quently punctured by thecontainmentandcompetitionfrom thenomadicforcesonthenonhero steppe . Over the 300 years since Wei and Jin, the Central Plains was weakened by the separatist rules ofdifferent warlords. hence tougher containment and fiercer competition from the north. Having realized their weakened power. some central dynasties shifted their policies to playing off those northern forces against each other. For example, the Northern Wei regime fought Rouranover the WesternRegionsformanyyears.butafter the rising ofGaocheforces. itchanged attitude and supported Rouran as a counterbalance to Gaoche. TIle check-and-balance strategy wasaimedateventually unifying theWesternRegions.yet itdid bringcertainnegativeeffects,as it aggravated conflicts in that area and undermined the nonnal advance of its economy and soc iety.

S. Western Regions Unified bySuiandTang Dynasties TheSuiDynastywasfoundedin581AD(the firstyearofKaihuangreign). Severalyears later, it wiped out the Southern Chen regime and put an end 10 the division that lasted for centuriesontheCentralPlains. EarlyintheSuiDynasty,WendiEmperorsentanenvoytothe we-tern Regions for alliance with the Western Turks in order to fight back the Eastern Turks fromthenorth. Duringthereign ofYangdi. lhe Sui Dynasty began to take the Western Regions as a priority. Yiwu was chosen as the spot to make bre akthrough for the unification plan. Located in the east of the Western Regions. Yiwu was not only an important thoroughfare and strategicpointbut also a major economic centre with many merchants and lots oftradegoingon. Yangdi Emperor first sentWeijie ali hisenvoy tothe Western RegionsandlaterPeiJutoZhangye to take charge of trade there. so as to stay in touch with the merchants and get informed of the situation. In 608 AD (the 4th year of Daye reign). the Sui Dynasty appoin ted Youyi General Xue Shixiong as Vumen Route Expedition General and sent him to attack Yiwu. The Yiwu defence forcessurrendereduponarrival oftheSuitroops. In610AD.theSuiDynastybuiltanewtown east of thc old city, named it Yiwu Town and put Wang Wei, whose officia l JX>St was Yinqingguanglu Da-fu there to command the stati oned Sui troops. It also set up the Yiwu Province, and apart fromtroops,aSi-rnawasinstalledthere.responsibleforthemilitaryandpoliticalaffairs. In609 AO (the 51h year of Daye reign), after subduing Tuyuhun, the Sui Dynasty set up Shanshan Province and Qiemo Province in the southeast of the Tarim Basin. Shanshan Province was headquarteredinShanshanCity(oldLoulan City)andadministered XianwuandJiyuanCounties; whileQiemoProvince washeadquartered inoldQiemoCityandadministeredSuningandFurong Counties. lnordertostrengthenitsrulethere.theSuigovernment"exiledtheconvicts tothose regions as border soldiers. made them work on the land and diverted grains in other western provinces to those regions as additional supply'". It was recorded in Pei Ju's article On the Maps of the Western Regions, " Yiwu. Gaochang and Shanshan are all gateways to the Western Regions and. together with Dunhuang, constitute the location of the throar'". Since Shanshan and Yi\\-Uwerealreadysetup asprovinces. theSui Dynastycontrolledtwooutof the threegateways of the western Regions.

The State ofGaochang was historically cl osely associated with the Central Plains. II interacted with the Sui Dynasty after the latter was founded. In 609 AD (the 51ll year of Daye

1Food and Goods. Book of Sui.
2 Story of Pejju, Book of Sui.


reign), Yangdi Emperor of Sui arrived at Yanzhi Mountain (west of today's Yongchang County and Southeast of Shanmiao County in Gansu Province) in the Hexi area in his westward inspection tour, and dozens of states from the Western Regions, including the king of Gaochang, came to pay tributes . In 612 AD (the 8<h year of Daye reign), King Quboya of Gaochang went to the Sui court and took Princess Huarong as his wife. Upon return to his own state, the king issued a decree ordering his people to change costume. The decree read as follows, " ... now that the great Sui Dynasty has unified the whole world, we all become one nation, with everyone in every comer being faithful to the Sui emperor. Since I have been showered by the benevolence of the Sui Dynasty, my people should also get the benefit. All my nationals are advised to loosen their braids and cut short their sleeves." I From the decree we can get a sense of the willingness of the Gaochang king to obey the Sui Dynasty. All the three gateways of the Western Regions were now secured by the Sui Dynasty.

AstootherstatesintheWesternRegions,"over30statescame tothecourttopaytributes; the emperor had to appoint a Western Regions Captain to receive them'" , By that time, the Eastern Turks had pledged allegiance to the Sui government, and Shekui Khan of the Western Turks hadalsoacceptedappointmentbytheSuicourt. Chinawasontheeve ofaunification with an unprecedented scale. However, Yangdi Emperor, who pursued excessive fame and prestige, took a bold move to attack the east. From 611 to 614 AD, the emperor exhausted the whole country's resources to fight ancient Korea thrice. The nation was thrown into turbulence as troops and grains were diverted all over the country, corrupt officials cashed in on the opportunity to line up their own purses and ordinary people were left with nothing to live on. In 618 AD (the 14'hyear of Daye reign) , the massive farmers ' riots uprooted the Sui Dynasty and thus put an end to the plans of Sui on the Western Region s.

The Tang Dynasty was set up in 618AD (the first year of Wude reign). After unifying the CentralPlains,theTangDynastysubdued localforcesoftheXuefamilyineastGansuandLiGui in Liangzhou , thus unifying the Hexi area. In 630 AD (the 4<h year ofZhenguan reign), the Tang Dyna sty wiped out the Eastern Turki Khanate and added the steppe north of the desert to its territory. The whole Western Regions were shaken at the news . The seven towns of Yiwu originally loyal to the Western Turks took the initiative to surrender, and the Tang government set up West Yizhou at Yiwu, later called Yizhou.

The Tang government made up its mind to exercise effective governance in the Western

Regions. In 640 AD (the 141h year of Zhenguan reign), the Tang Dynasty amassed allegedly

150,000 troops, together with tens of thousands ofTeli and Turki troops headed by Left General

Qibihcli. At the same time, the Tang government sent an envoy to Yanqi for support (as Yanqi

was previously attacked by Gaochang). It was obvious from this that the military unification of

the Western Regions by the Tang Dynasty was made possible with the cooperation between the

Han people, the steppe minority groups and other allies in the Western Regions. The Tang

troopsleftYiwu,capturedtheKaganbuCity (north oftoday'sJimsarCounty),wentfurther

south and besieged Gaochang. Quwentai died abruptly and his son, Quzhisheng opened the city

and surrendered. The Tang government set up Xizhou Province at Gaochang and Tingzhou

Province at Kaganbu City. Later the Tang government set up the Office of Protector of Anxi at

I Story of Gaochang, Book of Sui.

2. Western Region s. Book of Sui.


Xizhou, which took over control of the military and administrative affairs of the entire Western Regions. That office was the highest military-administrative organ the Tang Dynasty set up in that area.

In 642 AD, the Tang government appointed the grandson of Nishu Khan, Yipishekui, as the Khan of the Western Turks, so as to control, through him. the northern and western parts of the Western Regions. But Yipishekui was thinking about limiting the Tang influence to the east of the Western Regions. He gained control of Yanqi through a marriage between his subordinate and Yanqi princess, and then obstructed transport and harassed Xizhou. The Tang troops defeated Yanqi in 644 AD (the 18th year of Zhenguan reign), but without effective occupation. In 648 AD, the Tang government sent out troops again, which were still a coalition of the Han and minority people, the latter constituting the main force . The commander was a surrendered Turk, Right General Ashina Sher. Composed by 13 divisions of Teli troops, over 100,000 Turks and the Han troops from the Central Plains , Yizhou and Xizhou, the Tang army first captured Yanqi, then attacked Qiuci. Ashina Helu and Quliqo from the Western Turks surrendered to the Tang troops. Then the Tang army went south, where the king ofYutian also surrendered. The Tang governmerit made the newly surrendered Kunshan Route General Supervisor and Left General, Ashina Helu, a Yabgou (or deputy king) and continued the expedition. The Western Turks thus stopped fighting and pledged allegiance one after another, and the western expedition was a complete success. The military operations aimed at unifying the Western Regions came to a temporary stop.

In the aftermath of the victory, the Tang government set up four military garrison commands in the Western Regions, Sulek (also known as Shule), Qiuci, Yutian and Yanqi (changed to Suiye, or Suyab, between 679 AD and 719 AD), which were all under the control of the Protector of Anxi. Historically, they were known as the "Four Garrison Commands of Anxi". The installation of the Office of Protector of Anxi and the Four Garrison Commands of Anxi was an important step in the Tang Dynasty's rule over the Western Regions . In terms of post installation, while inheriting governance strategies of previous dynasties, the Tang government invented some new measures in its administration in the Western Regions, which can be summed up as follows:

(1)Continued combinationofmilitary andadministrativefunctions inthegovernancesystem. Since its creation in the Han Dynasty, the Protector system combining military and administrative functions was picked up by all the following dynasties, which produced rather good results. This showed that this governance system was basically compliant with the economic and social development in the Western Regions at that time.

Parallel application of "hard" and "soft" policies in the means of governance. That method started during the early days of the Tang Dynasty. The military garrison commands were mainly responsible for stationing troops and defending territory; while the Office of the Protector was in charge of comforting and placation.
Integration of the Han people and minorities in the governance structure. Troops in the four garrison commands were a mixture of the Han and minorities, while the officers and generals were also ethnically diversified.
Focus on the western and southern frontiers of the Western Regions in the governance layout. All the previous central governments that had administered the Western Regions starting from the Han Dynasty tended to focus on the middle areas such as Yanqi and Qiuci when they were strong in power; and the east such as Yiwu, Gaochang and Shanshan when they were weak. The Four Garrison Commands of Anxi of the Tang Dynasty were all located in the key frontier


areas in the west and south of the Western Regions, with Suiye penetrating deep into the west, bordering on Central Asia. Therefore, the establishment of the four garrison commands greatly extended the scope under direct control of the Tang Dynasty.

All in all, the Office of Protector of Anxi and the Four Garrison Commands of Anxi marked thecommencementofa newhistoricalerainthegovernance oftheWesternRegions bythecentral kingdoms.

