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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: October 2019

9 - The Chinggisid Fold

from Part III - A Tough Crowd


Chapter 9, “The Chinggisid Fold,” explores Zhu Yuanzhang’s correspondence with two other groups with deep ties to the Chinggisid imperial enterprise. The first were senior Great Yuan military commanders and Mongol nobles, primarily those based in today’s Liaoning and Jilin provinces to the northeast, the southern Mongolian steppe, and in Gansu and eastern Xinjiang. The second group consists of the Moghul khanate and the Timurid dynasty in Central Asia. Memory of Chinggis Khan and the institutional arrangements of the Mongol empire (including hereditary relations of leadership) were defining elements of both groups. This chapter argues that Zhu Yuanzhang worked hard to win the first group’s allegiance through a combination of military pressure, economic incentives, and argumentation. If he failed to sway the Great Khans and the Prince of Liang, the Ming founder did have some success among this critical group of Chinggisid supporters. Zhu Yuanzhang and his advisors invoked the Mongol empire’s inheritance in communications with the Timurid and Moghul polities. However, the early Ming court’s Chinggisid narrative was not compelling to them.