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0104 Ancient Khotan : vol.1
Ancient Khotan : vol.1 / Page 104 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000182
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End of occupation of ' Four Garrisons,'

Wu-k`ung's visit to

' Four Garrisons,' A.D.



set forth in the concluding part of his contribution, printed below in Appendix A, on the Chinese records from Dandan-Uiliq 45. They show that, notwithstanding their isolation from the rest of the empire, the Chinese governors of the ' Four Garrisons' and of Pei-t`ing succeeded in maintaining their authority over the territories confided to their charge for a comparatively long period. Kuo Hsin, the resident governor of the ' Four Garrisons,' and his colleague of Pei-t`ing, who commanded at Hami and Turfan, after having been completely cut off for fifteen years, succeeded in 78 i in sending envoys to the Imperial court through the friendly territory of the Uigurs.

The biography of Kuo Hsin shows that the Emperor Tê-tsung liberally rewarded the faithful governors and all their officers by grants of higher rank and other honours for having maintained Chinese authority under such difficulties 48. But effective succour such as the governors had, no doubt, eagerly solicited, was not to be obtained from the enfeebled Empire. In fact, another historical record shows that in 784 the Emperor seriously considered the recall of Kuo Hsin and his colleague Li Yüan-Chung. This step was checked by the representations of his ministers, who urged the advantage of retaining at least a semblance of Chinese authority in the Tarim Basin and in the region adjoining it on the north-east. The time for the final disappearance of this authority was close at hand, and it is a fortunate chance which allows us to verify its survival during these last few years from the testimony of a contemporary witness.

This is furnished by the itinerary of the Chinese pilgrim Wu-kung, who, after a residence in India of more than thirty years, made his return journey to China during the years 786789 through the ' Four Garrisons ' and Pei-t`ing 47. Coming from Tokharistan and the territory of Chü-mi-chih, or the ancient Komedi, he reached Su-16 or Sha-1ê some time in 786 48. He mentions there, besides the king Pei Lêng-lêng, the deputy governor Lu Yang, who judging by his name appears to have been a Chinese official. In Khotan he found as king Wei-ch`ih Yao, otherwise known to us from Chinese records, with the deputy-governor Chêng In Ch`iu-tzu, i.e. Kucha, Wu-k`ung duly mentions Kuo Hsin, ' Great Protector of An-hsi', with a string of high titles, at the head of the administration. In Kara-shahr (Wu-k`ung's Wu-ch`i), too, a Chinese deputy-governor is noticed besides a local ruler. Pei-t`ing, the administrative centre of the Protectorate adjoining the ' Four Garrisons ' to the north-east, was still under Chinese administration when Wu-k`ung was setting out from there in 789 in the suite of an Imperial delegate returning to China. The route through the Gobi was closed, no doubt by the Tibetans. Hence the devious route through the territory of the Uigurs had to be taken by the travellers, and it was only in 790 that Wu-k`ung arrived at Chang-an, the Imperial capital.

45 Compare below chap. Ix. sec. vi.

46 The Imperial decree reproduced in the biography of the Chiu rang shu, and translated by M. Chavannes (see below Appendix A), is lavish in terms of generous acknowledgement of the merits of the two governors, who besides other distinctions were granted the title of ' Great Protectors' of An-hsi (Kuchâ) and Pei-t`ing (Guchen), respectively. In the case of their staffs the years of service spent under such exceptional conditions were to be counted seven times over for purposes of promotion. Cheap rewards, indeed, considering that the Chinese official system never knew pensions, and that few, if any, of those faithful officers could hope to regain their own land from their posts of exile.

47 See MM. S. Lévi and Chavannes' L'Itfn/raire d'Ouk'ong, reprinted from Journal asial., Sept.-Oct., 1895, pp. 26 sqq.

43 This approximate date is deduced from a computation of the periods indicated for Wu-k`ung's halts at Kâshgar, Khotan (Yü-t`ien), Kuchâ (An-hsi, Ch`iu-tzû), and Kara-shahr (Wu-ch`i,Yen-ch'i ), and the time necessarily spent on the road, previous to his start in 789 from Pei-t`ing for the territory of the Uigurs. It is seen from the itinerary that Wu-k`ung made prolonged halts in every one of the cities counted among the ' Four Garrisons,' staying five months in Kashgar, six in Khotan, over twelve in Kuchâ, and three in Kara-shahr.