The Global Journey of the Bakhtiyārnāmah: New Evidence from the Lund University Archives


  • Jeff Eden



The Bakhtiyarnamah is a truly global tale, found in multiple versions and in multiple languages throughout the Middle East, South Asia, Southeast Asia, the Caucasus, and beyond. Several copies of the tale exist in Chaghatay Turkic as well, but these copies have gone mostly unnoticed. This paper introduces two such copies held in the Lund University archives, both of which were made in East Turkistan (present-day Xinjiang, China), and argues for the benefit of studying cosmopolitan influences on East Turkistani literatures.
Keywords: East Turkistan, Chaghatay, Bakhtiyarnamah.

While the “global turn” in the discipline of history has involved a rededication among scholars to studying the interconnectedness and mutual influences of world civilizations long before the “modern” era, historical studies of literature and culture often remain fixated on articulating the “ethnic” and “national” dimensions of their subjects. It is therefore the perfect time to renew discussions of those tales and epics which are undeniably “global” in their dispersal, developing as