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0553 Serindia : vol.1
Serindia : vol.1 / Page 553 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000183
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Sec. y]


a fragmentary communication on wood, is similarly addressed to certain persons at Little Nob. In

M. i. i. 13, 14, both letters on wood, the writer expresses a hope of coming to Little Nob at a certain

season. M. I. xix. ooi (Plate CLxxI),. a complete letter on wood, treats of a man who has been

punished and who ` is now in Little Nob'.

In the case of M. i. xliv. 7 (Plate CLxx), which is a complete judicial record on paper dealing Little Nob

with the sale of a certain slave, it seems reasonable to assume that ` the court of Little Nob ', the probably

name of

proceedings of which it records, was the local one of the site. The same holds good also of the man. complete paper document M. i. iv. 93. b, which records a division of the principal fields of Little Nob. It is of particular interest here to find a reference to ` charts of the fields ' and the statement that ` whosoever breaks the agreement is to be prosecuted according to the " old law of the former (or first) castle " ' ; for if our identification of Little Nob with Mirän is right, we should be strongly tempted to recognize in ` the former castle ' a Tibetan rendering of the traditional designation ` the old [eastern] town ', which according to the testimony of Li Tao-yuan, the early commentator of the Shui thing, was borne by Yü-ni, the old capital of Shan-shan. As I have already shown above, there are strong reasons for locating Yu-ni at the site of Mirân.6

The remaining records in which the name of Little Nob occurs do not, as far as can be judged from Dr. Francke's abstracts, furnish any definite evidence of its location. There is, however, one, the wooden document M. r. viii. 63. b, which at first sight seems opposed to the identification of Little Nob with Mirân. It claims to be written by a certain person ` in reply to a letter sent to Nobchungu by minister dPal-sum ' and to be concerned with the proper payment of salaries in kind. But there is a possibility that this wooden tablet is merely a draft and not the reply itself, and in support of such a conjecture it may be pointed out that, though the document at its end mentions several seals of witnesses, no such seals are to be found on it. Indecisive as the other documents referring to Little Nob are, yet it should be noted that three of them, M. r. iv. 132 ; x. 7 ; xliv. 005, mention the castle of Little Nob, and thus prove the locality to have been guarded by a Tibetan post.

From what I have already explained about the importance which physical advantages must at Great Nob

all periods have assured to Charkhlik as the chief cultivable area of Lop territory,' it follows that, if located at


the location of Little Nob at Mirân is right, Great Nob must necessarily be identified with the present

oasis of Charkhlik. All of the fourteen documents quoted above in which Great Nob is referred to

are consistent with this identification. But only two can be said to give support to it, and that

indirectly. M. z. vii. 3o is a wooden slip addressed by the rTse-rje of Great Nob (Nob-ched)

to Klu-bzang, designated as in charge of Inner Affairs. Obviously, it is simplest to assume that the

place where it was written was Charkhlik and not Mirân, where it was discovered. In M.1. xiii. 12,

a complete letter on paper, we read of an annual tribute in soda sent by an official of Great Nob as

distinct ` from our own tribute'. M. r. xliv. 4 mentions a castle at Great Nob, too, as well as fields,

and a division of the latter is referred to in M. r. iv. io6.

It can scarcely be doubted that the castles of Great Nob and Little Nob were counted among Three

the ` Three castles of Nob ' which are spoken of in the complete paper document, M. r. ii. 40 castles of

(Plate CLXXI shows it in its neat original folding), and in the fragmentary wooden one, MA. Nob.

viii. zo. It is possible that the expression ` Three castles of Nob ' was used in a general way

for the Lop territory as a whole, and the last-named record refers subsequently to ` the various

territories of the castles '. The locality of the third castle is nowhere distinctly indicated, but

it is certainly noteworthy that the name Nob is met with in the designation of a third place,

Nob-shod or ` Lower Nob '. The two paper records, M. r. xiv. Io8. f ; xxx. 8, in which this

occurs, do not help us to define its position more clearly. In two documents on wood, M. r. i. z 2. ;

G See above, pp. 326 sq., 333.   7 Cf. above, pp. 311 sqq.