Meaning of name Chia-n1 kuan.
Caslrum- like plan of gate- fortress.
'118 THE NORTH-WEST FRONTIER OF KAN-SU [Chap. XXVII
adjoined the latter at right angles, and did that at such a distance from its northern end as to make a different period of construction, or at least a different purpose, appear likely at the outset.
This curious observation was an additional inducement for me to spare a day for a survey of these walls, though the historical notices to be discussed below a priori precluded the assumption that they were of any great age. Before, however, recording the result of my investigation, a brief description of Chia-yü kuan itself, as it presented itself to me, may conveniently find a place here. Modern as the existing gate-fortress is—competent local opinion ascribed its construction to the Emperor Chien-lung (A. n. 1736-96), and there seemed to me much to support this dating—yet in more than one aspect it was bound to recall to my mind the rôle which the Yü-mên kuan had filled on the ancient Tun-huang Limes, however different the times and the setting. For the very pleasant welcome which awaited me on my entry infra murum, or 'bran li-l`ou', as the Chinese phrase puts it, I may refer to my Personal Narrative.' But it did not need the cheerful impression thus created to convince me that Chia-yü kuan fully merits to bear its name, which means, ` The barrier of the pleasant valley '.10 Immediately behind the wall to the south of the little gate-fortress there extends a delightfully green expanse of tree-bordered meadows. This refreshing verdure is due to a series of fine springs which issue in a shallow depression at the eastern foot of the gravel ridge previously mentioned facing Chia-yii. kuan and its wall. It is from these plentiful springs that the fields of Ti-wan, a fertile village area to the north of Chia-yü kuan comprising about two hundred households, receive their irrigation.
Chia-yii kuan itself, with the battletnented walls and towers of its square circumvallation in fair repair (Fig. 249), is a typical example of a Chinese cash-urn fortified on mediaeval lines. Three successive gates leading through massive bastions and inner defences give access on either side to the single broad street traversing the station from east to west. I found most of the houses within deserted and in ruins, except for the commandant's Ya-mên and the quarters of the small garrison that counted some scores of men. But there was enough to show me the importance which official tradition still attaches to the place. In the Emperor Chien-lung's time evidently an effort had been
made to give a truly imposing appearance to this western gate rear' of the Empire.
Yet even then Chia-yii-kuan must have lost any military value that the position may have offered at one time, and remained of importance solely as a guard-station for policing the inner administrative border of the Empire ; for the policy of Central-Asian expansion resumed under the Emperor Kang-hsi had already before the close of the seventeenth century carried the command of the Chinese troops protecting the western frontiers as far west as Kua-chou and Tun-huang." The historical notices to be discussed below will show us how Chia-yü kuan ever since Ming times had served as the place where all traffic from ` outside the Wall ' was subjected to close police control. The conquest of Chinese Turkestan under Chien-lung must necessarily have affected the purpose and methods of this control. But its essential features survived here to our own times ; for Chiang Ssû-yeh'was still able to show me the little police-post within the inner west gate where travellers bound for the New Dominions or returning had to produce their papers when he himself had last
Guard-station for policing administrative border.
9 Cf. Desert Cathay, ii. pp. 276 sqq.
10 As rendered by Mr. Rockhill ; see Prof. Cordier's note, Yule, Marco Polo, i. p. 193. If the second character in means literally 'pool in ravine' (see Goodrich,
Pekingese Syllabary, p. 234), the name would fit the actual features of the locality still more closely. But cf. Giles, Chinese Dictionary, p. 1687.
The erroneous notion that yii in the name of Chia-yii kuan was the same as yll 3 in the name of Yii-men, or the
Jade Gaté', has caused confusion in the past; see e.g. Ritter, Asien, ii. pp. 211, 213 ; Yule, Cathay, iv. p. 239, with Prof. Cordier's rectifying note, iv. p. 271. The right meaning of the name was duly recorded by Prof. de L6czy in 1879 ; cf. Kina, p. 487.
" Cf. Ritter, Asien, ii. pp. 37o sq. In 1711-12 Jesuit topographers under K'ang-hsi's orders had already fixed the position of Hâmi and connecte& it by a route survey with Chia-yii kuan; see ibid., ii. p. 373.