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0496 Serindia : vol.1
Serindia : vol.1 / Page 496 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000183
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416   THE LOU-LAN SITE   [Chap. XI

of the ground designated I am tempted to recognize this original form of the name in the Kroraina or Krorayina of our Kharosthi documents. If we take into account the difficulties which attend all rendering of foreign names by Chinese sounds, and the total absence of any system of transcription before the attempts made in Tang times, Lou- for Kro- is as close a phonetic reproduction as could be expected, seeing that the semi-vowel r, which is wanting in Chinese phonetics, is regularly replaced by 1. In the same way -lan may be recognized as a sufficiently close approximation to -raina or -rayîna.


It remains for us now to consider those notices in the Chinese historical records which either can throw light on the origin and character of the ruined settlement of the Lou-lan Site, or else themselves derive elucidation from the archaeological evidence secured by its exploration. In dealing with these notices it will not be necessary for us to review afresh the data, already fully discussed in Chapter IX, which bear on the history of the Lop region in general and on the importance which the ancient route leading through it possessed for the early expansion of Chinese trade and political power into the Tarim Basin. It is, however. essential to bear in mind the results there established' if we are rightly to interpret the historical notices which directly concern the ruined site. We have seen that the territory which the Chinese of the Former Han knew first by the name of Lou-lan and then, from 77 B.C. onwards, by that of Shan-shan, comprised the whole Lop region. Though its political centre appears to have lain in the south, at least from the date just mentioned, the district of greatest importance for Chinese trade and policy was the ground north, between the foot of the Kuruk-tagh and the terminal Tarim marshes, through which the most direct route from Tun-huang to the northern oases of the Tarim Basin passed.

The Annals of the Former Hans, though giving in some detail an account of Lou-lan and of the political events which it witnessed, do not furnish us with any definite indications as to the exact line followed by this important ancient route through the north-eastern portion of Lou-lan. It was thus left for my explorations of 1914 to prove, by the certain location of the ' White Dragon Mounds ' and the discovery of the Chinese terminal caslruna, built where the ancient route first touched inhabitable ground west of the dried-up salt lake and at the time of the earliest opening of the route,2 that it must from the very beginning have passed through the area marked by the ruins of the Lou-lan Site. But it is impossible to state whether any of the remains actually surveyed there date back to Former Han times.

The accounts of Shan-shan which are furnished by the Later Han Annals, and which have been fully analysed in Chapter Ix,3 are also lacking in exact details bearing on the Lou-lan Site and the ancient route which led 'past it. But in a proposal which the biography of Pan Yung, Pan Ch`ao's son, relates as having been made in the imperial council by this distinguished Chinese general about A. D. I 19, and which we have already had occasion to discuss, we find the establishment of a Chinese military colony at Lou-lan foreshadowed in a way which clearly points to a position corresponding to, if not identical with, the ruined station of L.A.* The Chang-shih of the Western Countries, who was to be sent to Lou-lan at the head of five hundred men to organize the colony, will, we are told, ` dominate on the West the roads which lead to Yen-el-1'i (Kara-shahr) and Ch`iu-tzû (Kucha). On the south he will fortify the courage of Shan-silk' and Yü-t`ien (Khotan). On the

See above, pp. 344 sq.

Cf. Third Journey of Exploration, G.J., 1916, xlviii.

p. 124.

3 See above, pp. 329 sqq.

' See M. Chavannes' translation in T'oungpao, 1906, p. 248; above, pp. 331 sq.

History of Lop region.

Ancient route through Lou-lan.

Proposed military colony at Lou-lan.