After unification, the Tang government introduced major reforms to the governance system in the Western Regions, which were represented by the installation of liaison offices (Ji-rni offices, or a system of governance through the traditional chiefs and headmen, who were granted civil and military titles and allowed to manage local affairs according to their own customs). The earliest such installation was during the expedition against Ashina Helu. In 654 AD (the 5th year ofYonghuireign),theTanggovernmentsetupJinman andShatuo liaisonofficesintheformer area of the Yue division of the Western Turks , each headed by a governor called Du-du J. After puttingdowntheriot ofAshina Helu, theTanggovernmentbegan toinstall moreliaisonoffices across the former territory of the Western Turks. In 658 AD (the 3rd year of Xianqing reign), two liaisonprotectorswereinstalled,oninKunling,theotherinMengchi. Underthetwoprotectors' offices were 27 liaison agencies (which is the figure that has been known today, as there lacks a complete historical record in this regard) on the basis of the tribes of the Western Turks. Ashina Mishe was appointed by the Tang government as Xingxiwang Khan and Left General, Protector of Kunling, in charge of the five Duolu tribes previously under the Left Wing of the Western Turks. AshinaBujanwasappointedJiwangjucKhanandRightGeneral,ProtectorofMengchi, in charge of the five Nushibi tribes previously under the Right Wing of the Western Turks. Later on, the Tang Dynasty sent an imperial court official, Guang-lu-qing, to the Western Regions, who, together with Mishe and Bujan, accredited headmen and chiefs of tribes on behalf of the central government, "determining the size and rank ofthe tribes and appointing officials under the rank of Civil Governors (Ci-shi) (for the liaison agencies ):" , In the same year , the Office of Protector of Anxi was upgraded to the Office of Grand Protector of Anxi and moved to Qiuci, sitting in the middle and ruling all parts of the Western Regions. Four Du-du Offices were established in the Tarim Basin to the south of the Tianshan Mountains, which were in Qiuci, Yanqi, Sulek and Pisha respectively. Under those Du-du Offices were 34 liaison offices. Such offices were also set up in the previously Western Turk territory to the west of the Congling Mountains, where special envoys were sent over by the central government to conduct local appointments. Since there were a large number of small states west of the Congling Mountains (Tocharia) and Sogdiana (Transoxiana in today's Central Asia. or area between the Amu and Syr Rivers), the Du-du Offices there were basically set up on country basis. According to New Book ofTang,"Inthe 16stateswestofYutianandeastofPersia,liaisongovernor'sofficeswerebuilt intheircapitals;altogethertherewere88provinces,110countiesand 126militaryprefectures". Inaddition, itwasrecordedinZi-Zhi-Tong-Jian,Vol.200,that"inSeptemberofthe4thyearof Xianqing reign (659 AD), decree s were issued to set up a total of 127 provinces, counties and prefectures in states such as Chach (shi), Maimargh (mi), Kesh (shii), Da'an, Xiao'an, Cao,

1 Story uf Shatuo, New Book of Tang.
2 Tang-Hui-Yao, Vol. 73.


Ferghana, Hephthalites (yeda), Sogdak and Zhujuban" (Zi-Zhi-Tong-Jian),

In 702 AD (the 2nd year of Chang' an reign), the Tang government set up the Office of Protector of Beiting at Tingzhou, which was upgraded to the Office of Grand Protector of Beiting in 709 AD (the 3myear of Jinglong reign). This one, together with the Office of Grand Protector of Anxi headquartered in Qiuci, ruled the entire Western Regions, with the first administering the north of the Tianshan Mountains and the latter the south . Since then the liaison office system became complete in the Western Regions. The two Offices of Grand Protectors of Anxi and Beiting were governing bodies directly mandated by the Tang Dynasty, headed by a Grand Protector or Protector, whose official rank was very high, equivalent to sub-second-tier or thirdtier in the imperial ranking system, the same as state ministers or vice prime ministers. Under the (Grand) Protector were two Deputy (Grand) Protectors, one Senior Official and one Si-ma. There were special divisions in the Office of Grand Protector dealing with administrative, military, judiciary and tinancial affairs respectively, with corresponding posts such as Gongcao, Cangcao, Hucao, Bingcao, Facao and Canjun, consistent with the ministerial structure in the imperial court. The Grand Protector was responsible for "all related placation and expedition tasks, overseeing and stabilizing the minorities, giving awards and meting out penalties, recording meritorious services, and judging matters under the jurisdiction of the Office". It was said the Grand Protector "walked around with a yak-tail pole in his hand and lived in a residence with six flagpoles", and "no other post outside the capital was more important than that" 1.

The two Offices of Protectors of Kunling and Mengchi in the two wings of the Western Turks were under the administration of the Grand Protector, but they had a liaison management system in relation to their subordinates, which made them structurally very different from the two Offices of Grand Protectors of Anxi and Beiting . As to the titles of the leading officials , the head of the Kunling Office was called Xingxiwang Khan and Left General, Protector of Kunling; and the head of the Mengchi Office Jiwangjue Khan and Right General, Protector of Mengchi , both a combination of the title of khan and official posts of the imperial court. Moreover, at these two Offices of Protectors and their subordinate Governor's Offices (Du-du Offices), only the heads were given noble titles such as Khan, Chuo or Sijin and official posts such as Protector, Governor (Du-du) or Civil Governor (Ci-shi) by the central government. At the grass-root level, the original system of the Western Turks still prevailed. There were usually Can-jiang at the Offices of Protectors and Governors (Du-du), who were responsible for Chinese-language documents. In the Tarim Basin south of the Tianshan Mountains and to the west of the Congling Mountains, the heads of the Du-du Offices usually had both the noble titles and official posts such as Governor and Civil Governor.

The Tang Dynasty applied the same province-county administration system as that on the

Central Plains in Yizhou (today 's Hami region), Xizhou (today's Turpan region) and Tingzhou

(today'sChangjiandUrumqiregion)inthe eastoftheWesternRegions. Theprovincewas

headed by a Civil Governor, supported by three deputies, called Bie-jia, Zhang-shi and Si-ma,

who were in charge of administrative and military affairs respectively. In a province there were

6 divisions sharing responsibilities for protocol. storage, civil households, military affairs, crimi

nallaw and construction, each headed by a Staff. The county was headed by a County Magis-

I Tong-Dian, Vol. 32.


tratc(Xian-ling),supportedbythreedeputies, Xian-chcng,Zhu-bu andXian-wci,eachwithhis own portfolio. Under the level of county there were townships and villages. The hcad of the township was Qi-Iao (or Fu-Iao), and that of the village Li-zheng. Economically, those administrative divisions in the Western Regions applied the same population-based land distribution system (also known as "Jun-tian-zhi") and taxation and corvee system (also known as "Zuyong-diao-zhi")asthoseontheCentralPlains. Militarily,theFu-bing-zhi(apeace-time-farmerand-war-time-soldier system) was extended to wider areas in the Western Regions, including both the eastern part and the western areas up to the Congling Mountains. Beyond the Congling Mountains, some areas also had military prefectures set up by the Tang government.

From the above it is clear that the Tang Dynasty had a governance structure in the Western Regions combining the frontier liaison system and the inland province-county system. In fact, the liaison offices served both of the two functions. Such a "parallel" system reflected the transition from the liaison system to a regular sub-national administrative system in the Western Regions, which would put the central government in a better position to apply more direct and tighter control over the Western Regions and enable faster integration between the frontier areas and the Central Plains in their economic and social development. However, the "transitional period" was featured by the "separate governance of the Han and minority people", although in practice, "the top level was more integrated than the lower ones". To put it into specifics, the twoOfficesofGrand ProtectorofAnxiandBeiting,whichtogetheradministeredthewholeofthe Western Regions, applied "integrated governance of the Han and minorities". Under the two Offices of Grand Protectors, there were either provinces and counties of the regular administrative system or Offices of Protectors and Governors of the liaison system, which separated governance of the Han and minorities. The two governance systems even existed in the same area. For example, under Tingzhou there were Jinman County and Luntai County on the one hand, and Liaison Du-du Office of Jinman and Liaison Du-du Office of Luntai on the other, the latter two charged with administering local nomadic groups.

In 734 AD (the 22nd year of Kaiyuan reign), the Zhongshui Khan ofTurgis appointed by the Tang government, by name of Sulu, started an armed revolt against the Tang Dynasty with the pretext of unauthorized killing of the chief of Turgis by the Protector of Beiting. The Tang government mobilized 60,000 troops for the westward expedition, and put down the revolt in 739AD(the27th yearofKaiyuan reign)withthecooperationfromanotherchief ofTurgis, Moheganda, as well as states like Ferghana, Chack and Kesh. The Western Turki tribes all sent petition letters to the Tang emperor, asking to "be included in the administration of the Office of Grand Protector ofAnxi,andbethe frontierwatchdogsandsubjects oftheTangDynasty forever'". TheadministrationoftheTanggovernmentovertheWesternRegionswasfurther strengthened. While Sulu rebelled against the Tang Dynasty. the Tubo (today's Tibet) forces cashed in on the opportunity to strike. As early as in 633 AD (the 3'dyear of Longshuo reign), the Tubo forces crushed Tuyuhun and took Qinghai, then entered the Tarim Basin. It even capturedQiuciandSulekaroundtheyear680AD. DuringSulu'srevolt,Tubosenttroopsto support Turgis and attacked the military garrion commands of Anxi of the Tang government. It also fought with the Tang government for the Major and Minor Palur in the Pamirs. At last, the Tang troops defeated Tubo, recovered Major and Minor Palur in 753 AD (the 12th year of Tianbo

I Cc-Fu-Yuan-Gui, Vol. 977.


reign) and gained total control of the Pamirs . However, its governance in the Western Regions was eclipsed, and Dashi (or Taziyan, the Arab Empire), a state outside of China, seized the opportunity to expand its forces into the west of the Western Regions.

In 750 AD (the 9th year ofTianbao reign), Gao Xianzhi, Border Governor (Jie-du-shi) took issue with the king of Chach under the pretext of the latter's "inadequate courtesy". Gao sent troops there and defeated Chacko The prince of Chack invited troops from Dashi to invade the TangDynasty. DashiwastheChinesenamefortheArabEmpireatthattime. Itroseinearly T" century and expanded eastward under the banner of Islam. The Arab Empire took Persia first and thencrossedtheboundary oftheTangDynasty,reachingTransoxianatothewestoftheWestern Regions. The Tang Dynasty failed to respond despite repeated appeals for support by its vassal statesthere;asaresult,theDashiforcesoccupiedthatarea. Nowwiththehelp oftheChach prince, Dashi began to invade the west of the Western Regions massively. Upon hearing the news, Gao Xianzhi led the Tang troops from the Four Garrison Commands of Anxi and armies from various liaison offices in the Western Regions, totalling over 60,000 troops, to fight the invaders. The two troops met at the area of Talas (today's Talas River area). Historical data record ed that the two sides "fought for five days , then the Karluk division turned coat and attacked the Tang troops together with Dashi, which led to fiasco of Gao Xianzhi'", When the Tang troops retreated to Anxi, the size of the military forces of the four garrison commands was morethanhalved. TheDashiforcesthentooktheStateofChach. Thatwasthefamous"Talas Battle" in the history of the Western Regions .

Despite that defeat, the Tang troops were still in fast hold of the Western Regions. The appointment of local officials from the vassal states and their tributes continued as before. The Tang Dynasty even recovered Major and Minor Palur in 753 AD, and appointed Turgis Khan in theareaoftheformertentribes oftheWesternTurks. SoonaftertheTalasbattle,therelations between the Tang Dynasty and Dashi went back to normal, as evidenced by four visits by Dashi envoys to Chang'an to pay tributes from 752 to 753 (the IIth to 12th year of Tianbao reign).

TheCentralPlains were plagued bythe"RiotsofAn(AnLushan)andShi (ShiSirning)"in 755AD(the I4th yearofTianbaoreign). ThenextyearSuzongEmperor ofTang,LiHeng, succeeded the throne in Ningwu (in today's Ningxia Autonomous Region) and mobilized forces from all over the country to defend his regime. Most of the troops stationed in the Four Garrison Commands of Anxi were also asked to move to the Central Plains to help put out the riots, so were the subordinate states in the Western Regions such as Ferghana and Yutian. The king of Yutian headed 5,000 troops and marched into the heartland of the Tang Dynasty. In 758 AD (the firstyearofQianyuan reign),chiefsofninestatesfromtheWesternRegions,includingTocharian Yabgou Unado, came to the Tang court, asking to "help the government to fight the rioters ". They were sent to the north where Tang troops were stationed. Even Dashi offered to help. At that time, the major forces to fight the rioters were "troops from the garrisons in the northwest and minority states" . However, the administration and defence capabilities of the Tang governmentwereverymuchweakened intheWesternRegions.

