Sec. ii] THE LOCATION OF THE ` TOWN OF THE DRAGON' 293
ill; for the location of Mo-shan, also called Shan al in the Han Annals, in the westernmost ' River of Kuruk-tâgh is established.6 On their farther course to the east the waters of the river are said the north.' to pass south of the town of Chu pin j w. By this, as I have been able to prove elsewhere, the site of Ying-p`an at the head of the present Kuruk-daryâ must be meant.' ` Farther east ', we are told, ` they pass south of the town of Lou-lan and then run off eastwards.' A reference which the commentator makes here to the story of a Chinese military colony established at this town has been fully elucidated by me in Serindia. It renders it quite certain that by the ` town of Lou-lan' the site of the ruined station L.A. and its vicinity are intended.$ The statement as to the river's course being south of the town is in complete agreement with what the surveys recorded above in Chap. VI. sec. v have shown us of the succession of ancient river-beds, all deltaic branches of the Kuruk-daryâ and several of them of great width, crossed on our march to L.A. from the south. To the north of the ruined station we had met with only a few dry beds and none of considerable size.
The next passage of the text directly concerns us here and may therefore be quoted in full : Story of the
` The waters of the river (Ho) jp proceed farther east, to empty themselves in the Yu marshes Town of
X which are those called by the [Shui] thing the Pu-ch`ang lake m ! . The waters
accumulate in the north-east of Shan-shan if and in the south-west of the Town of the Dragon
` The Town of the Dragon is the site of the town in which at one time resided Chiang Lai
,. This was a great kingdom of Hu Wg. An overflow of the P`u-ch`ang lake covered
up the capital of this kingdom. The foundations [of this town] are still preserved ; they are very extensive. If at sunrise one starts from the western gate one arrives at sunset at the eastern gate. At the scarped foot of this town a canal had been made. On the line which has survived of it, the wind blowing has gradually produced the form of a dragon of which the face turned westwards regards the lake. It is from this that the name " Town of the Dragon " is derived.'
For the interpretation of the important topographical points here furnished by Li Tao-yiian's account, the facts recorded in Maps Nos. 29, 32, on the basis of our surveys of 1914 and 1915 afford safe guidance. These show us that the ancient river-beds, forming part of the Kuruk-daryâ delta and traced by us in the area south of the Lou-lan Site, must have terminated farther east in marshes by the western shores of that great salt-encrusted sea-bed, dried up since a far earlier period, which in the Shui thing and also in the Former Han Annals bears the alternative names
Pu-ch`ang lake or ` Marsh of Salt ' (Yen-ta ). The present freshwater marshes of the
Kara-koshun, formed by the dying Tarim near the south-western extremity of the same salt-encrusted Lop sea-bed, provide an exact counterpart to those ` Yu marshes ' in which the riverbeds of ancient Lou-lan once emptied themselves.
It was along the approximate line of their outflows into those marshes that the survey between Camps C. ccxxxix. a and C. ccxli. a was made under my instructions by Afrâz-gul in February,1915. As will be seen from the ground shown on that line in Maps No. 32. A. 3, 4 and No. 29. D. 4 and from the surveyor's diary record, a series of dry beds, recognizable moreover in some places by dead Toghrak trunks washed down from the banks higher up, were successively encountered by him. South-eastwards they lose themselves in the vast expanse of hard crumpled-up salt which marks the former Lop sea-bed. By the side of these outflows there are found, for a distance of over forty miles from north-east to south-west, stretches of ground showing a surface of salt-encrusted clay, and in places still retaining dead reeds and tamarisks. These stretches of ground obviously