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Abstract

How and when did domestic donkeys arrive in China? This article sets out to uncover the donkeys’ forgotten trail from West Asia across the Iranian plateau to China, using archaeological, art historical, philological, and linguistic evidence. Following Parpola and Janhunen’s (2011) contribution to our understanding of the Indian wild ass and Mitchell’s (2018) overview of the history of the domestic donkey in West Asia and the Mediterranean, we will attempt to shed light on the transmission of the beast of burden to Eastern Eurasia.

Due to its length, the paper is published in two instalments: Part I covers archaeological, art historical and textual evidence for the earliest occurrence and popularization of donkeys in China. Part II (in the fall issue) contains three sections: Two sections explore possible etymologies of ancient zoonyms for donkeys or donkey-like animals in Iranian and Chinese languages respectively. In a final discussion, possible ways of transmission for the donkey from the Iranian plateau to the Chinese heartland are evaluated with regard to the cultural, linguistic, and topographic conditions reflected in the previous parts.

Open Access
In: International Journal of Eurasian Linguistics
Author:

Abstract

Looking back at the articles collected in this issue, I want to propose that Asia is a privileged space for Islamic studies for addressing three questions in particular that are relevant for the wider discipline and demand a radical rethinking of familiar understandings of Islam as it has come to be represented in contemporary scholarship. First, the highly heterogeneous landscapes of Islamic Asia invite us to consider the significance of cultural, linguistic, and religious complexity in Islam more broadly. Second, while exhibiting the fundamental changes that Asian Muslims have navigated against the background of the increasing reach of colonialism and globalization, the preceding articles simultaneously resist easy dichotomizations between tradition and modernity. And third, a focus on Islam in Asia allows us to reassess established paradigms of transmission with its various infrastructures, as well as understandings of centers and peripheries undergirding such processes of transmission.

Open Access
In: International Journal of Islam in Asia
Author:

Abstract

Tricontinentalism, the radical ideational universe of the Global South so important in the 1960s and 1970s, lost much of its original thrust with the neoliberal turn, and its contribution to global history has long been obscured. Recently, however, historians, political theorists and others have been studying its take on global justice and the multiple impacts of its political strategies, ideological rhetoric, identity formations, as well as its many transnational connections: traces still recognisable in the repertoire of social movements today. By unearthing these strands and constellations of global history, and by sometimes cooperating with activists, these scholars act as Foucauldian genealogists, laying bare sediments of historical agency that the hegemonic memory formation of neoliberalism had all but buried. Such efforts constitute a form of counter-history in the competitive field of political memory. This paper applies elements of mnemonic hegemony theory (mht) to analyse Tricontinental memory, with a particular focus on Latin America.

Open Access
In: Bandung

Abstract

The essay presented in this paper constitutes a reflection based on my explorations of transcending siloed academic areas from Southern or Decolonial frameworks generally and on my reading of the 572-page, 2023 volume Decolonizing The Mind. A guide to decolonial theory and practice by Sandew Hira published by Amrit Publishers more specifically. Aligning with emerging discussions regarding the need to trouble the colonially framed ways of mainstream academia and academic writing itself, I – like an increasing number of scholars, including Sandew Hira – attempt to present these reflections in what may appear as unconventional writing. This paper is organized in six sections that talk to the human condition across the territories of the contemporary planet based on situating and historicizing its narrative as a response to emerging decolonial waves that have so far marked academic settings differently across the global North and the global South, including my open-ended reading of Sandew Hira’s 2023 volume. In lieu of a standard summary, this reflective paper functions as an expanded teaser to the volumes rich and troubling offerings.

Open Access
In: Bandung
Authors: and

Abstract

The name Bian Que, like that of the Yellow Emperor (Huangdi), has reverberated through the development of Chinese medicine since the time of the Warring States. The discovery of a human figurine showing channels and strategic points, together with a number of medical texts, during the excavation of the Laoguanshan Han tomb in Chengdu, Sichuan, in 2012–13 has reignited controversies about whether it is correct to speak of a specific Bian Que school, or whether, as this paper argues, these texts were written by the Han physicians who used Bian Que as a mouthpiece to record their own medical expositions. The paper begins by examining the main characteristics of the Laoguanshan human figurine and discusses what this excavated artifact reveals about the early history of Chinese medicine. It questions the existence of the so-called Bian Que school and, obliquely, the suggested relationships between the school and the figurine and between the school and medical texts found in the same tomb. The paper shows how diverse the disjointed knowledge of medicine was and that the idea of a “school” does not accurately reflect what was happening in the transmission of medical knowledge during the Warring States, Qin, and Han periods (475 BCE–220 CE).

