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0012 Serindia : vol.1
Serindia : vol.1 / Page 12 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000183
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Adoption of title


Expedition sanctioned by Indian Government.

Co-operation of British Museum Trustees.

Postponement of start.

Help of Survey of India.

As a glance at the general map illustrating our surveys shows, the geographical limits of the work accomplished comprise practically the whole of that vast drainageless belt between the Pamirs in the west and the Pacific watershed in the east, which for close on a thousand years formed the special meeting-ground of Chinese civilization introduced by trade and political penetration and of Indian culture propagated by Buddhism. The term Serindia, as adopted (in the form Sérinde) by valued French fellow-scholars, is excellently suited for the designation of this region, well-defined by nature as well as by historical relationship. Significant brevity would amply justify its use even if the interpretation which derives Procopius' local name Serinda from a compound of the terms Vipes and 'Iv80i 2 may prove to have no better foundation than ' learned popular etymology '.

The plan of my new journey was already formed in 1904 while, burdened with heavy administrative duties as Inspector General of Education and Archaeological Surveyor, North-West Frontier Province and Baluchistan, I was still struggling for leisure to complete my Ancient Khotan. Encouraged by the kind personal interest of my lamented old chief, Colonel Sir HAROLD DEANE, that great Warden of India's North-West Marches, I submitted my detailed proposals in the autumn of that year to the Government of India, then under the aegis of Lord CURZON as Viceroy. His well-known interest in geographical research and his powerful support of all work bearing on the antiquities and history of India were of the greatest help towards securing a favourable reception of my plan, and my gratitude for this help will be lasting. The assistance of kind patrons and friends such as the late Sir DENZIL IBBETSON and Mr. (now Sir EDWARD) MACLAGAN, K.C.I.E., C.S.I., then officiating as Secretary in the Revenue Department of the Government of India and now Lieutenant Governor of the Punjab, did much to smooth the way for a timely consideration of my proposals.

Their final sanction by Government, with the approval of H.M. Secretary of State for India, was facilitated when the Trustees of the British Museum, accepting the former's suggestion, generously agreed to contribute two-fifths of the actual cost of the expedition, estimated by me at Rs. 36,000 (then JJ2,400),3 against a corresponding share in the prospective archaeological finds '. In view of the manifold and very valuable help which the learned staff of this great institution have rendered towards the elaboration of the results both of this and my first expedition it is a particularly gratifying thought that the large collection of antiques which I succeeded in bringing back as tangible ` archaeological proceeds ', including hundreds of paintings of great artistic interest, manuscripts by thousands, etc., has made this share, even from the financial point of view, a very profitable investment.

After final sanction of my proposals had been secured in the spring of 1905, an official condition coupled with it as regards the preceding completion of Ancient Khotan still imposed a delay of one year upon their execution. But by dint of great exertions and by the help of a generous concession of Government which set me free from administrative duties for six months in Kashmir, I was able to satisfy that condition and to set out for my tasks beyond the great ranges northward by the end of April, 1906.

For those tasks, as far as they were of a geographical nature, I was provided from the first with an asset of the greatest value by the help of the Survey of India Department. Colonel F. B. LONGE, R.E., C.B., then Surveyor General of India, had readily agreed to depute with me one of the Department's trained Indian surveyors and to provide a special grant to meet all costs connected with his employment

2 Cf. Procopius, Libri de bellis (ed. Haury), vin. 17. 7 ; Yule-Cordier, Cathay, i. pp. 24, 204 ; Coedes, Textes grecs et latins, pp. xxix, r 2 7.

$ This estimated provision had, in view of the increased cost, caused by the transport of an unexpectedly large

collection of antiques and to some degree also by the general rise of prices in Chinese Turkestan since the time of my first expedition, to be supplemented in 1908 by an additional grant of Rs. 12,000 from the Indian Government.