Tuba got a chance to step in during the "Riots ofAn and Shi". It first occupied the Hexi area, cutting off the road link between the east and the west. Then it launched attacks against the Western Regions, which were left isolated and helpless at that time. Officials sent by the imperial

t Zi-Zhi-Tong-Jian, Vo!. 216.


court of Tang, the stationed troops and local people combined forces to fight Tubo in all adversities and eventually prevented the Western Regions from being split up. Around the year 768 AD (the 3'd year of Dali reign) , by a stroke of luck, the Western Regions managed to resume contact with the central government. Only then did the Tang government begin to know that the Western Regions were still complete thanks to the fight of the isolated troops there. From the emperor down to the ordinary people, everyone was touched by the "patriotic devotion " of the military and civilian people in the Western Regions . Daizong Emperor of Tang issued a decree praising their meritorious conduct. It was said in the decree that those people "ensured a safe boundary of thousands of miles without troubling the central government or asking for additional help, thus maintaining the security of the entire nation and cementing the rule of the central government in the western part of the country both through power and through benevolence'". In 781 AD (the 2nd year of Jianzhong reign), the Tang government appointed Cao Lingzhong and GuoXin,twostaunchdefendersoftheWestern Regions,Grand ProtectorsofBeitingandAnxi respectively. They were also granted noble titles, Lord Ningsai and Lord Wuwei, which showed that the Western Regions now assumed greater importance in the priority of the central dynasty ,

In 783 AD (the 4th year of Jianzhong reign), a coup d'etat (Jingyuan Coup) took place in Chang'an. Dezong Emperor of Tang sent an envoy to Tubo for assistance, and the latter took advantage of the Tang government by asking for the land of four provinces including Jing and Ling in the cast of the Hexi area as well as Anxi and Beiting in the Western Regions, which, in fact, was tantamount to taking all the north -western part of the Tang Dynasty beyond the said four provinces. At that time, Tubo already controlled the Hexi area and penetrated into Gansu, the Western Regions were cut away from other parts of the country by the Tuba forces and remained in isolat ion for over two decades, and the Tang troops stationed in the Western Regions were no longercapableofdefendingthatarea. Giventhatsituation,thecentralgovernmentsignedatreaty with Tubo and conceded Anxi and Beiting . The Tang emperor also sent a Decree to Officers and Troops in the Four Garrison Commands and Beiting for that purpose. The central government of Tang first planned to send an official to handle the take-over issue, yet due to the long distance andbadtraffic,theimperialdecreefailedtoarriveintheWesternRegions. Bytheyear789AD, the Tang troops were still defending Anxi, Beiting and areas east of the Congling Mountains.

In the meantime, the Huihe (or Ouigour) Khanate emerged and took the Mongolian steppe

north of the desert and the east of the Western Regions. The Karluk division, a nomadic group in

the Gold Mountains (today's Altay Mountains), replaced the Turgis and occupied the area of the

former ten tribes of the Western Turks. In the same year, Tubo joined forces with the Karluk

division to assault Belting. Beiting troops formed alliance with Huihu (or Uighur, as Ouigour

asked to be renamed as UighurlHuihu in 788 AD) to fight back. In the confrontation, the allied

forces of Tang and Uighur lost; as a result, Uighur was forced back to the north of the desert,

Beiting was captured by Tubo, and over 2,000 Tang troops retreated to Xizhou (today's Turpan).

In 790 AD (the 6th year of Zhenyuan reign), the allied forces of Tang and Uighur failed again in

their attempt to recapture Beiting, the Karluk division occupied Futuchuan (today's area around

Jimsar), and Tubo took Xizhou and then besieged Qiuci. At that time the Four Garrison Com

mands of Anxi were empty of Tang troops, so local people of all ethnic groups, both civilians and

I Collection of Imperial Decrees of Tang. Vol. 116.


soldiers, rose up to fight Tubo. The next year, Uighur sent troops to the Western Regions for the thirdtimeandfinallydefeatedTubo,recovering BeitingandXizhou,andbreakingtheblockade aroundQiuci. Bythen,UighurandTubosharedthecontroloftheWesternRegions,asUighur took Beiting, Xizhou as well as Yanqi, Qiuci, Wensu, Bohuan (today's Aksu) and east of Sulek along the northern edge of the Tarim Basin, and Tubo controlled the southern edge of the Tarim BasinwithYutianasthecentre. TothewestoftheConglingMountains,theTransoxianaareain CentralAsiawastakenbyDashi. BasicallytheTanggovernmenthadmovedoutoftheWestern Regions at that point.

III. Western Regions and the Ouigour People as well as the Orkhon Ouigour Khanate

1. Origin of Ouigour

The Uygur people come from multiple sources. They are mainly a result of the mix and integration of the former Ouigour people from the Mongolian steppe and original inhabitants of oases in the Tarim Basin, Today's Uygur andancient "Uighur" arejustdifferent translationsof onesame word,Ouigour(orHuihe),theTurkicnameofatribeontheMongolian steppe.

The Ouigour people originated from Beidi, which was one of the oldest ethnic groups in China. Asearlyasin2000BC,theBeidipeoplewereactiveinChina'snorthwest,nextdoorto thetribesofHuaxia(ortheChinese)people. Itwaslikelythattheyhadsimilarracialfeaturesor appearances with the Huaxia people, but their languages were different. When interacting with each other, the two sides had to rely on "the tongue people" to interpret '. The Beidi people "had their hair loosened and front of garment lapped in the different direction from people on the Central Plains'" , ate half-cooked meat that "had blood in it", lived a nomadic life and had no written language.

DuringtheShangandZhouDynasties (II'"-51h centuriesBC),theBeidipeoplewerealso called Di. During the Qin and Han Dynasties, the Di people were known as Dingling or Dili, which changed to Tolos and Teli after the 3'd century AD. Despite all the differences in writing, those words pronounced almost the same, since they were simply different Chinese translations ofonesamenameofacertaingroup ofpeople. Thatnamecamefromanotherlanguage,the language of the Di people. However, since they did not have their written language until the 61h centuryAD,wecanonlyuseChinesetranslationsrecorded inChinesehistorybookstoaddress them. After the 6th century AD, the Teli people began to spell their own language in the Turk Runic script, and used such written language for inscriptions on many tablets, some of which have been kept until now. In 1893, V. Thomsen, a Dann linguist was the first to decode that mysterious language. Only after that did people begin to know that those people called themselvesTurkorTuruk,whichmeant"strongandpowerful". ThenamesofDi,Dingling,Diliand Teli,all the variantsinChinese, are nothingbut transliterationofTurk orTuruk.

I Guo-Yu. Zhou, Vol. 2.

2 Writi ngs of Confucius, or Lun-Yu, quoted by Tian Guangjin and Guo Suxin, in Erdos Bronzeware,



TheDipeopleoriginallylived inErdos and thesurroundingareasintoday'sInnerMogolia. The demographic growth and economic development prompted them to move eastward and southward for more grassland. By the period of Xia and Shang Dynasties, the northern part of the Central Plains was already part oftheir nomadic destination. They used to be active in today'sShanxi,Hebei and northern Shaanxi.

The Di people had very close relations with the Huaxia tribes as they lived next to each other. Some pre-Qin documents believed that the Di people and Huaxia tribes shared one ancestor. AccordingtoBookofMountainsandSeas,"Thegrandson ofHuangdiwasShijun,who then fathered the Beidi people!". It isimpossibletoverify thetruthfulness ofthat note,yetthere are a lot of archaeological data pointing to the close relations between the Di and Huaxia people bothraciallyand culturally'. DuringtheShangandZhouDynasties,therewereplentyofrecords ofinter-marriagebetweenthetwosides. Lateron,most ofthe Dipeoplewhomovedontothe Central Plains mixed and integrated with the Huaxia tribes.

Onedivision oftheDipeople movednorthwardinthe IIthcenturyBC,someofwhomlived aroundtheYinMountainsinInnerMongolia andlaterformedpartofthe Huns;whileothers(the division called Chidi, or literally, Red Di) travelled further north and crossed the Gobi and reached the great steppe north of the desert and the primitive forests in southern Siberia.

The northbound Di people were mainly distributed between the Baikal Lake and Yenisei River. They mixed quickly with local inhabitants and were referred to as Dingling in Chinese historicalrecords. TheDinglingpeopleandotherprimitivetribeslivedinthemountainareasof southern Siberia and the northern edge of the Mongolian steppe.

The different natural and geographical conditions between the east and west of southern SiberiamadetheDinglingpeopleinthewest"quitegoodatfarming". Anumberoftribesthere were engaged in land farming in addition to their mainstream activities or even relied on land farming. Astotheeast,theDinglingpeopletherelivedonhunting,gatheringandroaminganimal farming. Giventheirdifference,theeasternandwestern Dinglingpeople graduallyevolved into two independent gronps, with the eastern group producing the Ouigour division and the Nine Tribes),andthewesterngroupgeneratingtheAshinaTurkdivisionand theKarlukdivision".

The western Dingling group concentrated in the Kuznez Depression at the upper reach of the Ob River, the Minocinsk Basin at upper Yenisei River and the Altay Mountains area. The eastern tribes were active around the Baikal Lake and the Big River areas to the south.

In the 4th century BC, the Huns from the Great Bend of the Yellow River and the Yin Mountainssouth ofthedesert prospered,"unifiedallhuntingtribes"?onthesteppeboth north and south of the desert such as Rong, Di and Hu, and set up the first united and strong Hun regime

I Da-huung-xi Story. Book of Muuntains and Seas. Shanghai Ancient Buoks Publishing House. 1980.


2Jeshlev(pronunciation),Ancient HistoryofSouthernSiberia,Vol.I,ChapterIV;TianGuangjinandGuo

Suxin, Erdos Bronzeware, pp185-200, pp326-327.

3 Banyokuji (pronunciation), Research on the Hun People, in Selection of Papers on Hun History, edited

by Lin Gan. Beijing: Zhonghua Shuju Publishing House. 1983.

4 It was noted in the Story of the Turks. History of the North that "the ancestors of the Turks lived to the

west of the West Sea" and it was recorded in the Story of the Karluk, New Book of Tang that "the Karluk belonged

to the Turks and lived to the northwest of Belting and west of the Guld Mountains".

5 Story of the Huns, Records of History.


on the steppe. After "subduing the Dingling people in the north", the Huns put under their control the entire southern Siberia and the steppe north of the desert.

In 85AD (the 2nd year ofYuanhe reign of Eastern Han Dynasty), the Hun regime in the north was devastated by the alliance of the revolting tribes in servitude such as Dingling and the Eastern Han government. It "could not regain the control and retreated to a distant place". Following the defeat of the Hun regime, there emerged from the Mongolian steppe the Xianbei regime and then Rouran regime, which took their turns to rule the Dingling people.

After the 3'd century AD, Dingling was referred to as Tolos, Gaoche or Teli in Chineselanguage history books. The Chapter of Gaoche in Book of Wei recorded, "Gaoche, the descendants of the ancient Red Di, first called themselves Dili, also known as Tolos in the north and Gaoche or Dingling on the Central Plains". It was also recorded in the Chapter of Uighur, New Book of Tang that "Ouigour. .. often travelled on high-wheel vehicles and named themselves the division of Gaoche (literally translated as High Vehicle) in the beginning of the Wei Dynasty, also known as Tolos, which was mistaken as Teli". The Chapter of Gaoche in History of the North mentioned 6 divisions and 12 families within Gaoche. The 6 divisions were Di, Yuanhe, Hulu, Jiepi, Hugu and Yiqijin. Most historians believe the Yuanhe division was the ancestor of the later Ouigour.

