ʿAlidi in marcia lungo la via per la Cina
Le prime comunità islamiche cinesi riflesse in una leggenda del medioevo persiano
The emergence of the first Islamic communities in China is still an elusive phenomenon. Primary sources are scanty, and mostly focus on Tang-Abbasid maritime trade. Thus, while the first days of Islam in south-eastern China are now quite well documented, much less is known about the arrival of Islam in the north-west. A twelfth-century Persian source, Sharaf al-Zamān Ṭāhir Marwazī’s Ṭabāʾiʿ al-ḥayawān, reports a legend concerning the settlement of a group of ʿAlid Muslim merchants somewhere in Tang China. An analysis of this anecdote could shed some light on the matter, providing new data on the very first Islamic communities of north-western China.