Title: A cultural biography of pearls in the Ilkhanate (1260-1335)

Authors: Matanya Gill

Addresses: Department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

Abstract: Pearls, like other luxury goods, were very popular among the Mongols and other affluent societies. The trade in pearls flourished under the Mongols, especially during the time of the Ilkhanate (the Mongol state that ruled over approximately present-day Iran and Iraq, c. 1260-1335). This paper aims to explore the importance of the role of pearls as luxurious animal products in the Ilkhanate by creating a cultural biography of pearls. This cultural biography of Ilkhanid pearls, based mainly on prosopographical analysis of the biographical data obtained regarding merchants who operated in the Ilkhanate, together with information on pearls in other contemporaneous sources and secondary literature, will analyse the cycles of production, trade and consumption, highlighting the following issues: pearls as a unique animal product, pearls as instrumental in shaping trade routes, and the impact of pearls on the personal careers of merchants in different contexts of the Ilkhanate.

Keywords: pearls Indian Ocean; Mongol Empire; global trade; maritime silk road.

DOI: 10.1504/IJBG.2021.113275

International Journal of Business and Globalisation, 2021 Vol.27 No.2, pp.171 - 183

Received: 23 Nov 2018
Accepted: 30 Nov 2018

Published online: 18 Jan 2021 *

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