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informs me, are very untrustworthy in their estimates of distances. Allowing a discount of 25 per cent. for this uncertainty, and also for windings of the march, the distance measured on the map may be taken to be about 90 miles. This places Aq Talā Tūz not far to the west of the Qarā Qāsh river, at a distance of about 30 or 40 miles northwards of Khotan city. In favour of this determination it may be noted that the itinerary does not mention the passage of either the Qara Qash or the Yurung Qash rivers. As Islām Akhhun's expedition took place in January, both rivers would have been, at that season, in a very low state: still the total omission of the mention of the passage of either river, if it did take place, would be very strange. The probability, therefore, is that Aq Tala Tuz as well as all the other place mentioned in the itinerary are situated in that part of the Takla Makan desert, which lies to the west of the Qara Qash river, and at a distance from 10 to 20 miles north of the caravan route from Guma to Khotan. At Aq Talā Tōz those nine block-prints are said to have been found which are comprised in M. 7. Of their discovery an exceptionally circumstantial account is given, which must be taken for what it may be worth. As a rule, the only information obtainable about the blockprints was that they were found near Khotan. The finders or the Khotanese merchants from whom they were obtained either could or would give no further information.
or black lake shrine of قره قول مزار خواجه ) At Qara Qöl Mazar
my lord'), where there is said to be "an immense grave-yard in ruins, about 10 miles long" was found by Islam Akhun, in August, 1895, the manuscript M. 1, Set. IV, described and figured by me in my Report in the Journal, As. Soc. Beng., Vol. LXVI, pp. 238 and 253, Plates xviii and xix. It was found simply lying on the sand, probably uncovered by the action of the wind which had blown away the superincumbent sand. When found, it is said to have been "bound between two little wooden boards" in the Indian fashion. These, having been broken on Islam Akhun's journey to Kashghar, where he sold the manuscript to Munshi Ahmad Din for Mr. Macartney, were apparently thrown away by him. This is a pity, as in the present state of our knowledge of these Central Asian manuscripts every means of information is valuable.
At Kök Gumbaz (or 'blue dome') were found by the same Islām Ākhun, in October, 1895, the two manuscripts M. 1, Set. V and M. 1, Set. VI, also described and figured in the same Report, pp. 238 and 253, 254, Plate xx. The latter manuscript is said to have been simply "picked up from the ground" similarly to that (M. 1, Set. IV) found at Qara Qöl Mazar; but the other manuscript
(M. 1, Set, V.) was found, enclosed in the remnants of "an iron box," in a hole situated apparently on the top of a circular platform. According to Islām Akhun's account, he "saw a circular wall of baked bricks three feet high, and at about 15 paces from it, there was another wall, in which a hole plastered over with mud was discovered: in removing this mud, the manuscript was found, contained in the remnant of what once was an iron box." This description reminds one of the similar erections described by Mr. Högberg as having been seen by him in Aq Sapil. To judge from the latter description, which is much more circumstantial, it would seem that what Islām Ākhūn saw were two circular platforms about 3 feet high, the upper surfaces of which were hollowed out to hold relics.
At Kök Gumbaz were further found the manuscripts G. 3, Set III. and the objects comprised in M. 2, Set IV. Captain Godfrey, in a demi-official letter, No. 5208, dated the 15th September, 1897, and addressed to Sir Adelbert Talbot, Resident in Kashmir, gives the following account of the discovery of the manuscripts. They were "enclosed in what seem to be the rotten remnants of a cloth or cotton covering. This I have not attempted to open, since the whole should possibly be carefully steamed in order to prevent the brittle contents breaking up. This work would be best performed by trained hands. One point of interest in connection with it is the alleged fact that it was found along with another manuscript said to have been purchased by Mr. Macartney and transmitted to the Royal Geographical Society in London. They were both brought to Kashghar by a treasure-seeker (apparently Islām Akhun), from whom the majority of the manuscripts have been purchased by Mr. Macartney and Munshi Aḥmad Din. Both-the manuscript above alluded to and that now sent-were wrapped in different bags, and were stuck fast one upon another to a human skull. The site of the discovery was a place called Kök Gumbaz, five days' march from Khotan. This place is seemingly an old graveyard. A small mound of earth was seen there in the middle of the surrounding sand. The treasure-seeker examined this. The dust crumbled away at the touch, and two feet underneath the surface he found the manuscripts and the skull referred to." On receipt of the bag, it was opened by me, and was found to contain two folded sheets, each inscribed on one side. The manuscript, mentioned by Captain Godfrey as having been transmitted to the Royal Geographical Society, is now deposited in the British Museum, as will be seen from the following extract from a
12 In other accounts it is said to be five days' march east of Gama. Both may be correct, for it will be seen from the map, that Kök Gumbaz lies roughly midway between Guma and Khotan, east of the former and north-west of the latter town.
