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0056 Innermost Asia : vol.2
Innermost Asia : vol.2 / Page 56 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000187
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Summer migration to Pei-t`ing.

Wang Yenta's account of Uigurs.

of Mani, attended by Persian priests who carefully observe their particular regulations and declare the Buddhist books as heretical ', n has received striking confirmation in the discovery by Professors Grünwedel and Von Lecoq of Manichaean places of worship at Kara-khôja, and in the remains of Manichaean texts in Iranian as well as in Turkish language that have come to light there and elsewhere.

When Wang Yen-tê arrived at Kao-ch`ang in May, 982, the king, whose Turkish name Arslan Kagan he correctly renders as ` Lion king ', had retired to Pei-t`ing in order to escape the heat. This was quite in accord with well-established custom of all sovereigns of Turkish stock, which, in the case of the Kushan and Turkish rulers of the Indus region, of the Moghuls of Delhi and of others, invariably led to the adoption of a summer capital in place of the original nomadic migration to pastures higher up the mountains. The extensive horse-breeding operations which Wang Yen-tê attributes to the royal family, and for which a large valley above Pei-t`ing was specially reserved, also show that the old tribal traditions were still preserved by the rulers. They were evidently favoured by the great natural facilities for pastoral pursuits afforded by the sufficiency of moisture and grazing on the north side of the Tien-shan. Wang Yen-tê's description of the route by which he proceeded from Kao-ch`ang to Pei-t`ing has been dealt with above.12 His references to three Buddhist temples at Pei-t`ing, two of them founded in 637, do not convey the impression that the northern capital, otherwise described as abounding in ` pavilions, towers and gardens ', was as rich in Buddhist sanctuaries as Turfan, and this agrees with what my observations at the ruined site beyond Hu-p`u-tzû have led me to assume.

Finally it deserves to be noted that Wang Yen-tê in his description of Pei-t`ing gives the Uigurs credit for being not only straight and honest, but also intelligent and capable, excelling in metal work of all sorts. That skill of this kind was probably possessed of old by nomadic races of Central Asia to a much greater extent than was formerly supposed, has been fully established by modern archaeological researches based upon discoveries widely distributed from Siberia to the areas of Europe affected by the great migrations.13 Yet we can scarcely go wrong if in the Chinese envoy's general eulogy of these Uigurs north of the mountains we recognize also the effect already produced upon a sound Turkish stock by prolonged association with the old civilization in the oases immediately to the south.

I cannot here attempt to trace the further history of Uigur dominion in the Turfan region, beyond mentioning those few data which have a direct bearing upon points of antiquarian interest connected with its extant ruins. The extracts from the Chinese Annals of the Sung and Mongol (Yuan) dynasties which Dr. Bretschneider has collected in his Mediaeval Researches show that conditions of Uigur rule over Turfan underwent no essential change right down to the establishment of the Mongol Empire, even though early in the eleventh century the principal seat of the Uigur rulers appears to have been shifted to Kucha 14 The mention of numerous embassies to the Sung court in the course of the eleventh century proves that relations with China were not interrupted by the establishment of the Tangut kingdom in Kan-su.15 In the following century the Uigurs, with other tribes and states of Eastern Turkestan, passed under the supremacy of the Kara-khitai or Western Liao16 When Chinghiz Khan was starting on his great expeditions westwards in 1209, Barjuk, who was then the ruling ` Idikut ' (` Lord of Happiness ') of the Uigurs, joined the great Mongol conqueror, and by active co-operation in all subsequent enterprises secured himself and

Uigur dominion under Mongol supremacy.

11 See Julien, J. As., 1847, p. 6o.   12 See above, note 6.

13 For interesting results of these researches, proving the far-reaching artistic influence exercised by those nomadic carriers of Central-Asian and Far Eastern crafts; see e. g., Z. de Takâcs, Jahrbuch der asiatischen Kunst, 1925, pp. 6o sqq. ;

` Chinesisch-hunnische Kunstformen', Bulletin de l'Institut Archéologique Bulgare, 1925, pp. 194 sqq•

14 See Bretschneider, Med. Researches, i. pp. 244 sqq.

15 See ibid., i. p. 243.

1G Cf. ibid., i. pp. 2T3 sq.