In the middle of the 4th century, the Gaoche tribes in the Selenga, Orkhon and Tura river basins already formed a loose group, which was named as "Eastern Gaoche" in some.history books. Ouigour was part of the Eastern Gaoche group and its living area was "over a hundred Ii west of Luhunhai'". Luhunhai was at the upper reach of today's Orkhon River, so over a hundred li to its west should be the Selenga River basin.

After the 6th century, there rose a Teli division of the Ashina family from the east of the Junggar Basin. After merging with 50,000 tents of Gaoche people from other divisions in the Junggar Basin in 546 AD (the 12th year of Datong reign of Western Wei Dynasty), it got swelled instrength,marchedeastwardintotheareanorthofthedesert,andwipedoutRouran. In552AD (the first year of Yuanqin reign of Western Wei Dynasty), it set up the Turki Khanate on the Mongolian steppe. Ranging from the Xing'anling Mountains in the east to the Junggar Basin and the upper Syr River in Central Asia in the west, the Turki Khanate ruled Ouigour and other Teli divisions. Being a slave-owning regime, the Turki Khanate was exceptionally cruel in its rule over all the steppe tribes. According to historical data, the Turks were "tyrannical and brutal both in andout of their houses'", hence widespread resistance from many Teli divisions. In the struggle against the Turki Khanate, the Ouigour division rallied more and more Teli tribes and later got support from the Tang Dynasty, which made it stronger day by day.

2. Establishment of the Orkhon Ouigour Khanate In 744 AD (the 3nl year of Tianbao reign of Tang Dynasty), the Tang government allied with Ouigour and other Teli tribes and perished the Turki Khanate. As a result, Ouigour became the strongest tribe among all Teli divisions on the Mongolian steppe at that time . However, there

were still many hurdles on its way to unify the steppe. Basmil and Karluk were two tribes north of the desert capable of challenging the Ouigour dominance; Qirqiz was watching ambitiously

1 Story of Taizu and Story of Guoche, Book of Wei.
2 Story of the Turks, Book of Sui


from the north; and the Teli division that already pledged allegiance to the Tang government as well as former Turki divisions also posed difficulties from the senth. Since all those tribes used to have liaison offices of the Tang government, Ouigour decided that it had to win appointments from the Tang court so that it could call the shots among all tribes in the name of the Tang Dynasty and then go further to unify the entire area north of the desert. Therefore, immediately after the destruction of the Turks, the chiefof Ouigour Gulipelo sent his envoy to Chang'an for imperial appointment. In 745 AD (the 4th year of Tianbao reign), Xuanzong Emperor of Tang conferred on him the title of Huairen Khan. After getting approval from the Tang government, Ouigour became the dominant power of the area north of the desert, "controlling the former territory of the Turks and headquartered in Wudejian Mountain" I. Thus the Orkhon Ouigour

Khanate came into being.

Following the firstkhan, all the succeeding khans ofOuigour pledged allegiance to the Tang government, accepted titles from the imperial court of Tang and always defined the Ouigour Khanate as a subordinate of the Tang Empire. On many occasions, Ouigour sent cavalry troops upo n request of the central government to help put down domestic riots during the Tang Dynasty. It also maintained alliance with the Tang government for many years against Tuba. The two-way trade was also brisk, particularly in horses and silk products. A review of the over 1,000years' history after the Hun regime shows that among all the northern steppe regimes, the Ouigour Khanate was the one with the closest and most friendly ties with the kingdom on the Central Plains. In view of that, the Tang emperors married three princesses, Princess Ningguo, Princess Xian'an and Princess Taihe, to the khans of Ouigour. Among all the princesses from the central regime who married minority chiefs since the Western Han Dynasty, only the afore-mentioned three were the emperors' own daughters.

The territory of the Ouigour Khanate was basically the Mongolian steppe south of Baikal Lake-Sayan Mountains-Tangnu Mountains, north of Yin Mountains-Helan MountainsRiver West Corridor-North Mountains (Mazong Mountains), east of Altay Mountains and west of Xing'anling Mountains. In the nearly 100 years that followed, based on the Ouigour

. : ' ~)\)iJ , vaml\h~l'e'i1m e ~·mml 1hl eID.1UT) W aa ab') 'm(~"""il( '1tt'fu mtl; i1lm:b<;::,ID; uill


3. Demographic and Ethnic Features ofOuigour After the establishment of the Ouigour Khanate, the scattered tribes of Teli gradually formed a united Ouigour group. In relating to the outside, those tribes no longer used their originalnamesbut Ouigourinstead. Ouigour becamethename ofanethnicgroupandakhanate rather than that of a tribe only. There is no clear indication of the population of the Ouigour Khanate from the historical data we now have. Some people believe that the estimation of "over I million households" made by Taizong Emperor of the Tang Dynasty about the population ofTeli to the north of the desert was "not far from the actual figures" 2. Based on that argument, at least there were over 5 million

people in the area to the north of the desert. But that figure was simply incredible. The territory of the Ouigour Khanate was basically the same as that ofthe previous Eastern

I Zi-Zhi -Tong-1ian. Vol. 215.
2 Ma Changshou, Turks and Turki Khanate, Shanghai People's Publishing HOllS':, 1957, p57.

OJ to a I

go tin




in 1


Turki Khanate and the later Mongol Khanate founded by Chinggis Khan. Compared with the People's Republic of Mongolia in modem days, the Ouigour Khanate had similar borderlines in the east, west and south, but bulged tremendously in the north . The territory of the Ouigour Khanate was referred to as the steppe "to the north of the desert" in historical records. Therefore, the population of the Eastern Turki Khanate , Mongol Khanate and today's Mongolia can serve as a benchmark for the estimation of the population of the Ouigour Khanate.

According to statistics in 1918, the People's Republic of Mongolia had 647,504 people'. This figure is meaningful as reference for the demographic estimation of historical khanates on the steppe to the north of the desert. The Mongol Khanate in early 13"h century had an army totalling 129,0002Despite the lack of direct population data, the Mongol Khanate was divided into qian-hus (literally translated as thousand-households). The whole khanate had 65 qian-hus at first, and 95 qian-hus in later stage' . If we do the calculation assuming every household had 5 people, which was the average at that time , the population of the entire khanate would still be short of 500,000. Compared with the above two figures, Taizong Emperor's estimation of "over I million households", or 5 million population, was too much stretched. Obviously it was an exaggeration.

For hundreds of years, the steppe to the north of the desert has always been a region of animal husbandry. Farming animals depends on the grassland, while the capacity of the grassland to feed animals is limited, which, in tum, restrict s the population. Historically, only under two circumstances did outside nomadic tribes massively enter the steppe to the north of the desert. They either occupied the empty grazing land after some tribes moved away from the pasture following the perish of the nomadic regime on the steppe, or replaced the original tribes after driving them away from the steppe by force. The reason was simple: as the size of the steppe was fixed, its capacity to sustain animals was also fixed; therefore, although the regime and ethnic structure on the steppe could change all the time, the total population had to keep at a relatively stable level. When there was an excess of population, i.e., the so-called population explosion, the tribes on the steppe either joined force to expand and snatch new pasture, or fought each other so as to vanquish or drive out some tribes. Based on this simple law, it was not likely for the Ouigour Khanate, whose territory was equivalent to the Mongol Khanate in early 13th century, to have more than 500,000 people. In other words, the maximum of its population could only be a little over 500,000.

Our analysis of some data in the Tang Dynasty supported such estimation. The Tang government unified the north of the desert in 647 AD (the 21" year of Zhenguan reign). At that time there were 13 major tribes in that area, which were divided by Taizong Emperor of Tang into 6 prefectures and 7 provinces. The military forces or households of all the 13 trihes except the HwunandSijietribes,which hadasmaller size,were writtendown for record". Ifwe assume one of every three people became a soldier, or every household had 5 people, the II tribes only added

I Mulzayev (pronunciation), The People's Republic of Mongolia, translated by Yang Yuhua, Chapter Ill.

Beijing: Sanlian Shudian Publishing House, 1985.

2 Lasher (pronunciation), Collection of History, Vol. I, Division II, p362 .

3 Story of Jochitai, History of Yuan.

4 figures ofOuigour, Sijie and Xijie can be found in New Book of Tang, Vo1.21? and those for other tribes

in Tong-Dian, Vol.199.


up to 460,000 people. Taking into consideration of some Ouigour tribes that later moved to upperYeniseiRiver andJunggarBasin,aswellaserrorsandomissionsinrecordsand statistics, we find it quite appropriate to assume a population of over 500,000 in the Ouigour Khanate . In short, our conclusion is the population of the Ouigour Khanate to the north of the desert, or, all the people claiming themselves Ouigour, was expected to be between 400,000 and 600,000, most likely a little over 500,000.

As to the ethnic features of the Ouigour people, there were quite a few collateral data and sketchy records despite the lack of explicit and detailed descriptions in history books. It is generally held both in and out of China that the ancestors ofOuigour, the Dingling people, were of the Mongoloid race, so were the Huns, who were closely associated with Ouigour'.

BothChineseandforeignhistory bookshadclear recordsofthefacialfeaturesoftheTurks, whowereofthesameethnicoriginastheOuigourpeople. OnePersianintheII thcentury,Utebi described the Turks as "wide-faced, small-eyed, high-nosed and scanty-bearded". Another Persian by name of Galdich (pronunciation) also commented, "Their beards were thin' " . There was a paragraph written in Chinese during the Tang Dynasty describing a Turk: "The Turk Ashina Simo came and the emperor asked him to lie on the imperial bed as a token of honour. Simo looked like the Hu people, unlike the Turks; therefore Cholo Khan doubted his true relations with the Ashina family ":'. From this story we can see that at that time the Turks looked very different from the Hu people, who were white.

A contemporary Turkish scholar also highlighted that point. He said, "The ancient Turks were a branch of the Mongoloid-the yellow people, who came from the north of China. After obtaining Asia Minor from the Greek -speaking Byzantine people, they got some Caucasoid (white people) blood. When they went deeper into Europe, they absorbed more Caucasoid features. Today's Turks look more like the white people. But still, they are different from other whites, that is, the Turks are mainly black-haired and black-eyed, with their complexion between yellow and white. However, in some mountain areas of Turkey, we many still have the opportunity to see some Turks with the Mongoloid features.:"

Short of accurate description in words, the ethnic features of the Ouigour people were recordedintheabundantfrescodataleftoverfromancienttimes. Mme.Gomali(pronunciation), a German Turkologist, collected and studied paintings of Ouigour. She pointed out that in those paintings,"The westemers...hadeyesasbigasthoseofthebulls, buttheUighur nobles hadfull moon-shaped faces,slightlyhooked noses,andalmond-shapedeyes,justlikeaverageMongols". She added, "Perhaps the Han people were no different ethnically from the Turki Uighur people, so we can only differentiate them from their dresses or remarks in the paintings."! Two other

IHanKangxin,Research on RacialCompositioninAncientChina.inArchaeologicalJournal.IssueNo.

2. J984; Jeshlev, Ancient History of Southern Siberia. Vol. I. p57; Pan Qifeng, Research on Racial Origin of the HunsBasedonLushanBones.inArchaeologicalJournal. Issue 1\;0.2.1984.Beijing:SciencePublishing House, 1986.

2 \V. Barthold. Turkistan-Down to the Montol Invasion. London, 1968, p240; Galdich, Extravagance of

Descriptions(excerpts). HistoryandGeographyofNorthwest,IssueNo.4,1989.
3 Zi·Zhi-Tong·Jian, Vo1.l91.
4 Emil Lengyel. Turkey. London and New York. 1970. pp38 ·85.
5 Gornali, Uighur Paintings. Communications on Turkic Language Studies. Issue 1\;0.9.


