Translated and annotated by
The Uighur Empire, whose capital was at Karabalghasun on the upper Orkhon River in Mongolia, occupied a significant place in Inner Asian history between 744 and 840 CE. In a pattern similar to that of earlier and later nomadic confederations on the northern frontiers of China, the Turkic Uighurs intervened actively in Chinese affairs and received substantial payments of silk and other valuables from the Chinese. Another similarity between the Uighurs and other northern nomads was their apparent openness to “religions of the book.” In the case of the Uighurs this resulted in conversion to Manicheism, an event that was undoubtedly connected with the favor that Sogdian merchants enjoyed at the Uighur court. The Sogdians must have contributed substantially to the prosperity of the Uighur capital, which an Arab visitor around the year 820 described as a city of some consequence. Yet within two decades, their empire collapsed and they were driven west. Their descendants settled along the northern edge of the Tarim Basin and across the T'ien Shan Mountains, where they would flourish down into the period of the Mongol Empire. The Uighur cities there have left us important artistic and archaeological evidence of the cultural and economic interaction that was the Silk Road, some of which may be viewed in the Turfan Collection of Berlin’s Museum of Indian Art.
The Chinese histories are the single most important source of information for writing a dated narrative of Uighur history. They follow a tradition of documenting in detail the relations between China and its northern neighbors, starting centuries earlier in the time of the Han Dynasty. Since those relations frequently were hostile and the parties were culturally dissimilar, the Chinese written record filters events through the distorting lens of a sense of Chinese superiority whether or not in reality the Chinese always had the upper hand. The Chinese relied on the nomads for cavalry horses, and, in the case of the T’ang in the middle of the 8th century, for military support critical to the dynasty’s survival. The text translated here therefore provides abundant details of military interventions, the payment of tribute, diplomatic missions, and dynastic marriages. It is as well a rich source about Uighur customs and ceremonial.
Of particular importance during this period was the rebellion of An Lu-Shan, an ethnic Sogdian and successful general in Chinese service, who turned against the dynasty in 755, captured its eastern capital Lo-yang, and briefly held Ch’ang-an, the western capital and major city of the empire. Uighur military assistance was critical to the suppression of the rebellion but came at a heavy price both in the short-term looting of Chinese cities by the assisting army and then the longer term supplying of the Uighurs with expensive goods. The Uighur intervention in Chinese affairs in this period coincided with the peak of Uighur power, consolidated under the khaghans Mo-yen-ch’o and his son and successor (in 759), Mou-yü. The latter adopted Manichaeism and proclaimed it his state religion; it was in his time that Sogdian influence seems to have become dominant at the Uighur court. The T’ang quickly discovered that the Uighurs were as ready to ally with rebellious forces as they were to suppress them. Furthermore, these erstwhile allies were happy to take advantage of their strong hand to squeeze the Chinese for what the latter considered to be outrageous prices for military horses.
The politics of the period were further complicated by an expanding Tibetan Empire. Its hostility toward the Uighurs tended to drive the latter into closer relations with the T’ang, who themselves lost substantial territories to Tibet. The military struggles against Tibet and internal discord substantially weakened the Uighur state toward the end of the 8th century, and its revival early in the 9th century under Pao-i Khaghan was short-lived.
* * *
Of the two major Chinese narrative sources dealing with the history of the Uighurs and their relations with the T’ang, the “New T’ang History” or Hsin T’ang-shu (in contrast to the “Old Tan’g History or Chiu T’ang-shu) treats the subject more broadly and draws on the largest number of sources even if it does not always include the same level of detail. The text here is reproduced with permission by Prof. Mackerras from his The Uighur Empire According to the T’ang Dynastic Histories: A Study in Sino-Uighur Relations 744-840 (Columbia, South Carolina: University of South Carolina Press, 1972). In that volume, he published parallel translations of both T’ang texts, introduced them with an extended essay on the Uighurs and their relations with the T’ang, and provided very extensive footnotes regarding the accuracy of the texts, the dramatis personae, and much more. Professor Mackerras has based his translation off the standard Po-na edition of the Hsin T’ang-shu while his notes draw from both the latter and other Chinese histories. My brief introduction relies on Prof. Mackerras’ book and on his beautifully written compact survey of Uighur history, Chapter 12 in The Cambridge History of Early Inner Asia, ed. Denis Sinor (Cambridge etc.: Cambridge University Press, 1990).
The relatively few dates within the “New T’ang History” are given here in their Common Era (CE) equivalents in parentheses. The dates in brackets have been established by Prof. Mackerras on the basis of other sources, but I have omitted his source references. I have included only a small number of his notes, in some instances interpolating his explanatory phrases into the text itself in brackets. This selection from much lengthier footnotes highlights information about historical and cultural context which should be of particular value to those who have a general interest in the Silk Road. Unless otherwise indicated, the notes are Prof. Mackerras’ words, but with editorial omissions marked by elipses. An explanation of the unwieldy appellations for the Uighur rulers may be found in the appended “List of the Tang and Uighur Rulers.” Specialists will need to consult Prof. Mackerras’ book for further details and references. Transliteration from the Chinese follows the Wade-Giles system.
— Daniel C. Waugh
Translation and notes © 2004 Colin Mackerras (C.Mackerras@griffith.edu.au)
Introduction © 2004 Daniel C. Waugh (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The material is provided here for non-profit educational purposes. Requests for re-publication and/or for-profit use should be addressed to the copyright holders.
A PROCLAMATION came [746 CE] from the court appointing [the Uighur ruler] as Ku-tu-lu p’i-chia ch’üeh ‘Huai-jen’ [‘cherishing benevolence to the emperor’] Khaghan.
At the Grand Audience Hall the guards of honour were standing guard. The President of the Department of the Grand Imperial Secretariat summoned the ambassador to his office and gave him the document of appointment. The ambassador went out of the gate [of the Grand Imperial Secretariat] and mounted an imperial chariot which took him to a gate of the Imperial City. There he descended from the chariot and horses, and walked with his pennants and emblems of office preceding him. Whenever a khaghan was appointed, this ritual was invariably followed.
The following years (745), [Ku-1i] p’ei-lo [the Uighur khaghan] also attacked and killed the T’u-chüeh(1) khaghan, Po-mei, and sent Tun Ch’olo ta-kan to court to offer tribute [26/IV/745]. The emperor appointed P’ei-lo as the Auxiliary Grand General of the Left Brave Guards, and enlarged his territory in width and breadth. The eastern extremity was [the territory of] the Shih-wei, the western, the Altai Mountains, and the southern controlled the Gobi Desert, so it covered the entire territory of the ancient Hsiung-nu.(2)
P’ei-lo died, and his son, Mo-yen-ch’o, ascended the throne under the name of Ko-le Khaghan. He was roguish and prompt in action, and skilled in the command of soldiers. Every year he sent ambassadors to court.
Su-tsung ascended the throne [12/VIII/756]. Ambassadors came to court asking leave to help in the fight against Lu-shan.(3) The emperor issued an edict that the Prefectural Prince of Tun-huang, Ch’eng-shen,(4) should make a pact with [the Uighurs], and further ordered P’u-ku Huai-en(5) to accompany the prince to receive their soldiers. The khaghan was pleased at this, so he adopted his khatun's younger sister as his daughter and gave her to Ch’eng-shen as a bride. [At the same time] he sent his great chiefs to court to seek a diplomatic marriage. The emperor, wishing to confirm his loyal feelings, immediately enfeoffed the barbarian's daughter as P’i-chia Princess.
Immediately after this, the khaghan himself acted as general, and, // [p. 57] uniting with the Military Governor of Shuo-fang, Kuo Tzu-i,(6) fought [7/XII/756] the T’ung-lo(7) and various other tribes, defeating them on the banks of the Yellow River.
The khaghan had had a meeting with Tzu-i [4/XII/75] in the Hu-yen Valley. Relying on his strength, he had drawn up his soldiers, and had made Tzu-i pay respect to his wolf pennons, before he would see him.
The emperor was in temporary residence at P’eng-yüan. Now a [Uighur] ambassador, Ko-lo-chih, was ashamed of his low rank at the court, so the emperor, not wishing him to feel offended, invited him up to his hall, and consoled him before sending him away [25/I-22/II/757].