Open Access
In: Asian Medicine
Author:

Abstract

One of the most important archaeological finds excavated from the Tianhui Laoguanshan Han tombs in 2012–13 was a manuscript on horse medicine, dated around the third century BCE. Prior to the discovery of this highly specialized veterinary text, only a handful of horse recipes from the Qin and Han periods had been found, and a sixth-century CE agricultural treatise, Essential Techniques for the Common People, was generally regarded as the earliest surviving source of extensive veterinary material, including various medical treatments for horses. Although the Laoguanshan manuscript – given the modern title Book of Treating Horses by the Team for Collating the Medical Bamboo Slips Excavated from the Han Tombs in Tianhui Town, Chengdu – has suffered significant damage, it nevertheless gives us an insight into the knowledge and treatments for horses during the Qin and early Han periods. A variety of ways of treating horses are recorded in Treating Horses, including herbal remedies, piercing, cauterization, hot packs, bandages, massage, and bathing. The use of gold needles is also mentioned in this text, echoing the gold and silver sewing needles excavated from Liu Sheng’s (d. 113 BCE) tomb in Mancheng, Hebei Province. This paper offers a short introduction to this valuable text on horse medicine by examining the content of its fragments, including names of ailments, symptoms of certain diseases, etiologies, and treatment methods. The discovery of Treating Horses challenges the established view that horse treatment methods in ancient China were predominantly herbal and that techniques of bleeding and cauterization recorded in Essential Techniques were brought to China from elsewhere, together with the introduction of Buddhism. The paper argues that the “foreign influence” had already occurred at a much earlier date, in the form of interactions with nomadic tribes such as the Scythians, the horsemen par excellence of classical antiquity.

Open Access
In: Asian Medicine
In: Asian Medicine
Author:

Abstract

The classics of Chinese medicine are redolent with allusions to weaving as they describe a new imperial anatomy and physiology of the medical body. The superior physician in the Yellow Emperor’s corpus manipulated ji , the trigger mechanisms at strategic points on the surface of the body, which provided remote relief from the symptoms of illness. Through stimulating these points, medical practice with needle and moxibustion could control the many spirits that inhabited the body, weaving them into a numinous fabric. This paper explores the spatiotemporal geographies of meaning expressed in the manuscripts and artifacts excavated at the Laoguanshan tomb sites. In particular, an analysis of the medical texts, models of mechanical pattern shaft looms, and a tiny lacquered medical figurine recovered there suggest that local translational knowledge transfer between medicine, weaving, and water technologies occurred in the upper reaches of the Yangzi Valley. The resulting innovations were at the heart of a new imperial Chinese medicine.

Open Access
In: Asian Medicine
Authors: and

Abstract

In the process of editing this special double issue of Asian Medicine we were keen to print the responses of practitioners of Chinese medicine currently still in practice. We therefore sent colleagues the article by Gu Man, Zhou Qi, and Liu Changhua, “Techniques for Piercing the Mai Recorded in the Laoguanshan Han Tomb Bamboo Slips” and the article by Zhou Qi, “Research on the Lacquered Channel Figurine Excavated from a Han Tomb in Tianhui” while they were in preparation. We are very grateful to Edward Neal and George He for their generous responses. —Eds.

Open Access
In: Asian Medicine
Author:

Abstract

This translation forms a triptych with the following two articles in this double special issue: Gu Man, Zhou Qi, and Liu Changhua, “Techniques for Piercing the Mai Recorded in the Laoguanshan Han Tomb Bamboo Slips” and Zhou Qi, “Research on the Lacquered Channel Figurine Excavated from a Han Tomb in Tianhui.” Here you can read an entire Tianhui Laoguanshan text in translation on the subject of therapeutic piercing. The contribution by Gu, Zhou, and Liu positions the therapy in relation to ideas and techniques in other manuscript texts contemporary to the one translated here and the printed classics of Chinese medicine. These articles are accompanied by opinion pieces written by current practitioners of Chinese medicine as expert witnesses to the evolution of the techniques and their relevance, or not, to modern practice. Together, we present an interdisciplinary analysis that we hope will engage the reader actively in the process of multifocal interpretation. The text here is introduced by a translator’s introduction that reflects broadly on the unique challenges of rendering this fascinating work into English.

Open Access
In: Asian Medicine