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Benedictine University (Lisle, IL 60532-0900)
Kaveh Hemmat (Project Director: December 2020 to present)
Khataynameh ("Book of China") Translation Project

Preparation for print and digital publication of a translation of a travel narrative written by Ali Akbar Khatayi, a Persian merchant who travelled to China in the 16th century. (24 months)

The proposed project is an annotated translation of the Khataynameh (“Book of China”), a description of the Ming state written in Persian in 1516 for the Ottoman court by Ali Akbar Khatayi, a merchant. This book is the longest and most substantial description of China written in any non-East Asian language before the establishment of regular maritime contact between Europe and China in the mid-16th century. While no English translation has been published, the book has been translated into Turkish, Chinese, French and Persian. Most of these translations are inaccessible or poorly serve the needs of scholars. This project will make use of manuscripts with annotations so that readers will be able to see where translators changed meaning, omitted or added text. A substantial introductory chapter will provide historical and literary context. The book’s syntax and style of writing are simple, so well-chosen annotations will make it useful to a range of scholars.

Project fields:
East Asian History

Scholarly Editions and Translations

Research Programs

$195,764 (approved)
$195,764 (awarded)

Grant period:
10/1/2021 – 9/30/2023