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0285 Innermost Asia : vol.2
Innermost Asia : vol.2 / Page 285 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000187
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conditions, and receive their water-supply from the same mountain range. For meeting the needs of a great administrative centre, its staff, troops, and the floating population that always collects at such places (e. g. at the present Urumchi), Bugur must have offered, in old times as now, much greater facilities than its small eastern neighbours.

The other point is furnished by a comparison of the distances which the Chien Han shu indicates as separating Wu-lei from Wei-hsü, i. e. Korla, on the one side and Wu-lei from Kuchâ,, on the other. The former distance is stated to be 500 li, the latter 35o li. Now the actual road distances as measured by us on the high road from Korla to Bugur-bazar and from there to Kuchà town amounted to 107 and 67 miles, respectively. The proportion between these mileages approximates closely enough to that between the figures in the Chien Han shu, and would agree with it still more closely if it was possible, in ancient times, to follow a straighter line from Tim westwards." But the proportion of the actual road distances could in no way be reconciled with that of the Han text if Wu-lei were to be located at Yangi-hissâr, and still less if at Châdir.18

It only remains to point out that the position of Bugur was excellently adapted from a strategic point of view for the seat of the chief representative of the Chinese Empire holding political and military control in the Tarim basin. He could, from there, keep watch over the great northern highway along the foot of the Tien-shan, which then as now was the chief artery of intercourse and commerce in the whole region. Its safety was of paramount importance to the west-bound silk trade of China. Near enough to the Lou-lan route to receive support from the Kan-su bases, the Protector General was in a position to guard those points at which Hun irruptions chiefly threatened to debouch. Political considerations also may well have played their part in fixing the administrative centre away from the much larger States of Kuchâ, and Kara-shahr, which were capable of offering serious opposition in times of trouble, and yet within easy striking distance of them both. Finally there was the advantage of having safe access on the south to the conterminous territory of Ch`ü-li, organized long before as a base of supplies for Chinese military needs, and thence also to Shan-shan or Lop, commanding the head of that ` southern route ' with the protection of which Chêng Chi had been charged before he became Protector General.19 Conditions in more than one important aspect had changed greatly by the time when full Chinese control was again extended into the western regions under the Tang. But even then we find the ` Protectorate of An-hsi ' governing the ` Four Garrisons ' established by A. D. 658 at Kuchâ., only three marches west of Bugur.

Road distances indicated for Wu-lei.

Strategic importance of Bugur.


On April 12th I set out from Bugur for Kuchà by the high road, while Afraz-gul with a local Start for guide was sent southward in order to survey the ground along a dry branch of the Inchike-darya, Kucha. near which some ruins were reported in the direction of the south-eastern outliers of Kuchâ. cultivation. I wished myself to follow the high road in order to examine more closely some ruins that I had previously noticed on my passage in January, 1908, but which now seemed of greater interest in view of the observations collected along the ancient route from Ying-p`an to beyond Korla. For over ten miles after leaving Bugur-bazar the road led through continuous cultivation except where it traversed a stretch of scrubby steppe covered with shôr before crossing an old riverbed known as Dinar from the name of a village higher up. Canals taking off from it irrigate the

" See above, ii. pp. 788 sq.

18 For the sake of comparison I may note here that the present Chinese official road reckoning, arrived at as elsewhere in the new Dominion by very rough measurements, puts the


distance from Korla to Bugur-bazar at 52o li and that from Bugur-bâzâr to Kuchâ town at 300 U. 19 See De Groot, Hunnen, p. 206.