« السابقةمتابعة »
also visited by Mr. Macartney in the spring of the same year. In his demi-official letter, No. 121, dated 21st July, 1897, he states that “It is a largely populated village about 5 miles west of the Khotan Chinese city. Some gold ornaments, beads, precious stones (diamonds and hakik) and terracotta images have been discovered there.” In a private letter, dated the 20th October, 1897, Mr. Macartney informs me that when he visited Borazān, he “found a number of villagers engaged in digging into the side of a loess cliff, the lower portion of which visibly contained a large quantity of broken pottery, bones and decomposed vegetable matter. The stratum in which the excavations were being made was about 12 feet below the level of the present village. The layer which lies immediately above this formation, and on which stands the village, is also of loess; but it is noteworthy that this upper layer shows no streaks or stratification, a fact which points to the conclusion that the deposit was formed during one single flood. Geologically speaking, therefore, there appears nothing furnishing an indication of the time during which the lower stratum had been covered. I enquired of the villagers whether there was any tradition about Borazān having once been destroyed by flood; but no information could be elicited on this point. They knew nothing about it.” Mr. Bäcklund, however, informs me, in a letter, dated the 10th October, 1898, that “Borazan is said to have been a large town with forty gates, which was conquered by a Rustam who burnt it and led a rivulet into the place. These things are said to have taken place before the Moslim time.” He adds that “the town in the place seen by me is now buried under the mud up to 25-30 feet, as it seemed to me. It is a findplace for clay images. We also found there a bone, measuring 16.75" in circumference. Whether it be a bone from a yak or an elephant, we could not judge.” Most of the pottery, coins and other miscellaneous objects, comprised in M. 2 and M. 3, are believed by Mr. Macartney to come from Borazān, while the similar objects, comprised in M. 6, are stated by Mr. Högberg, from whom they were acquired, to have been dug out in that place. It appears to me most probable that Borazãn marks the ancient site of the town of Khotan. At the present day Khotan lies close to the left bank of the Yürung Qăsh (or white jade') river, and apparently about 8 or 10 miles to the east of the Qarā Qash (or black jade') river. In olden times, however, it seems to have occupied a site nearly midway between those two rivers. According to the Geography of the Ming dynasty (from 1368 A.D.) the Yürung Qāsh flowed 30 li, or 6 miles East of Khotan, and the Qarā Qāsh, 27 li or 5 miles West of that town. According to other Chinese estimates the distance from the Yürung Qāsh to Khotan was only 20 li or 4 miles.7 Anyhow, in those days Khotan appears to have stood on a site lying about 4-6 miles West of its present one, and therefore coincident with the sit of Borazān, which is said to be “about 5 miles west of Khotan.”
8 See Abel Remusat's Histoire de la Ville de Khotan, p. 112 ; also p. 19.
(2) AQ Sapic or AQ Saric (cluem ut " white battlements "), an uninhabited place in the desert, was visited by Messrs. Högberg and Bäcklund in the summer of 1897. It lies about 20 miles north-east of Khotan. From this place was procured in the summer of 1896 a number of coins and miscellaneous objects of metal and glass, comprised in M. 2, Set II, as well as the manuscripts, comprising M. 1, Set II. A description of these manuscripts, together with facsimile specimens, has been published by me in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, vol. LXVI, pp. 237 and 251, 252. The coins include some of the curious ancient bilingual (Chinese and Kharõşthi) ones, which are referred to by me in my Presidential Address in the Proceedings of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, for 1898, p. 69. As these are referable to the 1st and 2nd centuries A.D. (see below pp. 10–15), they indicate Aq Sapil to be a very ancient site. Turki and Chinese coins of the early middle ages were also found here. Among the miscellaneous objects are several old metal seals, a small metal figure of Buddha in meditation, and broken pieces of glass. The following notes, made by Mr. Macartney from Mr. Högberg's account of his visit, are of much interest: “Ag Sapil is a town or rather the remains of a town in the Takla Makan desert. It is one day's journey north-east of Khotan, to be reached through the oasis of Hangni.8 Before coming to Hangni village, the remains of an old city may be seen. On leaving Hangni, the traveller is at once in the midst of sand dunes which rise from 10 to 30 feet high. Between Hangni and Aq Sapil, the sites of two other ancient cities may be soen, evidenced by the fragments of pottery and bones on the ground. At this portion of the route, Mr. Högberg picked up a few old seals and coins. As Aq Sapil itself is reached, the remains of an irrigation canal are noticeable, which canal must have once carried water to the city and the surrounding country. It is from 8 to 10 feet broad and, in places not choked up by sand, rather deep. At Aq Sapil the
