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0065 Serindia : vol.1
Serindia : vol.1 / Page 65 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000183
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not continue their journey down to Chitral, and thence by way of Dir to Swat. Fortunately, however,

Chinese historical records furnish a good deal of precise information for these years about the

political influence which Chinese power in the Tarim Basin, under the Tang dynasty, exercised in

these remote valleys south of the Hindukush before its final collapse. And this information throws

light on local conditions, which are likely to have had their bearing upon the route followed by

Wu-k`ung's party.

It is known from a series of interesting notices which M. Chavannes first extracted from

Chinese diplomatic and historical records, and which I have discussed elsewhere at some length,3o

that the efforts made by the Chinese Government about the middle of the eighth century to prevent

their old enemies, the Tibetans, from expanding their power westwards along the Hindukush, and

joining hands with the Arabs on the Oxus, were not confined to Yasin and Gilgit. Within two

years of Kao Hsien-chih's successful relief of ` Little P`o-lü', i. e. Yasin and Gilgit, from Tibetan

invasion, this territory was threatened by an alliance between the Tibetans and the chief of

Chieh-shuai (or Chieh-shih), the identity of which with Chitral I have, I believe, proved.31 In

A. D. 75o Kao Hsien-chih succeeded in defeating the Chitral ruler with the help of the prince of

Tokharistan, and replacing the rebel by his brother. But in the following year the Chinese under

Kao Hsien-chih suffered a crushing defeat by the Arabs north of Farghana.32

The subsequent decline of the Imperial power in the regions adjoining the Tarim Basin was Wu-k`ung's

so rapid that the small Chinese garrison in ` Little P`o-lii', already reported to be in a precarious probable

position owing to its dependence for supplies on Kashmir, is not likely to have maintained effective

control much longer. Whether it still held out or not at the time of Wu-k`ung's passage, A. D. 751

or 752, it is clear that the complete loss of prestige following Kao Hsien-chih's disaster must have

exposed the Chinese mission, to which Wu-k`ung was attached, to increased risks from the Tibetans

and their allies westwards. It is with these disturbed political conditions that the devious route

adopted by the Chinese travellers may reasonably be connected. A move down the Gilgit river

would undoubtedly have brought them closer to the danger of being intercepted by the Tibetans.

It deserves consideration, therefore, whether by Yeli-ho may not be meant merely the uppermost

portion of the Ghizar Valley which, while politically always dependent on Yasin, was yet much safer

from Tibetan attack than Yasin proper. It should be here noted that from Ghizar village a good

route is said to lead by a side valley due south to the headwaters of the Swat River.33

It is a pity that Wu-k`ung's notices of Udyana, in spite of his long stay, are so brief. After Wu-k`ung's

reaching ` Wu-chang-na ' he passed on to the kingdom of Mang-o-p`o and the town of Kao-t`ou, Udÿ naof

then the kingdom of Mo-tan, then the town of Sin-tu on the river Sin-tu or Indus '. Finally, in the   •
spring of A.D. 753, the Chinese mission arrived at the kingdom of Chien-eo-lo or Gandhara, and reached their goal in the eastern capital of Chi-pin.34 By this it is clear that the cold-weather residence of the Turkish ahis of Kabul, corresponding to the present Und (Skr. Udabhanda), is meant. The very flattering reception accorded to it by the ruler of Chi-pin was no doubt due to the hope still entertained of effective help against the threatening Arabs. Of the stages mentioned

before ` the town of Sin-tu', I can identify none except Mang; o p`o   tat 11, which in all probability
represents Manglaur (Skr. Mangalapura). Wu-kung, who was ill, remained behind in Gandhara after the return of the mission, and, having become a Buddhist monk, from A. D. 759 onwards made extensive pilgrimages from Kashmir to Bihar. After his return to Udyana, which cannot have

"0 For a systematic treatment of the extracts given by M. Chavannes in his Turcs occid., cf. Ancient Khotan, pp. 8 sqq.

" See Ancient Khotan, i. pp. 13 sqq.

32 Cf. for these events Chavannes, 7ures occid., pp. 214

sqq., 297 sqq.

" See Biddulph, Hindoo Koosh, p. 58. S4 See Itiniraire ?Ou-gong, p. 13.

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