High Asia and the High Qing: Persian Letters in the Beijing Archives

David Brophy

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    The Manchu section of Beijing’s First Historical Archives offers scholars a wealth of materials not only in Manchu, the preferred medium of communication between the emperor and his leading officials for much of the Qing period (1644-1911), but also in a wide range of other languages used in correspondence between the Qing and its neighbors. The bulk of this material dates to the Qianlong reign (1735-96) in the aftermath of Qing expansion into Central Asia in the 1750s, which brought the court into contact with a range of Islamic polities, including the Kazakh sultans of the lesser and middle hordes, the khans of Kokand, the principalities of Badakhshān and the Pamirs, as well as Ladakh. While partially documented elsewhere, the Manchu archive provides a richer record of these contacts than any other body of sources, containing as it does the original letters sent to Qing officials by the empire’s neighbors.2 Such letters serve not only as a source for the diplomatic history of Qing China’s interactions with the Islamic world, but also for the history of these regions themselves, which in many cases lack sufficient indigenous sources. This article provides a brief introduction to the Persian-language component of this collection, along with a study of a set of sixteen letters.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationNo Tapping Around Philology: A Festschrift for Wheeler McIntosh Thackston Jr.'s 70th Birthday
    Editors Alireza Korangy and Daniel J. Sheffield
    Place of PublicationWiesbaden
    PublisherHarrassowitz Verlag
    ISBN (Print)9783447102155
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


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