î290 x FROM MAZAR-TAGH TO MARAL-BASHI [Chap. XXXII
in the text and important for its comprehension, M. Chavannes has with critical caution refrained from translating the contents. Chiang Ssû-yeh thought that he could interpret the document as a kind of passport or safe-conduct. To the time when the Chinese administration still maintained its authority, at least over parts of the Tarim Basin, belongs undoubtedly also the fragmentary document No. 951. It mentions a Chinese military officer of high grade as well as An-hsi, i. e. Kuchd, the seat of the ` Protectorate of An-hsi ' from A. D. 658 to 787. The same observation applies also to the fragments Nos. 962 and 967, the first containing the petition of a certain village and the other naming the servant of a Chinese official who bears a very exalted distinction of Tang times.
Accounts of a very humble description referring to food issues and the like are found in Nos. 963, 968. Fragments of Buddhist Sutra texts, Nos. 955-61, the last with a Tibetan reverse, and of a dictionary, No. 973, do not give any definite indication of their origin ; nor does the writing exercise, No. 965, offered by a certain pupil who states his family and its residence. But distinct antiquarian interest attaches to the three large leaves and the portion of a fourth, Doc. Nos. 969-72 (Plates xxxiii-xxxv), which present us with the detailed and duly authenticated daily accounts of the expenditure incurred by a Buddhist monastery during the last three months of a year and the first of the next. Unfortunately no nien-hao is given, but M. Chavannes ascribed this very curious record, no doubt with good reason, to the seventh or eighth century. The leaves, which measure a trifle over i 9 inches in length and over II inches across, were found folded up into one narrow roll and secured by silk stitches, evidently for mere purposes of record after the accounts were closed. Great care was taken about their verification ; for after intervals of a few days the entries were regularly signed by the monk acting as steward or bursar for the year, and in addition countersigned by the ` Karmaddna General ', the Viharasvâmin, and the Sthavira of the monastery.
There is no direct indication as to where the monastery was situated. But from the constant references made to outlays on creature comforts and luxuries, unthinkable in a desert locality like Mazâr-tagh, it appears to me quite certain that this curious monastic account must have found its way here from a distance. There is other evidence also to support this conclusion. The notes concerning certain items show that the monastic establishment lay within a cultivated populous tract and in the vicinity of other Buddhist Vihdras.12 That this locality belonged to the Khotan region appears to me very probable in view of the position of Mazar-tagh and of the mention of a payment which was made on behalf of a monastic servant to the tax-collector of a certain rural district in the
` Hsi-ho region '.'3 In this ` region of the Western River ' M. Chavannes has, I believe,
rightly recognized a reference to the cantons west of the Kara-kash. These are now, too, commonly comprised under the general designation of ` Kara-kash ' taken from the name of the river. The location of the monastery in the Khotan region agrees well with the repeated mention of purchases of wine and of carpet and felt making. These are all local products for which Khotan was already famous in early times.14
That the exactly recorded prices for all kinds of food-stuffs, commodities, and labour are of considerable interest for the economic history of the country does not require to be emphasized.
12 Thus in No. 969 we read of payments made on behalf of monastic dependants to tax-collectors of certain quarters of
the town' (lines I z, 13) ; of payments on account of wine purchased ` for the people ' of certain localities at the request of two shrines (11. 16, 17). In No. 97o we find a record of wine purchased for those engaged in agricultural labour on account of a certain shrine (line 4); entries of payments made to the tax-collector of a certain quarter of the capital
(line 12); a record of the remuneration paid for painting dragons and phoenixes on banners, etc.,"to be used in a town procession (line 17), etc.
'$ See Chavannes, Documents, No. 97r, line 13 ; p. 215, note 6.
14 Cf. Chavannes, Documents, No. 969, II. 5, I I, 16, 17 ; No. 97o, lI. 2, 6 ; Ancient Khotan, i. p. r34.