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Journey beyond Kara-tegin.
894 IN THE REGION OF THE UPPER OXUS [Chap. XXVI
Shughnàn and the approximate distance between the chief places of the two territories. The estimate of this distance is easily accounted for if we take into consideration that the smaller valleys of Khingab and Wanj may well have been ruled at the time from Kara-tegin, just as in the reverse way the latter had become subject to the chiefs of Darwaz during the early part of the last century.'° It only remains to mention that Wu-k`ung towards 786 A. D. coming from Tokharistàn passed
through Chii-mi-chih 4f4 t, i. e. Kara-tegin, before proceeding to Ch`ih-ni or Shughnan.
The territory of Ni-sé-chih ; ;p named between the two cannot be definitely located.'
Starting on October i4th from Ab-i-garm I left behind the last of the valleys which descend from the Pamir region, and also the westernmost portion of that ground within the drainage area of the Oxus with which I could hope to gain some closer acquaintance on this journey. Regard for the time needed to reach my next goal in distant SIstan and for the work planned there before my return to India obliged me to seek the Trans-Caspian railway at Samarkand by the nearest route and as quickly as possible. The nine rapid marches, covering some 27o miles, which brought me there across comparatively well-known parts of the Bokhara hills offered little chance for close observation. My account of them must therefore be of the briefest and cannot extend to an examination of questions of historical topography connected with the important tracts of ancient Sogdiana that I was obliged to traverse so hurriedly.
My route for the first four marches Ied through the open valley plains of the once independent chiefship of Hissar which are drained by the Surkhan and Kafirnihan tributaries of the Oxus. This fertile region must have always offered special attractions to originally nomadic invaders of Sogdiana. These advantages were fully brought home to me by what I saw of the splendid grazing grounds passed on the way across the watershed between Ab-i-garm and the Faizâbad valley. These and the others to be found at the heads of the valleys which trend south from the Hissar range are all held by the Özbeg landowners of Hissar, who move up there for the summer with their flocks of sheep and large herds of cattle and horses. Taken together with the favourable climatic conditions which provide adequate rain and snow-fall for cultivation lower down in the valleys, these facilities for comfortable semi-nomadic existence must have all through the ages made Hissâr a valued prize for conquerors from inner Asia, such as the Yüeh-chih and all their successors of Turkish race. Here, too, as in Kara-tegin, there was evidence of the slow but steady reconquest of the soil through the spread of Tajik cultivation. On the gentle slopes near the watershed the inroad of these industrious Iranian settlers was confined to small patches of newly tilled fields scattered among rich pastures ; lower down in the valley, as at the prosperous-looking market village of Faizabad (Fig. 438), a considerable portion of the land had passed long before into their hands, whether as tenants or owners.
In the wide fertile stretches of plain, mostly loess, which we skirted for three days along its northern edge past Dashambe, Kara-04h, and Régar, the most productive lands, capable of irrigation, are still held by Özbegs ; but the labour is largely furnished by Tajiks. The conservative fashion in which the conquering race still clings to semi-nomadic customs was well illustrated by the ` Kapas ' or portable felt-covered reed-huts found pitched in the courtyards of many Özbeg village homesteads. They had been brought back after use at the summer grazing grounds ; but the owners evidently still continued to make them their quarters in preference to the frail mud huts built around them. The contrast in this aspect with the Tajik portion of the same villages was striking, and so also with the agricultural settlements of the Tarim basin, which so much else in the physical setting and in the Turki local names here recalled.
'o See Yule,J.R.A.S., 1873, p. 99, note, quoting J.A.S.B., 11 See Chavannes-S. Lévi, J. Asiat., 1895, Sept.-Oct.,
iii. P 373. p. 362 ; also above, ii. p. 880.