Section 21 – The Kingdom of Shule (Kashgar)

1. Shule 疏勒 [Shu-lo] = Kashgar or Qäshqär Mallory and Muir (2000), p. 69. There can be no doubt that Shule = Kashgar. See, for example, Stein (1907), pp. 47-57; CICA, p. 141, n. 373, and the detailed discussion of the various names for the town in Bailey (1958), pp. 50-54. See also note 1.58 above. 

“The pilgrim Xuanzang tells us that its name in Sanskrit was Śrīkrīrāti which means something like Fortunate Hospitality ; the local name was transcribed in Chinese as Shule..., which provides fairly dramatic evidence for what happens when a Chinese tongue tries to articulate Indo-European clusters of sound. From the perspective of the Chinese traveller, Shule was a main emporium en route to Ferghana and Bactria; it is highly likely that General Li Guangli led his forces through it in his quest for the heavenly horses of Ferghana. During the Han period its population was initially recorded as about a quarter of the size of Kucha, i.e. 1,510 households, 18,647 people of whom 2,000 could bear arms (but the town was booming by the 2nd century AD when the number of families was about 21,000 and it was fielding ten times the earlier number of soldiers). We are informed that there were markets with stalls in the town. It was an important garrison town in the Western Han dynasty (206 BCAD 9), but early in the 1st century AD it fell to Khotan only to be retaken by the Chinese under General Ban Chao. Thus, the trade route west was secure at the time that Marinus of Tyre was gathering information about the Silk Road through the agents of Maës the Macedonian in the early 2nd century AD. Mallory and Muir (2000), pp. 69-70.  

2. This distance of 5,000 li (2,079 km) from residence of the Chief Scribe in Lukchun to Kashgar is grossly overestimated – the true distance (along the modern road) being only about 1,530 km.

3. These events involving the Kashgari prince, Chen Pan, almost certainly form the basis of the story that Xuan Zang, the famous Chinese pilgrim monk, heard when he was travelling through the Punjab in 633 CE. Of interest is the fact that the Kushan king, who remains unnamed in the Hou Hanshu, is named as Kanishka in Xuan Zang’s account:

“When Kanishka was reigning the fear of his name spread to many regions so far even as to the outlying vassals of China to the west of the Yellow River. One of these vassal states being in fear sent a hostage to the court of king Kanishka, (the hostage being apparently a son of the ruler of the state). The king treated the hostage with great kindness and consideration, allowing him a separate residence for each of the three seasons and providing him with a guard of the four kinds of soldiers. This district was assigned as the winter residence of the hostage and hence it was called Chinabhukti. The pilgrim proceeds to relate how Peaches and Pears were unknown in this district and the parts of India beyond until they were introduced by the “China hostage.” Hence, he tells us, peaches were called “Chināni” and pears were called “China-rājaputra”.” Watters (1904-1905); reprint 1973, I, pp. 292-293. Also, see the note 16.1 above.

If, however, the recent dating of the beginning of Kanishka’s era in 127 CE – see Falk (2001) – proves correct it becomes necessary to explain the traditional association of Kanishka with Chen Pan – as the text says that he was sent as a hostage to the Kushan king during the yuanchu period [114-120 CE] in the reign of Emperor An.” [Note: a number of writers have repeated the mistake (made first, I believe, by Sten Konow in his work of 1929) of claiming that the yuanchu period ran from 114-116. In fact, the yuanchu period ran 114 to 120 CE – see Tung (1960)].
          It is not stated, however, when exactly the Kushans placed Chen Pan on the throne of Kashgar. This was presumably sometime after 120
CE and perhaps, but not necessarily, after the inauguration of Kanishka's era in 127 CE .

4. The town of Pangao [P’an-kao] is apparently the same as the town of Pantuo 槃槖 [P’an-t’o] in the Biography of Ban Chao, which is said to be 90 li from Shule (Kashgar) – see Chavannes (1906), p. 222 and n. 1. The first characters are identical and the final characters of the two names look similar and could easily be confused.

