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0035 Ancient Khotan : vol.1
Ancient Khotan : vol.1 / Page 35 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000182
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Sec. ii)


So-lei, belonging to the territory of Hu-mi, which has been recognized with certainty as the present Wakhdn on the Upper Oxus 7. A glance at the map shows that the bearings, as well

as the relative distances, here indicated are in remarkable agreement with the geographical position of that central and most productive part of the main valley to which the name of Gilgit properly applies.

The historical notices regarding ' Little P`o-lü', rendered accessible by M. Chavannes' researches, afford proof of the political importance which the Chinese attached to the Gilgit

Valley as the main line of communication between the Upper Indus and the Oxus, and of

the persistent efforts made by them during the reign of the Emperor Hsüan-tsung (713-755 A. D.) to close this route against Tibetan invasion. At the commencement of that reign the king of

Little P`o-lü, Mo-chin-mang, came to pay homage at the court of Hsüan-tsung, who accorded him protection and constituted his country into a military territory called Sui yiian. ` Owing to its proximity to the Tibetans his country suffered much from them ; the Tibetans declared to him : " It is not your kingdom which we covet, but we wish to use your route in order to attack the Four Garrisons (i. e. the present Chinese Turkestân) "' 8.

In 722 A. D. Mo-chin-mang, having been deprived of nine townships by the Tibetans, applied for help. The Imperial Commissioner resident at Pei-t`ing thereupon declared : ` P`o-hi is the

western gate of [the territories of] the Tang dynasty ; if P`o-lü is "lost [to us] then the western

countries will all become Tibetan ', and he dispatched a force of four thousand chosen troops, under the prefect of Kashgar (Su-16), to his help. Mo-chin-mang thus succoured defeated the

Tibetans and recovered the nine townships. The same historical work, the Tzu chih tsung chien, which has preserved these details, records a fresh attack upon P`o-1ü by the Tibetans fifteen years later. On that occasion, 737 A. D., Chinese action took the form of a diversion from the centre of the empire, which resulted in a great defeat of the Tibetans west of the Kuku-Nor and relieved P`o-lü 9.

After Mo-chin-mang's death ` Little P`o-lü' was ruled in succession by his sons Nan-ni and Ma-hao-lai (Ma-lai-hi). The Imperial edict concerning the latter's investiture, in 741 A. D., is still

extant among the records extracted by M. Chavannes 10. He too seems to have died early, and his successor Su-shih-li-chih was won over by the Tibetans, who induced him to marry a Tibetan princess and thus secured a footing in his territory. In consequence more than twenty kingdoms (i. e. little hill states) to the north-west' of Little P`o-lü are said by the Annalist to have become subject to the Tibetans. Their customary tribute no longer reached the Imperial court.

7 See Turcs occid., p. 279, also pp. 152, 154, where good reasons have been advanced for the assumption that the name which the Chinese represent by So-lei was really that of the main branch of the Oxus, now known as Panja. For another mention of this river made in connexion with Lienyiin, a stronghold which in all probability occupied the position of the present Sarhad at the point where the route from Yasin over the Barôghil Pass strikes the Ab-i-Panja, compare below, p. 8. Whether the town So-lei stood in

the same place seems doubtful.

8 See Turcs occid., pp. 15o sq. By the term ' Four Garrisons', the territories of Kashgar, Khotan, Kuchà, and Kara-shahr, then occupied by Chinese forces, are meant; comp. ibid., p. 1 r 3 note.

9 See extract given Turcs occid., p. 151, note 2.

10 See for a translation of this document Turcs occid., pp. 211 sq.

Gilgit in the eighth century.