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Comparing Al-Kāshgharī’s Map To His Text:On The Visual Language, Purpose, And Transmission Of Arabic-Islamic Maps

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Chapter Summary

Arabic-Islamic geographers used diagrammatic maps that closely interacted with texts as one of three devices they had at their disposal, the other two being precision maps and texts. Reading al- Kāshgharī?s map as one of those diagrammatic maps shows that he basically speaks the same visual language they did: Like Arabic-Islamic geographers focused on cities of the Islamic world, al-Kāshgharī, within his textbook on Turkish language, focused on the tribes of the Turkish world. The main aim of his map was to show the distribution of concurring linguistic features. To understand al-Kāshgharī?s map, we must turn to the book from which the map comes, the Compendium of the Languages of the Turks. Comparing text and map thus allows us to reconstruct most of the original map and to understand how copying changed text and map in different ways.

Keywords: al- Kāshgharī; Arabic-Islamic geographers; diagrammatic maps; Turkish language; visual language



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