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0543 Ancient Khotan : vol.1
Ancient Khotan : vol.1 / Page 543 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000182
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But the most striking evidence, I think, can be derived from the facts brought to light about the site of Ulttgh-Ziârat. Its position, three miles to the south of Uzun-Tati, accords most accurately with the 15 li to the south at which Sung Yün's narrative places the great temple, with the miracle-working statue of Buddha, relative to the town of Han-mo 5. After all the evidence which the previous survey of sacred sites in and around the Khotan oasis has furnished of the tenacity of local worship in this region, we can safely recognize the name and sacred character of the ` Ulugh-Ziârat' as a distinct indication of an important Buddhist shrine having once stood there. The mere fact that the Ziârat, though assumed to be the resting-place of saints, is not called after any one of them is significant.

But the antiquarian importance of the very name Ulûgh-Ziarat, ` the holy Shrine ', is still further increased by the fact that we can prove it to be of old date. We have already, in the preceding section, in connexion with the Keriya river route, had occasion to refer to the legendary or Tadhkira of Mahmud Karam Kabuli, of which M. Grenard has furnished interesting extracts 6. This text, which seems to contain certain historical elements going back to the twelfth century of our era, describes in some detail the conquest by the Muhammadan champions of the territory of ` Kenhân', situated between the Keriya river and Khotan. Its ruler, the infidel ` Turk Terkhan ', is spoken of as a Jew and as a dependent of Nüdun Khan, the ` Tersa' or Christian, who held Khotan with his Kirghiz Kalmak or Kara-Khitai. After defeating Turk Terkhan the Muhammadan host is said to have taken and pillaged the rich town of UlûghZiärat, which was close to his capital Kenhan 7. The latter itself vanished through magic, while the Muslim host next occupied Chira, and victoriously advanced upon Khotan. Whatever interpretation we may care to put upon any historical reminiscences that may possibly have mingled with this legend, it is quite clear on topographical grounds that by ` the province of Kenhan ' must be meant the oases stretching from Keriya to Chira, and by ` the town of Ulttgh-Ziârat ' the site of U lttgh-Ziârat 8. The ` town of Kenhan ', Turk Terkhân's capital, which is said to have vanished, may, at the time not exactly known to us when the legend took the shape recorded in the Tadhkira, have been looked for among the sands of Uzun-Tati.

Whether the distinction made in the legend between the fate of the two towns indicates that Uzun-Tati was abandoned earlier to the desert than Ulügh-Ziârat, is a point which cannot be decided, nor one of much consequence for our inquiry. What, however, clearly results is that local tradition assumed both sites to have been inhabited down to the twelfth century, the time of the Kara-Khitai. This brings us -still nearer than the archaeological evidence already detailed to the time of Marco Polo. Seeing that Hsüan-tsang's P`i-mo must be located at UzunTati and that old Muhammadan tradition points to the same site as the capital of the tract, I think the conclusion becomes highly probable that Marco's ` Pein, the capital of the kingdom', lay also at this site or in its close vicinity 9.

These days in the desert had convincingly demonstrated the serious difficulties which must always attend a search for scanty remains hidden away among deceptive sand-dunes if made

Temple of miraculous statue located at UlaghZiârat.

UlûghZiâratin Muhammadan legend.

Uzun-Tati and Marco Polo's


5 See above. p. 436.

6 See Mission D. de Rhins, iii. pp. 43 sqq.

7 See Grenard, loc. cit., iii. pp. 44 sq.

8 M. Grenard, ibid., p. 45, note 1, expresses his inability to locate ` Ultigh-Ziârat', though he duly traces, between Keriya and Chira, the tombs of various saintly warriors of Islam, among them Lachin-ata, whom the legend mentions.

9 This long-continued importance of the site is a further

support for M. Chavannes' view that the town of Kan

mentioned by the Tang Annals at 300 li east of Yü-t`ien (called

town of Tz`i2 (rseu)   pit in the Tang itinerary above

quoted, see Voyage de Song Yun, p. 13 note) was identical with P`i-mo ; see Voyage de Song Yun, p. 14, note 4 ; also above, p. 176.

It may be noted here that Sung Yün's town of Mo, which was as li east of his Han-mo (see above, p. 456), would according to this indication have to be looked for somewhere about ` Old Domoko' or a little to the north of it.