Sec. i] • HISTORICAL TOPOGRAPHY OF KARA-SHAHR 1183
the position of this must be looked for beyond the right bank' of the Kara-shahr River.20 Another passage of the Annals confirms this and clearly shows that the capital must have been situated close to the shores of the Baghrash Lake, which is said to have protected it, at least partially, from attack?'
It is true that this passage estimates the circumference of the locality where the capital stood (not of the walled town itself) at 3o li, a measure much in excess of the actual perimeter of Baghdad-shahri. But, on the other hand, we have a very close approach to the two miles or so of the latter in Hstiantsang's statement that the circuit of the capital he visited was 6 to 7 li. That the site of Baghdadshahri lies quite close to the marshy edge of Lake Baghrash is certain, though at the time of my visit it was'clifficult to determine the exact shore line on the shôr-covered flats extending to the south and east of the site, the lake being frozen at the time and shrunk to its winter limits.22 Chinese local opinion at Kara-shahr—whether based on tradition or on learned argument I could not find out—ascribes the ruined town to Tang times, and the two coins actually found by me at the site distinctly support this view. But what appears to me to carry most weight are the topographical indications of the Tang Annals and Hsiian-tsang, and the fact that no trace exists of any other ruined circumvallation by the western shores of the lake.
OBJECTS FOUND AT SITES OF CHONG-KU (USHAK-TAL) AND BAGHDAD-SHAHRI, KARA-SHAHR
Vicinity of lake.
Ushak-tal. oor. Fr. of pottery, hand-made from well-
levigated clay, grey burning to brick-red ; hearth-burned.
Apparently had ochreous wash on outer surface ; worn. - 22"x I$".
Ushak-tâl. 002. Fr. of pottery, wheel-made, kiln-fired, sulphur-yellow clay ; outside face washed reddish-brown ; orn. with appliqué leaf (?) pattern. 2-A" x
Ushak-tal. 003. Fr. of rim of stoneware bowl, grey body with-transparent celadon green glaze on either side ; incised orn. ; a combed-wave pattern inside, and a plain band outside. Chinese. I r x 18".
Ushak-tal. 004. Fr. of bluish-white translucent glass; all faces broken. Gr. M. xi".
Baghdad-shahri. ow. Fr. of pottery, hand-made, body of dull red-burning clay covered with a black-burning slip c. 26" thick; this prob. blackened by smothering which has not affected clay of body. Along top applied relief band (black) with V-shaped stamped orn. 1$" x I8". Pl. Iv.
Baghdad-shahri. 002. Fr. of pottery, hand-made, of fairly well-levigated clay burning a light brick red, kiln-fired. I 6" x I r.
SECTION II.—THE `MING-OI' SITE NORTH OF SHÔRCHUK
On December II I left Kara-shahr town and proceeded by the Korla high road to the little station of Shbrchuk, some 16 miles to the south-south-west.' From it I visited on the same day the extensive collection of Buddhist shrines situated close on four miles to the north and known to the Turki-speaking Muhammadans by the general designation of Mind oi, the ` Thousand Houses'. The site, which from the north-west is approached to within three miles or so by the scattered
Arrival at ruins. .
20 See above, p. I 176.
21 Cf. Chavannes, Turcs occid., p. I I2. The description of the position of the town corresponds closely to that given by the notice of the Later Han Annals ; see Chavannes, T'oung-pao, 1907, p. 208 : ' L'eau d'un lac entre en sinuosités h l'intérieur des quatre montagnes et environne cette ville sur une distance de plus de trente li.'
The passage of the Tang Annals above quoted describes the sudden attack by which the Chinese general Kuo Hsiaok`u, marching against l'en-chi from the side of Turfan by the main route, took the capital in A.D. 644. The description shows clearly, first that the river had to be crossed before arriving at the capital, and secondly that the town was open to assault on the land side. The whole suggests that the
town was built on a small peninsula projecting into the lake.
22 The careful survey which Roborovsky, as topographer of General Pievzoff's expedition (1889-90), made of Lake Baghrash shows Baghdüd-shahri as situated immediately to the north of a small bay of the lake. This indicates that when the level of the lake is high the site is protected on two sides at least by water.
' See Map No. 49. B. I. Sh5rchuk may be accepted with Professors Grünwedel and Pelliot as the correct form of the local name, derived as it obviously is from sitôr, the Turki term for the salt efflorescence which is plentiful on the steppe around. But the prevailing pronunciation I heard from the Korla Begs and labourers with me sounded Chôrchuk, the name shown in the map.