Monthly Archives: October 2014

Images of Subject Mongols Under the Ming Dynasty

David M. Robinson

From:            Late Imperial China
Volume 25, Number 1, June 2004
pp. 59-123 | 10.1353/late.2004.0010

In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Late Imperial China 25.1 (2004) 59-123


David M. Robinson

As Henri Serruys demonstrated decades ago, from 1368 to 1449 tens of thousands of Mongols joined the fledgling Ming dynasty. Although the number of Mongols relocating to China declined markedly from the mid-fifteenth century onward, more than 150 years after the last of the major Mongol emigrations to China, these Mongols (daguan dajun as they were often termed) appear in a wide variety of Ming documents. Why?

For students of the steppe, particularly Mongolists, Mongols in Ming China form an important part of post-imperial history. A clearer understanding of their fate will make possible a more integrative study of Mongolian personnel in sedentary empires elsewhere in Eurasia during the early modern period. For those interested in the transition between the Yuan and the Ming dynasties, Ming Mongols offer a point of departure in our efforts to understand continuity, change, and synthesis between the Mongols’ vast, complex polity and the last native dynasty in Chinese history. For military historians, the Ming Mongols offer insight into the use of foreign military personnel within China.

Although all these issues deserve further exploration, this preliminary study examines the relation between Chinese administrative systems and images of subject Mongols. The studies of Pamela Crossley, Mark Elliott, Joanna Waley-Cohen, Evelyn Rawski, and others have contributed to a sophisticated appreciation of the wide variety of factors at work in the construction and maintenance of Manchu identity during the Qing dynasty (1636-1911). Important too has been work related to questions of the identification and classification of various subjugated groups in the context of Qing empire and colonialism.

Less studied have been perceptions and descriptions of non-Chinese groups within the Ming empire (1368-1644). This situation is as understandable as it is regrettable. Qing historians today have at their disposal a far more voluminous and detailed documentary and pictorial record. Not only have many more materials survived from the Qing than from the Ming, but the former was a self-consciously expansionistic and colonialist power. The Qing government was keenly interested in categorizing and describing its newly acquired lands and peoples. Perhaps most fundamentally, as a foreign conquest dynasty, the Qing was intensely occupied with the question of identity throughout the life of the dynasty.

The question of subject populations, their place in administrative apparati, their relations with other groups within China and beyond, and finally the images generated through these various interaction are, however, critical for understanding the Ming dynasty. The Ming, like nearly all regimes that controlled the Central Plains, was a multi-ethnic empire that incorporated Chinese, Korean, Mongolian, Jurchen, Khitan, Parhae, Vietnamese, Zhuang, Li, and a wide variety of other peoples. Studies of various groups in the southwest corner of the Ming have examined the interplay between Chinese imperial administrative structures and indigenous groups. These works demonstrate that the creation of discrete ethnic or tribal names and identities was often tied to the bureaucratic imperatives of the Ming state. Frederick Wakeman’s classic description of the transfrontiermen of the northeastern corner of the Chinese empire during the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries sheds light on the fluid nature of ethnic identification and shifting relations with the Ming state.

The present essay adds to our understanding of subject populations through an examination of perceptions of Mongol personnel in the Capital Region during the Ming dynasty. In particular, I focus on how these images were developed and how they were transmitted within China. As demonstrated below, perceptions of Mongolian communities in the Capital Region varied widely according to time, place, and context. Their meaning was never self-evident.

My central argument is that administrative concerns of the Ming state often powerfully shaped images of Ming Mongols. The state was generally more interested in how Mongols fit into pre-existing bureaucratic operations such as household registration categories, tax and labor service obligations, and jurisdictional responsibilities between military and civil authorities than in what we more commonly consider ethnic features like language, clothing, lifeways, or notions of descent. A second and related element of my argument is that Ming Mongols became inseparably linked to imperial military institutions. This was not only because…



Nicholas Poppe (1897-1991)

Nicholas Poppe (1897-1991)was one of the best mongolists in the world. His life resembled adventure novel or a Holliwood blockbaster. One of the founders of scholar Altaic studies. Here you can find a collection of selected works of N.Poppe


 Selected works:



  • Алпатов В. М. Лингвистическое наследие Н. Поппе // ВЯ. 1992, №3. С.119-125.
  • Алпатов В. М. Николай-Николас Поппе // Бюллетень Общества монголоведов РАН. 1993.
  • Алпатов В. М. Советское востоковедение в оценках Н. Поппе // Mongolica, III. Санкт-Петербург. Фарн. 1994. С.38-46.
  • Алпатов В. М. Николай-Николас Поппе. М. Восточная литература. 1996. 144 с.
  • Алпатов В. М. Переписка Н.Н. Поппе с советскими востоковедами// Известия РАН, серия литературы и языка. 2000, №5. С.52-57.
  • m   Poppe in Wikipaedia
  • Poppe, N.N., Walther Heissig, and Klaus Sagaster. 1989: Gedanke Und Wirkung : Festschrift zum 90. Geburtstag von Nikolaus Poppe. Asiatische Forschungen Bd. 108. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz. ISSN 0571-320X.
  • Cirtautas, Arista Maria. “Nicholas Poppe: A bibliography of publications from 1924-1977.” Parerga 4. Seattle: Institute for Comparative and Foreign Area Studies, University of Washington, 1977.