private letter to myself of Mr. Cecil Bendall, dated London, the 1st October, 1897: "I think it may interest you to know that Mr. Macartney sent us here two collections of fragments similar to some of those described by you at pp. 38 ff. (of Extra-copies, corresponding to pp. 250 ff. of my Report in the Journal, As. Soc. Beng., Vol. LXVI). We have (1) "book," very similar to that described by you and figured in your Plate xx. The peg is wood, not metal, but it comes through in about the same part of the leaves, which are very dirty brown paper like yours. The "book" has blank leaves at both ends. The writing is mostly that figured in your Plate xv; but several leaves (apparently occurring at random) are writing in the script of your Plate xvii with those odd ligatures', some of which, I think, must be of Syriac (Nestorian) origin. (2) A few leaves, showing rulings in double lines and folded over. The writing here is certainly of Mongol origin." A comparison of these different accounts suggests that the "mound", in which the skull with its pillow of manuscripts was discovered, is an erection similar to those described by Mr. Högberg and Islām Ākhūn. The exact time when the discovery was made is no where stated. But it is probable that it was made in October, 1896. For with regard to the objects comprising M. 2, Set. IV, Mr. Macartney states that "these images and Chinese coins were found by Islām Ākhun in October, 1896 along with manuscripts." Moreover from Kök Gumbaz, Islām Ākhun appears to have gone on to Qara Yantaq where, in the November following, he dug out the skull with its MSS. pillow which I shall next describe.
At Qara Yantaq (or black thorn') was found, by Islām Akhun in November, 1896, the skull with its MSS.-pillow just referred to. In the same place were found two small horsemen of bronze, some old coins and a large quantity of broken metal. The whole constitutes M. 2, Set I. The story of the discovery, from information given by the discoverer, is thus related by Mr. Macartney in his D. O. letter, No. 58, dated Kashghar, the 31st March, 1897 and addressed to the Resident in Kashmir. "The skull with the manuscript adhering to it was found by him in November, 1896, at Qara Yantaq, situated in the desert at about five days' journey east of Guma. The soil of Qara Yantaq is described to be of loess. Here and there are to be seen, along what must have been once the bed of a river,18 some rushes still rooted in the ground, but withered and blackened by want of moisture and by exposure. At Qara Yantaq, there is one solitary mound, circular in shape, and about 5 feet in diameter and 2 feet in height. The skull with the manuscript adhering to it was discovered on this elevation, and was partially buried.
18 This, as may be seen from the Map, should be the dry bed of the river which flows past Pialma, on the caravan route from Yarkand to Khotan.
The two images of horsemen were dug up from the interior of the mound. The other objects were picked up from the surrounding country." The whole of the find was transmitted to me by Mr. Macartney, especially the skull resting on its bag, exactly as it had been found. On opening the bag, it was found to contain a manuscript book, similar to those found at Kök Gumbaz and Qarā Qöl Mazār, but with its leaves cut in a very peculiar shape. The skull, on examination by Dr. Alcock, Superintendent of the Indian Museum in Calcutta, was found to be of the Mongolian type. The mound in which it and the horsemen were found is no doubt similar to those existing in Kök Gumbaz, Aq Sapil and other places. The combination of the objects found in it would seem to indicate it to be the sepulchral monument of an ancient chieftain. This and the finding of old coins indicates Qara Yantaq to have been a very ancient settlement.
