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0229 Ancient Khotan : vol.1
Ancient Khotan : vol.1 / Page 229 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000182
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and his companions were on their arrival at Khotan at once met by Li Shêng-t`ien's demand for a treaty. Its conclusion explains the renewed presentations of tribute which are recorded for the next few decades, however limited the practical advantages which Khotan could derive from the distant empire.

The report of the mission represents king Li Shêng-t`ien as wearing clothes and headdress Report of

resembling those used in China. His palace, called Chin-ts é lien, had all its structures facing missioinn

eastwards, and among them a pavilion called that of the Seven Phoenixes '. We are next told 940 A. D.

of the grape wine of Yü-t`ien and of two other wines', violet and blue in colour, which Kao Chü-hui did not know the composition of, but found much to his taste. Rice prepared with honey, and millet cooked with cream were among the local dainties. The inhabitants wore clothes of linen and silk, and cultivated flowering trees in their gardens. They paid worship to the spirits, but most of all to Buddha. Li Shênâ Tien in his palace was always surrounded by fifty monks wearing violet robes. The year of his reign corresponding to 94o A. D. was designated as the 29th year Tung-ch`ing—a remark which manifestly relates to the use of some local era. Neither this nor the names Yin chou, Lu chou, Met chou, noted as local designations for the south-eastern portion of his territory, can at present be elucidated 8.

The jade district was placed in the mountains 1,300 li to the south of Yü-t`ien, a location which would not be far wrong if the jade mines of the upper Kara-kâsh valley are meant. The statement that the Huang-ho rises in the Khotan mountains, is due to that piece of mythical geography still current in China, which supposes a subterraneous connexion between the Lop-Nor and the headwaters of the great river. Regarding the jade-carrying rivers of Khotan, we have a statement in which fiction and exact topography are curiously mixed. One river coming from the jade mountains is said to divide itself at Yü-t`ien into three branches. The easternmost was called the river of White Jade, the one to the west the river of Green Jade, and the westernmost the river of Black Jade, each according to the colour of the jade it was supposed to carry. It is clear that we have in the first and the last designations the exact equivalents of the present Turki river-names Yurung-kash and Kara-kash, while the second was manifestly applied to the eastern branch of the Kara-kâsh, now known as ' Yangi-Darya' 9.

Another and evidently fuller extract from the report of the same mission, which Rémusat Topo-

has reproduced from the portion of the Pien i lien containing ' anecdotes on Yü-t`ien', supple- data offal

ments the description of the jade river and its three branches by some interesting details 10. report.

We read there that the jade river rises in the Kun-lun mountains, and after flowing westwards for 1,300 li enters the confines of Yü-t`ien near ' the mountain of the Ox-head '. The latter designation, as we shall see below, was borne by the Kohmâri Hill, the site of a famous sanctuary on the right bank of the Kara-kâsh where it enters the plains. The ' river of White Jade ' is placed by this extract 30 li to the east of the city of Yü-t`ien, the ' Green Jade River ' 20 li to the west of the latter, and the ' Black Jade River ' 7 li further to the west. The distances indicated prove to be remarkably exact if referred to Yôtkan, and afford useful evidence for the location at the latter site of the ancient capital of Khotan. We are also told of the custom which precluded the people from searching for jade after the summer floods until the king in the autumn had personally visited the dry bed of the river and thus formally opened what was called ' the jade harvest'.

8 The second part of these names may, perhaps, contain the Chinese term Aichou ' city'.

g For a reference to this river-bed, for which, in spite of

its modern name ' The New River ', a respectable antiquity must be claimed, see above, p. 171. 10 Ville de Kholan, p. i 1 z.

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