Accepted Paper:

Mapping Old Kashgar: Mahallas and Pious Institutions in Documentary Sources  


Jun Sugawara (Lanzhou University)

Paper long abstract:

This paper approaches the historical landscape of Kashgar's old city

(kuhna shahr) in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, by

focusing on mahallas (neighborhoods) and individual religious

facilities such as mosques, mazars (Islamic schrines) and khaniqahs

(sufi brotherhood gatherings). The paper relies primarily on the

descriptions provided in various types of contractual documents as

well as in documents relating to waqf (Islamic endowments). Regarding

geographical aspects of Kashgar old city, local intellectuals have

previously provided general descriptions of features such as the city

walls, the gates, the name of streets/alleys and well-known

facilities. However, those past works do not provide sufficient

detail on some historical issues like the actual locations of

mahallas, or on now-defunct religious institutions. This paper wil

advance our understanding of mahallas in Kashgar by examining a series

of contract documents in the Xinjiang University collection, and

extracting from them over forty mahalla names. Many of these are clear

antecedents to contemporary residence committees (ahale komiteti) or

to street and alley names, and are thus relatively easy to identify.

On the other hand, there are also a few mahalla that cannot be

identified, including those bearing personal names. Regarding

religious institutions, the existence of mazars, maktabs (religious

schools), and khaniqahs that no longer exist has been revealed by the

descriptions provided in waqf-related documents. The mapping out of

such information forms a basis for accurately reproducing the

cityscape of Old Kashgar, and the dynamism of history in this city can

only be understood on the basis of such a foundation.

Panel HIS-07
Geographies of Piety in Kashgaria: New Sources, New Perspectives