An international symposium was held June 13–15, 2003, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in connection with the exhibition The Legacy of Genghis Khan: Courtly Art and Culture in Western Asia, 1256–1353, co-organized by LACMA and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The exhibition was the first to examine the important artistic developments that occurred in the Iranian world as an effect of the Mongol conquests of western and eastern Asia. As a preliminary investigation into a period of extraordinary creativity and momentous cultural achievements, The Legacy of Genghis Khan and its associated publication raised or left unanswered many questions, offering symposium participants ample opportunity to move beyond the confines of the exhibition and its catalogue — hence the title of this volume. Through war and conquest, Genghis Khan and the Mongols created the largest land empire in history—stretching at its greatest extent from Hungary to Korea. The types of cultural collisions resulting from the creation of this world empire particularly fascinate in today’s global age; most recently, the Mongol invasions have been viewed as an often disquieting parallel to contemporary events in the Middle East. These papers offer a wide-ranging account of the Mongols in western
and eastern Asia in the aftermath of Genghis Khan’s disruptive invasions of the early thirteenth century, focusing on the significant cultural, social, religious and political changes that followed in their wake. An important subtext of this volume is the cultural transmission that occurred in concert with the establishment of a Mongol world empire. One of the main figures in this area of cross-cultural transasiatic research is Thomas Allsen; though he was unable
to participate in the symposium, his publications, particularly his Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire, were a major source of inspiration and information for The Legacy of Genghis Khan exhibition and catalogue.