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0224 Ancient Khotan : vol.1
Ancient Khotan : vol.1 / Page 224 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000182
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awaited him. He was lodged in the convent of the Sarvâstivädin School. The ' Life ' tells us that he spent altogether seven to eight months in Khotan, and that he awaited there the emperor Tai tsung's reply to the petition he had addressed to him through a merchant caravan for permission to re-enter China.

To this long stay, no doubt, we owe the full and interesting account which the pilgrim's Memoirs furnish of the sacred sites of Khotan, its traditions and legends. We shall have occasion hereafter to analyse it in detail, as the safest guide we possess to the toj5ografthia sacra of Khotan and its legendary lore. In the present place we can occupy ourselves only with the pilgrim's general notice of the kingdom and its inhabitants which precedes that account. Though we have been obliged to discuss some of its characteristic passages in the preceding chapter, the interest attaching to this picture of Khotan as Hsüan-tsang saw it justifies the reproduction of the notice in fullll.

` The country is about 4,000 li in circuit ; the greater part is nothing but sand and gravel (i.e. an arid waste), the arable portion of the land is very contracted. The latter is suitable for the cultivation of cereals, and produces abundance of fruits. The manufactures are carpets, felts of fine quality, and fine-woven light silks. Moreover, it produces white and dark jade 12. The climate is soft and agreeable, but there are tornadoes which bring with them clouds of dust. The manners and customs show a sense of propriety and justice. The inhabitants are mild by nature and respectful, they love to study literature, and distinguish themselves by their skill and industry. The people are easy-going, given to enjoyments, and live contented with their lot. Music is much practised in the country, and men love the song and the dance. Few of them wear garments of wool and fur ; most dress in light silks and white cloth 13. Their appearance is full of urbanity, their customs are well regulated. [They have chronicles] 14. Their written characters [as well as their laws and literature] resemble the Indian model 15 ; the forms have been somewhat modified, the differences, however, are slight. The spoken language differs from that of other territories. The law of Buddha is held in great esteem. There are about a hundred Sarighârâmas containing some five thousand monks, most of whom study the doctrine of ' the Great Vehicle ' 16.

The preceding chapter has already shown us how accurately Hsüan-tsang's statements agree with other early records, as well as with the observations of the present day, in all that relates to the natural features of the Khotan oasis and the character, customs, and industrial occupations of its inhabitants. For the remaining remarks of the notice archaeological evidence proves equally confirmatory. The manuscript finds at Dandân-Uiliq and other sites, whether of Sanskrit or indigenous texts, have demonstrated the correctness of what the pilgrim says about the writing of Khotan and the Indian basis of its literature. The numerous remains of Buddhist

"1 I follow Julien's version, Mémoires, ii. pp. 223 sq. (see also Vie, p. 278), taking the English wording as far as possible from Beal's reproduction Siyu-ki, ii. p. 309. Compare also Rémusat, Ville de Khotan, pp. 35 sqq.

" Beal translates : ' white and green jade'.

1s It is highly probable that by ' the white cloth ' (' drap blanc ', Julien; ' white linen ', Beal ; ' laine blanche ', Rémusat) is meant the white cotton cloth or ' Kham' of Khotan, which is still the regular clothing material for the great mass of the people ; see above, p. 134.

1i This important passage is found only in Rémusat's rendering, Ville de Khotan, p. 37.

15 The words in brackets are taken from Rémusat's version ; Julien omits them. Beal translates : ' and their mode of forming their sentences.'

16 Julien and Beal's translations make all monks of Khotan followers of the Mahayana; this error has been corrected by Dr. Franke, Sb.P.A.W., Berlin, 1903, p. 742. The mention of the Sarvastivâdin convent in Hsüan-tsang's 'Life' ( Vie, p. 282), and the reference to the introduction of this school in the 'Annals of Li-yul ' (Rockhill, Life of the Buddha, p. 239), prove that the Hinayana was also represented at Khotan, though the Mahayana system was, no doubt, in overwhelming preponderance.

Hsüantsang's description of Khotan.

Accuracy of Hsüantsang's description.