M. Maspero's labours have been greatly facilitated by the transcripts which my valued friend
CHIANG SSÛ-YEH (Mr. Chiang Hsiao-yüan g. gg), the Chinese secretary of my second ex-
pedition, had prepared of numerous documents during my stay at Kashgar in June, 1915. He had bestowed upon this task the same thorough critical care that had made him during my former journey the best of scholarly helpmates.14 Regard for his state of health had obliged me, to my great regret, to forgo his services on my third journey ; but even from afar this devoted Chinese assistant continued to prove his keen interest in my labours until his lamented death in 1922.
My heartiest thanks are due to Dr. L. GILES, Deputy Keeper of Oriental Printed Books and Manuscripts, British Museum, for his very valuable assistance in undertaking the difficult task of translating and interpreting the sepulchral inscriptions from Astâna, available only in photographs, as well as the records on ancient textiles (see Appendix I). The work of cataloguing the great collection of Chinese manuscripts recovered in 1907 from the Thousand Buddhas of Tunhuang, upon which he has been engaged for a number of years past, will, I hope, be extended to the abundant supplementary materials brought back from my third expedition. In addition I feel deeply indebted to Dr. L. Giles for the unfailing kindness with which he has at all times been ready to assist me from his store of Sinologue 'knowledge. To Mr. L. C. HOPKINS, I.S.O., my thanks are due for the decipherment of certain Chinese seals, as well as for the verification of Chinese characters and transcripts in some of the proof-sheets.
It was a source of special satisfaction to me when the late Mr. F. E. PARGITER, I.C.S. (ret.), was kind enough to undertake in 192o the preparation of an Inventory List of manuscript remains, mainly in Sanskrit. His former collaboration with the late Dr. A. F. R. Hoernle and his own painstaking care made him the right successor to a task which that true pioneer of Central-Asian philological researches might have claimed, had he survived. Appendix E shows the great amount of unsparing scholarly labour that Mr. Pargiter has devoted to the task, even where the fragmentary state of the materials rendered it far from attractive. Professor STEN KoNow, the distinguished Indologist of Oslo University, who has made the language of ancient Khotan the subject of special studies, honoured me by offering to examine the manuscript remains in that tongue. If the In ventory List contributed by him in Appendix F also includes text fragments in Sanskrit and Kuchean, this is due to the difficulty experienced after my departure from England in 192o in securing an exact classification of the smaller materials in Brahmi script.
As regards the Kharosthi documents recovered from the sites of Niya and Lou-lan (Chap. IV, VI, VII); it is gratifying to know that their decipherment, undertaken by Professor E. J. RAPSON with the assistance of Mr. P. S. NOBLE, will before long permit the completion of the important publication, comprising all Kharosthi records discovered on my journeys, to which Professor Rapson and in association with him M. SMILE SENART and Abbé BOYER have devoted so much scholarly effort for close on twenty-five years.14a These materials are the oldest surviving original documents in Indian script and language, of an administrative, legal, or private character. Their complete edition, together with a full Index, will, I hope, stimulate studies which are bound to throw interesting light on the conditions of life prevailing in the Tarim basin during the early centuries of our era. To my old friend M. SYLVAIN LEvi, the great French Indologist, I am indebted for the interpretation of the fragments of texts and records in Kuchean, reproduced in Appendix G, while his pupil M. E. BENVENISTE has furnished welcome notes (Appendix H) on manuscript
14 Regarding Chiang Ssü-yen's former help, cf. Serindia, ii. pp. 569, 593 sqq., 646, 714, &c. For a portrait taken of him at our final parting in 1915, see below, Fig. 355.
14. See Kharosthi Inscriptions discovered by Sir Aurel
Stein in Chinese Turkestdn. Transcribed and edited by A. M. Boyer, E. J. Rapson, and E. Senart, Clarendon Press, Oxford. Fasciculus I, 1920 ; fasc. II, 1927, 4to.