Kashgar Contractual Document Collection
The Kashgar Contractual Document Collection assembles 788 documents from the late 18th to mid 20th century. The documents were brought to light by the Japanese scholar SUGAWARA Jun in the early years of the 21 century while doing research in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region's city of Kashgar as Researcher at Tokyo University of Foreign Studies. Subsequently, on September 19, 2014, Mr. SUGAWARA donated the collection to the Xinjiang University of the People's Republic of China. In accordance with the agreements signed between Mr. SUGAWARA and Xinjiang University, the image database of this invaluable collection and a first set of descriptive metadata are made available here.
Whereas this collection takes its name from the city of Kashgar, where all of documents were obtained, their contents roughly relate to the two districts of Kashgar and Khotan. The 788 items of the collection include numerous documents with multiple sheets pasted together. The majority of the documents date back to the mid-19th to mid-20th century with the oldest dating back to 1799 and the most recent to 1968. Regarding the type of contracts, the largest proportion (around 200 documents) are real estate sale documents (baiʿ), followed by other real estate related contracts like gifts, or exchanges, or are related to litigation (daʿwā), inheritance (mirāth), debt (madyūn), pious donations (waqf), procuratory (wakālat), divorce, lease (ijāre), etc. In addition, the collection also includes a small number of fragments of literal works, personal letters, and memorandums. Most of the documents are written in Turkic languages using old Perso-Arabic script that predates the development of modern orthography (so-called Chaghatai); a small number of documents are in Persian. Additionally, in rare cases addenda to Turkic documents and many printed documents attached to handwritten contracts are in Chinese. collection has taken its name from the city of Kashgar, in which all of documents were obtained, the fact is that the area where the documents were created roughly spread over two districts, namely Kashgar district and Khotan district. The collection presented here comprises a total of 788 items, including documents with multiple sheets pasted together. It does not include booklets.
Within this corpus, the majority of the documents date back to the 19th and 20th centuries (the oldest in 1799 and the most recent in 1968). Regarding the types of contracts, real estate sale documents account for the largest proportion (around 200), followed by other real estate related contracts (gifts, exchanges), litigation-related, inheritance, debt, *waqf-*related, procuratory, divorce, lease, etc. In addition to these, fragments of literal works, personal letters, and memorandums are also included.
The Kashgar Contractual Document Collection holds significant value as primary sources for understanding various historical and cultural conditions, particularly the social and economic conditions of southern Xinjiang in the past. We hope that the release of this image database will encourage a more comprehensive research into the historical background of this region.
Some notes on searching
To directly search the metadata of the documents please enter you search term into the Search Slot to the right above the collection header image. Metadata are mainly in English with some Japanese or Chinese.
Search collection will open the collection in canvas view presenting filter terms on the left hand side. There are more canvases than documents, as the presentation not only includes the professionally digitized images from the research project*, but also the preliminary photographs taken by Mr. SUGAWARA. We also make these photographs available here as they give a more lively impression of the materiality of the documents. The iiif-manifest and PDF of the document includes both images where available.
Browse collection will open a thumbnail overview of all documents.
* The digitization of the document collection, as well as the fundamental research to provide some basic bibliographic information on the individual items are a joint research activity of Mr. SUGAWARA and the Xinjiang Ethnic Literature Research Base of Xinjiang University. Aysima Mirsultan at Staatsibliothek zu Berlin helped with clarifying some questions and harmonizing the metadata. Financial support for the research project “Construction and Research of Xinjiang Islamic Court Documents 「新疆イスラーム法廷文書資料体の構築と研究」” was granted to Sugawara Jun 菅原純, that time Researcher at Tokyo University of Foreign Studies (東京外国語大学, Tōkyō Gaikokugo Daigaku), from 2014 to 2017 by the Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (no.26370820 Fundamental Research C) of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS). The release of this image database is part of the final outcome of this research project.