Reviews

This study, based on a wide range of sources of the most varied origin, proposes a comparative survey on registered legends on the Muztagh-Ata Mountain, located at the junction of the Himalaya and the Pamir. Departing from the relation by seventh-century CE Chinese pilgrim Xuanzhang on the figure of a gigantic Buddhist anchorite (arhat) in deep meditation, the author then exposes the Islamised legends on a gigantic grave containing the souls of Moses (Hazrat-i Musa) and ‘Ali, associated with the presence of a white camel. A chapter is devoted to the Kyrgyz myths of the mountain as kingdom of the spirits (diw), and as the grave of divinised ancestors. The last part of the article deals with the legend on the hidden paradise city of Mustagh-Ata as a possible substitute for the legend on the happy city of Shambhala that developed in the Subcontinent in the tenth-eleventh centuries CE after the disappearance of Buddhism from Central Asia. In his conclusion, the author insists on the fact that the Mustagh-Ata is clearly situated at a crossroads of several cults of the mountain, notably Buddhist, Turkic, Mongol, and Islamic with a strong impact of the Ismaili creed and of Sufism.

The Redaction
CER: II-4.1.A-327