(8) YABU QŪM (or load-ponies' sands ') is said to be situated 50 or 60 miles north-east of Khotan, and is the place where the manuscripts of M. 1, Set III, are said to have been found. These have been described and figured by me in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, Vol. LXVI, pp. 238 and 253, Plate xvii. The exact time of their discovery is not known, but they were purchased from Islām Akhūn, the finder, in July 1896. Probably they were found in the autumn or winter of 1895, about the time when the finds at Qarā Qöl Mazār and Kök Gumbaz were made. Islām Akhun stated that "at Yābū Qūm some ruins of a mud wall are still visible," and that "the manuscripts were found wrapped up in a piece of cloth and mixed up with human bones, the whole lying on some partially exposed boards of a wooden coffin." Putting this together with what we know of the circumstances of the finds at Aq Sapil, Kök Gumbaz and Qarā Yantāq, it may be concluded that the "mud wall" belonged to one of those circular mounds, and that the "human bones may have been the fragments of a skull, which had rested on the wrappedup manuscripts. As to the real nature of the boards of the so-called "wooden coffin," it is premature to make any conjecture. It appears. to me probable that the manuscript sheet G. 3, Set I, was also found at Yabu Qum. For that manuscript is said (in Captain Godfrey's demiYābū official letter, No. 5208, dated the 15th September 1897, and addressed to the Resident in Kashmir) to have been found "at a place 50 or 60 miles north-east of Khotan in the midst of the Takla Makan desert; and Yābū Qūm is also said "to be situated at 50 or 60 miles northeast of Khotan in the midst of the Takla Makan desert" (see my
14 Mr. Bäcklund suggests that the name marks a spot where a caravan was lost in the sands.
Report in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal). It may however, also have come from Dandan Uiliq, which, to judge from the bearings and distance given of it (as may be seen from the Map) cannot be very far distant from Yābū Qūm.
Kān Tūz or 'salt
(9) KIANG TUZ (perhaps incorrect for j mine') is said to be a place situated about 150 miles east of Khotan, on the road to Charchan. Here the eight block-print books, comprised in M. 8, are said to have been found by Islām Ākhūn; but this information requires to be received cum grano salis.
(10) DANDAN UILIQ.
(14) SULTAN WAIS QIRAN.
None of these six places are specifically mentioned as spots where any of the objects comprised in the British Collection have been found, though some of the objects of which the exact find-place is not stated may have come from one or the other of them. All six are stated to be places which are frequented by treasure-seekers from Khotan. They are described by Mr. Macartney in a Note, attached to his demiofficial letter, No. 121, dated Kashghar, the 21st July, 1897, as follows: DANDAN UILIQ (tis or Ivory House'), at about 6 days' journey north-east of Khotan; the remains of a Bazar, half-buried in sand, is said to be here, the stalls, which contain piece-goods, crumbling to dust at the touch, being still visible. The ruins of a Serai, But-khāna (or idol-house') and a Mill can also be discerned. Being situated right in the desert, it is considered to be a difficult place to reach. There is no water on the way; but water may be found at the place itself by digging at the foot of a solitary tree which is still green. Discoveries: manuscripts, tea, weaving machines, coins, hakik and lajwar stones, and pearls.
IMĀM APTAḤ MAZĀR (poor Shrine of Imām Aftaḥ or Aptaḥ, one of Khalif 'Omar's men), about 14 miles north-west of Khotan; inhabited. Discoveries: seals, money, and hakik stones.
KHITAI UILIQ (or Chinese House') said to be situated about 1 march north of Khotan, near the Aksu road. It appears that
the ruins of a few houses are extant here.
QOTAZ LANGAR (jor resting place of yaks'); on the Khotan-Polu road, at about 11 march from the Khotan city. The place is described as situated in the midst of sand-hills and inhabited by two families. Discoveries: manuscripts and gold coins.
perhaps the name of a سلطان, ويس قران ( SULTAN I WAS I QIRAN
Governor); one march north-east of Khotan.
scripts, silver hooks, coins, aud one wooden idol.