Turkologists, L~ Coq (pronunciation) and Jehnov (pronunciation) held basically the same view '. If we look really carefully at the images of the Ouigour people in the fresco, it is still possible to tell them from the Han people from the Central Plains. Compared with the Han people, the Ouigour people had bigger and broader faces and higher and narrower noses. These are features of the North Asian Mongoloid race, while the Han people from the Central Plains generally had features of the Far East Mongoloid race.

4. Collapse of the Khanate In 788 AD (the 4th year of Zhenyuan reign), the Khan of Ouigour sent a letter to Dezong Emperor of the Tang Dynasty, asking for approval for changing their name from Ouigour (or Huihe) to Uighur (or Hui-hu, "hu" being a type of eagle), as the new name represented a lively eagle. After rnid-S'" century, the Uighur Khanate and Tubo Kingdom fought for decades in today's easternXinjiang.Bythe820s,both wereexhaustedandbegan tofallapart. Towardstheend of the Uighur Khanate, the in-fight within the ruling class for the post of khan sped up the collapse of the khanate. In839AD(the4thyearofKaichengreign), thesteppetothenorth ofthedesertwas"fullof corpses of sheep and horses as a result of years of famine and plague, which was made worse by severe snow". The Uighur people "wandered about on the desert and dropped dead on the grassland'". Inthesameyear,thein-fightaggravatedonceagain. ThePrimeMinister ofUighur Jelov got help from the Satow cavalry from south of the desert, and Zhangxin Khan was forced to commit suicide. The next year (840 AD), General Julornoh, who was stationed north of the capital of the khanate, roped in with the Qirqiz division, which was all along covetous of the dominanceofthesteppe, Theircombinedforces,totalling100,000cavalries,marchedsouthand attacked the capital of Uighur. They "murdered the Khan, killed Jelov, and burnt th~ Khan's tent; the Khanate collapsed"). TIle beautiful capital of Uighur and Kedun and Gongzhu (Princess) Cities were all "destroyed to the last bit". The Uighur Khanate fell apart. However, the unexpected attack from Qirqiz did not completely wipe out or conquer the ruling classes of the Uighur Khanate. Most of the Khan's brothers and cousins, ministers and governors, "lords and nobles" were still there, controlling a great number of tribes. Soon afterwards, a new khan was produced from the "Thirteen Divisions Close to the Khan 's Tent", where most of the ruling class concentrated. Uighur, therefore, was still a people with their khans. In the following years, a big proportion of the Uighur tribes remained on the steppe north of the desert. When the Khitan people entered that area in the 10th century, they m~t for many times these Uighur tribes. Later, the Liao Dynasty set up the "Office of Chanyu of the State of Uighur" to rule local Uighur tribes. The Uighurs remaining in the area to the north of the desert basically integrated with other ethnic groups. For example, the family ofTian Zhenhai, who served as prime minister for Chinggis Khan and Ogedei Khan of the Mongol Empire, was the offspring of the Uighur people.

Other Uighurs moved out of the area north of the desert in an organized way, each group led by their own chiefs. The only places that could provide them with grassland were south of the

1Uighur Cultures and Customs, in Translated Works on Ethnic Studies, Vol.VI, edited and printed by

Centre on Ethnic Studies of China Academy of Social Sciences.

2Tang-Hui-Yao, Vo1.98;Li Deyu, Collected Works of Li Wenrao, Vo1.2.

3 Story of Uighur, New Book of Tang.


desert and the Junggar Basin, hence their march to the south and the west.

( 1) Southb ound Uighur

After the collapse of the khanate, some Uighur people moved south along the Cantian Khan Road in two groups. The more important group was the "Thirteen Divisions Close to the Khan's Tent",headedbyUshiTegin;theotherheadedbyGreatTeginWenmos. Thetwosouthbound Uighur groups were hostile towards each other; therefore, they went south with different motivations.

The group led by Wenmos and Nashcho became subordinate to the Tang government after enteringtheareatothesouthofthedesert. ThegroupledbyUshiTeginconsistedofmostof "nobles and senior officials" I ofthepreviouskhanate,whoaimedatrestoringthekhanate. On their route to the south, they recognized Ushi Tegin as Oge Khan. After the Uighur Khanate fell apart,the "Thirteen DivisionsClose to the Khan'sTent" wasstill the focusof attentionof all Uighurs. At least in name, Oge Khan was the khan for all divisions of Uighur, including the westboundUighur. Therefore,beforethedemiseofthesouthboundUighurregime,theheadof thewestbound UighurPangTeginalwayscalledhimself Yabgou,orthedeputyking.

Upon arriving in the south, Oge Khan asked the Tang government for military help to fight Qirqiz in the north, but was turned down. In 847 AD (the T" yearof Huichang reign), Oge was assassinated by his subordinates. The next year, the regime of the southbound Uighur was shattered to pieces, so was the attempt to restore the previous Uighur Khannate.

The twogroupsofsouthboundUighurwereestimated tobeover100,000 people,including nearly 50,000 in the group led by Wenmos and over 50,000 led by Oge.? After the disintegration of the southbound Uighur, most of them entered the Central Plains and mixed with the Han people. As to the group led by Wenmos, some were forced into military service by the Tang governmentascavalries,andotherssettleddownncarDatongandlivedonlandfarming. InCave No.61atMogaoku,Dunhuang,thereisafrescoofthe l O"centuryaboutWutaiMountainin Shanxi, with "Tcli Temple" in it. It was a proof that up until the Five-Dynasty period and early Song Dynasty, the descendants of these Uighur people still lived in that locality in communities. The top brass of the group led by Wenmos later moved to Chang'an, together with their families, andwere"givengrandmansionsatYonglefang". The7,000tentspreviouslyundertheruleof Nashcho and 30,000 to 40,000 captured and surrendered Uighurs from the group formerly led by Oge Khan were mostly"forced into militaryservicealloverthecountry " bytheTanggovernment. They spread very widely, and some were sent as far as the Yangtze and Hui River areas:'. In addition, many Uighur cavalries became subordinate to frontier generals of the Tang Dynasty. Li Maoxun and his son Li Keju were such Uighur commanders under the Border Governor of

I 5 prime ministers, II Tegins, 8 generals as well as the sister of the former khan. princesses, grand

governors, Chuos and ministers.

2 There were " 2.500 cavalry men" from the division led by Wenrnos surrendering to the Tang government,

who. together with their families, totalled over 10,000. Nashcho led "7,000 tents" , which should be over

30,000 peopleasonetenthad5people. Therefore,thegrouppreviouslyledbyWenmosandNachchoaddedup

tonearly50.000people. In843 AD,thegroupledbyOgewasdefeatedbytheTangarmy.when")0,000were

decapitated and 5,000 were captured" hy the latter. The remnants fled to Youzhou to surrender, totalling "over

30.000". Afterwards.over5,000werecollectedbyUnyanKhan. SothegrouppreviouslyunderOgetotalledover

50 .000.
3 Zi-Zhi-Tong-Jian, Vo1.250.


Youzhou Zhang Zhongwu. These Uighur nobles who moved south to the inland achieved many militaryfeatsthankstotheirbraveand able Uighurcavalrytroops,and weregrantednobletitles and officia l posts by the Tang government, later becoming part of the ruling elite of the central kingdom. Particularly, many ethnically Uighur generals played important parts in the conflicts towards the end of the Tang Dynasty and during the Five-Dynasty period',

(2) Ganzhou Uighur

Apart from the southbound and westbound Uighurs, there were also a smaller group, who moved first to the south from the steppe north of the desert, went along Huamen Mountains, reachedJuyanze,andthenenteredthe RiverWest CorridoralongtheRuoshuiRiver. TheUighur people in River West Corridor did not arrive at the same time. There were at least two massive movements. The first was a group moving directly from the area north of the desert to the south in 840 AD (the 51h year of Kaicheng reign), and the second was the remnants of the southbound Uighur who. after the disintegration of their regime, "fled westward, attached themselves to the Tubo regime and then were resettled by Tubo in Ganzhou'". There were also some tribes who moved separately. After fleeing to Ganzhou, the Uighurs became subordinate to Tubo and were" spread to other places by Tubo", that is, scattered in the Hexi area and in the western part of Gansu. These resettled Uighur people were called in history as Helan Mountains Uighur, Qinzhou Uighur, Liangzhou Uighur, Heluochuan Uighur, Suzhou Uighur, and Guazhou and Shanzhou Uighur. Ganzhou was the most densely populated area for the Uighurs among all the resettlement places. Rather than being in a state ofdisunity, all different Uighur divisions kept in good touch with one another and regarded the chief of the Yaglok division at Ganzhou as their common leader, hence the name Ganzhou Uighur for all those people in historical records.

The Uighur divisions living in the Hexi area not only had good communications among themselves, but also had effective contacts with, and even rendered support to, the southbound and westbound Uighurs via the Juyan road on the steppe. After Pang Tegin from the westbound Uighur claimed him self Khan, these people in Hexi area also recognized him as their conunon ruler. Therefore, historically, the Ganzhou Uighur were also called "offsprings" of Pang Tegin" It was only because of the long distance between the two groups that they gradually moved apart.

Inrnid-O'"century,the Tuboregimeinthe Hexiareacollapsed. In911AD(the51h yearof Kaiping reign ofLaterLiang Dynasty),theGanzhouUighurdefeatedthe "WesternHan Jinshan State" headquartered in Dunhuang, and controlled the entire River West Corridor. They remained dominant in that area for over 100 years. As a matter of fact, their sphere also covered the wasteland and semi-desert north of the Corridor, that is, today's Alxa and Ejin qi areas in Inner Mongolia. Sincethedominance oftheGanzhouUighurregimerangedfrom HelanMountainsby the Yellow River in the east to Yizhou and Barkol Grassland in the west, its envoy to the Song Dynasty, Cao Wantong said, "Our country reach the Yellow River to the east and the snow mountains"tothewest"(Story ofUighur,History ofSong). However,thatregimewasaloose coalition,asthe joiningdivisionshad autonomyover 1110stoftheirinternalaffairsalthoughthey

I Biography of Li Cunxin and Biography of He Jian, Old History of Five Dynasties.
2 Story of Uighur, Old History of Five Dynasties.
Story of Uighur, Old Book of Tang.
4 e
astern part of Tianshan Mountains.


all recognized the status of the Uighur Khan. Therefore, it was reeorded in history books that they"livedinthearea ofGanzhou,Liangzhou,Guazhou andShazhou,eachwiththeirown chiefs, running their own business'". Among the most independent were Shazhou and Guazhou divisions under administration of the ethnic-Han families of Zhang and Cao respectively, and Tubo Zhelong and Liugu divisions in Liangzhou.

In 1028 (the 6th year of Tiansheng reign of Song Dynasty), the Western Xia troops captured GanzhouCity. TheUighurKhan,YaglokTunsun,"fledinhaste",puttinganendtotheruleof Ganzhou Uighur in the Hexi area. Following the fall of the regime, the majority of the Uighur divisionsmovedtootherplaces,amongwhichthe mostinfluentialone wasadivisionthat retreated to the south of Dunhuang at the foot of the Qilian Mountains, who named themselves Shazhou Uighur. Up until 1127 (the 5th yearofTianhuireign oflinDynasty)there wererecords about "Hulasan Khan of Shazhou Uighur sending envoy to pay tributes'". However, these people disappeared from historical records of all categories ever since. Several decades after the collapse of the regime of Ganzhou Uighur, in I08\. (the 4th year of Yuanfeng reign of Song Dynasty),thereweresuddenlyrecordsof"Huangtou (orYellow-Head)Uighur". Themajority opinionamonghistorianswasthat theHuangtou Uighur werethe remnantsofGanzhou Uighur, or more specifically, the division that retreated to Shazhou. However, there were many question marks on that assumption. First, the Huangtou Uighur lived along the southern edge of the Tarim Basin and were active in an area of about 500 kilometres wide from Yuechang City (today's Qiemo area) in the west and Ruoqiang in the east, which was far from the scope of activity of the Shazhou Uighur. Second, the composition of Huangtou Uighur was very complicated, including Basmil,TurgisandQirqizpeopleinadditiontoUighurtribes. Therefore,itwashighlylikelythat Huangtou Uighur were part of Gaochang Uighur, rather than that of Shazhou Uighur.

