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0139 Serindia : vol.1
Serindia : vol.1 / Page 139 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000183
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main road I had followed in 1900-1, and offered no scope for antiquarian observations. Nor should I have anything to add to the account I have given in Ancient Khotan of the historical past of Yarkand and its great oasis,' had not M. Chavannes' translation of the chapter of the Later Han Annals dealing with the Western Regions and of another chapter containing the biographies of three Chinese generals famous for their Central Asian exploits, rendered accessible a great deal of fresh information on the political condition of this ancient territory of So-ch`é during the first century of our era. Referring to M. Chavannes' original publications for all details, I shall content myself here with supplementing my former account by a summary of the essential facts.

In striking contrast to the Tang period when Yarkand manifestly was not a place of importance, receiving definite mention neither in the Annals nor in Hsüan-tsang's account, the records of the Later Han dynasty show it clearly as a powerful state, for a time exercising

predominance over the whole Tarim Basin and even beyond it. So-ch`ê :    ,, of the identity
of which with the present Yarkand there can be no doubt,8 under its king Yen was stronger than the rest of the territories of the ` Western Regions ', and refused to submit to the Hsiung-nu or Huns when these profited by the troubles under the usurping emperor Wang Mang (A.D. 9-23) to assert their power in this region.^ K`ang, the successor of Yen, also remained loyal to the distant Imperial power and received in A.D. 29 nominal command over the ` fifty-five kingdoms ' then counted in the ` Western Countries '. In A. D. 38 all the kingdoms east of the Ts`ung-ling are described as subject to Hsien, king of So-ch'ê, who from A.D. 33 to 61 figures as the strongest ruler in those regions.10 In A.D. 41 the Imperial Court, whose authority in the Tarim Basin still remained more or less nominal, was induced for a time even to grant him the title of ` Protector-General '. Subsequently Hsien threw off this allegiance, attacked the territories of Khotan, Shan-shan (or Lop-nor), and Kucha and forced them to accept his own nominees as rulers or else to seek protection from the Hsiung-nu in the north.'1 Even in Ta-yuan, or Farghana, he asserted his authority. Finally, Khotan in A.D. 6o successfully rose against Hsien. After several vain attempts at reconquest he was himself besieged in his own capital So-ch'ê and succumbed in the following year to Kuang-tê, king of Khotan.'2

Subsequently the Hsiung-nu or Huns appear to have asserted their power at So-ch`ê for a time and even to have reduced Khotan to a tributary state.13 But by that time Chinese power had begun to reassert itself in the Tarim Basin under the great general Pan Ch`ao. After securing Khotan and Kashgar for the Imperial cause about A.D. 74 he extended his influence over other territories.14 In spite of several revolts and set-backs his policy of using the barbarians to attack the barbarians' enabled this able leader and statesman gradually to consolidate Chinese authority among the contending states.16 At last, in A. D. 88, he succeeded in subjecting So-ch`ê in spite of the aid brought by the then powerful state of Kueha.'6 Three years later Kucha itself, which appears to have relied first upon the Huns and subsequently upon an invasion attempted by the Yüeh-chih, or Indo-Scythians, from the Oxus, was obliged to make its submission with other territories along the northern rim of the Tarim Basin. In A. D. 94 the

So-ch'l in Later Han Annals.

So-ch`ê subject to Huns.

7 Cf. Ancient Khotan, i. pp. 87 sq.

8 This identity is fully recognized also by the present Chinese administration which gives to the Yarkand district the designation of So-ch'f.

° See Chavannes, Pays d'Occident, p. 50 (Toungpao, 1907, p. 196).

10 See ibid., p. 51 (Toungpao, 1907, p. 197).

" Cf. ibid., pp. 52 sqq. (Toungpao, 1907, p. 199).

12 See ibid., pp. 56 sqq. (T'oung pao, 1907, p. 203).

" Ibid., p. 58 (Young pao, 1907, p. 204) ; Chavannes, Trois généraux, p. 13 (Young pao, 1906, p. 218).

14 See Chavannes, Trois généraux, pp. r3 sqq. (Toungpao, 1906, pp. 218 sqq.).

'S See ibid., p. x8 (Toungpao, 1906, p. 222).

18 Cf. ibid., pp. 23 sqq. (Toungpao, x906, pp. 231 sqq.). A previous attempt on So-ch`ê,in A. D. 84, appears to have failed.

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