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0054 Innermost Asia : vol.2
Innermost Asia : vol.2 / Page 54 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000187
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preceding thousand years from India, the Near East and China ; whereas the advance of Islam, which the Karluk-Turk dynasty of Balasaghun ruling Kashgar had adopted about the middle of the tenth century,4 tended to suppress them in the western portion of the Tarim basin. On the other hand, it may be credited with a very large, if not a preponderant, share in imposing upon the racially distinct and linguistically very varied populations of the Tarim basin that exclusive use of the Turkish language which prevails to this day and which the fostering of an Uigur literature is sure to have greatly propagated. The remains brought to light at the Turfan sites bear ample testimony to this double effect of Uigur rule, and this fact may justify the introduction here of these few general observations concerning it.

Turfan, by its geographical position, was exceptionally well adapted to facilitate fusion in culture and language between its last Turkish conquerors and the ancient stock established in the oases. I have already had occasion to emphasize how closely linked by mutual economic relations and hence also by history are the two territories which we know successively as Anterior and Posterior Chü-shih, Kao-ch`ang and Pei-t`ing, Turfan and Guchen. The two held in conjunction were admirably adapted by nature to serve as the cherished seat of rulers of an originally nomadic tribe, capable and eager to adapt itself to civilized life. On the northern slopes of the mountains they and their people could for a long time keep up what was pleasant in their traditional ways of life, while drawing at the same time upon the settled population of the fertile oases to the south for the material and intellectual resources with which to strengthen their power and to add to the pleasures of its possession.

This explains why under Uigur domination Turfan acquired importance as the chief seat of the power then ruling the greater portion of the lands that had once been controlled by the ` Four Garrisons ' of the Tang. The favourable conditions prevailing at this time in the territories on both sides of the mountains are strikingly demonstrated by the account that fortunately has come

down to us of the visit paid by the Chinese imperial envoy Wang Yen-tê    it to the Uigur
king Arslan Kagan in A. D. 982.5 Certain details of topographical or antiquarian interest offered by his narrative are discussed in a note below.6 Here I may content myself with calling attention to

Advantages of possession of both Turfan and Guchen.

Visit of Wang Yen-tê, A. D. 982.

4 Cf. Grenard, J. As., 1900, janv.-févr., pp. 38 sqq.

5 See Julien's translation of Wang Yen-tê's narrative, as extracted in Ma Tuan-lin's encyclopaedia from Chap. ccccxc of the Sung Annals, in J. As., 1847, ix. pp. So sqq. A later edition of Julien's translation in his Mélanges de géographie asiatique, pp. 8o-1oz, is not accessible to me.

6 Wang Yen-Ws itinerary to Turfan is clearly traceable from Hami onwards. From this place named by him I-chou (I-wou), p. 54, he proceeded to Na-chih, the present village of Lapchuk, west of Hami (see Map No. 34. B. 3 ; Serindia, iii. p. 1157 ; Pelliot, J. As., 1916, janv.-févr., pp. 118 sq.).

Thence he travelled by the route that leads through the stony desert south of the present high road between Hâmi and Chik-tam (Map No. 31. B. 2) ; this, owing to want of water along its greater portion, is nowadays used only in the winter with camels or donkeys. It has been surveyed by Roborovsky and leads along the most direct line between the last inhabited places of the Hami and Turfan territories, on the west and east, respectively. The absolutely waterless route surveyed by Muhammad Yaqûb in October, 1914, and shown in Map No. 31. B-D. 3, lies to the south of it.

Wang Yen-té duly mentions the total want of grazing along the route he followed and the violent winds which make the

passage of its western portion, then known as ` the valley of the demons ', dangerous to travellers (cf. M. Chavannes' translation of this passage, T`oung-pao, 1905, p. 53o, note).

The temple of Tsê-t`ien   Ri (` fertilizing the fields '),
which he reached after eight days' travel (from Na-chih), p. 56, may safely be located at Chik-tam, the first place where cultivation is found on the above-mentioned route from Lapchuk to Turfan. Eight daily marches would not be too many to enable a traveller much encumbered with baggage, as the imperial envoy no doubt was, to cover the distance. Having been met here by officials of the Uigur prince, Wang Yen-tê then proceeded through the locality

of Pao-chuang   it, which manifestly corresponds to
the present Hsien of Pichan, and the locality of Lu-chung

&t, the present Lukchun (the Liu-chung   of

the Hou Han shu), to Kao-ch`ang, ` otherwise known as Hsi-chou', i. e. Turfan.

Wang Yen-tê's account fixes clearly the position of the capital when he mentions ` a river which issuing from the mountains of Chin-ling (i. e. the Tien-shan, called Chin-sha ling in the Tang itinerary from Chiao-ho to Pei-t`ing ; see above, pp. 563 sq.) has its waters divided in such a way that