Sec. i] THE OASIS IN ITS GEOGRAPHICAL ASPECTS 807
its remains were lost in fields, but reappeared in detached segments, and could be traced with a general bearing to the east, though not in a straight line, for a total distance of about a mile (see P1. 39). At a point in the village lands of Bijak the line of the wall turns sharply to the south, and can be followed practically without a break for over half a mile in that direction, standing to an average height of about 23 feet. Here it is strengthened by small square bastions, also of stamped clay, placed at irregular intervals. Where the eastern face of the circumvallation approaches the high road coming from Yaka-arik and Bugur, it breaks off for some distance ; but its remains can be picked up again about 2- furlongs from the road amongst the orchards of the Kara-dong Mahalla. They were said to be traceable intermittently along a line stretching westwards from this point in the direction of the tower-like structure known as Pilang-tura ; but owing to houses and enclosed gardens it was impossible to follow the line.
The imposing ruin of Pilang-tura, about three-quarters of a mile from the south-eastern corner of the circumvallation, presents the appearance of a massive tower, but gives no definite indication of its original character. It rises on a base of stamped clay to a height of 37 feet, and shows solid masonry of bricks 16 x 8 x 32 inches in size. It measures 82 feet by 7o at the top, where there are traces of walls enclosing two rooms and of a large platform, as seen in the sketch-plan, Pl. 39. I was unable to form an opinion as to the purpose of the ruined structure, but could not doubt its antiquity. Judging from the position it occupies in the plan of the circumvallation (Pl. 39), the Pilang-tura cannot be far from the point where the wall turned to the north to form the western face of the enceinte.
The ground here was too closely packed with suburban shops and houses to permit of a search, in the short time available, for the line which the wall probably followed northward. Assuming that it joined the northern face near the point where I first noted the well-preserved section of the latter, we find that the total circumference of the enclosed area is approximately 3 miles and 3 furlongs. This measurement agrees very closely with the figure of 17-18 li which Hsüan-tsang's notice indicates as the circumference of the capital of Kucha.9 Taken with what I have mentioned above as regards the position of the circumvallation in relation to Su-bashi, this curious correspondence in the figures creates a distinct presumption in favour of the belief that the ruined circumvallation dates back to Tang times, and marks the approximate site and extent of the capital of Kuchà as Hsüan-tsang saw it.
SECTION II.—RUINED SITES WEST OF THE MUZ-ART RIVER
On the morning of April loth I started on a tour with the intention of visiting certain ancient sites which had been described by local informants, interested in the search for antiques, as lying well beyond the south-western and western limits of the present cultivated area of Kucha. I hoped to be able to investigate the physical conditions connected with the abandonment of ancient settlements in this region, and I was all the more willing to find time for their examination because I could find no reference to these localities in such accounts as were accessible to me of former archaeological explorations. Information regarding them was furnished mainly by Mir Sharif, an intelligent native of Namangan in Ferghana, who had been settled in the oasis for a considerable number of years, and had been employed by M. Berezowsky in the course of his search for antiquities. Mir Sharif accompanied me on my visit to the sites described below, and most of the small antiques shown in the subjoined list of purchases were acquired from him.
9 See Julien, Mémoires, i. p. 3 ; Watters, Yuan-chwang, records concerning Central Asia, cf. Serindia, ii. p. 735,
i. p. 58. For the approximate equivalence of 5 li to with note 28a.
mile as deduced from distance measurements in Chinese