Campus Only Senior Thesis
Bachelor of Arts
Kenneth Baxter Wolf
© 2021 Jacinta Y. Chen
Beginning in the mid-fourteenth century, the rise of powerful and prosperous empires precipitated a sudden yet remarkable proliferation in inter-Asian travel, trade, and diplomacy. Journeys by translators, envoys, chroniclers, and merchants allowed the two most dominant Asian kingdoms in the fifteenth century—the Timurid Empire (1370–1507) in Central Asia and the Ming dynasty (1368–1644) in China—to engage in increasingly close and frequent contacts with each other. Encounters and exchanges between Asian societies spawned the creation of emissarial travel accounts, the compilation of imperial historico-geographical chronicles, and the reproduction of eminent folkloric epics. Such wide-ranging texts shed important light on the ways in which authors perceived foreign cultures and linked far-flung courts. Their works simultaneously illustrate the ways in which the authors, and their official sponsors, co-opted new ideas for their own purposes and intermingled differing traditions. By weaving together strands from an array of fifteenth-century texts about inter-Asian emissarial contacts, this thesis will illuminate the oft-forgotten connectivity of our world before European imperialism and after the Mongol Age. It will not only highlight the overlap in Timurid and Ming perspectives on diplomacy, sovereignty, and justice, but also explore the Persianate and Chinese construction of difference, particularly as they negotiated the realities of their distinctive geographies, courtly cultures, and religious customs.
Chen, Jacinta, "Asia Reimagined: Inter-Imperial Encounters and Exchanges in the Early Modern World" (2021). Pomona Senior Theses. 241.
This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.