09 February 2004

Muslims and Hindus in South China, 10th-13th Centuries

In 1995, Hugh R. Clark published an exploratory essay in the Journal of World History about China during the Song Dynasty (960-1279), arguing
that China's maritime frontier, especially the coastline south of the Yangzi River, was an important site for the shaping of Chinese culture during the later imperial era. This frontier therefore deserves attention alongside the better known and more frequently studied "inner Asian" frontier of the north. Archaeological evidence demonstrates the presence of communities of Muslims from west Asia and Hindus from south and southeast Asia in the port city of Quanzhou throughout the Song dynasty. Those communities and the trade ties they represented influenced a range of cultural innovations, including the introduction of the Champa strain of rice, which transformed Chinese agronomy, and the conception of the monkey god popularized as Sun Wukong in the Chinese novel Journey to the West.
SOURCE: Journal of World History 6 (1995): 49-74.

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