Grand General To-lan and others were sent soon after to court, and the heir apparent [of the Uighur khaghan], Yeh-hu,(8) acted himself as general for 4,000 cavalry, who were coming to be at the emperor's disposal. The emperor accordingly appointed P’i-chia Princess as Chief Consort of the Prince [Ch’eng-shen], and promoted Ch’eng-shen to the position of President of the Court of the Imperial Clan. The khaghan also enfeoffed Ch’eng-shen as ayeh-hu, and gave him four banners, ordering him to share the generalship with his own Yeh-hu. The emperor ordered the Prince of Kuang-p’ing to see Yeh-hu and to swear brotherhood with him. Yeh-hu was very pleased, and sent his leaders, ta-kan and others on in advance to Fu-feng and to see Tzu-i. Tzu-i gave them all a banquet and drink for three days. Yeh-hu wanted to decline saying, “The state is facing many difficulties. If we are to help fight the rebels, how can we dare to feast?” However, [Tzu-i] insisted upon it, so they stayed.
Once they were on the march they were given daily rations of twenty cattle, two hundred sheep, and forty hu(9) of rice.
The armies for the battle of Hsiang-chi(10) were drawn up on the banks of the Feng River [13/XI/75]. Some of the rebels were lying cunningly in wait, having ridden to the left of the imperial army, and were about to make a surprise attack on us. P’u-ku Huai-en signalled the Uighurs to ride up quickly, and they completely exterminated those that had lain in // [p. 59] ambush. Then, coming behind the rebels, together with the Military Governor of Chen-hsi and Pei-t’ing, Li Ssu-yeh, they sandwiched them [between Ssu-yeh’s army and themselves]. The rebels suffered a great defeat and the imperial forces advanced and retook Ch’ang-an [14/XI/75].
Huai-en led the hordes of Uighurs, southern barbarians, and Arabs to surround the capital, then they went south and camped east of the Ch’an River. They advanced and camped west of Shan-chou. There was a battle at Hsin-tien [30/XI/757].
Before the battle, the Uighurs had arrived in Ch’ü-wo, from where Yeh-hu had sent General Pi-shih t’u-po p’ei-lo along the side of a southern mountain, emerging in the east in search of some rebels who were lying in wait in the valley. He had destroyed them and then camped to the north of the mountain. Tzu-i and others had a battle with the rebels, and our whole army pursued them. Then there was confusion and [our forces] retreated. The Uighurs saw from a distance what was happening, and, crossing immediately over the western slopes, with their banners behind them, they hastened towards the rebels and emerged at their rear. The rebels turned and looked round. Thereupon there was a great deal of scattering, pursuing, and fleeing for several tens of li.(11) Men and horses were falling over and trampling on one another. The dead were innumerable, and the weapons of war, had they been collected together, would have been like a hill.
Yen Chuang, forcing An Ch’ing-hsü(12) to go with him, abandoned [1/XI/757] the Eastern Capital [Lo-yang] and went north, fording the Yellow River.
The Uighurs pillaged the Eastern Capital savagely for three days. Evil men led them around and the treasure-houses were stripped bare. The Prince of Kuang-p’ing wanted to stop them but could not. However, the elders [of the city] bribed the Uighurs with enormous quantities of silken fabric and embroidery and got them to discontinue the pillage.
[After it was all over] Yeh-hu returned to the capital. The emperor sent his officials to greet him in Ch’ang-lo. The emperor was sitting in the // [p. 61] Grand Audience Hall. He invited Yeh-hu to mount the steps and had the chiefs sit below. He gave them a banquet and rewarded them. To each man he gave embroidered, many-coloured silken fabrics and utensils. Yeh-hu kowtowed and said, “I shall leave some soldiers at Sha-yüan and I, your subject, shall return for provender and horses in order to retake Fan-yang and to stamp out the remaining robbers completely.” The emperor said, “On my behalf you have exerted your righteous bravery to its utmost, and it is owing to your strength that we have achieved a great work.”
An edict was issued [30/XII/757] that he should be promoted to be a Director of Public Works,(13) that he should be given the title of ‘Chung-i’ [‘loyal and righteous’] Prince and an annual present of 20,000 rolls of silk, and should send an ambassador to the Shuo-fang Army to receive this gift. // [p. 63]
In the first year of Ch’ien-yüan (758), the Uighur ambassador To-yen a-po, together with some Abbasid(14) Arab chiefs, including a certain Ko-chih, all came to court [11/VI/758]. They struggled over who should go in first, so the official in charge sent them in at the same time through different gates.
Another ambassador came begging for a marriage [between the Uighur khaghan and a Chinese princess] and the emperor granted it. He married one of his young daughters, the Princess of Ning-kuo, [to the Uighur khaghan] and, at the same time, invested [31/VIII/758] Mo-yen-ch’o as ‘Ying-wu wei-yüan’ [‘brave and warlike, aweing the distant lands’] p’i-chia Khaghan.
He issued an edict [25/VIII/758] that the Prefectural Prince of Hanchung, Yü, should temporarily have the rank of President of the Censorate, and be the Commissioner Who Appoints and Names [the Khaghan]; that one of the imperial clan, the Right Secretary, Sun, should combine with his own office that of Vice President of the Censorate and act as Commissioner for the Rites and Entertainments, and, in addition, act as deputy to Yü; and that the Right Vice President of the Department of Affairs of State, P’ei Mien, should escort them to the frontier.
The emperor gave a farewell for the princess [1/IX/758]and accordingly went to Hsien-yang, repeatedly consoling and encouraging her. She wept saying, “Our state is just now beset with many troubles. Even if I should die, I shall not regret going.”
When Yü arrived among the barbarians, the khaghan was sitting in his // [p. 65] tent dressed in a barbarian hat and an ochre robe. His insignia and bodyguards were splendid and majestic. They led Yü before him and stood him outside the tent. [The khaghan] asked him, saying, “Prince, what relation are you to the Heavenly Khaghan?”(15) Yü said, “We are cousins.” Now, at this time a eunuch, Lei Ling-chün, was standing above Yü. [The khaghan] once again asked, “Who is it who is standing above you, the prince?” Yü said, “It is a eunuch.” The khaghan said, “A eunuch is only a slave, and is he, despite this, standing above you, who are of royal birth?” Ling-chün hastened to make himself lower.
After that they led Yü into the tent, but he would not bow. The khaghan said, “When one sees the ruler of a state, according to the rites, one should certainly bow.” Yü said, “The Son of Heaven has condescended to notice that the khaghan has merit, and he is cementing the friendship by sending his beloved daughter. Recently, when China has made marriages with the barbarians, in every case it has been merely a member of the imperial clan. Now the [Princess of] Ning-kuo is actually the jade daughter of the emperor. She is virtuous and of becoming appearance, and has come 10,000 li to marry you. The khaghan is to be the son-in-law of the Son of Heaven. He ought to know something of the rites. How does he squat while receiving such an edict from the emperor?” The khaghan was ashamed, stood up to receive the edict and bowed to receive his appointment.
The following day the princess was honoured as the khatun. All the things which Yü had brought as presents the khaghan gave to the ministers and chiefs of his court. When Yü was returning home, he presented him with 500 horses, sable furs, white cotton,(16) and other things.
Thereupon [the khaghan] sent the prince, Prince Ku-ch’o, Chief Minister Ti-te, and others leading 3,000 cavalry to help China fight against the rebels. The emperor accordingly ordered P’u-ku Huai-en to take command of them. // [p. 67]
[The Uighurs] also sent their great chief, General Kai, and three ladies to thank the emperor for the marriage. At the same time they reported the achievement of having destroyed some Kirghiz.(17)
The following year (759), Ku-ch’o and the nine military governors fought a battle near Hsiang-chou [7/IV/759] and the government forces were scattered. Ti-te and the rest fled to the capital [arrived 19/IV/759], where the emperor gave them generous presents and consoled them. Then they returned home.
Soon after, the khaghan died.
