Welcome to Angela Schottenhammer’s website
Willkommen auf Angela Schottenhammers Webpräsenz
Welkom op de website van Angela Schottenhammer
앙겔라 숏텐함마의 홈페이지에 오신 것을 환영합니다
Bienvenidos al sitio web de Ángela Schottenhammer
Bienvenue au site web de Angela Schottenhammer!

On this website you can find basic information on my research, publications, projects, lectures, and teaching (including a cv).

Sui Tang Studies 隋唐史研究


Ceramics fired at the Tang period Changsha 長沙 kilns in Hunan, discovered on the Belitung wreck, an Arabo-Indian ship wrecked off Belitung Island in about 826 CE and carrying cargo seemingly bound for Western Asia.


– “Yang Liangyao’s Mission of 785 to the Caliph of Baghdād: Evidence of an Early Sino-Arabic Power Alliance?”, Bulletin d’École Française d’Extrême Orient 101 (2015), 177-241.

Intro (PDF)

– “China’s Gate to the Indian Ocean – Iranian and Arab Long-distance Traders”, Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 76:1 (2016), 135-179.

– “Buddhismus als Mittel der Herrschaftslegitimation von Wu Zetian 武則天 (reg. 690–705), der einzigen Frau der chinesischen Geschichte mit dem Kaisertitel” (Buddhism as a Means for the Legitimation of the Rule of  Wu Zetian (r. 690-705), the Only Woman in Chinese History to Hold the Title Emperor), in Arno Strohmeyer (Hrsg.), Religion und Politik – historische und systematische Dimensionen eines aktuellen Spannungsverhältnisses (forthcoming 2017)

Huihui yaofang 回回藥方


An Encyclopedia of Arabic Hospital Medicine from Mongol China: Translation and Interpretation

By Paul D. Buell and Eugene N. Anderson


Few documents express an era and an overlap of cultures in the way that the present text does. It is based in the Arabic Medicine of the Middle Ages, but is in Chinese even if including short descriptions in Arabic script. It also, as will be evident below, is a text that is not just purely Arabic Medicine but one in which Arabic Medicine has become assimilated to a Chinese environment which itself is already assimilated. Our present text is also in its medicinals and formulae indicative of a massively-extended environment in which all kinds of medicinals were traded and used over expansive spaces and associated with complex networks focused over land and sea.
Above all, the Huihui yaofang (HHYF), “Muslim Medicinal Recipes,” or perhaps better, medicinal recipes of “western medicine,” as will be seen from a detailed analysis of its contents had best be thought of as a product of the Mongol Age even if the present text is Ming. The Mongol era was a time of unprecedented cultural exchange, we have only to remember figures such as Marco Polo and Rabban Sauma, who went the other way, to Europe, to gain a grasp of what went on.

The name HHYF now applies to the 15% that survives of a once 3200 page Arabic-medicine hospital manual of a type known from Cairo, for example, and other places in the Islamic medical world. It was compiled in its present form between 1398 and 1408 but certainly based upon a version from the Mongol Yuan 元 Dynasty that is probably to be associated with a Syrian medical family resident in China. The text itself may have been based on a translation of a Persian-language work, or several such texts, although the present HHYF shows an effort to integrate Chinese and Arabic medical ideas and is much more than just a translation. Whoever was involved, they probably included not only Syrians but Turkic-speakers as is shown by the forms of the Chinese transcriptions of words and terms added tp the Arabic-script entries.

The original work was in 36 chapters (juan 卷) plus two tables of contents of which three content chapters (juan 12, 30, 34) survive along with the table of contents for the second half of the encyclopedia. This means, that with juan 12 from the first part we have precise details about the contents of more than half the book (in this case 20 juan). Internal cross-references provide addition indications of what there once was, including a separate, detailed discussion of specific materia medica and a discussion of the types of doses called from in the text.

Each of the three content chapters is organized around one or more disease categories. The largest is the detailed discussion of “wind” (feng 風 or feng 瘋) ailments, a completely Chinese concept but transferrable, with various subcategories. It occupies all of juan 12, Similar is the section on “various symptoms,” which occupies all juan 30. By contrast, Juan 34 is comprised of shorter discussions of wounds from metal objects, of broken bones, including a highly interesting section on head wounds and skull fractures, the practice of cauterization, scalds and burns, wounds from blows, and bites, called by the text the most dangerous kind of wound since the mouth is so dirty.

Supporting recipes and the accompanying theory discussions presented in the chapters are numerous quotations from the various Arabic medical authorities. These include, and this is unique for East Asia, as noted, Zhalinuxi 扎里奴思 (i.e. Galen[os]), but also, among others, Rufus of Ephesus, Paul of Aegina, Hippocrates, Aristotle, Alexander the Great, and, of course, the great purely Arabic authorities such as Ibn Sīnā whose work was increasingly important at about the time that the HHYF was being written and used. The HHYF, although in Chinese, is unique, as noted also, in its Arabic-script entries for the names of medicinals and for key terminology. These are not just given in Arabic-script but are also provided in Chinese transliteration entries as read by informants, in this case, judging by the pronunciation employed for primarily Persian-language texts, Turkic informants with a heavily palatalized pronunciation of the original standard Persian and Arabic.

Bronze Coins and Silver Ingots


Winter 2015 IOWC Speaker Series

Angela Schottenhammer
Professor of Non-European and World History, University of Salzburg

Bronze Coins and Silver Ingots: The Major Currencies across the East Asian Mediterranean

Thursday, 23 April 2015, 4:00 pm
Peterson Hall Rm 116 | 3460 McTavish Street | McGill University

Like many regions in the middle period and early modern times, East Asia was also characterized by a multi-currency system. Highly developed market regions that already used paper money and silver in international exchanges co-existed with many lower developed regions that maintained barter or commodity currencies. My talk will provide an overview of the role of bronze coins, the standard currency of China over centuries, and silver ingots as currencies in the Asian waters from the middle period to early modern times. It will be argued that the great exporter of “international” currencies, China, was eventually prompted to adopt a system of paper currency due to a scarcity of money metals that resulted from its integration into the Asian maritime world and beyond. In the sixteenth century, however, this supra-regional, global integration made China the worldwide largest silver sink. Japan emerged as her most important source of silver and, later, copper, although much silver also came from the new world.

This is the second keynote speech of the IOWC Conference ‘Currencies of Commerce in the Greater Indian Ocean World’