Sec. vi] DECIPHERMENT OF KHAROSTHÏ AND CHINESE DOCUMENTS 371
and in 287 A. D. from Sogdiana. But by the side of these references, and of those made to princes of the ruling families of Shan-shan, Kucha, and Kara-shahr, who in the years 283 and 285 A. D., took up appointments at the Imperial court, the proof now furnished by our documents as to the actual exercise of Chinese authority in this region is specially welcome.
They clearly show that Chinese posts, under officers invested with some measure of administrative authority, must have been established in different parts of Khotan territory and probably elsewhere also. The existence of a Chinese administrative organization extending over the whole of the Tarim Basin is clearly indicated by the mention in N. xv. 93 of a prefect [governing by delegation of the dynasty] Chin ... great marquis invested by the Chin, [governor of] Shan-shan, Yen-ch`i [Kara-shahr], Ch`iu-tz2 [Kuchâ.], Su-lê [Kashgar] ... allied to the Chin.' But the similarity specially noticed by M. Chavannes between the last of these titles and the formula with which investiture was accorded in 229 A. D. to Po-t`iao, ` king of the Great Yüeh-chili allied to the Wei ', seems to make it doubtful whether those high dignities were not borne by some indigenous ruler acting under Chinese control. The title of the ` Chang-shih of the Western Countries', compliance with whose orders is recorded in N. xv. 328 +75, occurs also in the Chin Annals towards 324 A. D. That the officer holding it at the time to which our documents belong must have exercised direct authority over the Chinese garrisons established in Khotan territory seems indicated also by the reference made in N. xv. 85 to an edict of his. Both in N. xv. 328+75 and in N. xv. 348 we find a certain Loj5u yen mentioned as the officer who has given effect to an edict ; but in the latter slip, which is incomplete, the authority issuing it is not named.
That the Chinese supremacy re-established under Wu ti contented itself with the political control of the indigenous principalities, but did not efface them, might have been concluded from the system maintained during the Han occupation and again under the Tangs. Yet it is of historical interest to find edicts both from the king of Yü-t`ien and of Shan-shan (south of Lop-Nor) distinctly referred to in our records. The covering-tablet N. xv. 345, on which the latter ruler is mentioned, has on account of its peculiar form been discussed above 32. N. xv. 73 is incomplete, and merely contains an acknowledgement of the receipt of the king of Yii-t`ier's edict. That the latter, whatever its contents, must have been written in Chinese may be considered as certain. Close communication with the districts of westernmost Kan-su, through which then as now the great route between China and Eastern Turkestan led, is attested by several of our documents. The slip N. xv. 326, which has proved so valuable chronologically, mentions the prefect of Tun-huang, the ancient frontier station situated in the vicinity of Sha-chou. A title, of which the incomplete slip has preserved but a part, seems to suggest that the prefect was also in charge of military administration in that region. That ` the prefect of Tun-huang' exercised at times direct authority in Turkestan affairs, is shown by what the Later Han Annals record about his share in the Yü-t`ien troubles of 152 A. D. 33 Tun-huang is mentioned again in N. xv. 188, which gives the names of six out of the eight ` commanderies' recorded in the Chin Annals as dependent on Liang-chou 34. As M. Chavannes' note shows, the six commanderies named on the slip correspond to modern districts in the extreme north-west of Kan-su, extending within the Great Wall from Lan-chou to Hsi-ning and Su-chou, and including also the sub-prefecture of Tun-huang between the latter and Sha-chou. In N. xv. 203 reference is again made to the prefect of Tun-huang, who is to have certain articles transmitted to him ; but here, too, the text is evidently a mere fragment.