The people of the state wanted the princess to be buried with him, but she said, “Among the Chinese, when a woman's husband dies, she mourns for him morning and evening. The period is three years, and that completes the ritual. The Uighur [khaghan] contracted the marriage over 10,000 li, so // [p. 69] he must basically have admired China, and I cannot therefore be buried with him.” At that they stopped [trying to persuade her]. However, she slashed her face and wept, and thus also followed their customs.(18) Afterwards, since she had no sons, she obtained permission to return home.
Yeh-hu, the heir apparent, had died before this, following a crime he had committed, so the next son, I-ti-chien, ascended the throne under the name of Mou-yü Khaghan. His wife was the daughter of P’u-ku Huai-en. She had been granted to him as a wife by the emperor when the khaghan [Mo-yen-ch’o] had asked for a marriage alliance for his younger son. At this point she became khatun.
The following year (760), [the khaghan] sent the high official Chü-lu mo-ho(19) ta-kan and others to court. They inquired together after the Princess [of Ning-kuo]. They sent men in to have audience in the Yen-ying Hall.
When Tai-tsung came to the throne [18/V/762], Shih Ch’ao-i had still not been destroyed, so he sent the eunuch Liu Ch’ing-t’an to [the Uighurs] to renew their alliance, and also to get them to send out soldiers. By the time the ambassador arrived [23/IX-21/X/762], the Uighurs had already been allured by Ch’ao-i, who had said that the T’ang had been repeatedly in mourning, and that the state had no ruler and was in chaos. He had asked the Uighurs to enter China and seize the treasuries, the wealth of which was unlimited. The khaghan had immediately led his armies and gone south. This was in the eighth month of the first year of Pao-ying (24/VIII-22/IX/762). When Ch’ing-t’an, bringing the edict with him, arrived at his camp, the khaghan said, “People have been saying // [p. 71] that the T’ang has been destroyed. How can it still have embassies?” Ch’ing-t’an replied on its behalf, “Although the former emperor passed away, the Prince of Kuang-p’ing has already ascended the throne as Son of Heaven. His benevolence and wisdom, his bravery and his warlike prowess are in the same class as those of the late emperor. He was the one who fought side by side with Yeh-hu, recaptured the two capitals and defeated An Ch’ing-hsü. He has cherished a close friendship with the khaghan ever since. Moreover the T’ang has made annual gifts of silken fabrics and raw silk to the Uighurs. How can you have forgotten this?”
At this time the Uighurs had already passed the Three Fortresses. They had seen that the prefectures and subprefectures were overgrown with thorny bushes and weeds, and that the beacon-towers, fortresses, and defences were unmanned, and they came to hold the T’ang in contempt. Thereupon they sent ambassadors north to seize soldiers, granaries, and armouries in Shan-yü Protectorate, and they frequently spoke insultingly to Ch’ing-t’an. Ch’ing-t’an secretly informed the emperor that 100,000 Uighur troops were moving towards the border.
The court was shaken and afraid, and so the emperor sent the Director of the Department of the Imperial Household Service, Yao Tzu-ang, to go and meet them, to receive them and also to observe their armies carefully. He met them in T’ai-yüan and secretly ascertained that their soldiers were scarcely 4,000, their young and weak more than 10,000, their horses 40,000, and that they were accompanied by the khatun. The emperor ordered Huai-en to have a meeting with the Uighur [khaghan] who accordingly sent an embassy [12/X/762] with a memorial for the emperor begging permission to help the Son of Heaven in the war against the rebels.
The [khaghan of the] Uighurs wanted to enter P’u Pass, march straight to Sha-yüan and then go east. Tzu-ang tried to dissuade him, saying, “Since the trouble and disorder began, the prefectures and subprefectures have been ravaged and empty. We will not be able to find enough to feed // [p. 73] our armies. Furthermore, the rebels are in the Eastern Capital.(20) If we enter Ching-hsing, and take Hsing-chou, Ming-chou, Wei-chou, and Huai-chou, we can seize the produce and treasuries of the rebels and then beat our drums down to the south. That is the best plan.” [The khaghan] did not listen. Tzu-ang said, “If that is the case, then let us hasten to take the road through Huai-chou and the T’ai-hang, go south and occupy Ho-yang and seize the rebels by the throat.” Again [the khaghan] would not listen. [Tzu-ang] said, “Let us eat the millet in the T’ai-yüan Granary(21) and camp on the right in Shan-chou. Let us unite with the soldiers of Tse-chou, Lu-chou, Ho-nan, Huai-chou, and Cheng-chou.” The Uighur [khaghan agreed to] follow this suggestion.
The emperor issued a decree that the Prince of Yung(22) should become Generalissimo over the infantry and cavalry of the empire, and promoted [6/XI/762] Tzu-ang to combine with his own office that of Vice President of the Censorate. He ordered that he and the General of the Right Yü-lin Guards, Wei Chü, should become the Battle Commanders of the Right and Left Wings, that the Secretary of the Department of the Grand Imperial Secretariat, Wei Shao-hua, should become Assistant to the Generalissimo, and that the Vice President of the Censorate, Li Chin, should become a Superior Administrator of the Expeditionary Army.
They went east to meet the Uighurs. On imperial orders [issued 7/XI/762] the Generalissimo went on ahead as the forward guard of all the armies and met the various military governors in Shan-chou. At that time the khaghan was encamped to the north of Shan-chou and the prince went to see him [c.12/XI/762]. The khaghan upbraided the prince for not performing a ceremonial dance. Tzu-ang made an excuse saying, “When the state is in mourning for two emperors, the heir of an emperor and the grandson of an emperor cannot in propriety possibly perform a ceremonial dance.” The Uighur courtiers questioned him saying, “The khaghan has the status of a younger brother of the T’ang Son of Heaven and of the uncle of the prince. How could he possibly not perform // [p. 75] a ceremonial dance?” Tzu-ang firmly resisted him and said, “The Generalissimo is the heir-apparent of the T’ang. He is to be lord over the Middle Kingdom, and yet you expect him to perform a ceremonial dance when he sees a khaghan?” The Uighur ruler and ministers, judging that they would be unable to make him yield, immediately had Tzu-ang, Chin, Shao-hua, and Chü led away and given 100 strokes of the rod. Shao-hua and Chü died within the evening. The prince returned to his camp. The officials and the army, considering that the prince had been insulted, were going to unite to punish the Uighurs, but since the rebels had not yet been destroyed, the prince stopped them.
Thereupon, Huai-en went on ahead [13/XI/762] with the Left sha of the Uighurs. Ch’ao-i sent out a spy, but the Left sha caught him and gave him as a gift to the emperor. Together with the various generals, they attacked the rebels [20/XI/762]. They had a battle on the banks of the Heng River and routed them, then they advanced and reoccupied the Eastern Capital.
The khaghan sent [2/XII/762] Pa-ho-na to congratulate the Son of Heaven and to present him with Ch’ao-i’s banners among other things. The Prince of Yung returned to Ling-pao. The khaghan camped in Ho-yang and remained there for three months. The people near the camps suffered plunder and abuse. P’u-ku Ch’ang, leading some Uighur soldiers, had a running battle with Ch’ao-i and trampled in the blood of his men for 2,000 li. He [beheaded him and] exposed his head as a warning. All of Ho-pei [Province] was pacified. Huai-en went through Hsiang-chou and Kuo-k’ou in the mountains to its west and returned to his camp. The khaghan went out through Tse-chou and Lu-chou, and, meeting with Huai-en, returned home [8/IV/763] by way of T’ai-yüan.
Before this, when the Uighurs had arrived at the Eastern Capital, [their leaders] turned the armies loose to rob and plunder [c. 20/XI/762].// [p. 77] The people had all fled for protection to the towers in the two temples, Sheng-shan and Po-ma,(23) in order to escape from them. The Uighurs were annoyed and set fire to the temple-towers, killing more than 10,000 people.(24)
By this time the Uighurs had been growing more and more barbarous and had been abusing and striking the officials. When they arrived at the capital, their soldiers hacked down the Han-kuang Gate at night and entered the Court of Diplomatic Reception [22/II/763].
