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The Dürr-i meknūn (The Hidden Pearl) is one of the most fascinating and enigmatic works of fifteenth-century Ottoman literature. It consists of a digest of Islamic cosmology and cosmography engaging with a wide array of subjects, beginning with the Creation and concluding with the Last Judgement. The Dürr-i meknūn has long been attributed to the mystic and scholar Ahmed Bīcān and has accordingly been dated to between 1453 and 1466. However, building on the most recent research, which shows that Ahmed Bīcān could not possibly have penned the Dürr and that the text is in fact anonymous, this article provides a critical reading and new dating of the text by focusing on the apocalyptic prophecies found in Chapter 16. Using a novel methodology that integrates contextual and historical reading, with computations of Arabic gematria, my analysis demonstrates that the Dürr was composed in 1472–73, in anticipation of the Ottoman–Akkoyunlu confrontation at the Battle of Başkent, when fears were running high that the end of Ottoman rule was at hand.
The Qaŋlï (Qangli) Turks were a numerous people, active in Eurasia in the twelfth to thirteenth centuries, but their ultimate origins remain a matter of debate. Often considered by modern scholars to be a part of the Kipchaks (Cumans), others have different opinions. One of these links them to cart-riding early medieval Turkic tribes called Tägräks, known in Chinese sources as Tiele 鐵勒, among other forms. This article examines the earliest possible (eighth-century) references to the Qaŋlïs in the historical sources, and points to the potential links between them and various tribes seen among Turko-Mongol groupings of the ninth to tenth centuries mentioned in the Chinese sources, such as the Black Carts (Heichezi 黑車子). Another aspect that this article focuses on is how both historical and mythological texts of the Mongol period show the Qaŋlïs to be a people distinct from the Kipchaks. Ultimately, this study, which is based on both historical sources and modern research, proposes to locate the origins of the Qaŋlï Turks among Tägräk tribes.
With the exception of legal texts, surviving records of rape in early China have been the subject of little academic study to date. This is the result of a number of factors, including the criminalization of both consensual and non-consensual sex outside of marriage in ancient China, the tradition of using euphemistic vocabulary to refer to such topics, considerable variation, depending on time and place, as to what constitutes rape and discomfort that some very famous men are said to have committed crimes of rape and sexual violence. This article examines two famous and well-documented incidents – one concerning the rape of a woman in peacetime, the other an instance of mass gang rape during war – to explore the specific challenges of studying sexual violence in ancient civilizations. Ignoring early accounts of rape serves to significantly distort our understanding of some key events in Chinese history and perverts the textual record.
Previous studies of the Ying Wa College (英華書院) in early Hong Kong overlooked the role of the students. The scarcity of relevant sources could well justify such an oversight. This article aims at filling this gap through the careful use of London Missionary Society (LMS) materials. Not only does it aim to highlight significant aspects of the college, its unique history, its English education and its practice of Christian faith, it also discusses the careers of some graduates in Hong Kong, China and the world. This article argues that these Ying Wa boys formed a bridge that connected the Western and Chinese worlds. Their impact was felt through the spread of Christianity and global China business, on the one hand, and as a connection between the people and the government in colonial Hong Kong, Qing China and overseas Chinese communities in Singapore and Australia.