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  • Author or Editor: Samira Müller x
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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