Reviews

Documented by Arabic- and Persian-language historical and geographical works from the tenth to sixteenth century CE, this study displays evocations of the bazaars of Samarqand in the Qarakhanid period. The main witnesses summoned by the authors are the twelfth-century Abu Hafs ‘Umar al-Nasafi through his al-Qand [see the review supra] and Abu Sa‘d al-Sam‘ani through his Kitab l-Ansab. Data are provided on the neighbourhoods and respective markets of Nahr al-Qassarin (lit. launderers’ mahalla, located by the authors at the southern periphery of the ancient urban site of Afrasiyab), of Tahuna (lit. mill, identified by the author as the Siyab neighbourhood, still specialising in the nineteenth-century in paper-making), of Maydan (an open square situated in the northern part of Afrasiyab). Specific paragraphs are also devoted to the location of renowned shopping streets (sikkas) specialising in one or in several trades, like Bazangaran (characterised by the presence of the shop of a shaykh), Suzangaran (needle makers), Labbadin or Namadgaran (‘felt makers’, respectively in Arabic and in Persian), Zargaran (jewellers, south of Afrasiyab), as well as to several ribats mentioned by al-Nasafi and/or by al-Sam‘ani (Ribat al-Jawbaq, Ribat Dasht, Ribat Nasr b. Jabir, Ribat al-Radrada, Ribat al-Murabba‘a) and to the role played in their construction by varied shaykhs like the famous Abu Ibrahim Ishaq al-Zahid al-Samarqandi (d. 872-3) in the case of the Murabba‘a ― with developments on the evolution of the functions of ribats and of the nature of their population in mediaeval Central Asia.

Stéphane A. Dudoignon, National Centre for Scientific Research, Paris
CER: II-3.4.B-252