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0211 Ancient Khotan : vol.1
Ancient Khotan : vol.1 / Page 211 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000182
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Sec. ü]



upon a tract of the uninhabited land which looked inviting, and thence visited Yagas' encampment to the south of it. When Yagas had learned who their chief was, he sent a message to Kustana : ` Let us here unite and establish ourselves in this district of U-then ; and thou shalt be king and I minister.' ` Then Kustana came with all his followers and met Yagas in the country south (of the U-then river) which is called Hang-gu-jo.'

The prince and the minister could not agree about the location of their home, and a quarrel between their hosts was imminent. But this was averted by the appearance of Vaigravana and Srimahadevi, to each of whom a temple was built on that very spot and who were henceforth honoured as the chief guardians of the realm. Kustana having been made king and Yagas minister, ` the Chinese followers of Prince Kustana were established on the lower side of the U-then river and in the upper part of Mdo me-skar and Skam-shed. The Indian followers of the minister Yagas were established on the upper bank of the river (shel-tchu gong-ma), and below Rgya and Kong-dzeng. Between the two (? shel-ichu dbus) they settled, the Indians and Chinese indiscriminately. After that they built a fortress 16a.'

In a subsequent passage 234 years are said to have elapsed from Buddha's Nirvana to the time when Li-yul was founded, Kustana being then aged nineteen 16. ` Li being a country half Chinese and half Indian, the dialect of the people (hßhral--skad) is neither Indian nor Chinese (i. e. a mixture of the two). The letters resemble closely those of India (Rgya) 17. The habits of the people are very similar to those of China. The religion and the sacred (clerical) language are very similar to those of India.'

Before we attempt to define what quasi-historical indications, if any, can be gleaned from this curious medley of legends, it will be well to ascertain whether any of the geographical points alluded to can be cleared up. I must frankly confess that I am as little able as Mr. Rockhill to locate Me-skar, To-la, Skam-shed and Kong dzeng, places the names of which look queerly discordant from whatever we know of modern or ancient local nomenclature in the region of Khotan. Possibly if information could be secured as to how these Tibetan forms may have really sounded at the time when the ` Annals of Li-yul ' were compiled, our task in this respect would become less hopeless. But ` the country south (of the U-then river) which is called Hang-gu jo' certainly recalls the name of the present tract of Hanguya, situated in the extreme east of the oasis and to the north of Sampula (see map)18.

The location of Hang-gu-jo south of the U-then river ' looks puzzling at first, seeing that both the rivers of Khotan, whether the Yurung-kâsh or the Kara-kash be meant, follow the general direction from south to north. But the Yurung-kash has certainly a trend towards the

Location of first


Identification of Hang gu jo.

shel-tchu, literally meaning ' crystal stream '. Mr. Rockhill's suggestion of a literal translation of a local term being probably intended, makes me think that possibly shel-tchu (sel.chu) may contain a rendering of kash, ` jade ', found in the river names Yurung-kâsh and Kara-kash, or rather of some earlier equivalent of the same.

15 a [For Mr. Thomas' version, which materially modifies this passage, see App. E.]

16 See Life of the Buddha, p. 237. Mr. Rockhill points out in a note that this dating does not seem to be in agreement with what a previous passage (p. 233) asserts of King Moka having been ruler over India 234 years after the Nirvana. The Tibetan text, however, does not specify whether this date refers to the commencement or any other period of Moka's reign. As the latter is said to have


extended over fifty-four years (Life of the Buddha, p. 233), an interpretation appears possible according to which the first passage was also intended to refer to the year of the legendary foundation of Khotan. This would fall within the reign of Moka, as assumed by the tradition of the ` Li-yul Annals ', Kustana's birth being placed in the thirtieth year of Moka's reign and his occupation of the throne of Khotan nineteen years later. It is scarcely necessary to point out that neither the length of reign here ascribed to Moka nor the other dates of this tradition can claim historical value.

17 See Life of the Buddha, p. 236. [Mr. Thomas points out that Rgya by itself generally means China ; see App. E.]

18 For Hanguya, see Ruins of Khotan, p. 444 ; below, chap. xiv.