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Armenia in Chinese Sources

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image of Iran and the Caucasus

This paper discusses several toponyms in Chinese sources, which may possibly be identified with Armenia. First, Aman country, which can be found in the "History of the Later Han" (compiled 3rd–5th centuries) and in the "Account of the Wei Dynasty" (compiled between 239 and 265), is discussed, and it is suggested that there are reasons for an identification, though doubts remain. Armenia was well known by the Mongols and the "Korean Worldmap", which originates in Chinese geographical scholarship during the Mongol period and depicts possibly even Greater and Lesser Armenia. Another source of that period that mentions Armenia is "Muslim Prescriptions" (Huihui yaofang), which names Armenian materia medica known in China. Finally, two other Chinese geographical texts of the 16th and early 18th century that deal with Armenia and the Caucasus region are discussed. This paper shows that Armenia was described in Chinese texts since at least the Mongol period, and that China had a profound knowledge of the geographical situation in Western Asia.

Affiliations: 1: Institute of Iranian Studies, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna; 2: Nanjing University


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