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0230 Ancient Khotan : vol.1
Ancient Khotan : vol.1 / Page 230 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000182
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In 942 a fresh envoy, the commander Liu Tsai-shêng, arrived from Khotan with presents, among them jade pieces to the weight of a thousand pounds. Other embassies are recorded

for the years 947 and 94811. Li Shêng-t`ien was still reigning when three later tribute-bearing missions arrived from Khotan in the years 96 z, 965 and 966 12. In the case of the first we read of presents offered by Mo-ni, the spiritual councillor of the king, apart from the royal tribute. It is interesting to note, with regard to the assertion of the ecclesiastical element in these missions, that the embassy of 965, which brought specially rich presents in jade, horses, camels, &c., was accompanied by two Buddhist monks from Yü-t`ien. The Chinese Buddhist pilgrim Tao-yuan also availed himself of this opportunity for regaining his native land after travels in the ` Western Countries '. In 966 it was a son of Li Shêng-t`ien, called Tê-tsung, who presented the tribute of Yü-t`ien.

In 969 the king Nan-tsung-ch`ang is named as the sender of a mission conducted by

Chih-mo-shan, and accompanied by one of the Buddhist monks who had previously visited the imperial court. A magnificent piece of jade weighing not less than 237 pounds was to be offered to the emperor on condition of his sending some one to fetch it. In 971 it was again a Buddhist priest (Chi-hsiang) who brought a letter from the king of Khotan, offering to send in tribute a dancing elephant which he had captured in a war against the kingdom of Kashgar 13.

The mention of this war is the only indication we receive from Chinese sources of the

great struggle which finally resulted in the conquest of Khotan by the Turkish rulers of Kashgar and its conversion to Islam. But though the Sung Annals are silent on the events which closed the epoch of Buddhist Khotan and fundamentally changed the cultural history of the territory, they help us indirectly to determine their chronological limits. The next notice furnished by the Pien i lien's extracts relates to an embassy from Yü-t`ien in the year 1009 ; and of this we read that it had been sent ` by the king or hei-han of that territory ', and that the ambassador bringing the tribute was a hui-hu, i. e., probably a Muhammadan Turk, called Lo-ssû-wen 74. The title Hei-han used here is a transcription of the Turkish title Khakân (Khan) and, in conjunction with the nationality of the envoy, leaves no doubt as to the change which must have taken place since 971 in the race and religion of the rulers of Khotan 15.

The conquest of Khotan for Islam plays a very prominent part in the legendary traditions

still current throughout Eastern Turkestan. But unfortunately the strictly historical information to be gathered from Muhammadan sources about this important event is extremely scanty. Judging from the critical researches which M. Grenard has devoted to the elucidation of the history of the early Turkish dynasty of Kashgar 16, the accounts of Muhammadan historians appear to furnish only one definite fact, viz. that Khotan in 1006 was held by Yusuf Qadr Khan, a brother or cousin of Abu'l-Hasan Na§r Îlik Qara Khan, the then ruling head of the Turkish dynasty of Kashgar and Balasaghun. Of the manner in which the latter extended its power to Khotan we are told nothing ; but the mention of Yusuf Qadr Khan is of value, for it proves that the legendary account to be found of this conquest in the Tadhkirah of Satok Boghra Khan, the first Muhammadan ruler of the family and the hero of popular tradition throughout Turkestan, does not altogether lack elements of historical truth.

Embassies from Khotan, 942-97IA.D.

Struggle of Khotan against Muhammadan conquest.

11 Ville de Khotan, p. 82.

12 Ville de Khotan, pp. 83 sqq. and p. 102 which shows Li Shêig-t`ien as the sender.

'3 Ville de Khotan, p. 86.

14 See Ville de Khotan, pp. 86 sq.

's The significance of the notice has been already pointed out by M. Grenard, Mission D. de Rhins, ii, p. 50 ; J. asiat., 1900, xv. p. 64.

16 See his valuable paper La llgende de Satok Boghra Khan, in J. asiat., 1900, xv. pp. 1-79.

Muhamma- dan conquest of Khotan.