Birds of the Mongol Empire

Article English OPEN
Eugene N. Anderson (2016)
  • Publisher: Society of Ethnobiology
  • Journal: Ethnobiology Letters (issn: 2159-8126)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.14237/ebl.7.1.2016.715
  • Subject: Ethnoornithology, Mongol empire, Falconry, Zoomedicine, Medieval Asia | Human ecology. Anthropogeography | GF1-900

The Mongol Empire, the largest contiguous empire the world has ever known, had, among other things, a goodly number of falconers, poultry raisers, birdcatchers, cooks, and other experts on various aspects of birding. We have records of this, largely in the <em>Yinshan Zhengyao</em>, the court nutrition manual of the Mongol empire in China (the Yuan Dynasty). It discusses in some detail 22 bird taxa, from swans to chickens. The <em>Huihui Yaofang</em>, a medical encyclopedia, lists ten taxa used medicinally. Marco Polo also made notes on Mongol bird use. There are a few other records. This allows us to draw conclusions about Mongol ornithology, which apparently was sophisticated and detailed.
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