Just at that time, the Military Governor of Shan-chou, Kuo Ying-i, was Viceroy in the Eastern Capital. Together with the armies of Yü Ch’ao-en and Shuo-fang, he perpetrated violent deeds and, in the wake of the cruel disorders caused by the Uighurs, also plundered the territory between Ju-chou and Cheng-chou. In the country there were no houses left whole. Everyone covered themselves with paper for clothes. It was all because of the oppression inflicted by the robbers.
The emperor remembered the death of Shao-hua and the other and therefore he posthumously appointed Shao-hua Left Grand Councillor to the Emperor and Chü Grand Governor-general of Yang-chou. He bestowed on one of each of their sons an office of the sixth rank.
Thereupon he invested [24/VIII/763] the khaghan calling him Hsieh to teng-li ku-ch’o-mi-shih ho chü-lu ‘Ying-i chien-kung’ [‘brave and righteous, building up service to the T’ang’] p'i-chia Khaghan. The khatun was called P’o-mo ‘Kuang-ch’in li-hua’[‘bright and loving, beautiful and blorious’] p’i-chia Khatun.
The Left Grand Councillor to the Emperor, Wang I, came as ambassador, approached their royal camp and gave them the imperial diploma. From the khaghan to the chief ministers, they were all appointed to receive the net revenue from fiefs of 20,000 families. Moreover, the Left sha became ‘Hsiung-shuo’[‘frightening the north’] Prince, the Right sha ‘Ning-shuo’ [‘pacifying the north’] Prince, the Grand Governor-general Prince of ‘Chin-ho’ [‘the golden river’], General Pa-lan ‘Ching-mo’[‘tranquillising the desert’] Prince and the ten governors-general all became dukes of states. // [p. 79]
At the beginning of Yung-t’ai (765), Huai-en led a revolt and induced some Uighurs and Tibetans(25) to join him in invasion [20/IX-18/X/765].
After a short while, however, Huai-en died, and the two groups of barbarians began to struggle with each other for dominance. A Uighur leader went in secret to Ching-yang, where he saw Kuo Tzu-i and begged permission to change policy and to serve him. Tzu-i came at the head of some officers to pay respect at the Uighur camp. The Uighurs said, “We wish to see the President [of the Department of the Grand Imperial Secretariat].” Tzu-i came out of the camp-gate under banners. The Uighurs said, “We beg you to take off your arms.” As Tzu-i changed his dress, the leaders looked round at one another, saying, “He is indeed the man.”
At the time, Li Kuang-chin and Lu Ssu-kung were on horseback by his side. Tzu-i introduced them to the leaders and said, “This is the Military Governor Such-and-such of Wei-pei and the Commissioner Such-and-such for the Provisions of the Shuo-fang Army.” The leaders dismounted and made obeisance. Tzu-i also dismounted to see them. Several hundred of the barbarians came round watching him. Tzu-i's officers also came up. Tzu-i signalled the commissioners standing around him to withdraw. Furthermore, he ordered wine to drink with [the Uighurs] and gave them 3,000 pieces of silk to bind their heads [for the festive occasion]. He summoned the khaghan's younger brother, the Grand [Governor- // [p. 81] general] Ho, and others and, grasping them by the hand, reprimanded them, saying, “The emperor remembered the meritorious service of the Uighurs and he certainly rewarded you with unswerving generosity. Why then have you turned your backs on him? And why now, when we are fighting you, have you so hurriedly submitted? I am about to enter your tents alone, but if you should kill me, my generals and soldiers could attack you.” The leaders anxiously deferred to him, saying, “Huai-en induced us by saying that the T’ang Son of Heaven had fled to the south and that you, Sir, had been dismissed. That is the reason we came. Now we know that the Heavenly Khaghan is in the capital and that nothing has befallen you, we and the others wish to go back and rout the Tibetans, thereby repaying your generosity and mercy. However, Huai-en's sons are the younger brothers of our khatun and we wish to spare them from death.”
Thereupon Tzu-i took hold of his wine and the Grand [Governor-general Ho] begged to make a pact and to drink to it. Tzu-i said, “Long live the T’ang Son of Heaven! Long live also the Uighur khaghan! And to the generals and ministers of the two states a similar toast! Should there be anyone who turns his back upon this agreement, let him die in the ranks of the army and let his whole clan be massacred!” The moment the barbarian Chief Ministers, Mo-tu mo-ho ta-kan, Tun and the others heard these words, their courage left them, and when the wine came round to them, they said at once, “We swear unaltered Your Excellency's oath.” Before this the Uighurs had had two magicians who had said, “On this expedition it is certain that you will not fight but will meet a great man, and then return home.” Thereupon they looked at one another, laughed and said, “The magicians were not deceiving us.” // [p. 83]
The Battle Commander of the Advance-guard of Shuo-fang, Po Yüan-kuang, met with some Uighur soldiers in Ling-t’ai. There was snow and fog and it was extremely dark. The Tibetans had closed up their camps and relaxed their guard, so they routed them unrestrainedly [2/XI/765?], decapitating 50,000 people, taking alive prisoners numbering 10,000, seizing their horses, camels, oxen, and sheep and taking back 5,000 T’ang families who had been seized.
P’u-ku Ming-ch’en submitted [11/XI/765], and 200 men, including the Grand Governor-general Ho, came to court [14/XI/765]. There were innumerable presents bestowed. Tzu-i took Ming-ch’en for an audience with the emperor. Ming-ch’en was the son of Huai-en's elder brother and was a valiant general. // [p. 85]
In the third year of Ta-1i (768), ‘Kuang-ch'in’ Khatun died. The emperor sent [25/VIII/768]one of his Right Grand Councillors, Hsiao Hsin, with proper credentials, to make condolence sacrifices. The following year (769), a younger daughter of Huai-en's became ‘Ch’ung-hui’ [‘venerated and virtuous’] Princess [2/VII/769],and the second wife of the khaghan. The Vice President of the Ministry of War, Li Han,(26) holding his proper credentials, invested and appointed the khatun. The emperor gave her 20,000 pieces of silken fabric.
At that time, having barely anything he could use, the emperor unjustly took as taxation some mules and camels of the dukes and court-presidents and gave them to her for her transport. Some chief ministers gave her a farewell at the Chung-Wei Bridge [8/VII/769].
The Uighurs staying in the capital came in crowds and plundered the daughters and sons [of the people] in the market-places, and led some cavalry up to attack the Han-kuang Gate. [The officials] locked all the gates of the Imperial City. There was an imperial decree that Liu Ch’ingt’an should pacify them and [the turmoil] was brought to an end [1/III/772?].
[Not long after, the Uighurs] came out again and pursued their trade in a violent manner. They seized the horse of the Prefect of Ch’ang-an, Shao Yüeh, and the officials did not dare to do anything about it [17/VIII/772].// [p. 87]
Following on the Ch’ien-yüan period (758-60), the Uighurs took even more advantage of their services to China by taking as a price forty pieces of silk for every horse they brought in as tribute.(27) Every year they sought to sell several tens of thousands of horses, and the messengers followed one upon the other staying in the [Court of] Diplomatic Reception. The horses were inferior, weak, and unusable. The emperor gave them generous presents, wanting by this means to shame them, but they did not recognise this. They came again to the capital with 10,000 horses, but the emperor could not bear to place this burden on his people once again, so he paid for only 6,000 of them [5/XII/773].
In the tenth year (775?), a Uighur killed someone in one of the east-west streets of the capital [15/X/774]. The Governor of the Capital, Li Kan, arrested him, but there was an imperial edict for clemency and he was not examined. On another occasion, [a Uighur] stabbed someone in the Eastern Market-place [16/X/775]. He was bound and taken to the Wan-nien prison, but a [Uighur] chief seized the prisoner, injured the prison officials, and took him away. The people of the capital found it detestable and galling.
In the thirteenth year (778), the Uighurs made a surprise attack on Chen-wu, they made an onslaught on Tung-hsing and invaded [22/II/778] T’ai-yüan. The Military Governor of Ho-tung, Pao Fang, had a battle with them in Yang-ch’ü. Fang was defeated [27/II/778]. The injured and dead numbered 10,000. The Governor-general of Tai-chou, Chang Kuang-sheng,141 again had a battle with them in the Yang-hu Valley and defeated them [4/III-1/IV/778], whereupon the barbarians went away.
