Number of population.
Having acquainted ourselves, in main outline, with the geographical milieu and the material resources of the Khotan oasis, we may now complete our survey by a brief review of the people in their distribution, general character, and probable ethnical connexion. I shall not attempt to include in this sketch an account of the present conditions of life and social organization. On the one hand, the conditions at Khotan in most respects resemble so closely those found throughout the oases of Eastern Turkestan that the descriptions already available in the narratives of former visitors amply suffice for information on all general points. In this respect I may refer particularly to the excellent exposition of the subject which M. Grenard has given, based largely on observations made during a prolonged stay within the Khotan oasis 1. On the other hand, I shall have plentiful occasion hereafter, when describing the results of my excavations at ancient sites in the desert, to notice those particular features of modern life in the extant oases which help to illustrate them, and which themselves are proved by those finds to be of early origin.
It is not easy to form an approximately correct estimate of the present population of Khotan and, of course, still more difficult to guess the limits to which its number may have extended during early periods of greater prosperity. In 1873, the official figure communicated to Sir D. Forsyth's Mission was I29,5oo souls which, considering the undoubted diminution of the population due to the troubles of the Muhammadan rising and the exactions of Yaqûb Beg's reign, may not have been too low an estimate 2. General Przewalssky, on his passage through Khotan