Mobility, Empire and Cross Cultural Contacts in Mongol Eurasia

Qiao Yang

Qiao Yang

Qiao Yang

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies

Personal Project:

Like Stars in the Sky: Astronomers in Mongol Eurasia

The MA Thesis tries to reconstruct the scholarly networks of astronomers in the Mongol Empire.  Due to their status as  "readers of heaven‘s will", astronomers held lofty standing  in the Mongol world, and left behind quite abundant documentation. The study, based on Chinese, Persian and Arabic sources analyzes the social background and connections as well as the career patterns of astronomers in Yuan China and Ilkhanid Iran as well as the contacts among those two groups and the difference and similarities between their functioning in the opposite sides of Mongol Eurasia. 


I am an M. A. candidate in the Department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and a lecturer of Hebrew in the School of Asian and African Studies, Beijing Foreign Studies University. Travelling between different cultures, I have special academic interest in the cultural exchange between Medieval China and the Islamic world. My M.A. thesis focuses on the role that astronomers during Mongol period empire played in the transmission of diverse fields of knowledge.

Thesis title: Like Stars in the Sky: Astronomers in Mongol Eurasia

Supervisor: Prof. Michal Biran

2007-2008 M.A. studies in the Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies program, Rothberg International School, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

2006-2007 Hebrew learning in Rothberg, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

2002-2006 B.A., the Arabic Language and Literature, Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies, Beijing Foreign Studies University


  • Chinese: complete proficiency (Modern and Classical)
  • Hebrew: complete proficiency
  • English: complete proficiency
  • Classical Arabic: fluent reading skills
  • Modern Persian: fluent reading skills
  • French: fluent reading skills


  • “Reading the Yuan Sky: Semu Astronomers and Cultural Exchange in Yuan China” (解读元朝的天空——色目天文学家与元代文化交流), Journal of the Yuan History (Yuanshi Luncong 元史论丛), vol. 14, Tianjin Guji Publisher, 2014. (in Chinese).
  • “The Chinese Literature in Israel”, published as a chapter in the book series The History of the Exchange between the Chinese Literature and Foreign Literatures, Shandong Education Publisher, Shandong, 2013, expected. (in Chinese).
  • “Innovative Ways to Teach News-reading Class”, Article Collection on Teaching Method, Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press, 2012. (in Chinese).


  • “The Maragha Star Cluster: Networks, Mobility and Knowledge Transfer of Maragha Astronomers”, a paper presented at the workshop Maragha and its Scholars The Intellectual Culture of Medieval Maragha, ca. 1250-1550, Istanbul, 8th December 2013.
  • “The Marāghā Observatory: A Center of Knowledge Transfer during the Mongol Empire”, a paper presented at the Symposia Iranica: the Biennial Graduate Conference on Iranian Studies, St. Andrew University, Scotland, 2013.
  • “The Mongol Influence on the Chinese Astronomical Culture”, a paper presented at the International Conference on the State and Society of Yuan, Nankai University, Tianjin, 2012.


  • Chinese-Hebrew Picture Dictionary, Shangwu Publication House, Beijing, 2010.
  • My Little Chinese Dictionary (Hebrew Edition), Shangwu Publication House, Beijing, 2010.
  • Modern Chinese Text Book, Exercise Book and Character Exercise Book, Huawen Publication House, Beijing, 2010.

Awards and Scholarships

  • 2013  Dean’s list of excellent student, Faculty of Humanities, Hebrew University of       Jerusalem
  • 2012  The Netser Prize for Iranian studies
  • 2012  The Nehmia Levtzion scholarship for Islamic Studies
  • 2009  Yearly Prize of excellent young teacher, Beijing Foreign Studies University
  • 2008 Golda Meir Fellowship, Rothberg International School, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
  • 2007-2008   Rothberg Family Scholarship, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
  • 2006-2007   Scholarship of Israeli Foreign Office