5. han daduwei 漠大都尉 [han ta-tu-wei] = Great Commander-in-Chief for the Han. Tu-wei: “Commandant or Commander-in-chief: throughout history a common military title, in later dynasties used mostly for merit titles (hsün); in all cases, specific identification is possible only by taking note of prefixes....” Hucker No. 7326.

“Commandant, tu-wei 都尉. Within the commanderies of the Han empire, this title was borne by the chief officer of a commandery in command of the troops in that area, under the direction of the chief civil official, the Governor, t’ai-shou 太守, of the commandery. In A.D. 30 the post of tu-wei was abolished, except in the commanderies situated on China’s borders, see HHSCC Tr. 28.5a-b. Here [in Hanshu 96A] the title is evidently applied to a non-Chinese official in non-Chinese territory.” CICA, pp. 83-84, n. 80.

6. shou guosima 守國司馬 [shou kuo-szu-ma] = Probationary Commander of the Kingdom. Shou: “Probationary, prefix to a title during the appointee’s first year in service, only after which he was normally entitled to substantive (shih, chen) status and full salary.” Hucker No. 5355. See also Hucker No. 5713 (4).

7. cishi 刺史 [tz’u-shih] = Regional Inspector. Tz'u-shih: “Lit., a clerk (shih, i.e. a Censor, yü-shih) who pokes, stimulates, criticizes. (1) HAN–SUI: Regional Inspector, from 106 B.C. a regular supervisory post intended to provide disciplinary surveillance over personnel in all units of territorial administration in a geographically prefixed Region (pu or chou).... Throughout Han and into the early post-Han years, the Regional Inspector ranked at 600 bushels.... From Han times he had a staff of subordinates divided among function-specific Sections (ts'ao).” Hucker No. 7567

8. congshi 從事 [ts’ung-shih] = Retainer. Ts'ung-shih: “HAN–SUI: Retainer, unranked subofficial found on the staffs of various dignitaries of the central government such as the Han Metropolitan commandant (ssu-li hsiao-wei) and especially those in units of territorial administration, most particularly Regional Inspectors (tz'u-shih); commonly headed by clerical Sections (ts'ao) among which staff members were distributed....” Hucker No. 7176.

9. maoji sima [mao-chi szu-ma] = Maoji Commandant. For the interpretations of maoji see note 1.5, and for sima see notes 1.62 and 21.6 above.

10. xiyu zhangshi [hsi-yü chang-shih] = Aide of the Western Regions. See note 1.46 above.  

“The funerary inscription of this person [Cao Kuan曹寬] has been preserved. It is made the subject of a notice in the Jinshilupu 金石錄補 (chap. IV, pp. 4a–5a of the reprint of the Huailucongzhou). This notice is known as: “Stele of Cao Quan of the Han period 漠曹全碑. The abovementioned stele of Cao Quan was erected in the second zhongping year of Emperor Ling of the Han dynasty (185 CE). On it is written: “The honourable deceased had Quan as his personal name and Jingwan 景完as his style. He was originally from Xiaogu 效轂 (in the commandery of) Dunhuang 燉煌. He was the grandson of (Zao) Feng   who was Counsellor of the Marquis of Yumi ; (Zao) Feng  had often addressed reports to the throne to discuss the affairs of Shaodang  燒當. This is why he was named Military Commander of the Western Section of Jincheng  金城 (Lanzhou fu). In the second jianning year (169 CE), (Zao) Quan  was proposed (as the choice of the Emperor) for his filial piety and his integrity. In the 3rd month of the 7th guanghe year [30 March-27 April](184 CE) he was named langzhong 郞中 and received the responsibility of sima of the wu section of the Western Regions 西域部司馬. At this time, the king of Shule 疏勒 (Kashgar), named Hede 和德, killed his father and put himself on the throne. The honourable deceased raised troops to go to punish him. He stormed the walls and gave battle in the open country. His plans were abundant, flowing forth. Hede 和德, his hands tied behind his back, came to be executed. The presents that the various kingdoms then sent (to Cao Quan) amounted to almost two million cash. He sent all of it to the official Treasurer. He was named prefect of Heyang  郃陽. He mowed down all the remaining rebelling barbarians and cut the evil out at the root; etc., etc.” – It will be noticed that the Hou Hanshu considers Hede as the paternal uncle of Chen Pan, whereas, according to the inscription, he must have been his son. Moreover, the Hou Hanshu mistakenly gives Cao Quan the name of Cao Kuan曹寬, which can only be explained by an alteration of the character which figures in the style 景完 of Cao Quan. Finally, the Hou Hanshu attributes the title Wuji Sima 戊己司馬, which never existed, meanwhile the inscription assigns the correct title to him of Sima of the wu section 部司馬. – On can therefore see the usefulness of the corrections that epigraphy allows one to bring to the historical texts.” Translated and adapted from Chavannes (1907), p. 206, n. 1.

