On August I I had the satisfaction of seeing my heavy convoy of antiques filling ninety-three cases started on its long journey. Tila Bai, in whose care I could trust, was to take it to Sanju, and thence, when the subsiding of the summer flood would allow of further progress in safety, across the glacier pass to Suget on the upper Kara-kâsh, where I hoped to rejoin it. Two days later I left Khotan myself, and, after crossing by boat the Yurung-kâsh, which now rolled its huge summer flood in numerous beds, proceeded through smiling fertile lands and across canals, overflowing with water like rivers, to Kotaz-langar on the south-eastern edge of the oasis.
There next morning I bid farewell to Chiang Ssti-yeh and Badruddin Khan, who both had helped me so manfully through those long hot weeks of trying labour. The services which Badruddin Khan's unfailing care had rendered for my work. ever since my first expedition had proved on many occasions very. valuable, even when I was hundreds of miles away from his cherished Khotan. So it was with great satisfaction that I learned later of their having helped to secure for him the coveted title of ' Khan Sahib' awarded by the Indian Government. It was harder still to part with my devoted Chinese Secretary, the most capable and efficient helper for scholarly work in the field Asia had ever given me. But Sir George Macartney's kindness had secured for him the appointment of Chinese Munshi of the British Consulate General at Kashgar, and I fondly cherished the hope of yet seeing him there again.
The two long marches which followed took us across the barren gravel glacis of the massif of the Tikelik-tagh (18,78o feet triangulated height), overlooking the plains like a huge bastion of the K`un-lun. Above one of the numerous deep ravines, all waterless even at this season, which descend its slopes, I found a strange Mazar known as Kaj5ak-asie (` where the gourd was dropped;' Map No. 28. c. 2). Below the collection of staffs, here hung with hundreds of broken gourds instead of the usual rags, there lies a large boulder covered on its flat top with twenty-two cup-marks of varying sizes, from 5 inches diameter downwards. Within a few yards are found two smaller flat-topped boulders, also bearing cup-marks. Local legend connects the stones with the ` Four Imams ' whose supposed resting-place is venerated at a much-frequented shrine to the north-west of Polur to be presently mentioned. On their way they are said to have halted here and shaped the stones for their drinking-cups. It is highly probable that these cup-marks are of prehistoric origin, and also that we have here another case of local worship of earlier periods surviving in Muhammadan guise.
Cultivation was first met with again in the valley of the Kara-tash River, where a string of hamlets, collectively known as Hâsha:, stretches down the narrow alluvial belt towards Chira (Map No. 28. c. 2). About a mile from the point where the route descends steeply from the stony plateau to the river a narrow tongue of table-land between the Go-jilga ravine and the Kara-tash River bears the remains of what is known as the ` Kane-shahr of Hasha'. It occupies a naturally strong position, protected on all sides by steeply eroded conglomerate cliffs and curiously resembling that of Yar-khoto, but smaller. At about 62o yards' distance from the point where the plateau tongue ends, falling off towards the river in an unscalable precipice, a massive wall runs across it from ravine to ravine, cutting off access. This wall (Fig. 34o) is about 120 yards long and still rises to about 20 feet where best preserved. Though massive, it is but roughly built with courses of water-worn stones from the river-bed, set in clay. Two bastions, at a distance of about 3o yards from either ravine, project from the wall to about 3o feet. Between them the ground has been enclosed with a rough outer wall, about Jo feet thick, forming a kind of outwork about 6o yards long and about 25 yards wide. Within it deep pits dug by Hâsha villagers for manuring soil have