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0179 Ancient Khotan : vol.1
Ancient Khotan : vol.1 / Page 179 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000182
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the smaller oases eastwards. My finds at the sites explored in the desert proved that the fruit-trees now most widely cultivated, such as the apricot (aria), peach (shaftalû),`olive (jigda), apple (alma) and mulberry (üjme), must all have been very common in ancient times. Almonds, walnuts, melons, and figs abound at present. Khotan is famous for its grapes (tai), which are specially cultivated at Ujat, a large village at the débouchement of the Kara-kash, and are widely exported in the form of raisins. Ancient specimens of them, too, turned up in the course of my excavations (at Kara-dong).

As in the other portions of the Tarim Basin where cultivation depends entirely on irrigation, we find everything that relates to the periodical distribution of canal-water between the various villages and holdings regulated by minute customs which probably go back to considerable antiquity. Some interesting notes on this subject, which would well deserve closer study, have been recorded by Dr. Sven Hedin 2. Where irrigation is the mainstay of the whole economic organization, it is only natural that the administrative divisions of the territory should conform to the arrangement of the main canals. We find accordingly the Khotan oasis divided for purposes of revenue and general administration into a series of long-stretched cantons representing the areas irrigated by each of the chief canals. Just as most of the canals themselves are undoubtedly of very early date, these cantons, now known by the Turki designation of ` Ming' (` a thousand') and each under a ` Ming-bashi' or Beg, are likely to have had their counterparts in ancient times. I have hence thought it useful to enumerate them, in a footnotes, in their traditional order, irrespective of minor changes and groupings made by Chinese administration since the reconquest of the ` New Dominions'.

Administrative divisions of oasis.

2 See Reisen in Z.-A., pp. zo sqq.

3 Beginning from the west we have first on the left bank of the Kara-kâsh the canton of Zawa and Krya, irrigated by branches of the same main canal ; next Mdkuya (irrigated from the canal which in the map has been erroneously shown with name Kuya-Üstang) ; the small tract of Kayash; and the considerable canton known after its canal as Bahrdm-su and including the town of Kara-kâsh. Kara-sai to the north-east is a small detached tract which derives its irrigation from the Yawa-Üstang, a quasi-natural watercourse fed chiefly by the marshes below Zawa.

Between Kara-kâsh and Yurung-kash there follow in the same direction the cantons of Sipd and Borazan, both irrigated from the Kara-kash ; the second is the most central portion of the Khotan oasis and contains the site of its ancient capital. Eastwards we have Tosalla, like the preceding two, a large and fertile canton ; and the small subdivision of Ilchi or Khotan-Shahr, which is mainly composed of the present capital and its immediate vicinity.

East of the Yurung-kash lies the important canton which, together with its lively town, is called Yurung-kdsh, after the adjacent river. The well-populated tracts of Sampula and Lop, distinguished for their carpet-weaving and other flourishing industries, form the easternmost part of the oasis. They have been attached in recent years to the charge of the Chinese district magistrate residing at Keriya (no doubt for fiscal convenience, since without them the territory administered by this officer would be as unprofitable as it is extensive), but form in every respect an integral portion of Khotan. This is far less the case with Tawakkil, a separate

little oasis which was established in the first half of the last century by colonists from Khotan. It is situated on both sides of the Yurung-kash some thirty miles below Ilchi town, and is now included as a distinct Bégship or ' Minglik ' in the district of Khotan.

The extensive mountain region of Khotan never within traditional recollection appears to have ranked as a separate canton, a fact easily understood in view of its poverty and extremely scanty population. Slices of it are attached to the different Khotan cantons, an arrangement which may have its convenience for the allotment of the grazing—such as it is.

It will be convenient to show in this place also the conventional reckoning of houses for each ` Ming ' or canton, since, whatever its value for statistical purposes may be, it throws light on the relative population of each tract and allows some conclusion as to the extent of the area under cultivation in each. The figures tabulated below were communicated to me in April, Igor, by Islam Beg, my former Darogha, to whom the Amban of Khotan had then recently entrusted the Begship of Kayash, and by M. Badruddin, the headman of the Afghan traders in Khotan, both competent informants on matters of this kind. It must, however, be understood that these figures represent only a rough estimate accepted for the sake of convenience by those interested in the management (rate farming) of the revenue of these cantons, and are in no way officially recognized. The figures in the second column refer to an earlier reckoning of a similar character, vaguely ascribed to ` the time of old Chinese rule ' (kône Khitaining wag/i ), i.e. the period preceding Yagüb Beg's rebellion. It is generally believed that, compared with

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