China and Inner Asia
Organized Panel Session
Growing interest in global history has made the Mongol Empire a particularly dynamic subject for art historical research. This panel gathers four art historians focusing on less-studied materials, such as Buddhist woodcuts and books, stone carvings, paper, and textiles to chart out previously unnoticed links of contacts across Eurasia. The panel conceptualizes the cultural space of the Mongol Empire as transcending the borders of political entities such as Yuan China and Ilkhanate Persia. Each study shows how trade and travel facilitated the movement of objects and ideas within this space, creating an expansive network that sometimes went beyond even the geographical bounds of the Mongol Empire, from North and Central Asia to East and Southeast Asia, the Himalayan Plateau, Persia and Western Europe.
Shih-shan Susan Huang argues that elite Uighurs served as sponsors and distributors of Buddhist books and woodcuts over a wide network extending from Beijing and Quanzhou and into Central Asia. Yong Cho discusses the Yuan stone carvings at Juyongguan and proposes possible connections with Southeast Asian sculptural traditions. Yusen Yu analyzes the production and circulation of paper in China, Korea, Baghdad and Samarqand and the role it played in the development of painting and writing practices. Eiren Shea investigates the cultural impact of Mongol luxury textiles on European elite and merchant class identity during the Italian Renaissance. Collectively, the four papers highlight the impact of these trans-regional networks on visual and material culture across Eurasia in the 13th and 14th centuries and beyond.