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0044 Innermost Asia : vol.2
Innermost Asia : vol.2 / Page 44 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000187
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Chü-shih lost to Huns,

A. D. 23.


this arose complications which the Chien Han shu recounts at length. ` Ku-kou, the king of Ulterior Chü-shih, however, believing that the road might prove a check to his movements, looked upon it as an inconvenience. His territory joined that of the Hsiung-nu general of the south.' 18 Unwilling to accept the boundary arrangement laid down by the Wu-chi-hsiao-wei, the Chü-shih chief decamped with his people and went over to the Huns. This move, which ultimately led to his undoing, seems a distinct indication that a part at least of the population then occupying the GuchenJimasa tract relied on pastoral means of life. The same conclusion must be drawn from

what the Annals record of a revolt that followed in A.D. 1o. Hsü Chih-li   , the chief
then ruling over Posterior Chü-shih, had planned defection to the Huns and been punished with decapitation by the Protector-General of the Western countries. Thereupon his brother ` took command of over two thousand of Hsü Chih-li's people, drove off the domestic animals, and the whole nation absconded and submitted to the Hsiung-nu '.19

By that time the Shan-yü, the supreme king of the Huns, considering himself insulted by Wang Mang, the usurper, on his accession to the imperial power (A. D. 9), had broken with the Empire. His troops made a raid upon Chü-shih in which two Chinese commanders were killed. Then a rebellion among the Chinese troops at Kao-ch`ang led to the killing of the Wu-chi-hsiao-wei and the delivery of two thousand of his officers and men by the rebel leaders into the power of the Huns.20 The peace subsequently patched up between the Shan-yü and Wang Mang was in A. D. 16 definitely broken. The Huns ` then made a grand attack on the northern border ' of China, ` while the Western regions were broken up and scattered like loose tiles '. A Chinese force sent into the Tarim basin in the same year succeeded, indeed, in reducing some of the revolted states there ; whether these included Chü-shih is not clear. But on Wang Mang's death, A. D. 23, the Protector-General's authority was annihilated, and all Chinese political power in the Western regions ceased for fully half a century.2'

Chü-shih under Hun domination.


During the period comprising the first two reigns of the Later Han dynasty, Chü-shih, like all the territories of the Tarim basin, was, as the Hou Han shu tells us, under the domination of the Huns.' Their exactions induced, as early as A.D. 45 the king of Posterior Chü-shih, with the chiefs of Shan-shan and Yen-ch`i (Kara-shahr), to offer their submission to the Emperor Kuang-wu.2 The need of internal consolidation precluded the Empire at that time from according the desired protection. The weakening of the Hun power subsequently facilitated internecine struggles between the different ` Western countries ', in the course of which Chü-shih is said to have absorbed a number of small territories along the northern slopes of the Tien-shan.3 When the fresh expansion of Chinese power into Central Asia under the Emperor Ming began in A. D. 73 with the first occupation of I-wu or Hami, Chü-shih soon became again the seat of a military commander with the title of Wu-chi-hsiao-wei, as in Former Han times. With the opening of the direct road to the Kan-su marches via Hâmi, Turfân was clearly destined to become even more important to the Chinese than before. But this first advance was turned into failure on the death of the Emperor Ming, A. D. 75, when the Protector-General with his force succumbed to attacks of Kara-shahr and Kuch5.,

18 See Wylie, J. Anthrop. Inst., xi. p. 109 ; De Groot, Hunnen, p. 262, where the name of the chief appears as

Kou-ku M.

19 Cf. Wylie, ibid., xi. p. III ; De Groot, ibid., p. 27o.

20 See Wylie, ibid., xi. p. III ; De Groot, ibid., p. 27o.

21 Cf. Wylie, ibid., xi. p. 112 ; Chavannes, T`oung-pao,

1907, p. 155.

1 See Chavannes, Toung-pao, 1907, p. 155.

2 See Chavannes, ibid., 1907, pp. 155, 211.

3 See Chavannes, ibid., 1907, p. 156.