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0041 Ancient Khotan : vol.1
Ancient Khotan : vol.1 / Page 41 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000182
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military emergencies, was always beset from breaks of the road, premature snowfall, and similar incidents of Alpine travel. Yet a journey along ' the Gilgit Road', or the perusal of an account of its marches as given in my Personal Narrative, will suffice to demonstrate how serious even now are the physical difficulties presented by the task of keeping a military force in Gilgit supplied from so distant a base and over such mountains.

In the facts connected with the present occupation of the Gilgit Valley we have the best illustration of the reasons which rendered it vital for the Chinese hold over ' Little P`o-1C that the route towards Kashmir should be kept absolutely safe and open for food convoys 18. We find the same fact attested with equal clearness in the record which the Tang Annals, in their notice on Ku-shih-mi or Kashmir have preserved of the letter addressed to the ' Celestial Kagan', the Chinese Emperor, by King Mu-to-pi, i. e. Muktâpida, on his succession to the Kashmir throne (733 A. D.) 20. Muktâpida, who requests his investiture by Imperial decree, as accorded before in 720 A. D. to his brother and predecessor Candrâpida (Chên-t`o-lo-pi-li), particularly claims for his kingdom the merit of having, on the occasion when the troops of `the imperial Kagan ' arrived in Little P`o-lii, come to their assistance by the dispatch of convoys of supplies, though their number amounted to two hundred thousand men 21. It is not certain which Chinese expedition into the Gilgit region is alluded to here ; but it is evident that the situation in which that service was rendered must have closely resembled the one prevailing in the Gilgit Valley immediately after Kao Hsien-chih's success. Perhaps Muktapida's reference, as suggested by M. Chavannes, is to the operations by which the Chinese in 722 A. D. relieved Mo-chin-mang, king of Little P`o-lii 22.

It remains to locate that hill-state of Chieh-shuai, which by its alliance with the Tibetans so seriously endangered the Chinese position in Gilgit. M. Chavannes has not attempted to identify it, nor does the letter of the Tokharistân ruler which reports that alliance, furnish evidence as to the situation of ' Chieh-shuai,' except such as is conveyed in the statement that it could block the route of supplies from Kashmir to the Gilgit Valley. But some further indications, I believe, may be gleaned from another Chinese record which M. Chavannes' researches have rendered accessible. The notice on the Tu-ho-lo country, or Tokharistân, extracted by him from the Tang Annals, mentions an attack planned on that territory by the Chieh-shih people in alliance with the Tibetans, and its frustration through the help of Chinese troops 23. As the latter is said to have been secured upon the application of the Jabgu Shih-li-mang-ch`ieh-lo, the same whose letter of the year 749 A. D. we have already considered, it is certain that the Chieh-shuai of that document and Chieh-shih mentioned here are identical24.

Now the territory of Chieh-shih is distinctly described as bordering on Tokharistân, and this makes it highly probable that M. Chavannes is right in recognizing it in the mountain tract which a subsequent passage of the notice of Tokharistan mentions under an abbreviated

19 ' Considérant que le roi de Kou-the-mi (Cachemire) a été fidèle et loyal envers les Chinois, qu'il a en outre beaucoup de soldats et de cavaliers, que son territoire est vaste et que la population y est dense, que les vivres y sont en abondance, j'espère tout spécialement que la bonté impériale conférera au roi de Kou-che-mi (Cachemire) un édit écrit pour l'encourager, qu'on lui donnera des vêtements et des présents, ainsi que des ornements précieux et des ceintures pour faire que (ce roi) soit touché et reconnaissant de la bonté sainte (de l'empereur) et qu'il redouble de fidélité et de loyauté.' From the letter of the Tokharistân chief, quoted p. 11; see Chavannes, Turcs occid., p. 215.

20 See Turcs occid., pp. 166 sq. The date of Muktâpicïa's investiture is supplied by the imperial decree reproduced by M. Chavannes, ibid. p. 209, from the Ts`êfuyüan kuei.

21 This passage had been erroneously rendered in A. Rémusat's Mélanges asiat., i. p. 196, where the notice of the Tang Annals concerning Kashmir was first translated. My reference to the Chinese data about Muktâpida, in Raja'. iv. 126, note, should be rectified accordingly.

22 See Turcs occid., p. 167, note 2; and above, p. 7.

23 See Turcs occid., p. 158.

24 For this very slight graphic difference between the two transcriptions, see above, p. 11, note 12,

Assistance of Kashmir rulers.

Position of Chieh-shuai (Chiehshih).