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0089 Ancient Khotan : vol.1
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doi: 10.20676/00000182
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Sec. i]



Dr. O. Franke and Prof. R. Pischel 10. Their interest lies mainly in the fact that the etymologies are based on alleged Sanskrit forms of the name, and thus bear evidence of local Buddhist production. The first occurs in a gloss composed within the Tang period on the Avantamsaka Sara, as well as in a Buddhist religious compilation by a certain Hsi-lin, a native of Kashgar. The name Shu-is here declared to be an abbreviation from Chia-lac-shu-tan-M, a Sanskrit term meaning ` (land) possessed of bad character', and said to be applied to a mountain in that territory. ` The character of the inhabitants of that country is full of roughness and perversity, and hence the name.' 11

Prof. Sylvain Lévi, who was the first to bring to light this curious derivation of Shu-lê, suggested that Chia-lu-shu-tan-was in reality meant as a transcription of *Kharostra, and that the latter was an ancient name of Kashgar from which the Kharosthi script of North-Western India received its designation 12. Ingenious as this conjecture is, I do not think it can be maintained in the face of the numerous and strong arguments which can be advanced against it, as shown at length in the above quoted papers of Dr. Franke and Prof. Pischel 13. It appears highly improbable that a distant territory like Kashgar, which remained outside Indian cultural influences until the advent of Buddhism about the commencement of our era, should have given its name to an Indian script already found in common use along the Indus and parts of the Punjab in the third century B.C. The traditional derivation of the term Kharosthi, as uniformly attested in Chinese Buddhist texts (from the Skr. name Kharoslha, meaning literally ` donkey's lip '), cannot be reconciled with a supposed form *Kharostra. On the other hand, the actually recorded Ch'ia-lu-shu-tan-might, perhaps, ingeniously be explained as a transcription of some such Sanskrit word as *Kalusântara, *Kalusadhara, or *Kalusottara, which would give us the meaning ` possessed of bad character,' as pre-supposed by the above-quoted etymology of the name Shu-lê.

That this etymology is in reality nothing more than a learned concoction of some Sanskrit-knowing Buddhist scholars is the opinion held by Dr. Franke and, it seems to me, with good reason. It is a significant fact that the Annals of the Former and Later Han Dynasties, which mention Kashgar' frequently from the second century B. c. onwards, on the basis of trustworthy contemporary records, know the territory only by the name of Su-(Shu-lê). The derivation of this name as a contraction from a fuller Sanskrit form, would pre-suppose a belief that Kashgar had, for a considerable period before the second century B. c., been occupied by a population of Indian speech and culture. Such an assumption is at variance with whatever historical information is at present accessible ; and hence we are led to conclude that the alleged etymology is but a scholastic pun, originating at a later period, when Sanskrit, as the ecclesiastical language of Central-Asian Buddhism, was widely spread through Eastern Turkestan 14.

Ch'ia-lu-shulan-li, and the name


10 In their articles 'Kaschgar und die Kharosthi,' published in Silzungsberichle der kön. preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Berlin, 1903, pp. 184-96 and 735-45.

" See Franke and Pischel, Sb.P.A.W.,19o3, pp. 735 sq.

's See Bulletin de l'École d'Extrême Orient, ii. pp. 246 sqq. [Since the above remarks were written Prof. S. Lévi has, in a very learned and suggestive paper, ' Le pays de Kharostra et l'écriture Kharostra', ibid., vol. iv., 1904, taken up the question again on a broader basis, abandoning the assumption of Chia-lu-shu-tan-lé' as an old name of Kâshgar, but recognizing in that form the transcription of a geographical designation *Kharostra of much wider application.]


IS See particularly Sb.P.A. W., 1903, pp. 185 sq., 193 sq.,

736-9, 745.

14 It is probable (as pointed out by Dr. Franke,

Sb.P.A.W., 1903, p. 737) that this popular etymology' of learned origin was meant as a gibe at the character of the people of Kashgar, who seem to have enjoyed from early

times a reputation for rough manners and deceit. See below, p. 7o, for Hsiian-tsang's uncomplimentary remarks ; also

Chavannes, Turcs occid., p. 1 2 1. Marco Polo notes regarding the people of ' Cascar' : ' The natives are a wretched, niggardly set of people ; they eat and drink in miserable fashion.' See Yule, Marco Polo, i. p. 182.