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George Lane

George Lane (ed.). The Phoenix Mosque and the Persians of Medieval Hangzhou

Compte-rendu réalisé par Yuka Kadoi
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George Lane (ed.). The Phoenix Mosque and the Persians of Medieval Hangzhou. London: Gingko Library, 2018, 273 p., 48 ill., ISBN: 9781909942882

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1Edited by George Lane, The Phoenix Mosque and the Persians of Medieval Hangzhou intends to contextualise one of the historic mosques on the coastal region of East China and their related cultural relics, particularly tombstones and stelae, some of which are masterfully carved and inscribed. Located in Hangzhou (the capital of the Southern Song Dynasty) and known as the Phoenix (Fenghuang) Mosque, this architectural complex is uniquely blending Chinese and Islamic styles. Although its original foundation can be traced back to the late thirteenth century, the Phoenix Mosque unfortunately suffered destruction in the 1920s and was later rebuilt according to its original plan.

2This book consists of six chapters. Apart from the first chapter (by Chen Qing), the rest are all prepared by the editor. Half of the pages are occupied by two appendixes: Appendix I (Tombstones: Translations and Transliterations) is compiled by the late Alexander (Sandy) Morton, while Appendix II (The Islamic Stelae of Hangzhou) is introduced by the editor and translated by Florence Hodous. All figures are published in black-and-white, but these monochrome reproductions serve to enhance the legibility of inscriptions on tombstones.

3What makes this study noteworthy is the catalogue of tombstones with Persian and Arabic inscriptions (see Appendix I). These tombstones tell the biographies of Persian-speaking Muslims (mostly from modern-day Iran but also from the wide Persian cultural lands) who flocked to China from the other end of the Mongol Empire.

4The Phoenix Mosque and the Persians of Medieval Hangzhou deserves to be seen as one of the key publications that not only increases our knowledge of the cosmopolitan, multicultural landscape across the Mongol Empire but also awakes a fresh interest in the survivals of Muslim architectural culture in East Asia, one of the understudied fields of research.

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Yuka Kadoi. George Lane, « George Lane (ed.). The Phoenix Mosque and the Persians of Medieval Hangzhou », Abstracta Iranica [En ligne], Volume 40-41 | 2019, document 5, mis en ligne le 15 juillet 2019, consulté le 30 juillet 2021. URL : ; DOI :

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