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0251 Archaeological Researches in Sinkiang : vol.1
Archaeological Researches in Sinkiang : vol.1 / Page 251 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000195
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There remain discrepancies among the sources even with these explanations, and the question of Yü-ni and I-hsün can not be regarded as definitely solved.

There is very little doubt, however, that I-hsün of the T'ang annals is identical with Miran. The name was at that time applied to Miran instead of a part of the Charkhliq oasis, which then had the name Shih-ch'eng.

Other T'ang names of Miran is Ch'i-t'un-ch'eng (City of seven military colonies) or simply T'un-ch'eng. On the Tibetan records found by STEIN the place is called Nob-chun or Little Nob.

As I believe in the identification of Yü-ni with Charkhliq, and also want tentatively to locate I-hsün there, I rob Miran of its position as the one time capital of Shanshan.

In September 1928 I paid a short visit to Miran in order to get an ocular impression of the ruins already excavated by STEIN. Unfortunately I did not take his publications with me on the 1928 expedition. The traces of his excavations were still easily seen. The very small rooms in the fortress, which served the Tibetan garrison as quarters, had been cleared from refuse by STEIN. Some drift sand had accumulated on the floors, but not to any great extent, considering the period of fourteen years that had elapsed.

TOKHTA AKHUN of Miran, formerly residing at Abdal,1 and the faithful servant both of HEDIN and STEIN, accompanied me, and he presented me with a bead of gilt glass, Pl. 38 : 5, and a small wooden slip with Tibetan writings, Pl. 38 : 2. These objects he had found in the fortress of Miran after STEIN'S departure. This small Tibetan record is unfortunately fragmentary and the reading of it is therefore difficult. I am indebted to Mr. W. A. UNKRIG for the following suggestions. It begins with a pir-ka i. e. "trial stroke". The two first words are possibly bso mgon (the guardian of the resting place), then follows a vertical stroke and probably a gya do (breast plate or shield) and a pa or ma?. The final signs can not be read. This fragmentary reading gives no proper sense.

From the ground around the fortress we picked up some pottery fragments among which a sherd of a small vessel with part of a Tibetan inscription is of some interest, Pl. 37 : 7. Its fragmentary condition does not allow of any definite interpretation. It also starts with a pir-ka. The first letter is a ca or tsa; the three following characters are too fragmentary to be read. The fifth is certainly a ka, and the last one a ro. For this reading I am also indebted to the kind efforts of Mr. W. A. UNKRIG.

When TOKHTA AKHUN learned of my intention not to undertake any further excavations in the ruins, as this would scarcely have been worth while on ground so thoroughly examined by STEIN, he told me about a burial place a little to the north.

1 As early as 1914 the Abdal people had moved to Miran, leaving their semi-nomadic settlement for more permanent ones, as attested by STEIN.