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0493 Serindia : vol.1
Serindia : vol.1 / Page 493 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000183
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gives fairly detailed news to two official friends about the movements of some highly-placed officers, including the Chan;-shin. Nos. 931-32 seem to have been received by the same person, a `'superintendent of the post ', Wang Yen-shih. No. 934 reports political events in which Tsang, king of Yen-chi, was implicated, and also mentions Kuchâ. In No. 935 we learn of a declaration of war. Among private letters of purely personal contents, No. 904 is of special interest as it is complete and was found in its original form, rolled up for dispatch. In it a young unmarried lady, who has started on a journey westwards, sends news and good wishes to an uncle she has left behind, perhaps, at the ruined station. A more pathetic chord is touched in the large fragment of a letter, No. 926, which contains effusive complaints of a wife about the dissolute ways of a faithless husband.

If I have left it to the last to mention the records containing the name of Lou-Ian, it is merely because of the important bearing they have on the question, to be discussed in the next section, of the original designation of the site. No. 754 is of special interest because, though not absolutely conclusive, it makes it appear very probable that the name Lou-lan was applied in the 3rd-4th century A.D. to the military station represented by the ruins of L.A. In this tablet (L.A. III. i. 16). a subordinate officer respectfully reports to a superior that ` an official letter has previously been sent to Lou-lan to request that the soldier Lien charged with the watching of the dyke be sent back here '.21a It is obvious that we have in this document a kind of demi-official ` reminder ', and that the refuse-heap in which it was found is probably identical with the Lou-lan to which the original official application had been addressed. No. 922 gives some support to this conclusion. It is an application, apparently presented in person to a certain accountant Chang, who appears to be named also in other records from L.A. vi. 11,22 by one Pai Su-yun, a native of Lou-lan. In No. 907, a small fragment where the local name is met with a third time, the context is uncertain. To this must be added the evidence furnished by the mention of Lou-lan in four of Dr. Hedin's records from L.A. II, to which brief references are made in Herr Himly's paper.23 In two of these Lou-lan appears to be named as the place of receipt for letters.


When describing the excavations which at numerous ruins of the Lou-lan Site brought to light Kharosthi documents on wood and paper, I have already had occasion to allude to the special historical interest attaching to their discovery. The frequency of these finds and the observations I was able to make on the spot as to their outward appearance and appàrent character seemed to justify my drawing at the time the important conclusion that the same Indian language found in the records of the Niya Site had also been regularly used, at that early period, in the Lop region for indigenous administration and business.

Considering how far removed Lop-nor is from Khotan, this assumed uniform extension of an Indian script and language to the extreme east of the Tdrim Basin was bound to raise fresh problems. In the Khotan region it seemed possible to account, at least partially, for this official, use of an Indian language by the old local tradition, preserved in Hsüaü-tsang's Hsi yip-chi and the Tibetan ' Annals of Li-yul', which mentions early immigration from India as an important element in the local population.1 But so far away to the east, at the very threshold of China, the

Lou-lan named in documents.

Importance of records in Kharothi.

["a But see Corr. c Add. for a note by Mr. L. C. Hopkins on the translation of this passage.]

22 Cf. Nos. 742-44.

" See Petermann's Millheilungen, 1902, pp. 288-90, quoted by Hedin, Central Asia and Tibel, ii. pp. 143 sq.

Cf. for this tradition Ancient Kholan, i. pp. 156 sqq., and for its bearing on the script and language proved by the Niya documents to have been in official use in the Khotan region, ibid., i. pp. 368 sq.