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0384 Innermost Asia : vol.2
Innermost Asia : vol.2 / Page 384 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000187
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Help of Colonel Jagello.

Chinese notices of Shughnân.

Tang Annals' record of Ski h-ni.


Russian road used a track, practicable for animals, leading up the side valley of Garm-chashma which joins in here, and then crossed the range to the SE. into Shàkh-dara of Shughnan. At

the little village of Darmârak, within view of the outflow from the Shiwa Lake, there were orchards

of fruit-trees to signal approach to a more favourable climate, and after one of the worst bits of the route had been passed under the overhanging cliffs of Khitshif, the rich cultivation terraces of Kala

Bar-Panja, the chief place on the Afghan side of Shughnân, came into view in the widening valley. Finally, turning into the open valley through which the considerable river uniting the streams of Ghund and Shakh-dara carries its water to the Oxus, and crossing to its right bank, we reached Kharuk (about 6,65o feet above sea-level), the administrative head-quarters of the Russian ` Pamir Division '.

The two days' halt here, on September 13-14th, was made pleasant and profitable by the very kind and helpful reception accorded to me by Colonel Jagello, commanding the Division. The friendly interest shown by this highly accomplished officer, at one time on the Intelligence

Staff of the Turkestan Army, in the antiquarian and other objects of my journey made it possible for me to extend my visit to Shughnan farther than I had originally expected. He also greatly facilitated my passage through the hill territories, then under the rule of the Amir of Bukhara, by the instructions he issued. Of all this prompt and most effective help I wish to record here my very grateful remembrance.

My stay at Kharuk, where civilizing Russian influence manifested itself not merely in extended cultivation and flourishing orchards but also in electric lighting and a well-frequented Russian school,

enabled me to collect not only anthropometrical records, but useful information about the past of

Shughnân and the ways of its present population. It will be convenient to note this in connexion with the earliest historical data that Chinese records have preserved for us concerning this interesting

mountain territory. It has long ago been recognized that the territory which the Tang shu and the narratives of several Chinese Buddhist pilgrims mention under the slightly varying names of Shih-ch`ih-ni, Shih-ni, Sê-ni, &c., is Shughnan.1 This identification is clearly proved by the position as assigned to the territory by the several records, quite apart from the similarity of the above names to Shughnân, a still current variant to the locally prevalent formShughnân.

In the Tang Annals we are told: 2 `[The country of] Shih-ni   isis called also Shih-ch'ih-ni

t It or Sê-ni   ; to the south-east, it is 9,000 li in a straight line to the capital ; to the

east, at 500 li, it is limited by the territory of the military post of Ts`ung-ling (Sarikol) ; at 300 li

to the south, it touches Hu-mi (Wakhan) ; at 500 li to the north-west one reaches Chii-mi (Kara-

tegin). At first, the town of Ku-han   1 f was the capital ; afterwards the people lived dispersed

in the mountain gorges ; there are five chief gorges the chiefs of which carry on autonomous rule ;

one calls them " the five Shih-ni ". The territory comprises 2,000 li ; it does not produce the five kinds of cereals ; the inhabitants like fighting each other ; they stop and plunder the traders. In the four gorges of the Po-mi (Pamir) valley the natives do not conform to the imperial orders. They are accustomed to live in caves.' Farther on an embassy from this territory to the Imperial court in A. D. 646 is recorded, and also the grant of an Imperial office to its king in 724. Mention is made also of the aid given by a king of Shih-ni, who in A. D. 747 accompanied Kao Hsien-chih's expedition against Little P`o-lü (Yasin) and died in the fighting.3

It requires no detailed demonstration to show that the bearings given of the neighbouring territories are quite correct, and approximately also the distances recorded. Where the old capital Ku-han is to be located it is impossible to say in the absence of any definite indication as to its

1 Cf. Yule, J.R. A.S., 1873, p. 113, referring to General   2 See Chavannes, Tuns occid., pp. 162 sq.

Cunningham.   3 Cf. Serindia, i. pp. 53 sqq.


Character ascribed to Shughnan people.