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0014 Serindia : vol.1
Serindia : vol.1 / Page 14 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000183
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Handyman' from Sappers and Miners.

Summary of expedition results.


CHIANG SSIJYEH, Chinese Secretary.

Support of Chinese administrators.

My small staff was completed by Naik RAM SINGII, a non-commissioned officer of the First (King George's Own) Sappers and Miners, whom the kind offices of Colonel (now Major General) J. E. DICKIE, R.E., C.B., then Commanding R.E. on the N.-W. Frontier, secured as my ' handy-man' from that distinguished corps. Naik Ram Singh proved a very willing and useful helper in many practical tasks connected with excavations, including detailed plans of numerous ruins. To him is due also the developing of most of the photographs brought back from the journey, all of which were taken by myself, and a selection from which has been used for illustrating these volumes. The tragic fate which overtook this capable and faithful assistant towards the close of our journey was a grievous blow for me and has been fully recorded in Chapter xXXIII.e

Considering how bulky these volumes have grown, I should gladly forbear attempting any summary of the varied results of this journey were it not impossible without it either to account for the protracted efforts which their elaboration has claimed or to convey an adequate idea of the manifold and important help which I received for those tasks from expert collaborators. It may serve a useful purpose also as a reasoned synopsis of the main sections of the present work. The routes which I followed from the Indo-Afghan border to the uppermost Oxus (Chapters I, II) allowed me to study on the ground numerous questions bearing on the history, ethnography, etc., of Swat, Dir, Chitral, and Mastttj, and to clear up in particular the topography of a memorable Chinese expedition (A. D. 747) across the Pamirs and Hindukush. The special permission graciously accorded to me by H.M. Habib-ullah, the late King of Afghanistan, had opened access for me to uppermost Wakhan and the Afghan territory on the Pamirs, and the observations gathered here and subsequently on my way from Sarikol to Kashgar (Chapter III, sections i—iii) proved specially useful for the elucidation of early itineraries across the ' Roof of the World'.

A short stay at Kashgar, under the hospitable roof of Mr. (now Sir GEORGE) MACARTNEV, K.C.I.E., H.M. late Consul General for the ' New Dominions', enabled me to resume personal touch with that old and ever-helpful friend whose great influence with the Chinese administration throughout that wide region was of the utmost value for the success of my expedition. The debt of gratitude I owe him for the unfailing watchful care he exercised from afar is heavy. But equally important was the service he rendered for my tasks by choosing for me an excellent Chinese

secretary in the person of CE-IIANG Ssû-VEIL (Mr. Chiang Hsiao-yuan   ).' The help of this
thoroughly qualified and conscientious Chinese scholar proved of the greatest advantage for my archaeological tasks. Throughout our hard travel and field-work he proved the most devoted of helpmates, ever ready to share hardships and labours for the sake of my scientific interests.

Chiang Ssû-yeh's genuine zeal and persuasive tact always helped me to secure that willing cooperation of the Chinese administrators which was essential for the execution of my plans. Without their efficient help I could not have secured the transport, men, and supplies needed for my expeditions in search of ruined sites in dreaded deserts, nor for my explorations in equally forbidding mountains. I shall always remember with gratitude the proofs of invariable attention and goodwill I received from Mandarins of the old régime at the oases which served as my successive ' bases of operations ' on this journey. For the many in whom I found trustworthy friends with real scholarly interest in my antiquarian aims and ' finds ' I may refer to my Personal Narrative.8 But specially

grateful mention is due to my old friend FAN TA-JÊN (Mr. Pan Chên i   ), who as Amban of
Khotan had helped me so kindly during the explorations of 1900-1. Promoted to the position of

6 See below, pp. 1317 sq.   help, cf. below, pp. 569, 593 sqq., 646, 714, 801-25, etc.

' For portraits of Chiang Ssû-yeh, see Desert Cathay, i.   Cf. Desert Cathay, i. p. xvi and passim.
Fig. 39; ii. Fig. 3o8. For characteristic instances of his