When Emperor Te-tsung came to the throne [12/VI/779], he sent // [p. 89] a eunuch to announce the court mourning for his father's death and also to restore their friendship. At that time, the Sogdians(28) were encouraging the khaghan to invade China. The khaghan wanted his entire army to go towards the border and, when he saw the ambassador, he would not perform a ritual for him. His Chief Minister, Tun mo-ho ta-kan, said, “The T’ang is a great state and has never acted treacherously towards us. When we, in former days, entered T’ai-yüan, we seized several tens of thousands of sheep and horses, but, by the time we reached our own state, we were destroyed, wasted, and almost exhausted. So now when we mobilise our state and fight far away, if we do not win a victory, how shall we return at all?” The khaghan did not listen to him. Tun mo-ho became annoyed and attacked and killed him and, at the same time, massacred nearly 2,000 people from among the khaghan's family, his clique, and the Sogdians. He immediately set himself up as Ho ku-tu-lu p’i-chia Khaghan, and sent the leader Chien ta-kan to accompany the ambassador [Liang Wen-hsiu] back to court.
In the first year of Chien-chung (780), the emperor issued a decree [28/VII/780] that the Deputy Governor of the Capital, Yüan Hsiu, carrying his own credentials, should take to Tun mo-ho the imperial diploma appointing him as ‘Wu-i ch'eng-kung’ [‘warlike, righteous and achieving merit’] Khaghan.
Before all this, whenever the Uighurs had arrived in the Central State, they had constantly had with them some Sogdians, who frequently stayed behind in the capital. In the course of time the number approached 1,000. They [continued to] live there, their property flourished and they accumulated a very large amount of capital. On one occasion, the [Uighur] leaders, T’u-tung, I-mi-shih, a senior and junior mei-lu and others, who were on the point of returning to their own country, loaded up a train of camels and took to the road , staying for three months in Chen-wu. The supply bill was very dear and the expenses were unlimited. The Commissioner for the Army, Chang Kuang-sheng, secretly spied on them. They were all hiding women in bags.(29) Kuang-sheng had sent a postal-station official to poke them with long awls and had thus found out about it. Already they had heard that Tun mo-ho had just ascended the throne and had killed many Sogdians. They were afraid and did not dare return [to the Uighur territory]. Very frequently they would try to disappear and escape, but T’u-tung kept a strict eye on them. So the Sogdians suggested a plan to Kuang-sheng, begging that he should behead all the // [p. 91] Uighurs.
Kuang-sheng agreed and immediately informed the emperor about it. He said, “The Uighurs are not basically strong, but they are helped by the Sogdians. Now their state is in confusion and their soldiers are just now attacking and taking one another prisoner. If there is profit, then they are attracted to it, and if there is property, then they will join [with the owner]. But if there is no property nor profit, they will not be able to rescue their state from the chaos [into which it has fallen]. If we do not take advantage of this opportunity, but let them go home with their money, that would be tantamount to lending arms to robbers or supplying robbers with grain.”
He then caused a subordinate army officer to fail publicly to give T’u-tung a due rite, so that he, in anger, whipped him. Accordingly, Kuang-sheng forced his soldiers to kill all the Uighurs and Sogdians and took several thousand camels and horses and 100,000 pieces of silken fabric [T’u-tung's death 5/IX/780]. Moreover, he announced it as follows, “The Uighurs flogged a great general and were planning to seize Chen-wu. I prevented them forcefully by massacring them before they could.” He sent the women in groups back to Ch’ang-an. The emperor summoned Kuang-sheng back to the capital and sent P’eng Ling-fang in his place. He sent a eunuch with the Uighur messenger, Yu ta-kan, [to the khaghan] to explain what had happened and say that in view of the situation he wished to break off relations with the barbarians. He ordered Yüan Hsiu to await orders in T’ai-yüan.
The following year (781?), he [Hsiu] went [to the Uighur capital] and accordingly took back four coffins containing the bodies of T’u-tung and the others. T’u-tung was the uncle of the khaghan. When Yüan Hsiu was approaching, the khaghan ordered his ministers to prepare chariots and horses and to go out and welcome him. [When they got there], his Grand Minister, Hsieh kan-chia, squatted on the ground and reprimanded Hsiu and the others for the affair of the murder of T’u-tung. Hsiu said, “He himself died fighting with Chang Kuang-sheng. It was not the order of the Son of Heaven.” Again [the Grand Minister] said, “You ambassadors are all responsible for crimes worthy of death. The T’ang has not massacred you itself. Does it [wish to provoke us into doing so and then] lay the blame on us?” He reviled them for some time and then left.
Hsiu and the others nearly lost their lives [as a result of all this]. Even after fifty days they had not had audience with the khaghan. The khaghan sent a report to Hsiu saying, “The people of the state all desire your death. I alone am not of this mind. T’u-tung and the others are already // [p. 93] dead, so if I now killed you, it would mean blood for blood and would only increase the stain. I shall use water instead to wash away blood. Would not that be good? On my behalf, tell those in charge that the value of the horses for which you are in debt to us is 1,800,000 ligatures.(30) You must pay us back quickly for them.” He sent his Auxiliary General, K’ang Ch’ih-hsin, and others to accompany Hsiu to court [arrived 11/VIII/782]. The emperor restrained his feelings and bestowed on them some gold and silk.
Three years afterwards (783?), [the khaghan] sent [2/X/787] ambassadors to present products from his region and to beg for a marriage alliance. The emperor was brooding over his former resentment and had not yet forgotten about it. He addressed his chief minister, Li Pi, and said [16/X-14/XI/787], “The marriage will have to wait until my son or grandson arranges it. I cannot do it.” Pi said, “Is it the Shan-chou affair that Your Majesty is still bitter about?” The emperor said, “Yes, that's right. And had it not been that at that moment the empire was facing many difficulties, and that I could not yet make retribution, I should not have discussed peace with them.”
Pi said, “The one who so wronged Shao-hua and the others was Mou-yü Khaghan. Knowing that Your Majesty, immediately upon ascending the throne, would certainly make retribution for this grievance, he therefore planned to forestall you by creating trouble on the border, but his soldiers have not appeared, and he has been killed by the present khaghan. When the present khaghan first ascended the throne, he sent an ambassador to our court to inform you of it. His hair was hanging and still uncut and he was awaiting the orders of the Son of Heaven. Furthermore, when Chang Kuang-sheng killed T’u-tung and the others, although [the khaghan] secretly detained the ambassadors, he sent them home safely in the end, so he has not committed any crime.”
The emperor said, “What you say is true, but on the other hand, I cannot possibly disregard Shao-hua and the others, so what shall I do?”
I, your subject, consider that it is not you who are
disregarding Shao-hua, but Shao-hua who disregarded Your Majesty.