Huangtou Uighur were also called "Sarig Uygur" during the Mongol Yuan Dynasty. At that time they were under the administration of Lord of Xining, and mixed with some Mongols. At the end of the 15lh century, they moved to the Ganzhou region at River West Corridor, developingintotoday'sYugurpeople. TheYangfamilyfromtheYugursgottheirsurnamefromYaglok, the khan family of ancient Uighurs.

5. Westbound Uighur

After the Uighur Khanate north of the desert fell apart, 15 Uighur divisions moved to the west led by Pang Tegin. The population of the westbound 15 divisions was estimated by some people to be somewhere between over 100,000 and 300,000]. Since only after ten years of the westbound movement did the population led by Pang Tegin "gradually rose to 200,000"4, our estimation is the initial population of the 15 divisions was below 200,000. The westbound Uighurfirstreached Beitingalongthetraditionalroadonthe steppe,andthen dispersedinorder totakeenoughpastureland. SometribescontinuedtomovewestandreachedwheretheKarluk division lived to the west of the Congling Mountains. These tribes mainly spread around the

I Records of Western Xia, Vol.3.

2 Biography of Taizong, History of Jin.

3 Research on the History of Western Uighur Khanate, Chapter IV, Urumqi: Xinjiang People's Publishing

House. 1985. p 174.

4 Story of the Turks, New Book of Tang.


Issyk-kul Lake and IIi River valley. Together with the Karluk divi sion west of the Congling Mountains, they later founded the Karakhanid Dynasty. Most westbound Uighurs stayed in today's Xinjiang, in the Tianshanvalley north of Yanqi and around Beiting, who built the Gaochang Uighur regime later.

In 842 AD (the 2nd year of Huichang), the Qirqiz division marched westward from the Mongolian steppe and took Beiting and Turpan. Pang Tegin then retreated to Yanqi. At that time, the southboundUighuralreadyproducedOge Khan,soPangTegincalledhimselfYabgou,which showedthatherecognizedOgeasthecommonruler oftheentireUighurpopulation. In856AD (the 10th year of Dazhong reign), Pang Tegin was "still in Anxi" (should be Yanqi)'. At that time, the southboundUighurregimefailed,withits"remainingforeesspreading inthemountainareas...who gradually turned to Pang Tegin for protection". The Uighur tribes on the Mongolian steppe also placedtheirhopesonPangTegin,"looking westandexpecting thearrival ofPangTeginfrom Anxi'", SoPangTeginclaimedhimselfKhan,andthecentre ofUighurcompletelyshifted totheeastern Tianshan Mountains areas, which was recognized by the Tang government as it appointed Pang Tegin Huaijian Khan in the following year'. All the westbound Uighur tribes, including those living in the River West Corridor, west of the Congling Mountains and in today's Xinjiang, regarded Pang Tegin as their common ruler after he claimed himself Khan. Thus, a vast but loosely-connected Western Uighur Khanate headed by Pang Tegin as the khan took shape, whose centre was Yanqi.

In 866 AD (the T" year ofXiantong), a Uighur noble by name ofPugujun, who wasstationed near Beiting, captured Beiting City and Turpan, and then led his troops into Yanqi, killed the khanandclaimedhimselfthenewkhan. PugujunsetuphiscapitalinBeiting,buthissuccessors movedittoGaochang. SosomescholarsbelievethatPugujunwasthefounderoftheGaochang Uighur regime", The loosely-connected Western Uighur Khanate split up, and the three branches of Uighurs each went their own way .

(I) Ganchang Uighur

The Gaochang Uighur regime was featured by vast land but small population. Under its rule there were many tribes and city-states that were very different from one another, yet the ruling group,theUighurs,wereonlyaminorityinterms ofpopulation. Someoasesandtribeswerehighly autonomous. Forexample,QiucioftensentitsownenvoytotheCentralPlainstopaytributes,and Yizhou was ruled by a local Han family with the surname of Chen based on a hereditary system.

The culture of Gaochang Uighur was a mixture of the west and the east and a combination of landfarmingandanimalhusbandry. The Uighursinherited,toagreatextent,theoriginalfanning culture of the Tarim Basin and transformed it in the light of their own need and understanding, making it updated and more in line with their own ethnic features . The mixed culture of Gaochang Uighur was embodied in every aspect, language, costume, arts and architecture', In mid-I?"

1Zi-Zhi-Tong-Jian, Vo1.249.

2StoryofUighur,Old BookofTang.

3DecreeonGrantingTitletoUighurKhanintheEleventh YearofDazhongReign,Collectionof Imperial

Decrees of Tang. Vo1.2l 9.

4 On the Westbound Movement of the Uighurs; Liu Yitang, Research on Uighur, Taipei, Zhen gzhong

Publishing House, p173.

5 Hu Zhenhua and Huang Runhua, Observations on Gaochang, Ethnicity Publishing House, 1984, pp9-1O;

Life in Gaochang Uighur Khanate, translated by Zou Rushan, edited and printed by Turpan Local Records

Editing Office, 1989.


cent ury, Gaochang Uighur and Karakhanid Dynasty both became vassal states of the Western Liao. Early in the 13th century, Gaochang Uighur shifted its allegiance to Chinggis Khan, and was incorporated into the territory of the Yuan Dynasty afterwards. After the khanate of Gaochang Uighur was founded, it continued to expand and reached Yanqi, Qiuci and today's Urumqi to the west.

(2) Karakhanid Dynasty

The Uighur nobles living in the western part of the Junggar Basin and west of the Congling Mou ntains bu ilt another regime-Karakhanid Dynasty. The founder could be either the offspring or subordinate of Pang Tegin. At what point after 866 AD (the T" year of Xiantong reign)wastheKarakhanidDynastysetup? TheMuslimhistoricalrecordsinCentralAsiatold us that there was a "Bilga Kul Qadir Khan", who was believed to be the founder of the Karakhanid Dynasty'. Afterhisdeath,histwosonssucceeded,hisfirstsonruling Balasaghun and his second son Talas. That was towards the end of the 9th century. In 893 AD (the 2nd year of Jingfu reign), Talas was captured by the Samanid Dynasty (874-999 AD), so the second son moved the capital to Kashi . Such facts proved that this was a regime independent of Gaochang Uighur. Based on the above evidence, it should be reasonable to assume that Karakhanid Dynasty was founded at some point between 866 AD (the T" year of Xiantong reign) and the end of the 9th century. The territory of this khanate included the land farming area between the Amu and Syr Rivers in today's Central Asia and the animal husbandry area north of the Syr River to the Balkhash Lake. It bordered on Gaochang Uighur at JingheXi nyuan in the Junggar Basin, and Gaochang Uighur and Yutian State at Wushi and Yengisar respectively in the Tarim Basin. The Karakhanid Dynasty had two capitals, one in Balasaghun (today's Tokmak) and Kashgar. Though the Karakhanid Dynasty was ruled mainly by Uighur nobles and their descendants, the Uighurs obviously accounted for only a very small proportion in the entire population of the khanate. They gradually mixed with other local tribes or eth nic groups and felt lightly about their Uighur identity. By mid-l O'" century when the Karakhanid Dynasty was converted to Islam, it seemed that the rulers no longer called themselves Uighur, but rather Teli (or Turki) people. Instead, they called those of the same ethnic origin with themselves in today's Xinjiang, who did not believe in Islam, "Uighur" and held a hostile attitude towards the latter. However, they did not forget their history of coming from the east, so they still insisted that their khanate was Chinese",

6. IntegrationwithLocalInhabitants After the 13th century, the two regimes set up by westbound Uighur both failed, yet most of those Uighur people settled down in the Tarim Basin and integrated with local inhabitants. Before the Uighurs massively entered the Tarim Basin, the composition of local inhabitants was complicated. Yet they could be divided into two broad categories, the Hu people with European origin, and the Qiang and Han people with the Mongoloid origin. Except Turpan and

Hami, most places were dominated by the Hu people with European origin. Most of the languages they used were of the Indo-European language family. They lived on farming and

I Wei Liangtao, Draft History of Karakhanid Dynasty, Xinjiang People's Publishing House, 1986, p73.

2 Zhang Guangda, On Mahmud Kashgari's The Turkic Lexicon and the Circular Map in the Book, Journal

of the Central Ethnic Academy, Issue No.2, 1978.


gardening and were good at trade. Some eminent monks who had been there, such as Fahien in the Eastern Jin Dynasty and Huen Tsang in the Tang Dynasty left vivid descriptions about the appearances, written and spoken languages and economic life of local people. Related historical records abound. All in all, ethnically the local inhabitants were very different from the Uighurs coming from the steppe.

After mid-9th century when the westbound Uighur set up their regimes in Turpan, Kashi and area west of the Congling Mountains, they began to move towards the centre of the Tarim Basin from the eastern and western ends. By about 1006, they vanquished the last kingdom built by the natives in the heartland of the Basin-the State ofYutian. After that, on the Tarim Basin there were only two Uighur kingdoms standing side by side, one in the east , the other in the west, confronting each other. The local inhabitants gradually abandoned their own written and spoken languages and began to speak Turkic and use Uighur (Huihu) script, which marked the establishment of the ruling position of the Uighurs in the Tarim Basin. Compared with the Uighurs, the original inhabitants of the Tarim Basin had more advanced economy and culture; therefore, the Uighur people gradually deserted their own nomadic culture and adopted local land-farming culture instead.

However, at the moment, conditions for a unified ethnic group were not there in the Basin. On the one hand, the integration of the local inhabitants and the Uighurs had not finished, that is, neither had the native inhabitants completely shifted to the use of Turkic language, nor had the Uighur people totally grasped the land-farming culture of the natives. On the other, the two branches of Uighur, Gaochang Uighur and Karakhanid Dynasty, developed hostility against each other due to their religious difference, hence the loss of their common identity as Uighur. Their respective religions, Islam in particular, infiltrated into their social and cultural life. The Karakhanid Dynasty centred in Kashgar defined Islam as the national faith; while people in the Kingdom of Gaochang Uighur were mostly Buddhists and Manichaeists. Religious difference led to cultural and psychological divergence, and even difference in linguistics. The Gaochang Uighur Khanate still used Uighur (Huihu) script, while the Karakhanid Dynasty shifted to the Hakaniye Turkic script based on the Arabic alphabet. As a result, the two Uighur regimes were completely at odds with each other politically. People in the east did not identity themselves with their western counterparts psychologically, "and vice versa. They were only faithful to their regions and

religions, instead of ethnicity.

In the latter half of the Yuan Dynasty, descendants of Chagatai Khan of Mongol divided the

oases and ruled separately, plunging the Tarim Basin into chaos. During that time, the secular

forces used Islam to expand eastward. By the end of the 16'h century, Buddhism and political

forces believing in Buddhism were driven out of Turpan. In 1514 (the 9thyear ofZhengde reign

of Ming Dynasty), the offspring ofChagatai, Saed Khan unified the Tarim Basin and founded the

Yarkand Khanate (1514-1680), whose territory reached Hami to the east. The 500-year-Iong

conflicts in the name of religion was put to an end. Under a single regime, all people in the Tarim

Basin became Muslims. Unification of regime and religion transformed the previous narrow

religious and parochial identity to an ethnic identity embracing all residents in the Basin. The

integration between the Uighurs and local inhabitants, and later on, the Mongols, in terms of

culture, customs and blood was completed.

