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0017 Innermost Asia : vol.1
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doi: 10.20676/00000187
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examination of all the more important sites and to secure, besides other antiques, a considerable

collection of interesting mural paintings from ruined Buddhist shrines (Chap. XVIII). Particularly

ample results rewarded the exploration of a large burial-ground near Astana, the deposits of its

tombs yielding abundant relics of the early 'rang period, such as figured silks, stucco figurines, and

other objects of artistic or technical interest (Chap. XIX).

From Turfan I paid a rapid visit to the provincial head-quarters at Urumchi, north of the Trien- Visit to

shan. It enabled me to see again my old Mandarin friend FAN TA-JEN (Mr. Fan Chrên'   ),7a Urumchi.
whose kind support, which I had experienced on all my former explorations, was now helping to ward off threatened official obstruction. To the memory of this lamented friend, who died in 1926, still in office and honoured throughout Hsin-chiang for his high character, true scholarship, and rare integrity, I wish to offer here my tribute of sincere respect and gratitude.

During these months R. B. L5..l Singh had carried out extensive survey operations in the Explora-

waterless Kuruk-tagh range to the south. Starting in the middle of February, 1915, I was able to tions in


supplement these by work in the western portion of the same desert region and by the exploration

of ancient burial-grounds along the ` Dry River ' that once flowed to Lou-lan. At the same time

our topographical knowledge of the Lop Desert was enlarged by a survey which Afraz-gul success-

fully carried out under very trying conditions (Chap. XX). Moving between the western foot of

the Kuruk-tagh and the Konche-darya which had once fed the `Dry River', I examined the remains

marking the line by which the ancient highway from China gained the string of oases along the north-

ern rim of the Tarim basin (Chap. XXI). Our move westwards by the latter allowed me to trace Move to

the line followed by the ancient Pei-lu, the ` Northern Route ' of the Chinese Annals, to Kucha' Kucha and

and subsequently to explore a series of old sites now abandoned to the desert which mark the Kashgar.

former extent of this large oasis, important both geographically and historically (Chap. XXII,

XXIII). While R. B. Lal Singh was carrying his survey along the Trien-shan as high up as the

early season would permit, I myself rapidly travelled to Kashgar by the present caravan route,

acquainting myself with ground that I had not previously visited (Chap. XXIV).

After arranging during a busy stay at Kashgar for the safe transport to Kashmir of my collec- Journey

tion of antiques (which filled 182 cases), I started in the middle of July, 1915, for my journey across across

Pamirs and

the Russian Pamirs and the valleys of the Upper Oxus. It was greatly facilitated by the friendly Upper Oxus offices of Prince MESTCHERSKY, the Russian Consul-General at Kashgar, and Colonel I. D. JAGELLO, Valleys. then commanding the Pamir Division. Passing down the great Alai valley I followed the route of the ancient silk trade from China, as described by Marinus. Then crossing the succession of high ranges which divide the main feeders of the Oxus, I reached ground on the Alichur and Great Pamirs which had seen the passage of the armed forces as well as the Buddhist pilgrims of China (Chap. XXV). As I made my way through Wakhan and up and down the secluded alpine valleys of Gharan, R6shan, Shughnan, and Darwaz, I was able to examine ruined strongholds of early date and throughout to observe much that is ancient in the racial type of the people, their language, and ways of living (Chap. XXVI). The anthropometrical materials here collected are discussed by Mr. T. A. JOYCE in Appendix C. After regaining in Kara-tegin the route of the old silk traders Past Samar-

towards Baktra I travelled through the hills of Bokhara to Samarkand. Thence the Transcaspian ,and and


railway allowed me to gain Persian ground. Subsequently, a rapid but instructive journey of Afghan three weeks along the Perso-Afghan border, brought me safely to Sistan by the close of November, border.

1915 (Chap. XXVII).

   7a See below, ii. pp. 634 sq. ; Fig. 298. For the constant   507, &c. ; Ruins of Khotan, pp. xxi, zoo, 214 sqq. ; Desert

   help which Fan Ta-jên had rendered me ever since my first   Cathay, i. p. xvi ; ii. pp. 421 sqq. ; Serindia, i. pp. x, 311 ; iii.

   visit to Khotan in 1900, cf. Ancient Khotan, i. pp. 237 sq.,   pp. 1185, 1273•