’s Lecture on “Ren” 講仁字…………………………………………………………99–117

Kang Youwei 康有為 (1858–1927) is certainly not a minor figure in Chinese modern history. Best known for his unsuccessful participation in the Hundred Days Reforms of 1898, he was the last interpreter of the New Text School of Classicism – a progressive interpretation of the Confucian Canon, which praised political participation and institutional transformations. Kang’s adherence to this philosophical view and his subsequent personal elaboration of Classicism, is already visible in the lectures he gave to his students in Guangdong from 1891 to 1896, published in 1897 as the Wanmu caotang koushuo萬木草堂口說 (Instructions from the Hall of the Thousand Tree Cottage) and the  Nanhaishi chengji 南海师承记 (Records of Master Nanhai’s Lessons). This article sets out to analyse one of Kang’s lessons from the second collection:  Lecture on “Ren” 講仁字, in which the author provides the students with his own view of the Confucian value of “benevolence.” In his interpretation, ren 仁 becomes a form of universal empathy rather than the “old” value of traditional orthodoxy. This short text will be used as the departure point for a reflection on the formative process of the author’s thought, following its philosophical hints in order to address two issues in particular: first, the origins of Kang’s “reformism” and “progressivism” (underlying his subsequent political activism and finally flowing into the utopianism of the  Book of Great Concord), which may appear to be more rooted in a long-standing debate among Chinese Classicists than in the abrupt awakening caused by foreign influences; second, the presence of a pervading Buddhist undertone throughout Kang’s production, and its apparent contrast with his “Confucianist” intellectual endeavour.

Kang Youwei | Confucianism | Late Imperial Buddhism | Chinese Utopianism

About the Author

FEDERICO BRUSADELLI holds a PhD in East & South Asian Studies from the University of Naples “L’Orientale,” and is currently Adjunct Professor of Chinese History at the D’Annunzio University of Chieti-Pescara and at the International University of Languages and Media in Rome. His main research interest is in the field of Chinese intellectual and political history, with a special focus on the late Qing and early Republican periods, and more particularly on the New Text School of Confucianism and the thought of Kang Youwei. He is Managing Editor of the journal Ming Qing yanjiu (Brill).


Hyun-ho Joo
The Translingual Practice of Meishu in Early Twentieth-Century China: Rethinking the Xieyi Tradition in Literati Painting…………………………………119–134

This paper begins by examining the discourse on the term and concept of meishu that emerged in early twentieth-century China and was centered on how to construct  meishu as a form of cultural establishment and a discipline distinct from other art genres. It then considers the social and cultural contexts behind the evolution of the meaning of meishu, focusing on Chinese artists’ and art critics’ complicated attitudes toward both Chinese artistic tradition and the influence of Western art, as reflected in their varied views on literati painting and its xieyi tradition. This paper demonstrates that the Chinese art world’s process of redefining meishu as fine arts was a clear indicator of the artistic endeavor to rediscover the roles of painting in Chinese society. Meanwhile, the paper also pays renewed attention to literati painting and its  xieyi tradition by rethinking the relationship between the long-standing literati painting tradition and the increasing Western artistic trends in China. The Chinese art world of the early twentieth-century constantly attempted to encompass both Chinese and Western painting traditions, and relentlessly tried to merge the strengths of the Chinese tradition with Western influences in order to pave the way for a new Chinese painting tradition.

Chinese art | fine arts |  Meishu | Literati painting | Xieyi

About the Author

HYUN-HO JOO is an Associate Professor at Yonsei University, Korea. He received a PhD degree from the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago in 2010. His research interests are modern Chinese cultural history, the history of Sino-Korean relations, and the cultural interactions between China and Korea in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.



Review Articles

Nathan W. Hill
Old Chinese: A New Reconstruction……………………………………………………135–140

About the Author

NATHAN W. HILL is Reader in Tibetan and Linguistics at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He has published various works on Tibetan historical phonology, Tibetan philology, Trans-Himalayan comparative linguistics, and the typology of evidential systems.


Hang Lin
Re-envisioning Manchu and Qing History: A Question of Sanitization….141–154

About the Author

HANG LIN is currently an Assistant Professor at Hangzhou Normal University (China). He gained his MA and PhD in Chinese history at University of Wuerzburg (Germany) in 2009 and 2013, respectively. From 2013 to 2015 he was post-doctoral research fellow at University of Hamburg (Germany). His research interests focus on the history of non-Chinese peoples, history of frontiers and borders in northern and northeastern Asia, as well as history of printing and book culture in Ming-Qing China. His recent publication include: “Printing, Publishing, and Book Culture in Premodern China,” Monumenta Serica 63, no. 1 (2015): 150–71; “Fine Craftsmanship and Cultural Bearers: Silk Textiles from the Khitan Liao,” in Textile Trade and Distribution in Antiquity, edited by Kerstin Droß-Krüpe, 199–209. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2014; “Conquer and Govern: The Rise of the Jurchen and Their Jin Dynasty (1115-1234),” in Political Strategies of Identity Building in Non-Han Empires in China, edited by Francesca Fiaschetti and Julia Schneider, 37–57. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2014.
e-mail: 林航


Book Reviews and Notes

Hana Horáková, Stephanie Rudwick (eds.). Global Challenges and Local Reactions. Czech Republic and South Africa.
(Otakar Hulec) …………………………………………………………………………………….155–157

Federico Marcon. The Knowledge of Nature and the Nature of Knowledge in Early Modern Japan.
(Tan Chun Kiang Isaac) ………………………………………………………………………..158–160

Our Contributors ………………………………………………………………………………….161–163