Today's Uygur people are no longer a people on horseback, nor do they have typical

Mongoloid features, despite their inheritance of the language and many other characteristics of


Uighur. Therefore, they are now a new ethnic group, although they have such a long history and a time-honoured name from the ancient Uighur.

IV. Western Regions and the Mongol Khanates

1. West Expedition of Chinggis Khan In the latter half of the 12'h century, the Mongols gradually prospered on the steppe north of the desert. By early 13th century, Chinggis Khan (Timujin) gradually unified all tribes on the steppe and held a Great Kuriltai (assembly) in 1206 (the 2nd year ofKaixi reign of Song Dynasty) atthesource oftheOnonRivertothenorth ofthedesert,which wascalledthe"land ofroot" of the Mongols,where hesucceededtotheGreatKhanshipandestablishedastrongMongolregime. Chinggis Khan marched south, fighting lin (also known as Jurchen, 1115-1234) and perishing Xia (also known as Dangxiang), and went north, waging a war on Jiljis (Kirgiz) north of the steppe and "tribes in the woods". All these moves overwhelmed people in the surrounding areas. WhenChinggis Khan emerged, there were GaochangUighurliving intheeast of theTianshan Mountains, who were called "Uigur" in Chinese-language documents during of the Yuan Dynasty. Theirchiefwascalled"Idikut",meaning"HisSacredMajasty". TothecastoftheUygur(Uigur), uptoShazhou,today'sHamiregion, livedtheHamilipeople,whosechiefwascalled"Djindelin". The two chiefs were often mentioned in parallel in the Chinese documents in the Yuan Dynasty. However, it is not clear what ethnic group the Hamili people belonged to. To the west of the Uygur, there were different Karlalu tribes (that is, the Karluk in the Tang Dynasty). One chief of Karlalu, Arslan Khan and his subjects lived in Haiyali (today's Kepal in Kazakhstan), while anotherchiefOzarlivedinAlmalik(today'sHuocheng CountyinYining). Tothewest ofthe Karlalu were the Western Liao (referred to as Kara-Khitan in Muslim records) and Khwarozm in Transoxiana. Following the rise of the Mongols, the Nayman division roaming around the Gold Mountains (today's Altay Mountains) was defeated, and its prince Qochlu moved westward and got thethroneofWesternLiao. Therefore,theWesternRegionswereundertherule ofWesternLiao inname. Atthattime,UygurhadtheareaaroundthefivecitiesofKarahoja,Beshbalik,Changbalik (today'sChangji),Yanjibalik(today'sManas)andSolimi (today'sYanqi),buttheiraffairswere overseen by the Supervisor of Western Liao stationed in Gaochang. The Idikut of Uygur, by nameofBarshu Altategin,wasoutragedbythearroganceandextravaganceoftheSupervisor of Western Liao, so he killed the Supervisor in 1209(the 2ndyear ofJiading reign of Song Dynasty) and turned to the Mongols, who had already become strong and prosperous by then. In 1211 (the 4th year of Jiading reign of Song Dynasty), Barshu Altategin was instructed by Chinggis Khan to take local products and treasures to travel to Mongolia himself, where he was graciously received by Chinggis Khan. Barshu Altategin became "the fifth son" of Chinggis Khan and brothers of other princes, and granted "favours exceeding chiefs from all other states". Despite the fact that during the Mongol Yuan Dynasty. the Idikuts of Uygur remained subject to the Mongol Great Khans and emperors, they still had certain autonomy over their land and people, which was different from other regions and tribes conquered by the Mongols. Such relationship

with the Mongols was an important factor contributing to the acti ve presence of the Uygur people all over China during the Mongol Yuan Dynasty.


At that time, the chief of Karlalu in Haiyali, Arslan Khan also had grievances against the Supervisor ofWesternLiao. Butthatdiscontentwasfoundoutbytheemperor ofWesternLiao and Arslan Khan was forced to take poison and kill himself. His son succeeded and became the newArslan Khan. Soon afterwards, Chinggis Khan sent troops over to wipe out the remnants of the Nayman division, so the new Arslan Khan also killed the Supervisor of Western Liao and pledged allegiance to Chinggis Khan , who returned him with big favour. The Karlalu tribe in Almalik headed by Ozar was under constant attacks from Qochlu after the latter took the throne of Western Liao. Before long, Ozar was asked by Chinggis Khan to go to the north of the desert and when he did, he was accorded courtesy by Chinggis Khan. However, he was captured and murdered by Qochlu upon returning to Almalik. The son of Ozar Shehanah then succeeded as the chief. While Chinggis Khan marched to the west to fight Khwarozm, both chiefs of the two Karlalu divisions used to join the Mongols militarily.

Kashkar (Kashgar) and Hutan (Khotan) to the south of the Tianshan Mountains also suffered brutal rule of Qochlu after he took the throne of Western Liao. In 1218 (the l l" year of Jiading reign of Song Dynasty), Chinggis Khan sent Jebe to the south of the Tianshan Mountains 10fight Qochlu. Jebe only pursued Qochlu, without harassing local people. He even declared that local people were allowed to keep their Own religious belief. Therefore, he won support from people in Kashgar and Khotan.

In 1219 (the 12th year of Jiading reign of Song Dynasty), Chinggis Khan started his west expedition to revenge Khwarozm for killing Mongol envoy. In the fall of that year, the Mongol troops arrived at Otrar at lower Syr River. Divided into several groups, the Mongol troops took all the cities along the Huzhang River and then the capital city of Khwarozm. Chinggis Khan and his youngestsonToluiheadedthemainforcesandcapturedBukharaandSamarkand. Earlyin1221 (the 14th year of Jiading reign of Song Dynasty) , they crossed the Amu River and occupied Balkh andTalihan. In the meantime, Chinggis Khan sent troops to pursue the last monarch of Khwarozm. Jebc and his troops fought all the way to the west along the Khurasan Road in Central Asia, crossed the Caucasus, defeated Kepqak on the steppe in South Russia, and arrived Bolga near Kasan in today's Russia before setting out for the return journey. The Mongol troops' military operations inCentralAsia,Iran,RussiaandEastEurope wereextremelymercilessastheylevelledcitiesand killedpeople wantonly, which led to huge human casualty and colossal property losses on the part of the invaded areas. However, in both the northern and southern parts of the Tianshan Mountains, the Mongol troops were restrained since local chiefs took the initiative to pledge allegiance.

On the eve of the west expedition, Chinggis Khan divided the areas in the Western Regions

that had been and would be occupied among his three elder sons, Jochi, Chagatai and Ogedei.

Based on History of Conquerors in the World by Jeffney', Collection of History by Lashet

(pronunciation) and records by Omar (pronunciation), contemporary scholars believe that

"roughly speaking, the area west of Shi River in Yer, north of today's Aral Sea and Caspian Sea

belonged to Joehi; the former territory of Western Liao, between Uygur and Transoxiana, be

longedtoChagatai;and from Yemilitothe north, thearea offormer Naymantribe that included

part of today's Kara-Ertix River and Altay Mountains belonged to Ogedei'", The land division

made by Chinggis Khan laid down the groundwork for the regime pattern in the Western Regions

I pronunciation, pp45-46.
2HanRutin,etai,eds, HistoryofYuanDynasty,Vol. t, Beijing:People's Publishing House, 1996,p193.


during the Mongol period .

After Chinggis Khan's death, Ogedei, Queen Toregene Khatu, Guyuk, Queen Oghul Ghaymish and Mongke took power one after another. During that period, in 1236 (the 3n1year of Duanping reign of Song Dynasty), Ogedei sent his "eldest son for west expedition", and perished Kepqak and Bolga, conquered Russia, and swept Eastern European areas such as Poland and Hungary, shaking the Christian world. After succeeding to the Great Khanship, Mongke sent Hulcgu onto a "west expedition", who wiped out the Assasins (the extremist division of Islamic Ismailis advocating assassination) in today's Iran and the Abbasid Empire in West Asia, then marched further to Syria, and finally returned home after being frustrated at Ain Jalut in today's Palestine.

The post-Chinggis Khan expeditions to the west greatly expanded the Mongol scope of influence in the Western Regions. However, in that period, what impacted today's Xinjiang area mostwasthefightforpower between theOgedei-GuyukgroupandtheTolui-Mongkegroup. In 125I(theIIth yearofChunyoureign ofSongDynasty),MongkebecametheGreat Khanwith staunch support from Batu, but he was opposed by royal princes of the Ogedei and Chagatai families, who once attempted on Mongke's life. After that, Mongke began to suppress forcefully the two families, and all the nobles within Chinggis Khan's "Golden Clan" started to focus on their "ulus" (distributed land). Batu and his offspring founded Kepqak Khanate on the Kepqak steppe, and Hulegu set up II-Khanate in Persia and Arabia. The majority of top nobles in these two khanates later became Muslims . The Chagatai Khanate mainly controlled today's Xinjiang and Central Asia to the west of Xinjiang.

2. Competition for the Western Regions among Mongol Princes Chagatai died in 1242 (the 2nd year of Chunyou reign of Song Dynasty). In the fight for the Great Khanship between the Ogedei faction and the Tolui faction, the descendants of Chagatai either followed Guyuk or allied with Mongke, and were always under pressure and attacks from many sides. After Mongke died, Kublai and Ariq Bake competed for the throne, and the offspring of Chugatai, Prince Aluhu (son of the sixth son of Chagatai, Baidar) used that conflict to his own good. He first got back his power by allying with Aliq Boke and drove out the force s of Jochi family from Transoxiana, then killed the envoy of Ariq Boke and declared allegiance 10 Kublai. In 1260, Kublai defeated Ariq Boke and became the Great Khan. While Kublai began to strengthen power in Central Asia, his relations with Aluhu went into trouble. Prince Haidu of the Ogedei family (son of the fifth son of Ogedei, Heshi) took advantage of that conflict and fought Aluhu so as to get the latter's land. Following the death of Aluhu in 1265 (the first year of Xianchun reign of Song Dynasty), Kublai sent Bala to Chagatai Khanate as the new khan there . At that time , Kepqak Khan also joined in the competition. Once again, Centrai Asia was under the fight among three factions, the Chagatai, Ogedei and Jochi families. In 1269 (the 51h year of Xianchun reign of Song Dynasty), princes of the Chagatai, Ogedei and Kepqak families convened the Great Kuriltai at Talas in Central Asia, at which they decided to ease their relations and unite force against Kublai and ll-Khanate. They also divided among them selves their sphere of influence in Transoxiana. However, the next year, Bala used unequal land share as an excuse to invade Khurasan. He was defeated by II-Khanate and died soon afterwards .

Following the death of Bala, Prince Haidu, descendant of Ogedei, became the major rival of the Yuan Dyna sty in Central Asia. He placed Duwa, son of Bala, as Chagatai Khan, thus


controlling two khanates, Chagatai and Ogedei. Haidu controlled the area from Uygur in the south to upper Shi River at Yer in the north, reaching Kashgar and the Talas river valley in the west, which should belong to the Great Khan. After wiping out the Song Dynasty in 1276 (the 13th year ofZhiyuanreign underShizu EmperorofYuanDynasty),theYuan governmentwas finally able to send troops into the Western Regions to fight Haidu. However, due to the entrenchedstrengthoftherebelliousprincesinthe northwestandthedifficultyintransport and supply provision for the Yuan army, the Yuan government found it hard to station troops for longinthatarea. In1289(the26 th year ofZhiyuanreign),theYuanDynasty"cancelledthe OfficeofMarshall",andafterwards,theYuantroopsweredriven out ofthe Uygurregion (early intheDadereign ofYuanDynasty). In1301(the5thyear ofDadereign),thejointforces ofHaidu andDuwacrossedtheAntaiMountains(Altay Mountains) andfought aintensivefight with the Yuan troops, which made both Haidu and Duwa injured. The former died on his way back and his son Chabar succeeded to his title.

