What is commonly called "Xinjiang" is the homeland of the Turkic speaking Uyghurs and other central Asian peoples such as Kazaks, Kyrgyz, Tatars, Uzbeks, and Tajiks. According to the latest Chinese census, the present population of these Muslims is slightly over 11 million; among these, the 8.68 million Uyghurs constitute the majority. However, Uyghur sources indicate that Uyghur population exceeds 15 million.
The region located beyond a logical boundary of China, the Great Wall. Historically, is a part of Central Asia, not of China. The people are not ethnically Chinese; they are Turks of Central Asia.
Records show that the Uyghurs have a history of more than 4000 years. Situated along a section of the legendary Silk Road, Uyghurs played an important role in cultural exchanges between the East and West and developed a unique culture and civilization of their own.
Uyghurs embraced Islam in A.D. 934 during the Karahanid Kingdom. Kashgar, the capital of the Kingdom, quickly became one of the major learning centers of Islam. Art, the sciences, music and literature flourished as Islamic religious institutions nurtured the pursuit of an advanced culture. In this period, hundreds of world-renowned Uyghur scholars emerged. Thousands of valuable books were written. Among these works, the Uyghur scholar Yusuf Has Hajip's book, Kutatku Bilig (The Knowledge for Happiness, 1069-1070) and Mahmud Kashgari's Divan-i Lugat-it Turk (a dictionary of Turk languages) are most influential.
In 2012, photographer and adventurer, Eleanor Moseman spent extensive time in Western China and Central Asia. Not only photo documenting these people but learning as much as she could about the culture and the lives. Hopefully this book will just be the first in a long series of photos from the region.