Furthermore, I would say that it was the leader of the Northern
Barbarians who came to Your Majesty's assistance. For, when you
were heir-apparent and still young, you made light of crossing the
Yellow River and entered their camps, which might be called a lair
of wolves and tigers. If Shao-hua and the others were organising
the affair they should first of all have decided on the rites to be
followed at the meeting. I, your subject, should even so have
thought it dangerous. Why did you go in alone? // [p. 95]
I was formerly a superior administrator of an expeditionary army under the late emperor [Su-tsung]. Just then Yeh-hu had come and the late emperor respectfully gave him a banquet, in his own mansion. Even when we were discussing the strategy for battle, he did not give him audience. Yeh-hu summoned me, your subject, to his tent, but the emperor would not allow me to go, and said very politely, “A host should entertain his guest, but will the guest entertain the host in return?” We went east and retook the capital and made an agreement saying, “The land and adults will return to the T’ang, but jade, silk, and children will be conferred on the Uighurs.” Having fought and conquered, Yeh-hu wanted to carry out a savage pillage. Tai-tsung got off his horse and made him a courteous salute. The Uighurs thereupon went east towards the Lo River. I, your subject, disapproved of the Generalissimo's having saluted Yeh-hu in front of his horse, and thought that it was the fault of the emperor’s assistants. But the late emperor [Su-tsung] said, “The prince's benevolence and filial piety are enough to manage my affairs.” He sent down a proclamation to console and to encourage Yeh-hu. Yeh-hu was the uncle of Mou-yü.(31)
When Mou-yü came to China, Your Majesty, as heir-apparent, did not pay him respect in front of his tent, but the khaghan did not dare even slightly to infringe the rites towards Your Majesty, and you have never suffered humiliation. The late emperor paid respect to Yeh-hu and saved the capital city. If Your Majesty did not pay respect to the khaghan but, even so, firmly upheld your prestige before the barbarian, why is there a cause for resentment? But in weighing up the Hsiang-chi and Shan-chou affairs, which was right, for the late emperor to have suffered humiliation or for you to have upheld your prestige? Supposing that Shao-hua and the others had taken Your Majesty for audience with the khaghan and [Mou-yü] had then closed up the walls for five days, indulging in lavish drinking with Your Majesty, the empire’s blood would, in that case, surely have run cold with worry. But Heaven helped you, the imposing and spiritual one, and caused the wolves tamely to submit. Mou-yü, like a mother, wrapped Your Majesty in a sable robe, cursed those around him and urged some horsemen to escort you back from his camp. This is why I say that it is Shao-hua and the others who have disregarded Your Majesty. Supposing Mou-yü could be considered to have committed a crime, then the present khaghan has already killed him. The one on the throne is Mou-yü's first cousin. This man has done you meritorious service. Can we forget that? Moreover the Uighur khaghan has engraved a stone and set it up on the gate of his state. It runs, “Should a T’ang ambassador come, let him know that we have in all ways and at all times rendered meritorious service to the T’ang.” Now he is making a petition for a marital alliance and will certainly lead his whole tribe south and look at us in expectation. Should you not respond to it, his resentment will certainly be deep. Be willing to agree to the marriage.(32) // [p. 97]
Make an agreement with them on the basis of the former affair of the K’ai-yüan period (713-42), that if, like the T’u-chüeh khaghan, he style himself a subject, that if those who come as envoys to China do not exceed 200, that if their horses for trading do not exceed 1,000, and that if they do not take T’ang subjects beyond the borders, there will be nothing impossible in the request.
The emperor said, “Very well.” He granted the sending out of a princess to the khaghan and the Uighurs also begged permission to agree to the conditions.
There was a proclamation that the Princess of Hsien-an should go out and marry [the Uighur khaghan] and another that the ambassador Ho ch'üeh ta-kan should see the princess in the Lin-te Hall. The emperor sent a eunuch in charge of introducing visitors to present to him a portrait of the princess which was to be given to the khaghan [embassy sent home 28/X/787].
The following year (788), the khaghan sent out a crowd of more than 1,000, including his chief minister, the Governor-general of the Hsieh-tieh tribe.(33) Together with them he sent his younger sister, Ku-tu-lu p’i-chia Princess, and fifty of the wives of the great chiefs to welcome the princess and also to bring in tributary gifts to court as presents for the completion of the marriage rites. On arrival at Chen-wu the Hsieh-tieh was violently robbed by some Shih-wei and died in the fight which ensued. There was an edict that 700 of his inferiors should be granted entry into the court and should be housed in the [Court or Guest-house of] Diplomatic Reception. The emperor was present at the Yen-hsi Gate to see the ambassadors [16/XI/788]. At that time the khaghan sent up a memorial to the emperor which showed him extreme reverence and said, “In former times we were elder and younger brother, but now I am your son-in-law, your half-son. If Your Majesty is worried about the Tibetans, your son begs permission to dispose of them with his armies.” He also begged permission to change the name Hui-ho into Hui-hu, saying that they were swift birds of prey like falcons (hu).
The emperor wanted to have a formal feast in honour of the Uighur princess. He asked Li Pi whether this would be in accordance with the rites. Li Pi replied, saying, “Su-tsung was the second cousin of the Prince of Tun-huang. [The khaghan of] the Uighurs gave him his daughter as a wife. When there was an audience with the emperor in P’eng-yüan, she, unaccompanied by her husband, made obeisance to the emperor at // [p. 99] court. The emperor addressed her as "Madame" and did not give her the [more intimate] name of an elder sister-in-law. In those times of disturbance, when we had to rely on their usefulness to us, he still treated her as a Chinese subject. How much more should one do so today?”
After that they led the Uighur princess through the Yin-t’ai Gate. Three senior princesses awaited her within. She was conducted by an interpreter. When others bowed she responded to show reverence. They entered together with her. The emperor attended in one of the innermost halls of the palace. The senior princesses entered first and waited on him. The Uighur princess entered, made a bow and paid respect to him. After that, a court director of harem visits showed her to the place where the senior princesses were. Again an interpreter passed on her questions, and then they all went in together to the banquet hall. The Wise Concubine came down the stairs and waited for them. The Uighur princess made her a bow and the Wise Concubine replied to her bow. Again she bowed and received her. They ascended by the western stairs and sat down. When it was the emperor who made her presents, [the Uighur princess] came down from her place and bowed to receive them. When it was not the emperor, she merely left her mat to bow. The concubines and princesses all bowed in reply to her [23/XI/788]. Before she returned home, she had been invited twice to a formal feast of this kind.
The emperor also set up a complete hierarchy of officials and subordinates for the Princess of Hsien-an [28/XI/788], corresponding to those of an establishment of a royal prince. The heir-designate of the Prince of T’eng, Chan-jan, became [30/XI/788] the Commissioner for the Rites of the Marriage, and the Right Vice President [of the Department of the Affairs of State], Kuan Po, was to escort her, bringing with him, moreover, the imperial letter-diploma which appointed the khaghan as Ku-tu-lu ‘Ch’ang-shou t’ien-ch’in’ [‘long-lived, beloved by Heaven’] p’i-chia Khaghan and the princess as ‘Chih-hui tuan-cheng ch’ang-shou hsiao-shun’ [‘wise, graceful, upright, long-lived, filial and obedient’] Khatun.
In the fifth year of Chen-yüan (789), the khaghan died. // [p. 101]
His son, To-lo-ssu, ascended the throne. The people of his own state called him Prince P’an-kuan, and the President of the Court of Diplomatic Reception, Kuo Feng, carrying with him his emblems of office, gave him official appointment as Ai teng-li-lo ku mo-mi-shih chü-lu p’i-chia ‘Chung-chen’ [‘loyal and upright’] Khaghan. // [p. 103]
Before all this, since the loss of Kuan-nei and Lung-yu at the end of T’ien-pao (742-56), the tribute road from An-hsi and Pei-t’ing had been cut off.(34) The Military Governor of I-chou, Hsi-chou and Pei-t’ing, Li Yüan-chung, and the Provisional Military Governor of the Four Garrisons, Kuo Hsin, had several times sent ambassadors to report this to the emperor, but none of them had arrived. In the second year of Chen-yüan (786?), the ambassadors sent by Yüan-chung and the other made use of a route through Uighur territory and succeeded in getting through to Ch’ang-an. The emperor promoted Yüan-chung to the post of Grand Protector of Pei-t’ing [26/VII/781] and Hsin to that of Grand Protector of An-hsi. From this point on, although they were able to pass through by this route, the barbarians demanded and took an exorbitant price for the use of it. Six thousand families of different Sha-t’o tribes, who were in dependence on Pei-t’ing, also grew to resent their excessive demands. The three tribes of the Kharlukh,(35) and the White-eyed T’u-chüeh, those who were normally subjects of the Uighurs, were particularly resentful and bitter. They all secretly submitted to the Tibetans, so they and the Tibetans, with the support of the Sha-t’o, together made trouble in Pei-t’ing. Hsieh kan-chia-ssu had a battle with them [17/VI-16/VII/790], but was not victorious. Pei-t’ing fell. Thereupon, the Protector, Yang Hsi-ku, fled to Hsi-chou at the head of his army.
