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0279 Serindia : vol.1
Serindia : vol.1 / Page 279 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000183
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is described as ` the princess of Chü-mo ~, v, the territory which corresponds to the present Charchan, some ten marches to the east on the route to Lop-nor.I"

Now this definite mention of Chü-mo or Charchan as a territory with which the ruler of the ancient oasis represented by the Niya Site stood in close relation, necessarily forces the question as to the identity of his own kingdom' upon our attention. Since it is clearly proved by these little tablets that the ancient oasis possessed its own ruling family, I do not hesitate to identify the site as the chief place of the territory of Ching-chüeh 14 At which the Chinese historical records from Han to Tang times place to the west of Chü-mo.12 In the Former Han Annals the kingdom of Chingchüeh' is described as situated to the west of Chü-mo at a distance of two thousand li.18 Its western neighbour was the kingdom of Yü-mi If•' at a distance of 460 li. Since the latter territory must certainly be identified with the Chira-Keriya tract,14 we are thus led to place Ching-chüeh on the Niya River in spite of the greatly exaggerated distance indicated between Chü-mo and Ching-chüeh.15 The capital of the kingdom is named ` the city of Ching-chüeh '. But the limited size of the ` kingdom' is sufficiently proved by the estimates of its population, ` 48o families, comprising 3,360 persons, with 500 trained troops.'

No details are given about Ching-chueh by the Later Han Annals, which merely mention it along with Shan-shan and Chü-mo on the route from Yü-mên to Khotan.18 Ching-chüeh figures similarly in the list of territories which the Wei lio, composed between A. D. 239-65, enumerates along the ` southern route ' leading westwards from Lop-nor to Khotan.17 But here we have in addition the distinct statement that Ching-chüeh along with Chü-mo and Hsiao-wan, another small territory which lay to the south of Chü-mo and evidently corresponds to the hill settlements between Kapa and Achchan, was dependent upon Shan-shan or Lou-lan, the territory adjoining Lop-nor. The statement has its special interest for the identification of Ching-chüch with the territory of which the Niya Site may be assumed to have been the chief place. On the one hand, it dates from the period immediately preceding the time when we assume the site to have been abandoned. On the other, it helps to explain why among the Chinese documents excavated in 1901 there was the cover, N. xv. 345,18 of an edict emanating from the king of Shan-shan', and why the records of N. xxiv discussed below include two covers bearing the seal-impression of the commander of

Ching-chüeh figures still in the Tang Annals as the name of a ` little kingdom ' to the east of

Identification of Niya Site with Chingchileh.

Chingchüeh in Chinese historical records.

Ching-chüeh in Tang Annals.

11 Cf. Chavannes, T`oung pao, vi. (1905), p. 536 ; Voyage de Song Yun, p. 83, note I ; Ancient Khotan, i. p. 435; below, chap. %In, sec. i.

12 The priority of having correctly surmised this location of Ching-chüeh belongs to M. Grenard. The references made to the point in the text of his publication on the Mission Dutreuil de Rhins, ii. pp. 14, 61 ; iii. pp. 147 sqq., are based partly on a delusive resemblance between the name Kin-kiue, as he spells Ching-chüeh, and the variant Kenk eL S, in which the name Ketek e1....s applied by popular tradition to widely distant old sites in the Tarim Basin, presents itself in Muhammadan legends. But he was right in looking for Kin-kiue (Ching-chüeh) to the north of Imam Ja'far Sadiq, where he and M. Dutreuil de Rhins had heard of, but not actually visited, an ' old town', i. e. the ruins of the Niya Site, first explored by me ten years later. Also Herrmann, Seidenstrassen, i. pp. 92, 98 sq., was right in accepting this location.

18 See Wylie in J. Anthrop. Inst., x. p. 26 ; Chavannes,

in T`oung pao, vi. (1905), p. 536, note 3.

" See Ancient Khotan, i. p. 467. The question is not materially effected by the calculations on varying distance estimates of the Han and Tang Annals which lead Dr. Herrmann (Seidenstrassen, i. p. 96 sqq.) to postulate for the capital of Yü-mi a position to the north-east of Farhad BegYailiki, even without archaeological evidence, and to deduce from this conjectural location a more westerly course of the Kenya River.

1ô This instance of a very serious error in the road records handed down in the Former Han Annals ought to be an emphatic warning against too great reliance on such Chinese measurements when investigating difficult points of ancient Central-Asian geography.

I6 Cf. Chavannes, T'oungpao, 1907, p. 170.

17 Cf. ibid., 1905, p. 537.

18 See Ancient Khotan, i. pp. 361, 371.

19 See below, chap. vI, sec. iii.

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