KUCHA AND SOME OF ITS ANCIENT SITES
SECTION I.-THE OASIS IN ITS GEOGRAPHICAL ASPECTS AND THE
POSITION OF ITS ANCIENT CAPITAL
BEFORE I proceed to describe the surveys and other work which detained me for nearly three weeks within and around the main oasis of Kuchâ., I may with advantage offer some general remarks concerning the importance, political as well as cultural, that has attached to the territory throughout historical times. This importance is abundantly attested on the one hand by the notices of Kuchâ.
(Ch`iu-tzû g 1) contained in the dynastic annals and other Chinese texts from Han to
Tang times, and on the other by the number and extent of the Buddhist sacred sites to be found in the district. There is no need for me to review here the records that throw light on the great part played by the territory of Kuchâ. in the history of the Tarim basin ever since this first passed within the sphere of China's Central-Asian policy and relations. All the data in Chinese historical texts and Buddhist works bearing upon Kucha have been collected and critically discussed by Professor Sylvain Lévi ; they will be found in the same masterly paper by which he established the identity of the language spoken at Kuchâ throughout the Buddhist period with the remarkable Indo-European tongue first discovered through local finds of manuscripts and designated by other scholars as ` Tokhdri B '.2
Nor can I attempt to describe here all those numerous, and even in their ruined state impressive, remains which illustrate the flourishing conditions of Buddhist religious establishments in Kuchâ and the ample resources of the population that maintained them. The conspicuous ruins of Buddhist temples and monasteries at the sites of Su-bashi and Duldul-okur, the extensive series of cave-shrines, decorated with fine wall-paintings, to be found at Simsin above Kirish, at Kizil-kâghe, and at the ` Ming-ois ' of Kum-tura and Kizil had already been systematically explored by German and French expeditions under Professors Grünwedel and von Lecoq and M. Pelliot respectively, before my first visit to Kuchâ in 1908. Archaeological work on a lesser scale had also been carried on in the district by M. Berezowsky under the auspices of the Russian Imperial Academy. I made as full an inspection of these interesting sites, both on my second and third journeys, as the short time I could spare for Kuchâ. rendered possible. But for an account of them and of the numerous and varied remains, of archaeological, artistic, or philological interest, that have been brought to light there, I must refer to the important publications of Professors Grünwedel and von Lecoq and to the comprehensive report which may be hoped for of M. Pelliot's carefully conducted excavations.3
Buddhist remains of Kuchâ.
1 Variants of the Chinese form of the name are Ch`iu-tzït
Ch`ü tzû 1 + R, or Ch`ü-chih 1 + ; cf. Cha-
vannes, Turcs occid., p. 114 ; S. Levi,]. As., 1895, II, p. 303.
2 See Sylvain Levi, ` Le " Tokharien B ", langue de Koutcha ', J. As., 1913, Sept.—Oct., pp. 323-380.
s See Grünwedel, Altbuddh. Kultstätten, pp. 7 sqq., 181
sqq. : Alt-Kutscha ; von Lecoq, Buddhistische Spätantike, i—v, passim. MS. finds resulting from M. Pelliot's excavations at Kuchâ sites are treated by MM. S. Lévi and Meillet, in various papers ; cf. J. As., 1911, I, pp. 431 sqq., II, pp. "9 sqq. ; 1912, 5, pp. 1o1 sqq. ; Mémoires de la Société de Linguistique, 1914, pp. 381 sqq., &c.