Mongols in World History | Asia for Educators

Class Materials

The Yuan Dynasty in China and the Mongols [AFE]
A selection of resources from AFE's Timeline of Asia in World History.

Marco Polo in China (1271-1295) [AFE – Special Topic]
With background and primary-source readings, a map, discussion questions, and related web links.

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The World of Khubilai Khan: Chinese Art in the Yuan Dynasty, catalogue for the Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition of the same title, 2010. (Copy online or PDF with images.)
“This exhibition covers the period from 1215, the year of Khubilai's birth, to 1368, the year of the fall of the Yuan dynasty in China founded by Khubilai Khan, and features every art form, including paintings, sculpture, gold and silver, textiles, ceramics, lacquer, and other decorative arts, religious and secular. The exhibition highlights new art forms and styles generated in China as a result of the unification of China under the Yuan dynasty and the massive influx of craftsmen from all over the vast Mongol Empire—with reverberations in Italian art of the fourteenth century.”

VIDEO: “The World of Khubilai Khan: A Revolution in Painting,” with Maxwell K. Hearn speaking, on the MET page for the exhibition.

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Overview of Yuan Dynasty Art [Minneapolis Institute of Art]
An excellent site with examples from the Institute's collection, along with maps of the Yuan Dynasty, the Mongol empire, and the Silk Roads.

Marco Polo and His Travels [The Silk Road Foundation]
A short account describing Marco Polo's journey and the merits of his account, with several illustrations and a map.

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The Mongol Empire in World History [Education about Asia]

The Silk Roads: An Educational Resource [PDF] [Education About Asia]
A guide for teachers by the author of this site, Professor Morris Rossabi.

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Excerpts from The Book of Ser Marco Polo: The Venetian Concerning Kingdoms and Marvels of the East
Translated and edited by Colonel Sir Henry Yule, (London: John Murray, 1903)

• Chapter VIII: Concerning the Person of the Great Kaan [PDF]

 Chapter IX: Concerning the Great Kaan's Sons [PDF]

• Chapter X: Concerning the Palace of the Great Kaan [PDF]

• Chapter XI: Concerning the City of Cambaluc [PDF]

• Chapter XXII: Concerning the City of Cambaluc, and Its Great Traffic and Population [PDF]

• Chapter XXIII: Concerning the Oppressions of Achmath the Bailo, and the Plot That Was Formed Against Him [PDF]

• Chapter XXIV: How the Great Kaan Causeth the Bark of Trees, Made Into Something Like Paper, To Pass for Money Over All His Country [PDF]

• Chapter XXVI: How the Kaan's Posts and Runners are Sped Through Many Lands and Provinces [PDF]

• Chapter XLVI: Of the City of Caracoron [PDF]

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Marco Polo: The Glories Of Kinsay [Hangchow] (c. 1300) [Internet Medieval Sourcebook, Fordham University]
Link to an excerpt from The Book of Ser Marco Polo the Venetian concerning the Kingdoms and Marvels of the East, translated and edited by Colonel Sir Henry Yule (London: John Murray, 1903).

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"All the Khan's Horses," by Morris Rossabi [PDF]
(in Natural History, October 1994 / Reprinted with permission from author)

"Dietary Decadence and Dynastic Decline in the Mongol Empire," by John Masson Smith [PDF]
(in Journal of Asian History, 34:1 (2000) / Reprinted with permission from publisher, Harrassowitz Publishing House)

“The Pax Mongolica” by Daniel Waugh [Silk Road Foundation]
A brief assessment of the Mongol impact.

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Who were the Mongols? [National Geographic]
Under the Genghis Khan, the Mongol army became a technologically advanced force and created the second-largest kingdom in history. (June 2019)

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The Weeping Camel [National Geographic] -- Children’s site
A mother Bactrian camel and her baby bond in the Gobi Desert, Mongolia.

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MongolianCulture.com
With many photographs of contemporary Mongolia and an excellent Resource Links page for information on contemporary Mongolia.

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Mongolia Today: “Losing the Eternal Blue Sky” [NPR]
Meet a changing Mongolia. It is a story of internal migration and economic transformation in an era of climate change.

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China and East Asia Chronology: Yuan Dynasty [Web Chronology Project]
With links to brief descriptions and short bibliographies on Chinggis (Genghis) Khan, Khubilai Khan, and Marco Polo.

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The Art of Mongolia, an Introduction [AsianArt.com]
Part of an online journal. Article only includes a few images but provides an excellent overview.

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