China's Early Mosques
This book explains how the worship requirements of the mosque and the Chinese architectural system converged. What happens when a monotheistic, aniconic, foreign religion needs a space in which to worship in China, a civilisation with a building tradition that has been largely unchanged for several millennia? The story of this extraordinary convergence begins in the 7th century and continues under the Chinese rule of Song and Ming, and the non Chinese rule of the Mongols and Manchus, each with a different political and religious agenda. This book explains that mosques, and ultimately Islam, have survived in China because the Chinese architectural system, though unchanging, is adaptable: it can accommodate the religious requirements of Buddhism, Daoism, Confucianism and Islam. It includes case studies of China's most important surviving mosques (including 30 premodern mosques, the tourist mosques in Xi'an and Beijing, and the Uygur mosques in Kashgar). It aims to build an understanding of the mosque at the most fundamental level, asking what is really necessary for Muslim worship space. It presents Chinese architecture as uniquely uniform in appearance and uniquely adaptable to something as foreign as Islam.
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