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0097 Ancient Khotan : vol.1
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doi: 10.20676/00000182
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quasi-ecclesiastical survey is available, we find the Buddhist establishments of the territories along the northern foot of the Hindukush, from Balkh (Po-ho) to Sarikol (Chiehj`an-to), attached to the ` Little Vehicle' 26.

Considering the geographical position of these territories in relation to Kashgar and the long subjection of almost all of them to Yüeh-chih rule, we may well attach historical significance to this observation. Nor would it be right, perhaps, to ignore altogether the curious fact that the ` Little Vehicle ' was followed in the ancient convent of Chia-pi-shih, where the princely hostages from the western dependencies of China were believed to have resided, and where their memory was still cherished down to the time of Hsüan-tsang. In the numerous other convents of Chia-pi-shih, as elsewhere in the tracts south of the Hindukush, the Mahayana School seems to have enjoyed unquestioned predominance 27.


The rapid decay of Chinese power in Central Asia, which commenced under the Emperor An Ti (107-125 A.D.), accounts for the extreme scantiness of the information to be gleaned from Chinese sources about the political conditions of Kashgar and Eastern Turkestan generally during the next five hundred years. The revolt of the Uigur tribes in the region of Turfan and Hami threatened the Chinese dominion in the Tarim Basin at its north-eastern end about the same time that Kashgar fell under Yüeh-chih influence. A nominal protectorate appears to have continued during the second century A.D. But even this must have ceased during the disturbed reign of the last Han Emperor (Hsien Ti, 190-220 A.D.) and the period of the Three Kingdoms (221-265 A.D.), so far as Kashgar and other territories in the distant northwest were concerned I. According to a notice quoted by Ritter, the power of the kings of Su-lé during the latter period extended over a number of smaller states situated to the south and west, while, on the contrary, a brief extract from the Wei Annals given by Rémusat represents Su-16 as being at the same epoch dependent on Yü-t`ien or Khotan 2.

China became united again under the Emperor Wu Ti (265-290 A. D.), who appears to have made efforts to re-establish Chinese influence in the south of the Tarim Basing. But the dynasties which followed each other in rapid succession until the advent of the house of Tang (618 A. D.) were too weak or too much absorbed by the task of internal consolidation to resume a policy of conquest beyond Sha-chou, the westernmost district of Kan-su. During

compare Pd--hien, transi. Legge, pp. i 4 sq., and M./moires, i. pp. 2, 4, 1o.

This exact accord between what we may call the ecclesiastical surveys of the two pilgrims is of special interest in view of the considerable interval which separates their visits. If the territorial distribution of Mahayana and Hinayana in Eastern Turkestan had not changed during a period of nearly two and a half centuries, we may justly conclude that it went back far earlier, probably to the time when Buddhism first reached these territories from the south and the west respectively.

36 See Mémoires, ii. pp. 3o (Balkh), 35, 37 (Bamian), 210 (Sarikol). In Huo (Julien, Houo) which corresponds to the present Kunduz, both the Great and Little Vehicles were studied ; see ibid., ii. p. 193.


21 See for the convent of the hostages, Mémoires, i. pp. 41 sq. ; Sz yu-ki, transl. Beal, i. p. 57; Vie de H.-T., pp. 7i sq.

It is curious that in the Punjab tract which, according to the tradition recorded by Hsüan-tsang, served as the winter residence of Kaniska's hôstages from the confines of China, and which was believed to have received from them its name Chih-na-po-ti (Skr. Cinàpali ?), we also find Hinayana monks in possession of the chief monastery (called Tamasasamgharama) ; see Mémoires, i. p. 199; Si-yu-kz, transl. Beal, i. pp. 173 sq.

I Compare Richthofen, China, i, p. 472.

See Ritter, Asien, v. p. 421; Rémusat, Ville de Khotan, p. r 0.

3 See below chapter xi. sec. iv.


Decay of Chinese power under the Later