Nomads as Agents of Cultural Change: The Mongols and Their Eurasian Predecessors

Nomads as Agents of Cultural Change: The Mongols and Their Eurasian Predecessors
Editor: Amitai, Reuven; Biran, Michal;
Since the first millennium BCE, nomads of the Eurasian steppe have played a key role in world history and the development of adjacent sedentary regions, especially China, India, the Middle East, and Eastern and Central Europe.  Although their more settled neighbors often saw them as an ongoing threat and imminent danger—“barbarians,” in fact—their impact on sedentary cultures was far more complex than the raiding, pillaging, and devastation with which they have long been associated in the popular imagination. The nomads were also facilitators and catalysts of social, demographic, economic, and cultural change, and nomadic culture had a significant influence on that of sedentary Eurasian civilizations, especially in cases when the nomads conquered and ruled over them. Not simply passive conveyors of ideas, beliefs, technologies, and physical artifacts, nomads were frequently active contributors to the process of cultural exchange and change. Their active choices and initiatives helped set the cultural and intellectual agenda of the lands they ruled and beyond.

This volume brings together a distinguished group of scholars from different disciplines and cultural specializations to explore how nomads played the  role of “agents of cultural change.”  The beginning chapters examine this phenomenon in both east and west Asia in ancient and early medieval times, while the bulk of the book is devoted to the far flung Mongol empire of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.  This comparative approach, encompassing both a lengthy time span and a vast region, enables a clearer understanding of the key role that Eurasian pastoral nomads played in the history of the Old World. It conveys a sense of the complex and engaging cultural dynamic that existed between nomads and their agricultural and urban neighbors, and highlights the non-military impact of nomadic culture on Eurasian history.

Nomads As Agents of Cultural Change illuminates and complicates nomadic roles as active promoters of cultural exchange within a vast and varied region. It makes available important original scholarship on the new turn in the study of the Mongol empire and on relations between the nomadic and sedentary worlds.

Conference Schedule: Symposium on Centralasian Sources and Research

                                 Conference  Schedule

                                     (preliminary version)

Symposium “Zentralasienforschung – Quellen und Methoden”

Symposium on Centralasian Sources and Research

Georg August Universität Göttingen 23. – 26.Oktober 2014

Ort: Niedersächsische Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Göttingen,

Platz der Göttinger Sieben 1, 37073 Göttingen

Seminarraum 1.Stock/ Conferenceroom 1st Floor (Telephone 39 3369)


9:00 – 10:00 Opening Ceremony (Vicepresident of Goettingen University Prof. Dr. Hiltraud Casper-Hehne, Vicedirector of the Library; Dr. Rupert Schaab, )

Session 1 : Chairman Johannes Reckel

10:00 – 10:20 Hartmut Walravens (Berlin) „Cataloguing the Berlin Manchu Collection“

10:20 – 10:40 Tatiana Pang (St.Petersburg) : : “The Sibe language materials in the Institute of Oriental manuscripts, RAS in St.Petersburg”

10:40 – 11:00 Elena Skribnik (München/Munich): “Digitale Konstruktion dreier mongolischer Sprachen (Temporalkonstruktionen)”

 Teabreak 11:00 – 11:20

Session 2 : Chairman Hartmut Walravens

11:20 – 11:40 Weirong Shen (Peking, Renmin Daxue) : “Tibetan Tantric Buddhism in the Tangut Xia, Mongol Yuan and Chinese Ming – A Study based on the Khara Khoto Collection”

11:40 – 12:00 Andreas Siegl (München) : „Die mandschurisch-mongolischen Briefe zwischen den Qing und Tibet aus der Sammlung Qing neige menggutang dang“

12:00 – 12:20 Dorothea Heuschert-Laage (Bern) : „Mongolian Voices of Discontent in Lifanyuan Records from the early Qing period”

12:20 – 12:40 Ondřej Srba (Prague) : “: The banner nobility of Altain Urianhais in the archive documents and oral tradition”