With several tens of thousands of strong infantry, the Uighurs summoned Hsi-ku to lead his forces back to recapture Pei-t’ing [autumn 790]. They were attacked by the Tibetans and suffered a great defeat. The majority of the soldiers were killed. [Hsieh kan-]chia-ssu fled back, and Hsi-ku gathered together the remnants of his army, leading them into Hsi-chou. [Hsieh kan-] chia-ssu deceived him saying, “Just come back with me, younger brother! I shall send you back to the T'ang court.” After Hsi-ku got to his tent, he killed him [3-31/X/791]. // [p. 105]
The Kharlukh also seized [the territory round] the Shen-t’u Valley. The Uighurs were greatly afraid and moved their tribes a little to the south in order to escape them.
That year (790), the khaghan was poisoned by the younger khatun, Princess Yeh. The khatun was the granddaughter of P’u-ku Huai-en. Huai-en's son was a Uighur yeh-hu, so the latter’s daughter was called Princess Yeh. The khaghan's younger brother then set himself on the throne. At the time [Hsieh kan-] chia-ssu was away attacking the Tibetans. The khaghan's ministers led the people of the state against him, and together they killed the usurper [19/IV-18/V/790]. The khaghan’s [To-lo-ssu’s] youngest son, A-ch’o, succeeded. When [Hsieh kan-] chia-ssu returned [17/VII-14/VIII/790], the khaghan and the others came out [of the city] to greet him. They all prostrated themselves before him, told him the circumstances under which they had removed the last khaghan and placed the present one on the throne and said that only the Grand Minister could say whether [the new khaghan] should live or die. They brought out all the utensils and silk which Kuo Feng had bestowed on them and gave them to [Hsieh kan-] chia-ssu. The khaghan bowed and also wept, saying, “That good fortune has now made it possible for me to carry on my father's line, which was broken, is because of my reliance on you as my father.” [Hsieh kan-]chia-ssu, touched by his humility, embraced him, wept and thereafter served him as a subject. He gave all the utensils and silk to his generals and officers, keeping nothing for himself. Their state was then at peace.
[The Uighurs] sent the mei-lu, General Prince Ta-pei, to court to announce [these events] and also to receive instructions.
There was a proclamation [21/III/791] that the Vice President of the Court of Diplomatic Reception, Yü Shan, should [take out a diploma] appointing A-ch’o as ‘Feng-ch’eng’ [‘showing sincerity to the emperor’] Khaghan.
Soon after, Lü-chih ta-kan came to announce the death of the Younger // [p. 107] Princess of Ning-kuo. She was the daughter of the Prince of Yung. Before this, when the Princess of Ning-kuo had gone out to marry [the Uighur khaghan], she had gone as her escort [and to become the khaghan's concubine]. When Ning-kuo had later returned to China, she had remained among the Uighurs and become khatun. They had called her the Younger Ning-kuo and she had been successively the consort of the two khaghans, ‘Ying-wu’ [Mo-yen-ch’o] and ‘Ying-i’ [Mou-yü]. When it came to the time of ‘T’ien-ch’in’ [Tun mo-ho] Khaghan she had begun to live outside. When she had been the consort of ‘Ying-i’, she had given birth to two sons, but both had been killed by ‘T’ien-ch’in’.
That year (791), the Uighurs attacked some Tibetans and Kharlukh in Pei-t’ing, conquered them and also presented the prisoners as gifts to the emperor.
The following year (792), the ambassador Yao-lo-ko Chiung came to court. Chiung was originally Chinese, of the Lü clan, but he had become the adopted son of the khaghan and had then taken the khaghan's surname. The emperor, because of the authority he held, gave him extremely lavish presents. He appointed him Honorary Right Vice President of the Department of Affairs of State [3/VIII/792].
In the eleventh year (795), the khaghan died without a son. The people of the state placed his minister Ku-tu-lu on the throne as khaghan, and an ambassador came [to inform the Chinese court] about it. There was a proclamation that the Director of the Department of the Imperial Library, Chang Chien,(36) holding his emblems of office, should take out a diploma appointing him as Ai t'eng-li-lo yu-lu mo-mi-shih ho hu-lu p’i-chia ‘Huai-hsin’ [‘cherishing sincerity to the emperor’] Khaghan. Ku-tu-lu was originally of the Hsieh-tieh clan. He became orphaned when young and was adopted by a great chieftain. He was clever in argument and able in war. In ‘T'ien-ch’in’s’ time, he had on // [p. 109] several occasions been master of an army, and all the chiefs admired and stood in awe of him. Because the Yao-lo-ko clan up to this time had been meritorious generation after generation, he did not dare call himself by the name of his own clan, but he seized all the khaghan’s sons and grandsons and presented them to the [Chinese] court.(37)
In the first year of Yung-chen (805), the khaghan died and there was a proclamation that the Vice President of the Court of Diplomatic Reception, Sun Kao, should go and offer condolences and take the diploma to appoint his successor as T'eng-li yeh ho chü-lu p’i-chia Khaghan.
At the beginning of Yüan-ho (806-21), the Uighurs came for a second time to court [8/II/807] to present tribute. For the first time they were accompanied by some Manicheans.(38) The laws of these latter prescribe that they should eat only in the evening, drink water, eat strong vegetables, and abstain from fermented mare's milk. The khaghan constantly had them participate in state affairs. Manicheans came to and from the capital every year. The merchants of the Western Market-place often did unlawful business with them.
In the third year (808), they came [26/III/808] to announce the death of the Princess of Hsien-an, who had lived among the Uighurs under four successive khaghans, for twenty-one years in all. Shortly after, the khaghan also died. Hsien-tsung sent the Vice President of the Court of the Imperial Clan, Li Hsiao-ch’eng, to take out to the new khaghan his appointment as Ai teng-li-lo ku mi-shih ho p’i-chia ‘Pao-i’ [‘protecting righteousness’] Khaghan [appointed 22/VI/808].
The third year following this an embassy came for the second time to court [24/VI/810].
[The khaghan] sent I-nan-chu for a second time to ask for a marriage. Before the report of the outcome, the khaghan arrived with 3,000 cavalry at the P’i-t’i Springs. Then some of the soldiers of Chen-wu were sent to set up their camp at Mount Hei, and they repaired the Fortresses of T’ien-te in preparation for the barbarians.
The President of the Ministry of Rites, Li Chiang, sent up a memorial to the throne [23/V-20/VI/814], which ran:
The Uighurs are very strong and the northern borders are
deserted. Once they stir up trouble, our weak soldiers will not be
able to withstand them, and // [p. 111] there will be no one to
guard the isolated cities. If Your Majesty is concerned about this
matter, he will increase the military equipment and repair the
fortifications and set them in order. This would be the best plan
for China and the great good fortune of the people. I, your
subject, consider that the present dispositions of the borders do
not fulfil their needs and that there are five causes for grave
concern there. I beg permission to enumerate them.
The northern barbarians are covetous and grasping. All they care about is profit. This is the second year that their normal yearly consignment of horses has not arrived. Can it be that they have become satiated with the profit of silken fabrics?(39) I suspect that what is happening is that they want [to wait till the autumn when] the wind will be strong and their horses fat, so that they can make a sudden invasion into China. Therefore I am sure that there will be trouble in store for the court, in regard both to preparation within and defence without. This is the first thing which should worry us.
Our armies have not yet reached full strength, our patrol system is not yet effective, our lances and armour are not yet ready, our walls and moats are not yet firmly established. The restoration of the T’ien-te Army has certainly made the barbarians suspicious and the evacuation of the Western [Shou-hsiang] Fortress has left the desert roads with nothing to depend on. This is the second thing which should worry us.
Now, if our fortresses are to protect our strategic places, and if we are to attack what is dangerous and to guard what is safe, we ought to make plans with our border generals. If then we content ourselves merely with keeping an eye on the distant River borders while thinking that we can control the situation from our exalted court, the barbarians will unexpectedly violate the borders and, in accordance with recent trends, we shall lose our advantages. This is the third thing which should worry us.
Ever since they have been our allies, the Uighurs have been fully aware of the natural layout of the mountains and rivers, and which frontier defence is manned and which not. If rebels were to plunder our various prefectures, for us to mobilise our forces would take at least ten days or a few weeks, while for them to take our men and animals prisoner would take at most a morning or an evening. By the time an imperial army could get there, the barbarians would already have returned home. If the robbers were to stay a longer time, our recruitments would increase more and more. This is the fourth thing which should worry us.
