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The Limits Of Artistic Exchange In Fourteenth-Century Tabriz: The Paradox Of Rashid Al-Din’s Book On Chinese Medicine, Part I

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Chapter Summary

Among the most striking artifacts of the extraordinary cross-cultural encounters that took place in the fourteenth-century Mongol Empire stretching from China to eastern Europe is an illustrated manuscript from Tabriz on Chinese medicine. This chapter focuses on the paradox of the Tansūqnāma as it played out in the context of the manuscript's production in early fourteenth-century Tabriz. It explain how the same paradox frames the manuscript's anomalous position in the broader history of Islamic manuscript painting, even within the context of fourteenth-century Tabriz, was that although the presentation of images and ideas in this manuscript did depart significantly from the Chinese sources, and even though the direction of that departure was towards the expectations of a new intended audience of medieval Islamic doctors and intellectuals, nonetheless, the degree of departure was not sufficient to make those images and ideas conceptually accessible in their new milieu.

Keywords: Chinese medicine; fourteenth-century Tabriz; Islamic manuscript painting; paradox frames; Tansūqnāma



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