Tsai Yuan-lin

Fieldwork Notes pre-1st year (2016)

I took a field trip to Chengdu in November 2016. I visited the two mosques in the downtown, Huangcheng 皇城 and Gulou 鼓樓, which are not surrounded by the Hui neighborhoods, and the other two in the northwestern suburb, Upper Tuqiao 土橋上寺 and Down Tuqiao 土橋下寺, which are next to the Hui communities. Chengdu, like other metropolitan cities in China, has been under reconstruction in the “new classical” style for tourist attraction for the past two decades. Therefore, her traditional Hui quarter in the downtown disappears and the original Muslim residents have dispersed somewhere else. But the traditional Hui communities survive in the suburb and the countryside of Chengdu, which usually include the Daoist temple-style mosques, the halal restaurants and meat shops, and the grocery stores for religious needs.

I learned from historical works of the Sufi order in China that the founder of the Qadiriyya 嘎迪林耶 in China, Qi Jing-yi 祈靜一 (1656-1719), built up a Sufi mausoleum (Baba Temple 巴巴寺) in Langzhong 閬中, North Sichuan, to memorialize his Shaikh from the Middle East. Later on Qi Jing-yi and his disciples widespread the Qadiriyya teachings to the Hui communities in Gansu, Shaanxi, and Sichuan. This indicates that the Sichuan Muslims had been a part of the network of the Northwestern Muslim communities from the late Ming era on.

Fieldwork Photos pre-1st year (2016)


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Fieldwork Notes 1st year (2017-2018)

Since the Hui communities of Chengdu have still been a part of the network of the Northwestern Muslim communities and also inherit the historical legacy of the Silk Road, it is important to research the “internationalist” nature of border-crossing economic and cultural exchanges and religious plurality on the Silk Road. In late summer 2017, I took a field trip to Gansu and searched the traces of the early Muslim settlements along the Silk Road, through which Chinese Muslims’ ancestors immigrated from the Middle East and Central Asia into China. The provincial capital of Gansu, Lanzhou 蘭州, hosts a Muslim quarter and its mosque is built in the modern Middle Eastern style, not the traditional Chinese one.

Fieldwork Photos 1st year (2017-2018)


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