7 See ibidem, pp. 21, 30.
8 The real approximate distance (about 20 miles) may be judged from the following account of his tour by Mr. Bäcklund. “Mr. Högberg and I started from Hangni at 5 o'clock in the morning, and arrived at Aq Sapil at 10 or 11 o'clock, having marched slowly partly because we crossed places covered with pottery, and partly because of the soft high sand dunes. At Aq Sapil we wandered about for a while, took some food, and returned to Hangni. Having taken some rest there, we started for Khotan, where we arrived a little before midnight, the same day, having then had rather a strong march.”
remains of the city wall are still extant. The wall is from 10 to 12 feet high, and is made of square unburnt bricks (20 x 20 x 4 inches). On most of these bricks one of the following marks is to be found, 9-4-4-4,9 Other bricks, again, have on them the prints of the buman foot. The section of the wall is shown in Woodcut No. 1.
Only about 25 feet of the wall can now
be seen. About the middle of it there INSIDE
is an opening which must have been once
occupied by a gate. The ground out6'
side the wall is trough-shaped, and shows
that Aq Sapil was once surrounded by a ..12.
ditch. Near the gate and on the further
side of the ditch, the remains of two towers (stūpas ?) are visible. They are filled with sand inside, and made of earth on the outer side. Regarding the interior of the city the remark. able thing is that although no houses are left, yet the thoroughfares and the places where the houses had once been can be easily distinguished on whatever spot has not been overwhelmed by the sand.10 The ground occupied by the streets is particularly hard owing to its having formerly been constantly trodden upon, and the same observation applies to the interior of the liouses, but the comparatively soft soil on which the house walls stood has been scooped out and forms a hollow. This curious fact may possibly be attributed to the action of sandstorms which have had less corroding effect on the trodden ground than on the once wall-protected soil. The whole of the interior of the city, where it is not covered with sand, is overstrewn with fragments of pottery. The ground at one spot has the form of a couple of reversed amphitheatres, there being two elevated circular stands, slightly hollowed ont like ponds, surrounded by terraces descending in widening circles. This is illustrated by Woodcut No. 2. Treasure-seekers would
appear to have worked a great
deal amongst the debris of Aq οπουλα
Sapil as evidenced by the heaps of sifted earth, which may be seen here and there." The exact spot where the manuscripts M. 1, Set II were found by Islām Akhūn is not known. It is only stated that “the MSS.
9 These letters might be Kharõşthī, and might mean da-di-de-sa.
10 By way of illustration I may qnote Dr. Bellew's description of the sand. buried “city of Nucta Rashid about 36 miles south-east of Yangi Hişār: “ It
were found wrapped up in a piece of woollen cloth and buried in about 3 feet of earth.” To judge, however, from the circumstances in which manuscripts were found at Kök Gumbaz and at Qarā Yāntāq, it is not impossible that the manuscripts M. 1, Set II, were actually dug out from the hollow of one of the two mounds described by Mr. Högberg. (3) AQ TALĀ TŪz.
The position of these (4) Qara Qöl MAZĀR (KJÕJAM). five places may be approxi. (5) QARĀ TĀGH AGHĀZI.
mately determined from the (6) QARĀ YANTÃQ.