11. The locality of the town of Zhenzhong 楨中 [Chen-chung] is not known. It was near Kashgar, though probably not on the main roads north and south, but to the east. Chavannes (1905), p. 554 n. 2, gives a translation of a parallel account of this campaign from the Cefouyuangui (Chap. 973, p. 8b), where Zhengzhong is written with a slightly different first character. It also places the event in the second jianning year (169 CE), and says that they only besieged the town for ten days before leaving. Otherwise the account is practically identical.

12. Weitou 尉頭 [Wei-t’ou] = Akqi. The Hanshu states that from Wensu (Uch Turfan) it is “300 li (125 km) to Wei-t’ou in the west” (CICA, p. 163). This places it exactly at modern Akqi. See also: Stein (1921), p. 1301, n. 26 where he adds the interesting observation, “It is worth noting that Akche is the first place with agricultural resources which the traveller by this route reaches after leaving the Kāshgar district.”

13. Wensu 溫宿 [Wen-su] = modern Wushi or Uch Turfan. See notes 1.59 and 20.10 above. The Hanshu (CICA: 163) places Wensu at an impossible 2,380 li (990 km) from the seat of the Protector General at Wulei, which was only 350 li (146 km) east of Kucha. in a later Buddhist Sanskrit document it is referred to as Hečyuka see Bailey (1985), pp. 71, 73, 74.
          However, the Hanshu also states that it was 270 li (112 km) west of Aksu (Gumo), 610 li (254 km) south of Chigu, the capital of the Wusun near (lake) Issik-kol, and 300 li (125 km) east of Weitou. This places it firmly near modern Uqturpan (= Uch-Turfan) or Wushi, in the valley of the Toxkan He (Tuoshigan Ho). See: Chavannes (1905), p. 553, n. 1; (1906), p. 24, n. 3); Stein (1921), Vol. III: pp. 1299-1301; Pelliot (1959), p. 492; CICA: p. 162, n. 502.
          Wensu controlled access up the Tuoshigan valley as well as the approach to the Bedel Pass, the main route north to Issik-kul. Stein (1921), Vol. III, pp. 1300-1301, remarks:

“The usual dust haze of the spring was hiding the view of the great snowy range of the T’ien-shan northward. It was thus impossible to obtain even a distant glimpse of the Bedel Pass, by which Hsüan Tsang had once gained the Issik-kul region and thence Sogdiana. But even without that imposing background Uch-Turfān presented itself to me as the most picturesque and pleasant of any district headquarters I had visited in Chinese Turkestān. The view of the fertile green valley, set off vividly by the chain of barren grey hills which encircle the town from the south, was particularly striking from the height of the Chinese citadel.... This crowns the top of a precipitous rocky spur, which adjoins the west wall of the town and projects beyond it like a huge natural ravelin, rising with its westernmost cliffs to a height of some 250 feet. The citadel and the flanking defences joining it to the town walls are recent, having been built in the place of fortifications destroyed when Uch-Turfān was besieged and taken during the Muhammadan rebellion. But this natural stronghold is bound to have been utilized since early times.
   .... the ‘kingdom’ and town are referred to [as Wensu] in the Former Han Annals, the Hou Han shu, and the Wei lio. The former Han Annals ascribe to it a population of 2,200 families, which seems proportionate, and indicate its position quite correctly with reference to the Wu-sun capital which lay 610 li to the north, to Ku-mo, or Ak-su, and to Wei-t’ou, 300 li westwards....”

See also: Chavannes (1905), p. 553, n. 1; Stein (1921), p. 1297 and n. 5.