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0063 Ancient Khotan : vol.1
Ancient Khotan : vol.1 / Page 63 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000182
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Sec. ii]


details—a defect to be observed also in other portions of Sung Yün's narrative—formerly made it difficult to ascertain which of his data refer to Sarikol itself and which to the traveller's

subsequent route across the Pamirs. The annotated translation of Sung Yün's itinerary recently published by M. Chavannes, enables us to recognize clearly some characteristic observations bearing on Sarikol, and to trace the probable line of route 1°.

Sung Yün, like Fa-hsien, travelled westwards through Khotan and entered the limits of

the kingdom of Hanf`an-t`o   from the side of Chu-chü-po, which M. Chavannes

has correctly identified with the modern district of Karghalik 11. Going west for six days the

traveller ascended the Ts`ung-ling mountains, in which we must recognize the ranges separating the valley of the Raskam Darya from the plains about Karghalik. After three more days to the

west he arrived at the ` town of Po-yü' or ` Po-mêng.' Thence he ascended, in three days,

the mountains called Pu-k`o yi (meaning literally ` the mountains on which it is impossible to find a rest '), where the cold was extreme and the snow was lying summer and winter. On

these mountains a lake or the site of a lake was pointed out to the traveller as the former habitation of a poisonous Naga, who for his misdeeds had been banished through an early king's magic. By difficult mountain routes he thence reached in four days the capital of the kingdom of Han-Van-t`o. This territory was supposed to occupy the very summit of the Ts`ungling mountains and to be the centre of heaven and of earth.

Sung Yün notes that its inhabitants trained the watercourses to irrigate their crops, and when told that the cultivators of China depended on rain alone for their produce, they would not credit such a story. East of the city of Han-Van-4'o was the river Mêng-chin, which

flowed to the north-east towards Su-lé or Kashgar. On the high Ts`ung-ling mountains neither herb nor tree would grow. On their west side all rivers were flowing westwards. At

the time of Sung Ytin's passage, in the eighth month of the Chinese year, the temperature had already turned cold ; the north wind was driving away the wild geese, and snow was falling over the whole region.

The description of the territory which Sung Yün here gives is not as detailed as we might wish, but there can be no doubt that it fits accurately the central valleys of Sarikol, as recognized

by M. Chavannes 12. The mention of the river flowing to the north-east, the bed of which lay

east of the city of Han-Van-t`o, clearly indicates for the latter the site of the present Tashkurghan, described also by Hsüan-tsang. A reference to the brief description of the Tagh-

dumbash River Valley given above will suffice to show that Sung Yün's observations on the climate and character of this mountain region, and on the system of irrigation by which parts of the valley are made to yield crops, are quite accurate.

The most direct and frequented route from Karghalik to Tash-kurghan leads through the mountains towards the Raskam Darya. After crossing the latter near the group of Sarikoli

villages known as Tong, it continues to the Kandahar (or Khandar) Pass, from which Tash-

kurghan is reached in four marches. It appears very probable that this was the route which Sung Yün followed. Not having visited the route myself, and knowing only its western portion

from the descriptions of Dr. Hedin and Captain Deasy, I must restrict myself to pointing out that the position of the village group of Tong would well correspond to Sung Yün's ` town of Po-yü (or Po-mêng) ', and that the Kandahar Pass, being about i 6,60o ft. above the sea and

10 See Chavannes, Voyage de Song Yun, pp. zo sqq.   also below chap. iv. sec. i.

" See Chavannes, Turcs occid., pp. 123 note, 3 r r ;   12 See Chavannes, Voyage de Song Yun, p. 2 r, note 4.

Sung Yün's description of Hanpanto.

Identification of Sung Yün's route.