Soup for the Qan: A Translation and Study

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This is a complete translation of the medieval Chinese dietary Yin-Shan cheng-yao (1330) with full notes and supporting text, along with a monograph-sized introduction. The Chinese original is the first dietary manual of its kind in Chinese history, and is of particular interest on account of substantial Mongolian, Turkic, and general Islamic influences. The translation makes an important work for the Chinese herbal tradition generally available makes an important work of the chinese herbal tradition generally available, placed in its historical and cultural context, and also makes a significant contribution to the study of traditional East Asian foodways in a broader context. The translation is the first of its kind, and will substantially alter previously held views on Chinese interactions with non-Chinese cultures, including China's conquerors and their Turkic allies.

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Editorial Reviews

In 1330, the Mongol Emperor of China<--> a descendant of Qubilai Qan (Khubla Khan)<-->was presented with a dietary manual, the of `Proper and Essential Things for the Emperor's Food and Drink' written by the imperial dietary physician. Arguing that the work is a valuable window into the foodways of China (especially its medicinal aspects), the authors present the full English translation of the 1456 edition, along with the facsimile Chinese. Also included is a 158-page explanation of historical, cultural, and anthropological aspects of the text, especially related to the influence of other cultures and the Chinese view of the medicinal value of food. Distributed by Columbia U. Press. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780710305831
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 5/1/2000
  • Series: Sir Henry Wellcome Asian Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 732

Table of Contents

A Note on Transcription
Pt. A Background and Analysis
1 Historical and Cultural Context 10
Yin-shan Cheng-yao: Text and Author 10
The Rise of Mongolian Empire 16
Mongols as Cultural Intermediaries 19
The Successor States 21
Cultural Spheres of The Mongolian World Order 27
Steppes of Mongolia 27
China 49
The Muslim World 62
2 Analysis of the Text 81
"Des Gouts Mongols:" the Persistence of the Steppe 89
Turko-Islamic Influences 107
The Chinese Framework 128
Pt. B Text and Translation
Translator's Note 165
Prefaces 177
Chuan 1 197
Chuan 2 319
Chuan 3 447
App. I The Materia Dietica et Medica 601
App. II Grain Foods of the Early Turks 617
Bibliography 639
General Index 665
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