The Mongols' favorable attitude toward artisans benefited the Mongols themselves, and also ultimately facilitated international contact and cultural exchange.

The Mongols recruited artisans from all over the known world to travel to their domains in China and Persia. Three separate weaving communities, for example, were moved from Central Asia and Persia to China because they produced a specific kind of textile — a cloth of gold — which the Mongols cherished.

Apparently some Chinese painters — or perhaps their pattern books — were sent to Persia, where they had a tremendous impact on the development of Persian miniature paintings. The dragon and phoenix motifs from China first appear in Persian art during the Mongol era. The representation of clouds, trees, and landscapes in Persian painting also owes a great deal to Chinese art — all due to the cultural transmission supported by the Mongols. [Also see The Mongols in China: Cultural Life under Mongol Rule].


 
 
© 2004 Asia for Educators, Columbia University
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