Plenary Session: Fellow lecture

Georgios Halkias: Muslim Princesses in Buddhist Courts

The practice of princess-exchange (giving and/or receiving them as brides) is a prevalent feature of ancient diplomacy that was widely practiced in the north-western Himalayas. Drawing from Ladakhi and Baltī folk-literatures and histories, I will survey folksongs composed during the times of the Ladakhi royal dynasty (rgyal-dus) and examine the narratives of the life of Muslim princesses who were sent as brides at the courts of Ladakh and became Khatuns (Muslim Queens) in Buddhist kingdoms. The Muslim Queens of the Himalayas stand witness to a rich cultural fusion, an old blend of Arab, Persian, Mongol, Indian and Tibetan elements. Ever since the conversion of the Baltīs to Islam in the 14th century the Muslim princess-brides stood as promises of unity and peace and as means of alleviating conflict between the warring houses of Baltistān and the Buddhist kingdoms of Ladakh.


Georgios Halkias: Muslim Princesses in Buddhist Courts; Alexandra Cuffel: Creating Hope and Threat: Eldad ha-Dani and the Ten Lost Tribes as response to medieval Muslim and Christian anti-Jewish polemic