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0046 Innermost Asia : vol.2
Innermost Asia : vol.2 / Page 46 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000187
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Decay of Chinese control.

Troubles in
` Posterior
Chü-shih '.

Importance of road passing Turfân.

Turfân between Later Han and Trang.

reoccupied until A. D. 131, we must assume that Pan Yung gained possession of Turfân, which was to serve as a base for the renewed conquest of the Western Countries, across the Kuruk-tâgh from

the side of Lou-lan. By the year 125 he had won a great victory over Chün-chiu   ; , king of
Posterior Chü-shih, who was killed. Then, aided by two chiefs of this tribe, he attacked and defeated in the following year the Hu-yen king of the Huns, who probably held the Barkul valley 10

The warlike character of the people in occupation of Posterior Chü-shih at that time is brought out also by the record of a great raid which the Chinese political officer in charge of this tribe succeeded with their help in carrying far into the territory of the northern Huns in the year 134. But in the very next year the king Hu-yen, of the Northern Huns, retaliated by invading Posterior Chü-shih. A Chinese expedition was then sent to succour ` the six kingdoms of Chü-shih significantly declared to ` serve as the protection of the Western countries ', but did not succeed in its object." By that time, in fact, the gradual decay of the Later Han power in Central Asia had already set in.

The several expeditions subsequently undertaken from the Hâmi side against the Hu-yen king, to which reference has been made above in connexion with the Barkul region,12 failed to remove the danger from this source by which the Chinese main line of communication was ever threatened.

In A. D. 153 trouble arose with the king of Posterior Chü-shih, A-to-top fi   , who attacked
the town of Chü-ku, RIM, where the Chinese had a military colony. With the help of a portion of the tribe, the Chinese succeeded in forcing the rebel chief to seek refuge among the Northern Huns. But he soon returned and, securing the support of his people, ousted his rival Pei-chün 43, A, whom the Chinese had set up in his place. The political expedient by which the Chinese administration tried to meet its difficult situation, and with the record of which the notice of Chü-shih in the Annals concludes, is of interest and throws light on the more or less nomadic character of the race then holding Posterior Chü-shih. While A-lo-to was reinstated, Pei-chün was removed to Tun-huang ` with three hundred tents of the Posterior tribe, specially placed under his orders so as to supply him with a fixed revenue '.13

Though Chinese nominal supremacy over the ` Western countries ' appears to have lingered on under the Later Han for some time longer, no data concerning the Turfân region are furnished by the records accessible to me in translation. The notices above surveyed suffice to illustrate the increased importance to the Chinese that this region attained after the high road through Hâmi and along the Eastern Tien-shan had been opened. We find this importance strikingly expressed in the words with which the Hou Han shu sums up its notice of the northern route into the Tarim basin. ` These localities [of Kao-ch`ang and Chin-man] are the gates of the Western countries ; for this reason the Wu-chi-hsiao-wei have successively kept garrison there.... All these places are fertile. That is why the Han have constantly disputed Chü-shih and I-wu with the Hsiung-nu in order to dominate the Western countries.' 14

The Chinese historical records of the periods that intervened between the downfall of the Later Han dynasty, A. D. 220, and the years immediately preceding the advent of the Tang, A. D. 618, appear to contain but scant notices relating to the Turfân region or to the ` Western countries ' in general. But the few I am able to gather from among those rendered accessible by the researches of M. Chavannes and Professor O. Franke seem to indicate clearly that political relations with China and the influence of Chinese civilization, such as resulted from Han supremacy, continued during these four centuries to be maintained both there and farther west in the Tarim basin, though probably to a reduced extent and with interruptions.

10 Cf. Chavannes, Troung-pao, 1907, pp. 167, 213 ; for the Hu-yen king, see above, pp. 54o sq.

11 See ibid., pp. 213 sqq.   12 See above, pp. 543 sq

13 See Chavannes, ibid., pp. 214 sq.   14 Cf. ibid., p. 169.