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0082 Ancient Khotan : vol.1
Ancient Khotan : vol.1 / Page 82 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000182
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Legend of a mysterious Arhat.


Hisar, and perhaps did not personally visit the chief town of the territory through which this route took him. From Ighizyar, a large village where the main route from Sarikol towards Kashgar first touches the area of permanent settlements, Kashgar is reached by going almost due north. The same general direction is followed also on the two preceding marches, which lead through the outer hills. As to the distance, it deserves to be noted that the Boo li, or eight marches, recorded by Hsüan-tsang for the difficult passage ` through dangerous defiles and deep valleys ' (in the course of which a serious mishap befell his caravan), would agree far better with the seven ordinary stages reckoned between Chichiklik and Ighizyâr, approximately aggregating seventy-eight miles, than with the equally difficult but far longer route towards Yarkand. This branches off from the Tash-kurghan—Kashgar route at Chihil-Gumbaz, three marches beyond Chichiklik, and does not reach permanently inhabited ground until Yaka-arik, at a distance of about t ig miles from Chichiklik 12.

After leaving Ighizyâr the traveller towards Kashgar passes for a considerable distance over barren stony slopes and low broken hills before reaching Yangi-Hisar, while the first march beyond takes him over a good deal of sandy desert. Thus Hsüan-tsang's description of the road from Wu-sha to Chtia-sha would agree with the actual scenery on this part of the route.

In the general description which Hsüan-tsang gives of the products, climate, &c., of Wu-sha, the reference to the jade found there alone calls for notice. I am unable at present to adduce exact evidence as to jade-mining within the limits to which I believe the territory of Wu-sha to have extended. But it must not be supposed that the find-places of this much-prized stone are limited in Turkestan to the Khotan region, which has become chiefly famous for it. Modern Chinese accounts of ` the New Dominion ', according to a communication kindly made to me by Dr. Bushell, distinctly mention jade-mining operations in the mountains near the Yarkand river, and it remains to be seen whether some of the places meant are not situated to the north of the river, within the region of the ancient Wu-sha. The only notice of this kind at present accessible to me, in the form of an extract from the Hsi yü wen chien lu given by Ritter, mentions such a locality, ` Mirdschai,' at a distance of 23o li from Yarkand but I am unable to trace its position 13. In any case, it is well td remember that, according to the testimony of a most competent geologist, ` there is no reason to doubt the existence of jade along the whole of the Kun-lun range, as far as the mica and hornblendic schists extend.' 14

A pious legend, which Hsüan-tsang relates at some length in connexion with Wu-sha, offers special interest ; for if I am right in tracing the locality to which it clung, it affords fresh evidence of the tenacity with which popular tradition and worship in Turkestan, as elsewhere in the East, survive all religious and ethnical changes.

12 According to Hui-li's ` Life ', Hsüan-tsang's party was attacked by robbers on the fifth day after the start from Chieh-Van-t'o. The merchants in his company bolted up the mountain slopes, and several elephants fell into a stream and perished ; comp. Vie de H.-T., pp. 274 sq. After the robbers had left, Hsüan-tsang is said to have advanced slowly along with the merchants. The mention of the loss of the elephants in a stream, as well as the date given, points to the adventure having happened in the narrow defile of the Tangitar stream, along which most of the route lies between the Chichiklik and Pas-Robât

Passes; comp. Yarkand Mission Report, pp. 266 sqq. For the relative distances, comp. ibid., pp. 432 sqq.

13 See Ritter, Asien, v. pp. 381 sq., after Timkowski's translation from the edition of 1776. [Since the above remarks were written I have learned from my former servant Muhammadju, a Yarkandi, that jade pebbles are regularly `fished' out of the Yarkand river bed in flood times near the village of Kôzumal, situated between Yarkand and Yaka-arik.]

14 Compare Yarkand Mission Report, p. 466.