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0113 Serindia : vol.1
Serindia : vol.1 / Page 113 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000183
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Sung Yün narrates that after crossing the Ts`ung-ling Mountains or the Pamirs from the side

of Han-p`an-t`o, i. e. Sarikol, the travellers entered the kingdom of Po-ho   %p or Wakhan in the
second decade of the ninth month (i. e. October). From his reference to ` high mountains and deep gorges and perilous paths' it appears probable that the pilgrim followed the route which leads down the Ab-i-Panja to Sarhad, for the description is far more appropriate to this route than to that across the Great Pamir. ` The place where the king resided was protected by mountain ramparts ; for dress the people had only clothes of felt. The country is extremely cold ; caves are dug out for quarters. As winds and snow are intense men and beasts huddle together. On the southern border of this kingdom there are great snowy mountains ; the snow melts on them in the morning and freezes again at night. From afar they look like peaks of jade.'

Hui-shêng's account preserved in the Pei-shin is in close agreement, but adds some useful details. ` The kingdom of Po-ho lies to the west of K`o-p`an-eo (Sarikol) and is even colder. Beasts and humans dwell together ; holes are dug in the ground to serve for quarters. There, too, great snowy mountains rise which from afar look like peaks of silver. The people feed only on cakes and roasted corn ; they drink corn-brandy and dress in felts and furs. There are two routes : one goes west to the Yeh-tas (or Hephthalites) ; the other leads south-west towards Wu-chtang (or Udyâna). This, too, is ruled by the Yeh-tas.' The bearings here indicated for the routes towards Badakhshan and Mastûj would alone suffice to prove that by Po-ho is meant Wakhan. But the general description which both pilgrims give of the country is equally convincing ; for it is easy to recognize in it those characteristic features which all modern travellers from Wood downwards record of the severe climate of Wakhan, its cutting winds and harsh conditions of life.' The mention of the great snowy mountains to the south duly reflects the imposing appearance presented by the main Hindukush chain which towers above the whole valley. Even its comparison with peaks of jade or silver seems to bear true local colour ; for it may well have been suggested by a popular interpretation of the name Bolos which, in varying forms and vaguely applied, has clung from an early period to the mountain region south, and which tradition has probably always connected with the term pilaus ` of crystal '.4 However this may be, it is probable that the name of Po-ho itself, as suggested by Prof. Marquart, represents an attempt to render the designation Wakhan which is found already in a Muhammadan author of the 9th century A. D.5

Wakhan figures by the same name Po-ho also in the list of administrative districts into which the Central Asian dominions of the Western Turks were organized after the Chinese conquest in A. D. 658. Po-ho, with the town of So-16-so-ho, appears there as a subdivision attached to the

district established in the kingdom of Hu-mi-to   , which itself represents Wakhân.°
A full account of the territory is supplied by one of the notices which the Tang Annals devote to the ` Western regions '.7 This is based in part on Hsüan-tsang's itinerary which is itself

considered below, and states that ' the country of Hu-mi   is called also Ta-mo-hsi-lie-ti or
Huo-k`an; this is the country which was known as Po-ho under the Wei. It also forms part of the ancient dominion of the Tu-huo-lo or Tokharistân. . . . It measures sixteen hundred li from east to west ; from north to south it is confined, measuring only four to five li across. The king resides

in the town of Sai-chia-shen   All Az; on the north it is bordered by the River Wu-hu or Oxus.
The soil is frozen with cold ; inequalities of the ground cause ups and downs ; sand and stones

Hui-shêng's account of Wakhan.

Wakhan in Tang Annals.

s Cf. Wood, Journey to the Source of the Oxus, pp. 208 sqq.; Gordon, Roof of the World, pp. 135-6 ; Yarkand Mission Report, pp. 273 sq.

Cf. Raverty, Notes on Afghanistan, p. 299, where the apparent allusion in Hui-shêng's account has been quite

correctly recognized.

6 See Marquart, Érân§ahr, p. 223.

6 See Chavannes, Turcs occid., p. 71 note.

7 See ibid., pp. 164 sq.