12:40 – 13:00 Ines Stolpe (Bonn) : „Zivilgesellschaftlicher Wandel – postsozialistische Perestroika

in der ländlichen Mongolei?“

Lunchbreak 13:00 – 14:00

Session 3 : Chairwoman Elena Skribnik

14:00 – 14:20 Pavel Rykin (Moscow) :  “The Sino-Mongolian Glossary “Dada yu / Beylu yiyu” from the Ming period”;

14:20 – 14:40 Alimaa Senderjav (Bonn) :  „Phänomenologische Aspekte bei mongolischenVerben

барих, дарах, татах“

14:40 – 15:00 Benjamin Brosig (Stockhom) : „The marking of evidentiality in Mongolian in the context of Central Asia”

15:00 – 15:20 Surun Khanda D. Syrtypova (Moscow) : “The block printing in the Buddhist Monasteries of Transbaykalia in the XVIII to early XX cent., based on field archaeographic research in Buriatia and Chita region.”

15:20 – 15:40 Maria-Katharina Lang (Wien/Vienna) : “Die Sammlung Hans Lederer”

Teabreak 15:40 – 16:00

Session 4: Chairwoman Agnes Birtalan

16:00 – 16:20 Tamira (Hohhot) : “An introduction to the Ancient Oirat Clear Script Manuscripts in the Library of Inner Mongolia Academy of Social Science”

16:20 – 16:40 Bela Kempf (Szeged) : “History of the Oriental Collection in Szeged”

16:40 – 17:00 Attila Rakos (Budapest) : “Written Sources for Studies on the History of Oirat Dialects”

17:20 – 19:00 Visit to the Old Building of the Library to view the Mongolian and Centralasian Manuscripts from the v. Asch Collection

19:15 – 22:00  Welcome Dinner at the Restaurant “Kleiner Ratskeller” (Juedenstraße 30)


Session 5:  Chairman Attila Rakos

9:20 – 9:40       Veronika Zikmundova (Prague) :

9:40 – 10:00     Veronika Kapisovska (Prague) :

10:00 – 10:20   Oyunbilig (Peking, Renmin Daxue) : Research on the historical archives about Oirad literary hero Lobsang Shunu——centered on Manchu Grand Council Lufu memorials to the throne”

10:20 – 10:40   Agata Bareja-Starzynska (Warsaw) : „The Oirat Version of the Aṣṭasāhasrikā-prajῆāpāramitā – a Preliminary Report”

10:40 – 11:00   Erdemtu Minggad (Peking, Minzu Daxue) : „Oirat Texts written in the ‘Clear Script’  (todo üseg)  preserved at Ili river in Xinjiang”

Teabreak 11:00 – 11:20

Session 6:  Chairman Oyunbilig

11:20 – 11:40  Jan-Olof Svantesson (Lund) : „Cornelius Rahmn and his works on Kalmuck linguistics”

11:40 – 12:00   Agnes Birtalan (Budapest) : „Gábor Bálint’s Manuscripts of the 19th Century Kalmyk and Khalkha Vernacular Kept in the Hungarian Academy of Sciences”

12:00 – 12:20   Ba. Batubayar (Ürümchi) : “Iǰil Cürem from Kalmyckia and his role in transforming the Oirat script in Xinjiang during the early 20th century”

12:20 – 12:40  Namjil (Ürümchi) : “Remarks on the material of the “Dictionary of the four forms of Oirat dialects”

12:40 – 13:00 Ayalagu (Peking, Minzu Daxue) : “A preliminary survey of the khiimori (kimori) in Ordos”

Lunchbreak 13:00 – 14:00

Session 7 :  Chairwoman Barbara Kellner-Heinkele

14:00 – 14:20  Oliver Corff (Berlin) : “The Making of the Pentaglot: Concepts, Data Structures and Tools”

14:20 – 14:40  Hendrik Boeschoten (Mainz) : “News on manuscripts of Rabghūzī’s Qïṣaṣu l-Anbiyā”

14:40 – 15:00  Michael Dillon : “Chinese sources on modern Xinjiang history: Kashi shi wenshi ziliao”

Teabreak 15:00 – 15:20

Session 8 : Chairman Hendrik Boeschoten

15:20 – 15:40 Ayisima Miersulitan (Berlin) : “Die tschagataischen Handschriften aus den deutschen


15:40 – 16:00 Ablet Semet (Berlin) :

16:00 – 16:20 Dolqun Qadir (Peking, Ethnic Publishing House) : “On the policy and history of publishing Uighur material at the Ethnic publishing house in Peking”

16:20 – 16:40 Kamili-Abudukelimu (Ürümchi) “Some remarks on the development of the modern Uighur written language”

Teabreak 16:40 – 17:00

17:00 – 18:00  Final discussion – Conclusion


10:00 – 11:30   Guided Tour through the old town of Goettingen

 Source: China Mongolian Studies Information Net