Sino-Iranica: Investigating Relations Between Medieval China and Sasanian Iran

Official modern relations between China and Iran date to the early 20th century, but Chinese and Iranian civilizations have enjoyed a long history of exchanges from the second century BCE. The EU-funded SINOIRAN project explores Sino-Iranian relations throughout the first millennium CE, examining political, religious, and material exchanges between China and Iran. By building a bridge between modern Sinology and Iranology, the project attempts to shed light on the history of Sino-Iranian relations in close coordination with Iranologists in Italy and Europe.

Foreign Kings Honoring the Buddha (蠻王禮佛圖). 10th cent. Attributed to Zhao Guangfu 趙光輔 (c. 923-976). Cleveland Museum of Art. Creative Commons (CC0 1.0).


The lead researcher of the SINOIRAN project is Dr. Jeffrey Kotyk, a Canadian who completed his doctorate at Leiden University (2017) in the Netherlands. Earlier, he completed a MA degree at Komazawa University 駒沢大学 (2011). His past research has involved East Asian history, religion, science (astronomy, astrology, and calendars), and material cultures of antiquity. Prof. Antonio Panaino, the academic supervisor of the project, is a senior scholar of Iranology, who has written more than three-hundred articles and twenty-two monographs.

Left: J. Kotyk. Right: A. Panaino. Ravenna, 2019.

Mosaic of Basilica di Sant'Apollinare Nuovo. Ravenna, Italy.

Project Details

  • SINOIRAN is scheduled to officially run from 07/2022 to 07/2024.

  • The project is hosted at the Università di Bologna, Dipartimento di Beni Culturali (Department of Cultural Heritage) in Ravenna, Italy.

  • Funding is generously provided by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (H2020-MSCA-IF-2020), EU Commission. Grant agreement ID: 101018750.



Dipartimento di Beni Culturali

Via degli Ariani, 1, 48121

Ravenna RA, Italy

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 101018750.