following itinerary of Islām (7) KÖK GUMBAZ
Ākhūn, which he gave to Mr. Macartney. He stated that on one of his search-expeditions he started from Guma which lies about 100 miles W. N. W. of Khotan. Leaving that town, “with two other men, about the beginning of January (apparently 1898) and travelling in a generally easterly direction, he came to Qarā Qöl (Joj ga lit. black lake') where there is a salt water lake covered with reeds. Qarā Qöl is reached from Guma in one march (say 12 miles), the intervening ground being through cultivation. Qarā Qöl itself is not inhabited. A Mazār (or shrine') may however, be seen there. From Qarā Qöl, Islām Ākhūn went for about 20 miles in a south-easterly direction through the sands to Qarā Tāgh Aghāzi (isildi ¿li Yoj or 'master of the black mountain '), a village surrounded by sand and having about 45 houses. Water had to be carried on a donkey from Qarā Tāgh Aghāzi. After three days' march (say 21 miles) in the desert, in a generally easterly direction, Kök Gumbaz was reached. After another march of about 8 miles going in the same direction, and over sandy ground covered with withered reeds, Islām Akhūn arrived at Qarā Yāntāq, where the remains of an ancient town were
The walls were no longer visible, but the place where they once stood was still distinguishable. These traces extended in all directions for a long way, and evidently Qarā Yāntāq had once been the site of a large town. The remains of an old canal of about two yards wide were also noticed. There is a tradition that Qarā Yāntāq was inhabited by Hindis (the name by which Buddhists are generally called in Chinese Turkestan), and that they were converted to Muhammadanism by one Mirzā Aba Bakri. A Tazkira of this person is in the hands of an Imām named Sadiq Ākhūn, now living at Qarā Tāgh Aghāzi. From Qarā Māntāg, Islām Ākhūn went about 60 miles east over sand dunes, and came to
presents nothing to view but the outlines of the foundations of rampart walls and bastions, now mostly buried by the drifting sand. Here and there, where the sands have been swept away by the winds, the surface is strewed with fragments of pottery and glass." (Report of a Mission to Yarkand in 1873, p. 129).
Aq Talā. Tūz, where a number of books were found. Talā Tūz (jei ali or 'white salt-hill') the remains of mud walls were extensively seen, whilst the ground was found to be strewn with pieces of old iron, fragments of pottery, and bits of wood. There was only one house which had the roof on, and that was half buried in the sand which was heaped up against it at
As the door was not visible, a hole was made on one of the exposed sides. This done, Takhtāsh, one of Islām Ākhūn's companions, crept in, and found himself in a small room of about three yards square. This room was considerably filled with sand, so much so that it was impossible for a person to stand up in it without his head touching the ceiling. Takhtāsh found the books while digging in the sand. There were many other books, but these were in such a dilapidated condition that they crumbled to pieces on being handled. Islām Ākhūn was too frightened to inspect the interior of the honse himself. At Aq Talā Tūz water was found by digging about a yard into the ground.” This account, of course, must be taken quantum valeat ; but there is nothing intrinsically improbable in the local de. scriptions, and the distances fairly agree with those given of the same places at other times. Whether the discoveries of books said to have been made in Aq Talā Tūz, were really made, is a quite different question. The description of this place and of Qarā Yāntāq fairly agrees with that given by Mr. Högberg of Aq Sapil. The distance between Guma and Kök Gumbaz, by this itinerary which was related to Mr. Macartney in February, 1898, should be about 5 or 6 marches. The same distance was mentioned to Mr. Macartney in October, 1896, in connection with the find of M.], Set V, when Kök Gumbaz was " said to be 5 days' march east of Guma." (See my Report in the Journal, Asiatic Society Bengal, Vol. LXVI, p. 238.) At that time, M. 1, Set IV, is stated to have been found in Qarā Qöl Mazār Khojam, which is said to be situated “in the desert at 50 miles east of Guma (see ibidem, p. 238). There can hardly be a doubt that this place is identi. cal with the Qarā Qöl of the itinerary, where a Mazār is stated to exist. There, however, it is, said to be only one day's march from Guma. I am disposed to believe that the earlier report contains a mistake; for 50 miles probably 5 miles should be read, which would be about one day's march.11 The distance, by the itinerary, between Guma and Aq Talā Tūz is about 119 miles. Natives of Turkestan, as Mr. Bäcklund
11 Can this be identical with the "ancient city" which Dr. Sven Hedin visited from the village of Maji, at a distance of about 24 miles north-east of the caravangerai (see p. 736 in his book Through Asia)? The ruins there are said to have consisted principally of a number of tombs” (mazār).
J. I. 3