The Uighurs and Tibetans are constantly at war with each other.(40) Therefore the borders have nothing to provide against. At present the Uighurs are not even trading their horses with us. If the Uighurs should make a treaty with the Tibetans and relax their hostility, then our generals and their men will close up their walls and shirk making war, while the people of the frontiers will have to fold their arms and undergo calamity. This is the fifth thing that should worry us. // [p. 113]
Moreover, Wu Shao-yang in Huai-hsi is on the verge of death, but he would be able to take advantage of their changed situation. The various provinces would have to increase their frontier guards tenfold.
I, your subject, claim that it is fitting to comply with the marriage and so cause the rites to be preserved in the barbarian country. In that case, there would be what one might call the three profits. If the marriage eventuates, then the fire beacons will have no need to give the alarm, and it will be possible to put the fortresses and their battlements in order; there will be ample numbers of soldiers who will be able to build up strength and to lay in grain and in this way stabilise our armies. This is the first.
Having done away with the grievances which are wanting our attention in the north, we shall be able to turn our attention to the south, to take care of the regions west of the Huai and to extend our orders to the troubles which are almost played out there. This is the second.
If the northern barbarians rely on the fact that our [royal houses] are related [by marriage], then the Tibetan resentment will be deeper than ever before and their state will not be at peace. We shall sit and be free from attack by them, enjoying a long respite from their robbery and plunder [of our borders]. This is the third.
It would be extremely ill-advised on our part to reject [a course of action which would be] profitable to us in these three ways, and follow one involving these five sources of worry. Now, some say that the cost of sending out a princess will be great. I, your subject, say that this is not true. One third of the tax revenue of our empire is devoted to the borders. Now, the annual tax revenue of a large subprefecture of the south-east amounts to 200,000 ligatures. So if we use the revenue from one subprefecture to meet the cost of the marriage, is not that injuring little to obtain much? Now, if we are mean about the cost of the marriage and do not grant it to them, and if their prince’s armies attack the north, we shall need at least 30,000 footsoldiers and 5,000 cavalry, otherwise we shall not be able to ward them off and drive them away. Moreover, to ensure a complete victory will require at least a year. Will the provisions and supplies [we send] conceivably be as little as the tax revenue from one subprefecture?
The emperor did not listen to him. // [p. 115]
When the Uighurs had begged for the marriage, some officials calculated the cost at 5,000,000 ligatures. Since he was at that time fighting against the strong military governors within the empire, the emperor sent the Vice President of the Court of the Imperial Clan, Li Ch’eng, and the Doctor of the Court of Imperial Sacrifices, Yin Yu, to go [to the Uighurs] and proclaim that it was not possible.
When Mu-tsung ascended the throne [20/II/820], the Uighurs had again sent Ho to-kan and others to court to make a firm petition for a marriage, and the emperor [Hsien-tsung] had granted it. Shortly after, however, the khaghan died.
An ambassador took out to the Uighur capital the document appointing his successor as Teng-lo yü-lu mo-mi-shih chü-chu p’i-chia ‘Ch’ung-te’ [‘honouring virtue’] Khaghan.
When the khaghan had ascended the throne, he sent I-nan-chu, the Governor-general Chü-lu, a Ssu-chieh(41) and others, and also the Princess Yeh-hu, to court to welcome the princess. And 2,000 chiefs of tribes brought in, as tribute, 20,000 horses and 1,000 camels. Never before had a delegation from any of the barbarian states to China been as large as this one. There was a proclamation allowing 500 of them to come to Ch'ang-an and detaining the rest in T’ai-yüan, and one ordering [1/VII/821] the Princess of T’ai-ho(42) to go out [and be the khaghan’s wife]. The // [p. 117] princess was the daughter of Hsien-tsung. The emperor set up for her a [princess’s] establishment. The Grand General of the Left Chin-wu Guards, Hu Cheng, and the President of the Court of Imperial Banquets, Li Hsien, bearing their emblems of office, were to watch over her and to escort her, and the President of the Court of the Imperial Treasury, Li Yüeh, was to become the Commissioner for the Marriage Rites. They gave her appointment [22/VIII/821] as ‘Jen-hsiao tuan-li mi’ng-chih shang-shou’ [‘benevolent and filial, upright and beautiful, intelligent and wise, superior and long-lived’] Khatun. There was an announcement to this effect in the ancestral temples. // [p. 119]
The Son of Heaven attended at the T’ung-hua Gate [28/VIII/821] to farewell the princess. Crowds of officials stood in order of rank and farewelled her along the road.
The princess crossed the border. // [p. 121]
When she had reached within 100 li of the Uighur royal camp, the khaghan wanted the princess to go ahead of the train along a by-road so that he could see her privately. Hu Cheng forbade it. The barbarians said, “Formerly the Princess of Hsien-an acted thus.”(43) Cheng said, “The Son of Heaven has proclaimed that we should escort the princess and hand her over to the khaghan. At present we have not yet seen him, and she cannot go on ahead.” They then desisted.
After that the khaghan ascended his tower and sat facing the east. Below he had set up a felt tent to house the princess, and he requested that she should wear barbarian clothing. A matron waited on her for this purpose. [The princess] came out, made an obeisance to the west and then withdrew. She dressed herself in the clothes of a khatun, a single-coloured, crimson robe and a large mantle. She wore a golden cap, pointed in the front and back. Again she came out and made an obeisance [to the khaghan] after which she mounted a sedan-chair with a curved screen. Nine ministers carried the chair to the right around the court nine times. When she got down from the chair, she ascended the tower and sat with the khaghan facing east. The ministers all presented themselves to the khatun in order [according to their rank]. She also set up her own royal camp and two of the ministers called on her regularly. When Cheng and the others were going home, the khatun gave them a great banquet and, sobbing with grief, treated them with special affection. The khaghan made generous presents to the ambassadors. // [p. 123]
At the time, P’ei Tu was involved in reducing Yu-chou and Chen-chou to order. The Uighurs sent Grand General Li I-chieh with 3,000 soldiers to help the Son of Heaven pacify Ho-pei. Those discussing the situation with the emperor wished to prevent a repetition of the previous disasters, so [the Uighurs’] help was refused. The soldiers had already reached Feng-chou, but an ambassador was sent to give them very generous presents and got them to leave.
The year that Ching-tsung ascended the throne (824) [29/II/824]the khaghan died and his younger brother, Prince Ho-sa, ascended the throne. The emperor sent an embassy [9/IV/825] to give him appointment as Ai teng-li-lo ku mo-mi-shih ho p’i-chia ‘Chao-li’ Khaghan and bestowed [4/VII/825] on him twelve chariots of silken fabric.
At the beginning of his reign, Wen-tsung presented the Uighurs with 500,000 pieces of silk as a price for their horses.
In the sixth year of T'ai-ho (832), the khaghan was killed by his ministers, and his nephew, Prince Hu, ascended the throne. His ambassadors came to court to announce the fact. The following year (833), the emperor sent the General of the Left Brave Guards, T’ang Hung-shih, and the heir-designate of the Prince of Tse, Yung, holding their emblems of office, to give him appointment as Ai teng-li-lo ku mo-mi-shih ho chü-lu p’i-chia ‘Chang-hsin’ [‘manifesting sincerity’]Khaghan. // [p. 125]
In the fourth year of K’ai-ch’eng (839), his minister, Chüeh-to-wu, made trouble by leading some Sha-t’o in an attack on the khaghan, who committed suicide. The people of his state set Prince Ho-sa on the throne as the khaghan. Just that year, there was a famine and pestilence, and also heavy snowfalls. Many of the sheep and horses died. The Chinese court had not yet issued an appointment. Wu-tsung ascended the throne [20/II/840]and the heir-designate of the Prince of Tse, Yung, went to announce the fact to the Uighurs. He thus found out about the disorder of their state.
Before long, the great chief Chü-lu mo-ho, together with the Kirghiz, brought together 100,000 cavalry and attacked the Uighur fortresses, killed the khaghan, executed Chüeh-lo-wu and set fire to their royal camp . All the tribes were scattered.(44)