NOTES ON SHEET
The surveys rocorded in this sheet were made in 1908 and 1915. The comparatively close net of routes around Kucha dates mainly from the spring of the latter year when archeological interests kept me at work for several weeks in the vicinity of that great, and since early times important, oasis. While Mian Afraz-gul assisted me in plane-table work here, It. B. Lal Singh surveyed the outer slopes of the Tien-shah northward. The routes southwards to Shahyar and beyond were mapped on the occasion of our joint crossing of the Takla-makan in January-February, 1908.
For the town of Kucha the astronomical latitude agreed closely with that of Mr. Clementi. Its longitude was determined by taking the mean of the values interpolated between the accepted positions of Kashgar and Korla and between Korla and Tengrikhnn, respectively. This longitude (82° 53' 30e) was found to agree very closely with that obtained by plotting the route from the side of Keriya river via Peres and Shahyar and was therefore accepted, Lz though differing some 15 minutes from that shown in Mr. Clementi's list. In addition to the latitudes recorded below, those observed by Dr. Hedin along the Tarim river and by Mr. Clementi on the main road were used.
A brief descriptive account of the routes followed by me in 1908 is to be found in
Desert Cathay, ii. pp. 375 sqq. Points
connected with the historical topography of the riverine tract between the N uz-art (Inchike) and Tarim rivers have been discussed in Serindia, iii. pp. 1236 sq. A record of the observations collected in 1915 concerning the present and ancient topography of the Kucha oasis and its vicinity must be reserved for the report on my third expedition.
The area represented in this sheet, apart from the portion of the subsidiary basin of Bai occupying its north-western corner, falls into three distinct zones. In the north, at the foot of the outermost spurs of the Tien-shan,
Astronomically observed latitudes.
No. 17 (KUCHA)
we have the wide alluvial fan which the Miiz-art and Kuchâ rivers form at their debouchure and which is occupied by the great oasis of Kucha. That its cultivation extended within historical times much further into the reed- and scrub-covered beltsurrounding it on the east, south and west, is clearly . demonstrated by the numerous ruined sites shown on the map (A-D.2).
In its ample irrigation resources, due to two rivers issuing near to each other from
the foothills, as also in various other aspects,
Kuehn forms a curiously close pendant to the Khotan oasis in the south. If desiccation
has not left here quite so striking evidence of
its progress in the shape of sand-buried ruins, wind-eroded 'Tatis', etc., the explana ;
tion is easily furnished by the broad riverine belt of the Tarim which adjoins in the south.
This second zone with its jungle and inundation tracts effectively protects the
irrigable area from encroachment by the
drift-sands of the Taklamakan. The latter forms the third zone and stretches its dune-
covered wastes away to the thin string of
oases lining the extreme edge of the glacis of the K'un-lun on the other side of the Tarim Basin. In the strip of Taklamakàn ground shown by the southern portion of the
sheet (A,B.4), the change in the direction
of the high dune ridges or 'Dawans' may be specially noted. While in the north they
run from east to west parallel to the Tarim, further south they bear approximately from N.N.E. to S.S.W., corresponding to the direction of the terminal course of the Keriya river where it dies away in the sands.
Corrections. B. 1. Cliffs should be shown above Duldul-okur close to the right
bank of the Muz-art R., the river gorge being practically impassable from below Kizilmingoi down to the caves of Ming-oi, above Kum-tura.
The name Sn-bershi at the debouchure of the Kuella river should be in red, being applied to the ruins on both banks.