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0408 Serindia : vol.1
Serindia : vol.1 / Page 408 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000183
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rather to obscure the issue. Fortunately the information given, for this period, by the Former Han Annals about Shan-shan or Lou-lan is comparatively abundant. We owe this to the exceptional importance then possessed by the territory as the key to the route which first served China's political and commercial advance into the Tarim Basin and westwards.

The account which the notice on Shan-shan or Lou-lan gives of the early events of this expansion has been treated so often that it will suffice if we consider here the points which have a direct bearing on the historical geography of the Lop-nor region. After Chang Ch'ien's return from his famous mission, the Emperor Wu-ti commenced systematic operations against the Hsiung-nu or Huns, which led to the occupation of westernmost Kan-su (circ. 121 B.c.) and the subsequent extension of the ` Great Wall to beyond Tun-huang.10 Chinese intercourse with Ta-yuan (Farghana) and the interjacent countries then became so frequent that ` the envoys of the respective nations followed each other continuously, more than ten in number in the course of a year '. ` Lou-lan,' thus the record of the Annals continues, ` in concert with Ku-shih, however, being on the high road, harassed these officials, attacked and robbed the Chinese envoy Wang K`uei and his party, and on various occasions acted as eyes and ears to the Hsiung-nu, causing their troops to intercept the Chinese envoys.' 1r This interference with his missions westwards induced the Emperor Wu-ti to dispatch the general Chao P`o-nu on a punitive expedition against the offending states. Advancing at the head of seven hundred light horse, Chao P`o-nu, in io8 B. c., ` seized the king of Lou-lan ; then subjugated Ku-shih, and, relying on the prestige of his fierce troops, he overawed the States dependent on Wu-sun and Ta-yuan'.

The reference made to Lou-lan in connexion with this expedition, brief as it is, has its value for the geographical question at issue. It is shown that the kingdom of Lou-Ian lay on the `high road' leading from Tun-huang to Ta-yuan or Farghâna, and that consequently its attitude was of essential importance for the safety of the Chinese political and commercial missions proceeding towards ` Ta-yuan and the interjacent countries '. In order to determine more exactly the direction of that high road and the position of Lou-lan, it is necessary to make sure of the identity of the territory Ku-shih, the people of which had abetted Lou-lan in its attack on the Chinese envoy and also helped the Huns to intercept other Chinese missions. Now, all Sinologists dealing with this notice of the Former Han Annals have assumed that by Ku-shih tt OIj is meant the territory elsewhere called Chii-shih *. efj, i.e. Turfan,12 and in view of the explicit statement of a preceding passage, according to which Ku-shih was, after a successful Chinese expedition in the period 73-49 B. c., divided ` between the two kings of Anterior and Ulterior Chii-shih', this identification may be considered certain.r3

10 Cf. Wylie in J. Anthrop. Inst., x. p. 22.

rl See Wylie, J. Anthrop. Inst., x. p. 25 ; also p. 71 ; for the corresponding notice of these events in Book cxxrrr of Ssû ma Ch`ien's history, from which the Annals' account seems derived, cf. Kingsmill in J.R.A.S., x882, p. 17. Brosset's translation of that chapter (J. As., 1828, pp. 418450) is not accessible to me. M. Chavannes' monumental translation of that great historical work has unfortunately not progressed to Book cxxrrr.

14 Cf. Wylie, J. Anthrop. Insl., x. p.25, note ; Kingsmill, J.R.A.S., 1882, p. 6 ; Chavannes, Toung-pao, 1905, p. 533, note; Tures occid., p. tor.

13 Cf. Wylie, J. Anthrop. Inst., x. p. 22. It is noteworthy also that the account in the Former Han Annals of Chü-shih or Turfàn, when mentioning two Chinese expedi

tions against this territory in the years 99 and 89 B.C. respectively, distinctly refers to troops from Lou-lan having been employed, apparently as the chief contingent ; cf. Wylie,


Anthrop. Inst., xi. p. 106. This well illustrates the course followed on Chao P`o-nu's expedition, which first secured Lou-lan before attacking Ku-shih, i. e. Turfan.

I have thought it necessary to indicate clearly the evidence for the identity of Ku-shih and Chi!-shih, in view of Dr. Herrmann's remarks, Seidenstrassen, pp. 102 sq. He rejects the identification without either adducing any definite evidence against it or suggesting any other location for Ku-shih. On the other hand, Dr. Herrmann's very careful investigation of the questions connected with the position of Lou-lan and Shan-shan has the merit of having demonstrated that the view held by certain Chinese scholars, and formerly adopted


Chinese expansion westwards.

Expedition against Loulan, r 08 B. c.

Position of