Mahakhitan: A Chinese Buddhist Civilization in India

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Green Painting, Nov 27, 2017.

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  1. Threadmarks: Introduction

    Green Painting Ship of Theseus

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    Mahakhitan: A Sinicized Buddhist Civilization in India

    [​IMG]
    Image drawn by Chuye Kara

    This is a timeline about a the OTL Khanate of Qara Khitai, or Western Liao expanding south to Central Asia and Indian Subcontinent, with the focus on the arts, architecture and culture in the fusion of cultures of a Khitan-Chinese-Uyghur-Indian-Tibetan Empire. Started by Yelu Dashi, the OTL Liao Prince and founder of Qara Khitai, in 1130 AD and became the top of the world in 1444.

    The TL is written by the talented architect Chuye Kara (her homepage: 朱耶伽罗), and translated by me, Green Painting from Chinese to English. Her Text will be in Times New Roman to differentiate it from mine.

    The original series in Chinese could be seen here.

    As Translator, I need to clarify that if anything this TL is not, it is not a display of Chinese patriotism, or worse, Han Chinese ethnic Nationalism. It may be a ChinaWank in terms of culture, as the author intends, it's a thought experiment on how cultures and arts may fuse in this world. I'd like to see the TL discussed and questioned by members who know Indian and Central Asian culture and arts, just like how Indian and Central Asian nobles and artists influenced Mahakhitan Culture in our story.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2017
  2. Green Painting Ship of Theseus

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    Can everybody see the picture?
     
  3. Threadmarks: Notes

    Green Painting Ship of Theseus

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    Note 1: The series is Alternate History, a spinoff from CK2

    Note 2: The series focuses its narratives on neither political nor military history, despite these two being important parts of the CK2 game.

    Note 3: Instead, the series tries to re-create a hybrid East Asian – South Asian Buddhist Civilization, and to deduce (or to create) the possible Visual Art, Architectural and Literary- related heritage (or fantacy ).

    Note 4: The Point of Divergence (POD) between this timeline (TTL) and our timeline (OTL) took place in the autumn of 1130 AD.

    The first update will serve as a short introduction to the Liao Empire’s History, Territorial span and other essentials.
     
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  4. Threadmarks: Chapter 1:An Overlook on Mahakhitan

    Green Painting Ship of Theseus

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    Chapter 1:An Overlook on Mahakhitan 摩訶契丹概論
    [​IMG]

    Image created by Chuye Kara

    A concise map of the Great Liao State in 1440, or 26th of Jingyun(景雲)in Liao, 5th of Zhengtong in Ming.

    The Great Liao State (大遼國)was also called Mahakhitan (摩訶契丹)in the Indian tongues. The Islamic world named it Khitai or Khitanistan. The west customarily addressed it as Khitai. In historical materials of the Celestial Empire, its two phases were termed Western Liao and Southern Liao respectively.


    People during the Yuan and the Ming Dynasties liked to call the Liao State after 1246 the Southern Liao, to tell it apart from the Western Liao Period (1125-1246).



    Mongol History books tend to consider Western Liao (called Kara-Khitai in Central Asia) dead after Battle of the Seven Rivers (Zhetysu) in 1246, and called Emperor Zhaozong of Liao(昭宗), the monarch who reigned during the Tianying Period(天應) from 1205 to 1246, who fought the Mongols all his life, as the Last Emperor of Western Liao. When the Liao’s seaborne merchants showed up in Quanzhou, the Yuan thought they were merely some imposers from a small Khitan rump state off the coast of Hind, who stole the Liao Imperial titles after the Battle of the Seven Rivers.


    After the Liao and the Yuan deepened their economic intercourses, the Yuan started to call the Liao dynasty Southern Liao. This name was continued to be used by the Ming, who also called it the Mahakhitan. The Ming literati class knew very little about India, and often mistook Southern Liao and Mahakhitan for two different states.


    But in reality, in the battle in 1246, despite the fact that the Liao lost the cream of her North Army and West Army, its Upper Capital Balasagun (上京八剌沙衮)had fallen, and in the following years, Liao’s metropolitan area surrounding its Upper Capital, the Seven Rivers Region and Fergana Region, were also lost; In the following years, the Liao State moved its capital south to its Central Capital Wude Fu (中都武德府,Prefecture of Martial Ethics. Wude was an adaptation of Udabhanda, or OTL Muzaffarabad), and continued to rule Eastern Afghanistan, Indus plains and Upper Gangetic Plains.

    Emperor Wuzong(武宗)was enthroned in the Central Capital after Emperor Zhaozong’s death, the Liao Empire’s rule in its Indian portion had been stable as ever. In the following decades the Liao expanded its bounds in the subcontinent, and thus revived yet again.


    At its peak in 1355, the main part of Mahakhitan stretched form Assam Valley to the east, to the coast of Sistan to the west; and from Surat to the South, to Samarkand to the North. It spanned 8000 Chinese Miles East to West, and 5000 Chinese Miles North to South. The Empire was divided into Eight Circuits and Thirty-one Prefectures (八道三十一府), and had the Central Capital Wude Fu as its capital, and Zhuchuan Fu (珠川府 Pearl-River Prefecture, in TTL south of Delhi) as its Imperial temporary residence in winters. The Indus Plains and Middle Gangetic Plains formed the wealthiest part of the Liao Empire, the region was usually called Khitanistan by the locals.


    The Liao also had outposts along the Indian Ocean coast, in Holmuz, Muscat, and Ceylon, etc.. Their merchant ships could also be seen in Basra, East African Coast, and Malacca. Liao merchants brought their culture and their brand of Buddhism to Java, Arabian Peninsula, and even Abyssinian coasts. The Mahakhitan gold “cash” coin Yongtai Zhongbao (永泰重寶)could even be seen unearthed in Ireland.


