342 HISTORICAL NOTICES OF LOP, SHAN-SHAN, AND LOU-LAN [Chap. IX
which is now quite dry, but then stretched its delta to the northern settlements of Lou-lan, including the ruined station of ` Lou-lan '.
It was for crossing this absolutely barren desert without water or vegetation that the Chinese missions required provision to be made, from the nearest part of inhabited Lou-lan, for guides and for the carriage of water and supplies to meet them near the ` White Dragon Mounds '. Even with the help thus provided, it remains somewhat of a problem how those ancient Chinese organizers of transport succeeded in maintaining traffic, including the movement of large bodies of men, over so great a stretch of ground devoid of all resources and presenting formidable natural obstacles. In any case, the passage from the Annals plainly shows to what tribulations the use of the ancient route north of the dried-up Lop sea-bed by large Chinese convoys, &c., must have exposed the Lop population, semi-nomadic as it was.]
We may now turn to the concluding portion of the notice on Shan-shan in the Former Han Annals. It deserves special attention, for it explains how this name for the Lop territory came to supplant the earlier designation of Lou-lan. The trouble, already referred to, which the territory had given caused the Chinese in 77 B. C., apparently at the instigation of Wei-t`u-ch`i, a younger brother of the king, who had submitted to them and was living in China, to dispatch a high officer, Fu Chieh-tzû, with instructions to put to death the Lou-lan king.18 After selecting a few daring followers and circulating the report that he was going on a friendly diplomatic mission, Fu Chieh-tzû proceeded to Lou-lan. There ` he deceived the King with the pretence that he had presents for him. The latter, delighted with the event, unsuspectingly invited Fu Chieh-tzû to drink wine. When the King was intoxicated, Fu removed the royal screen and told two of his sturdy followers to stab him from behind. The nobles who were sitting round all fled. Fu Chieh-tzû then made an announcement, saying : " The deed just accomplished is a retribution for the King's crimes against the Han. The Emperor sent me to put him to death. You must set up the King's younger brother, Wei-t`u-ch`i, now in China, as King." The Chinese troops, who had just arrived, not daring to move, he gave orders that the kingdom of Lou-lan should cease to be.' The king's head was severed from the body and ` suspended at the north gate ', apparently of the Chinese capital. ` Wei-t`u-ch`i was then set up as King, and the kingdom re-established under the name of Shan-shan, for which a seal of investiture was engraved.'
The new ruler had one of the ladies of the Imperial court bestowed on him as a consort and was given a send-off from the capital marked with every honour. Evidently the prestige thus imparted would not suffice to assure Wei-fu-ch`i of his safety, for on his departure the new king is said to have himself presented the following request to the Emperor : " I have resided long in China, and now that I am returning weak and single-handed, while there is still a son of the former King living, I fear I shall be assassinated. In our kingdom there is the city of 1-hsün 19 (Wylie : E-tun), where the land is rich and productive ; may I request the Han to send a general to plant a military colony there, and collect the grain, so that your servant may rely upon his prestige ? " The Han monarch thereupon sent a cavalry leader with forty subordinates to cultivate the fields at l-hsün (E-tun), in order to guard the place and soothe the people. After this a Protector-General was appointed and this was the beginning of placing officers in I-hsün.'
The essential data which this account of the Ch`ien Han shu supplies for the ancient geography
see Chavannes, T'oung pao, 1905, p. 567: also above, p. 325.
19 In this form, I-hsiln' , the n ame is quoted from
our text by M. Chavannes, T'oung pao, 1905, p. 537, note z. Mr. Wylie writes E-tun.