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Lecture | LUCIS What's New?! Series

From China to India through the Arabs & Tibetans: a Chinese envoy to Kabul in 751

Thursday 21 November 2019
Free to visits, drinks after
What's New?! Fall Lecture Series
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden

In the year 751 CE, a famous battle was fought between the ‘Abbasid and the Tang armies on the river Talas, which resulted in the crushing defeat of the latter. A Chinese official envoy despatched in the same year to Jibin, the Chinese designation of the territory from eastern Afghanistan to Gandhara, along the Kabul river. One of the members of this envoy remained in India and became a Buddhist monk, who finally returned to China in 790. His short biography attached to the scripture he is believed to have translated into Chinese gives a rough itinerary of the mission from China to northwestern India. The talk will examine this itinerary and try to show that it somehow highlights the situation of mountain frontiers between Central and South Asia in the mid 8th century.

About Minoru Inaba

Minoru Inaba is a Professor of the Department of Oriental Studies, Institute for Research in Humanities, Kyoto University. He is specialized in the pre- and early Islamic history of Central Asia, especially of Afghanistan and adjacent regions. Recent publications include: ’The Narratives on the Bamiyan Buddhist Remains in the Islamic Period,’ in B. Auer & I. Straugh (eds.), Encountering Buddhism and Islam in Premodern Central and South Asia (2049), ‘Across the Hindūkush of the ‘Abbasid Period,’ in D. G. Tor (ed.) The ‘Abbasid and Carolingian Empire (2017), ‘Between Zābulistān and Gūzgān: A Study on the Early Islamic History of Afghanistan,’ Journal of Inner Asian Art and Archaeology, 7 (2017); ‘From Caojuzha to Ghazna/Ghaznīn: Early Medieval Chinese and Muslim Descriptions of Eastern Afghanistan’, Journal of Asian History, 49 (2015); ‘A Venture on the Frontier: Alptegin’s Conquest of Ghazna and its Sequel,’ in A. C. S. Peacock and D. G. Tor (eds.), Medieval Central Asia and the Persianate World, (2015).



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