    Mahakhitan had Mahayana Buddhism as its national religion, but was inclusive and tolerant to other sects and creeds. Important Buddhist centres within its borders included the following:


    Lumbini Garden 藍毗尼園

    Bodh-gaya Mahabodhi Temple 菩提伽耶大菩提寺

    Nalanda Temple 那烂陀寺

    Da Youguo Si, or Grand Temple for Blessings to the Empire in Central Capital 中都大佑國寺

    Sanjie Si, or Bamyan Temple of the Trailokya 巴米揚三界寺

    Kangzhou Shusheng Si, or Ukkattha Temple of Samarkand 康州殊勝寺

    etc.


    Local Buddhist arts and the technics brought by craftsman from the Chinese lands fused to make the entirely new Mahakhitan arts, of Statues, Murals and Architecture.

    [​IMG]
    The castle of Mes Aynak in OTL Afghanistan, by National Geographics.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2017
  5. Green Painting Ship of Theseus

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    What are your thoughts? I'm sure the author would like to know.

    Besides, how to shrink or zip the images? I find some of them too large. I want them to be small in the text, but enlargeable once clicked upon.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2017
  6. LostInNewDelhi Anarcho-Shaivist

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    I'd like to know more about how the Qara-Khitai Khanate (I assume that that is the "Ferghana Valley State" that has taken over India in this TL) found the strength or chance to take the Mughal route into India during this time. The Delhi Sultanate might have been a notable adversary to the Liao-- did the Liao encounter and defeat them, or was their existence butterflied somehow?
    Overall, I'm intrigued. I do wonder as to what the culture of this Indo-Chinese society looks like. Has the Chinese script/language been retained for official purposes? Does Sanskrit have any place in the administration? Has Islam found its way into the Subcontinent, and how do the Liao rulers and their subjects regard them?
     
  7. 123456789blaaa Well-Known Member

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    What's the PoD again?
     
  8. Kaze Well-Known Member

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    Nov 12, 2017
    How exactly did they get through Afghanistan? There must have been some massive battles over it, getting south would be a trouble for them considering the Mongols or the Western Xia does not attack them in their rear. Unless it is a full retreat from the Western Liao into India - this might be a possibility - the Mongols / Western Xia have invaded a good portion of the Western Liao, they know that the territory cannot be recovered so they move southwards with hopes of establishing a new kingdom in exile.
     
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  9. The God-Emperor Despairing Progressive

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    Sounds like this is going to be good. It's always nice when the timelines put some focus in world-building.

    Anxious to see more of this.
     
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  10. SeaBos Well-Known Member

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    I noticed that China is called Mingguo (明国) not Zhongguo (中国) are changes in China itself going to be discussed?
     
  11. Roger II Well-Known Member

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    This is amazing. Can you talk about Mes Aynak? Is that the OTL Citadel or did you change the layout?
     
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  12. Green Painting Ship of Theseus

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    Considering how revered Buddhism was in Mahakhitan, I’m sure Sanskrit will find its place. Islam had long been there, but the Khitan rulers had plenty of experiences dealing with its Muslim subjects in Central Asia prior to the conquest of India.

    We haven’t reached the PoD yet. It will be in the next update.

    Basically this. The Western Liao started as refugees fleeing the Jurchen Jin Empire. They would do it again if they had the chance.

    ITTL the Naimans and Uyghurs would be more fully integrated within Qara Khitai. This would gave the Empire more strength.

    Thank you!
    All sinicized states, including OTL Liao, Jin, Vietnam, Korea, Japan, and TTL Mahakhitan liked to used the term “Zhongguo” or Middle Kingdom for themselves. It’s like how in Europe everyone wanted to call themselves Romans.

    Things would pretty much stay the same in China, except for more trade with and more immigrants from the country.
     
  13. Green Painting Ship of Theseus

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    Thank you.
    First of all, the TL was by Kara, I’m just the translator.

    Kara sketched a few images using pencil and watercolor, but this image of Mes Aynak wasn’t by her. You might want to find its original author with google image search and decide whether it’s accurate. I’m now not with my laptop and can’t do that.
     
  14. catnip513 Well-Known Member

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    An interesting premise I would say. I've always been wondering about what kind of culture would emerge from the fusion of two or more cultures during the medieval era.

    Though I'm more interested in seeing a fusion between Greek and Chinese culture, this nonetheless has caught my interest and I'm eager to see what comes out of this tl.
     
  15. Masked Grizzly Well-Known Member

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    How feasible would it have been for Mahakhitan to further expand into Burma down the line so its border is almost dangerously close to Yunnan?

    Would be interesting seeing Mahakhitan accomplish what the Qing were not able to do in OTL at Burma during the Ten Great Campaigns.
     
  16. Whiteshore Defender of Myrcella Baratheon

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    Will Bengalis be prominent in Mahakhitai's history? The Palas (who were the last major Buddhist dynasty in India) were based in Bengal and Bengal remained largely Buddhist until the Muslim conquest.
     
  17. Green Painting Ship of Theseus

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    We haven’t reached that part in detail yet. But it’s reasonable to assume that they did play a big part.
    Edit: the Palas will play a big part.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2017
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  18. Ultima Ratio The Last Baron

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    Oh shit, this is my jam right here! There are zero timelines on Quara Khitai, even though there’s so much potential. Watched.
     
  19. Roger II Well-Known Member

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    Will the watercolors be posted to this TL?

    EDIT: Ah I see.
     
  20. Contrary Well-Known Member

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    I love seeing a TL where cultural fusion is front and center.
     
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