Reviews

These two volumes follow a first one published in 2006 ― see my review in Turcica 40 (2008) ― introducing several highly interesting documents from mazars located in Qomul and in the Fergana Valley, dating from the eighteenth to the twentieth century. This time, Yayoi Kawahara and Jun Sugawara, the two inspired initiators of this “mazar documents project,” have worked in close collaboration with Uighur, Uzbek and Kazakh colleagues. The result is simply excellent. Volume 2 provides the facsimile edition of a compilation of five hagiographies related to the mazars of Yarkand. The ninety-five-folio manuscript is entirely and perfectly reproduced, while the introduction (in Japanese, English, Uzbek and Uighur!) provides basic information on the text and its contents. This is actually a valuable source since it contains the following hagiographies: (1) the legend of Khwaja Muhammad-Sharif Pir, a quite well-known tadhkira since Masami Hamada had edited the text ― see my review in Central Eurasian Reader 1 (2007): No. 505 pp. 422-3; see also supra review No. 316 ―; (2) the legend of Hazrat-i Imaman Keriya: While narrating the religious wars led by four imams in the Chirä region, it gives useful data on various mazars in South Xinjiang; (3) the description of the Prophet Muhammad’s battle with Abu-Jahl is interesting only as a possible evidence of Shiite or Iranian elements of Islam in Xinjiang; (4) the legend of Haft Muhammadan is a versified piece on the seven imams sent by the Prophet to Yarkand (it includes descriptions of the eponymous mazar in Yarkand) ; (5) The Legend of Sut Bibi tells the story of a woman saint from Uzkend, whose mazar is situated in Yarkand (once again, there are several other manuscript copies existing).

Volume 3 also features a range of documents of various natures: discovered in the Fergana Valley, they are attached to (1) Hazrat Ayyub buried in Jalalabad, Kyrgyzstan; (2) sayyids descending from ‘Abd-Allah Madani (fourteenth century); (3) sayyids from Khujand and from Chust; (4) Shaykh Khawand-i Tahur (fourteenth century); (5) several mazars located in Uchkuprik District; (6) Bibi Rabi‘a, a Sufi woman saint (nineteenth century); (7) the Naqshbandi shaykh Dawud Khwaja Ishan (eighteenth century) and his descendants (their common ancestor was the famous Al-Hakim al-Tirmidhi) buried in Marghilan. Most of these mazar documents consist of genealogical charts. Yet, we find also legal opinions (fatwas) concerning inheritance, letters attesting offerings, and privilege decrees (mainly tax exemptions).

The great contribution of these volumes consists not only of exhuming and preserving rare and unknown sources, but also of introducing two original perspectives: the socio-religious organisation of holy places, and the local and familial history of eighteenth and nineteenth-century Central Asia.

Alexandre Papas, National Centre for Scientific Research, Paris
CER: II-4.3.E-424