Muhit al-Tavarikh (The Sea of Chronicles).

Author:Sela, Ron
Position:Book review

Muhammad Amin b. Mirza Muhammad Zaman Bukhari (Sufiyani), Muhit al-Tavarikh (The Sea of Chronicles). Edited by MEHRDAD FALLAHZADEH and FOROGH HASHABEIKY. Studies in Persian Cultural History, vol. 4. Leiden: BRILL, 2014. Pp. ix + 112 + 388 (Ar.). $216, [euro]167.

Muhit al-tavarikh (The sea of chronicles) is a general history (that is, a history of Islam and Muslim dynasties since creation down to the author's time), divided into ten chapters (sg. bab). The final and most original bab is dedicated to the history of the Ashtarkhanid dynasty in the city of Bukhara and its ruler Subhan-Qull Khan (r. 1680-1702) down to the year 1699, when, apparently, the author was in his sixties. The Ashtakhanids, also known as the Janid or the Tuqay-Timurid dynasty (depending on scholars' view of the dynasty's founders or point of origin), ruled parts of Central Asia from the cities of Bukhara and Balkh during the seventeenth and first half of the eighteenth centuries. They promoted and patronized considerable historical writing, mostly in the Persian language, and the work before us is both a characteristic and an unusual example of that patronage.

The study of Central Asia's history, particularly of the period between the sixteenth and the nineteenth centuries, still suffers from a dearth of scholarly interest, and the majority of our written evidence for that time frame is scattered in archives throughout Eurasia, unedited and unpublished. And yet, in recent years we see growing--and laudable--efforts to publish text editions of both narrative and documentary sources from that era, efforts that have been undertaken mostly by Japanese, Uzbek, Kazakh, and Iranian scholars, displaying impressive international collaborations. Probably the most notable recent publication of this type is Mansur Sefatgol's edition of Tuhfat al-khani, an important eighteenth-century Manghit chronicle, published in Tokyo in 2015. Indeed, institutions such as the Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa affiliated with Tokyo University of Foreign Studies or the Department of Islamic Area Studies at the University of Tokyo; Daik Press in Almaty, Kazakhstan; the al-Beruni Center for Oriental Manuscripts at Tashkent State Institute of Oriental Studies in Uzbekistan; Miras Maktoob Research Center in Tehran; the International Institute for Central Asian Studies in Samarkand, and others have been actively contributing to this wider endeavor. To these we may add...

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