Legendary medieval traveller Marco Polo (1254–1324) journeyed from Europe to China from 1271 to 1295 and remained in the emperor's lands for 17 years. Moreover, his self-narrated memoir, entitled The Description of the World, earned him overnight popularity in Europe and authority on The Orient for centuries. Marco Polo's stardom obscured contemporary Muslim merchants despite their pivotal role in commercial affairs along the Silk Road.
In his talk, Fudan University Associate Professor Yihao Qiu introduces Iranian merchant Fakhr al-Dīn Aḥmad al-Ṭībī, his native Arab-Iranian family based on the Island of Kish, his community's role in monopolising the Indo-Persian maritime trade network of the Persian Gulf – an international centre of trade from the 1270s onwards – and Fakhr al-Dīn's several journeys.
Setting this fascinating life story against relations between the Persian, Mongol and Chinese Empires, Professor Qiu recounts Fakhr al-Dīn's assignment by Ghazan Khan (the seventh Ilkhanid ruler in Iran, r. 1295–1304) as his ambassador to restore friendly relations between the Ilkhanate and Yuan-Dynasty China, his two-year sojourn, an audience with the Yuan Emperor, and his death along his return journey in 1305, two days away from his trans-shipment port, Maʿabar (the Coromandel Coast).
About the Speaker:
Yihao Qiu (Ph.D., Fudan University) is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of History at the Fudan University (Shanghai). His main research themes are the history of the Yuan Dynasty, the Persian Chinggisid genealogies and the diplomatic relationship between the Yuan and other Chinggisid States. His last publications include: Studies on the Political History of Yuan Dynasty and Culture Exchanges in Mongol Eurasia (Shanghai, 2019).