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0255 Ancient Khotan : vol.1
Ancient Khotan : vol.1 / Page 255 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000182
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Sec. iii]


concerning the position of the capital show discrepancies which greatly reduce their critical

value. The notice of the Pei shih on Yü-t`ien, dating about 644 A. D., puts in one place the Earlier


river Shou-pa which carries jade 30 li to the east of the capital s. This clearly refers to the notices of

Yurung-kâsh and is quite correct. But a . subsequent passage, which mentions the same river capital.

by the name of Shu-chih or Chi-shih, gives 20 li as the distance to it east from the capital. To the west of the latter another great river, called Ta-li, which unites further on with the Shu-chih, is mentioned here at the distance of 15 li. One or other branch of the Kara-kash must be meant, but evidently not much reliance can be placed on the distance, since the text of the same notice, as reproduced in the Northern Wei Annals and extracted by Rémusat from the Pien i tien, gives it as 50 li. So much, however, seems clear that, according to the notice of the Pei shih, we must look for the site of the capital at some point situated between the two rivers and probably a little nearer to the Kara-kâsh than to the Yurung-kâsh. The topographical indication thus supplied strongly points to the conclusion that the position meant was the same as the one more accurately defined by the report of the mission of 938 A. D. We know that the Pei shih's notice of Yü-t'ien was directly based on the information brought back by Hui-shêng, Sung Yün's companion on his journey to India (518-522 A. D.)6. Thus it appears safe to conclude that the position which Kao Chü-hui's report indicates, and which clearly corresponds to the Ybtkan site, was occupied by the Khotan capital four hundred years earlier.

But the notice furnished by the author of the Pd shih, or rather by Hui-shêng, is of Circuit of

value in another direction. It tells us that the capital had a circuit of 8 or 9 li 7,a piece of ancient

information about which all our other accessible records are silent and which yet possesses considerable archaeological interest. As the circuit indicated represents only 12 to 2 miles, it is certain that the extent of ground covered by the old capital was relatively very limited. No doubt the measurement given need not be taken to represent an approximately exact survey ; but that it indicates the capital to have been very restricted in area, becomes quite evident when we compare this estimate with the circuit of 20 li which Hsiian-tsang mentions for the chief place of even so poor a territory as Chieh-p`an-t`o or Sarikol 8, or the dimensions (12-13 li length and 4-5 li width) which the same traveller records for the capital of Kashmir, ancient Srinagara °.

It would be possible to suggest a number of conjectural explanations for the fact that the Limited

official capital of a rich and important territory was confined to such narrow limits. But what- area of site.

ever the true cause may have been, it is certain that the measurement indicated by the Pd shih agrees singularly well with what we have found above to be the actual dimensions of the Yatkan site. So far as excavated it shows a circumference of roughly two miles. Only to the north or north-west can the existence of further débris-strata hidden below ground be assumed with any probability ; and even if the area awaiting excavation in that direction should prove quite as large as the area already exploited to the south, the circuit of the site would thereby be extended only to about three miles 10.

s See Chavannes, Voyage de Song Yun, p. 15, note 9. The same notice as found in the Northern Wei Annals and the Pien i lien, has been translated by Rémusat, Ville de Khotan, pp. 18 sqq. Part of it is reproduced also in the Annals of the Northern Chou ; see Rémusat, loc. cit., p. 30.

6 Comp. Chavannes, Voyage de Song l'un, p. 2.

See Chavannes, Voyage de Song Yun, p. 15, note 9 ; Rémusat, loc. cit., pp. 19, 28.

6 See Mémoires, ii. p. zo9; Beal, ii. p. 299, above, p. 37.


a See Mémoires, i. p. 167 ; Beal, i. p. 148.

10 If the legend related by Hsiian-tsang of the miraculous way in which the limits of the capital were originally laid down (see above, p. 157) can be interpreted as having some direct connexion with the shape of the area occupied by the town, the probability of any considerable extension of the débris-layers northward would be small, for that legend clearly represented the area circumscribed by the mysterious water-carrying mendicant as a circle (comp. Mémoires, ii.