Thefight betweenHaiduandDuwaonthe one handandtheYuan Dynasty onthe other wreakedhavoctolocaleconomy,anddeeplyaffectedboththeChagataiandOgedeiKhanates. In 1303 (the T" year of Dade reign), Duwa and Chabar asked for peace from the Yuan Dynasty and recognized Yuan emperors as their rulers. Shortly after that there was a conflict between Duwa andChabar. TheYuangovernmentsupportedCh agataiKhanateandsent armiestoattack Chabar's troops from behind. As a result, Cha bar was defeated and had to surrender to Duwa, and most of his land was incorp orated into Chagatai Khanate. In 1309 (the 2nd year of Zhida reign),ChabartookpartinadomesticconflictinChagataiKhanateandfled totheYuanDynasty after that operation failed. Mo st of his land was taken by the new Chagatai Khan, Yesh-B ogha, andOgedeiKhanate cameto itsend.

Yesh-Boghagoton well withtheYuangov ernment first but laterthe twowereatodds with eachother. Bothsidessawvictoriesanddefeatsintheirfight.In1320,Yesh-Boghadiedandwas succeeded by his younger brother, Qebe, who reversed the bad tics with the Yuan government. Twoyearslater, peacewasrestored. InQebeperiod,thepolitical centreofChagatai Khanate begantograduallyshiftwestward. Qebewassucceededbyhisyoungerbrothers,firstYazjetai andthenDulatimer. BasedonrecordsinHistoryofYuan(Vol.63,Geography,Northwest),the territoryofChagataiKhanateincludedtoday'sKabulinAfghanistan, Bukharaand Samarkandin Transoxiana and places in the north and south of today's Xinjiang. In 1331 (the 2nd year of Zhishunreign),theson ofDuwa,TalmaslisucceededasKhan. Hestayedatthefrontierarea of Khurasaninthewest ofthekhanateforyearsanddeclaredhimselfMuslim. In]334(the2nd year ofYuantongreign),theson ofDulatimer,Buzan ralliedtroopsagainst Talmasli,accusingthe latter ofviolating Zasa (law). Talmasli was captured and killed on his way of fleeing. After that therewerefrequentchanges ofkhansinChagataiKhanate. By mid-ld'" century,thekhanof Chagataiwasnolongerthecentre ofauthorityasithadbeenbefore. TheHojahanfamilyofthe Balras division controlled the real power and installed and unseated khans from time to time. Nobles everywhere began to run their affairs independently, and selected their own khans from descendants of Chinggis Khan.

TheestablishmentoftheYuan Dynastyput anendtotheseparatistlocalruleand incessant

conflicts that plagued China since the end of the Tang Dynasty, thus initiating a new historical

periodinChi na'sunification. KublaiKhan,orYuan-Shizu,was bothanemperor oftheYuan

Dynasty and the Great Khan for all Mongol divisions and princes. The Great Khan and the Yuan

Dynastyheheadedpossessedsuzeraintyoverprincesofdifferentdivisionsandtheirland. The


Chagatai Khanate in the Western Regions and Central Asia should not be an exception. In early days of the enfeoffment system, princes in different places "all had enfeoffment" on the Central Plains and received allocations from the central government on a regular basis. After the Yuan Dynasty was founded, the inheritable enfeoffment remained unchanged, but a regime of collecting contribution and taxes was introduced to the territory of various princes . On the other hand, the semi -independence on the part of the princes was on the increase constantly. However, after putting down the rebellion of Haidu and Duwa, the Yuan government gained a better and stronger position in ruling over the Chagatai Khanate in the Western Regions.

3. Eastern Chagatai Khanate While the nobles of different divisions produced their own khans, the Duqlat family controlling today's Southern Xinjiang announced that Tohlu Timur was the son ofYesh-Bogha and put him up as Khan in Aksu in 1348 (the 8th yearofZhizheng reign under Huizong Emperor of Yuan Dynasty). Chagatai Khanate thus split up into the eastern and western parts. By then the WesternChagatai Khanate wasbyandlargeIslarnised;TohluTimuralsoconvertedtoIslaminthe process of unifying Eastern Chagatai, Before his death in 1362 (the 22nd year of Zhizheng reign), Tohlu Timur twice invaded Transoxiana, unifying the eastern and western parts of Chagatai Khanate temporarily. Chagatai Khanate split up once again after Tohlu Timur's death. The power ofImi Timur of the Balras division grew rapidly in Transoxiana. It destroyed Western Chagatai Khanate, built Timur Empire and sent troops into Eastern Chagatai Khanate many times, reaching as far as the Turpan area. Before long, it conquered Khwarozm, Il-Khan Empire in Persia, and Afghanistan, attacked the Khanate of the Golden Horde in the north, invaded India to the south, and marched westward to Asia Minor, thus building a vast empire. For once Timur was even prepared to attack the Ming Dynasty in the east. In about 1389 (the 22nd year of Hongwu reign of Ming Dynasty), the youngest son of Tohlu Timur, Hedir Khwajah was chosen as Khan of Eastern Chagatai, who built the capital at Beshbalik with the support ofImi Hodad. The new khan forged friendly ties with both of his neighbours, the Ming Dynasty to the east and the Timur Empire to the west. The Eastern Chagatai Khanate under Hedir Khwajah Khan (1389-1403) included today'sXinjiangregion,which,atthattime,wasdivided intothree paJ1S:Mongolistan(meaning the land of Mongols), which ranged from the Altay Mountains in the east to the Tas River in the west , and from the Talbahtai Mountains-Balkhash Lake in the north to the Tianshan Mountains in the south; "Land of Sunshine", which included the "Six-City" areas (Kashgar, Yengisar, Yarkand, Khotan, Aksu and Wushi) to the south of the Tianshan Mountains as well as the Ferghana region to the west of the Congling Mountains, and sometimes Tashkent; Land of Uygur, that is, Turpan and Yanqi in the east of the Tianshan Mountains, sometimes including Kuqa and Harni I• Eastern Chagatai Khanate kept changing its rulers after the death of Hedir Khwajah. Maharn Khan, who was in reign from 1407 to 1415, was a Muslim fanatic, who forced Islam within the

territory through exceptionally cruel means. If a Mongol was found without a scarf on head, it was likely that a scarf would be pinned into their heads with horseshoe nails. In 1417 (the 15th

I Wei Liangtao, General History of Yarkand Khanate, Harbin: Heilongjiang Education Publishing House, 1994, p36.


year of Yongle reign), Wasi succeeded to the khanship. During his reign (1417-1432), Wala (Oyrats)prospered amongthe Mongolsandextendedtheirforcesto thewest,beyond theAltay Mountains. WasiKhanhadtomovethecapitaltoI1ibalik(today'sYiningCity)andshiftedthe focus of the khanate to the IIi River valley and south of the Tianshan Mountains. In the aftermath of his death in 1432 (the T" year of Xuande reign), the Duqlat family, which was very powerfulinthekhanate,wasonceagaindividedontheissueofsuccessiontothekhanship. Inthe latterhalf ofthe l S'" century,EasternChagataiKhanatewasinfactcomposedofthreemajor parts that kept fighting one another.

The situation in the Western Regions became highly complicated at the end of the 15th century and the ~eg inn ing of the 16th century. Not long after the death of Timur, his son Shahal became the khan, who wrote off his father'splan totight the Central Plains,but ratherdeveloped friendly ties with the Ming Dynasty and concentrated on making the khanate more prosperous. However, his son Ulab, who was stationed in Transoxiana, sent troops on many occasions to fightMongolistanofEasternChagatai,andhadprolongedoccupationofKashgar. In1447(the 12th year of Zhengtong reign), Shahal died, and was succeeded by his son Ulab, who was killed soon afterwards. While the Timur Empire was plunged into internal conflicts and division, the activities of the Mongols, the Uzbek, the Kirgiz and the Wala in the Tianshan Mountains area and Transoxiana further aggravated the situation. Babur from the Timur Empire fought intensively with Shaybani Khan of the Uzbek people. The latter died in a battle in 1510 (the 5th year of Zhengde reign), and Babur took Transoxiana. However, his Shiite tendency denied him of popular support from the Sunni sect in that region, hence his defeat in a counterattack initiated by the Uzbek. Babur then retreated to India.

4. Yarkand Khanate

Amidst the fights in Central Asia, Saed Khan of Eastern Chagatai, which was also a warring party, captured Yarkand with the support of the Duqlat family and built a new regime in 1514 (the 9th year of Zhengde reign), which was referred to as "Yarkand Khanate" by historians. Saed gradually solidified his rule. eased social conflicts, and established good law and order in the country. During his reign, Saed spent five years fighting Mongolistan in Northern Xinjiang many times in an attempt to recover the traditional nomadic area of the Mongols, but without success. However, he did achieve reconciliation with Eastern Chagatai Khanate, thus "not only restoring unity to Eastern Chagatai Khanate in form, but also bringing about a peaceful social environment " I. SaedalsosenttroopstoBadakshan,TibetandKashmir. In1533(the12th year of Jiajing reign), he died on his way back from Kashmir.

His successor, Rashed Khan achieved domestic stability, and moreover, defeated Eastern Chagatai Khanate inmanyroundsofconfrontationsand wars,thuswinningtrue independence for Yarkand Khanate. He also reformed the foreign policy and entered into alliance with the longterm foe in the west, the Shaybani Dynasty of the Uzbek, which not only brought an end to the Uzbek's support for the Kazakh and Kirgiz, but also put him in a better position to recover Mongolistan when and if the opportunity arose. During his 27-year-long reign, Rashed Khan sent troops to Mongolistan many times and eventually managed to secure a footing in Northern Xinjiang despite the failure to completely tame the Kazakh and Kirgiz. Upon death, Rashed

I Wei Liangtao, ibid, p54.


Khan was succeeded by his son Abdul Halem, who continued Saed Khan's foreign policy while cementing the khanship through suppressing the powerful groups at home. Abdul Halem stayed on friendly tenus with the Shaybani Dynasty ofUzbek and brought home many victories in the war with the Kazakh and Kirgiz. During the 33 years of reign, he successfully incorporated Eastern Chagatai Khanate into the territory ofYarkand Khanate. Abdul Halem was succeeded by Mohmad Khan, who saw the prime time of the khanate. On the one hand, Mohmad Khan entrusted administration of state affairs to 4 lmis; on the other, he upgraded the power of the khan so as to keep a fast hold on the khanate. He was also extolled for being kind to the people and cracking down on usury . Moreover, he repulsed the invasion of the Uzbek and completely unified the south of the Tianshan Mountains.

Mohmad Khan died in 1610 (the 38 th year of Wanli reign), and his eldest son Ahmed succeeded. But Ahmed Khan encountered rebellions from many directions upon taking the throne . His son, Governor of Kashgar, Timur Sultan was sent east twice to put down the rebellion there, thus calming down the situation in the khanate for the time being. However, in the decade of his reign, Ahmed Khan was busy dealing with one rebellion after another. As a result, few descendants of Rashed Khan were left in the khanate, the khan family was very much weakened, and the Imi forces strengthened'. Even Ahmed Khan himself was finally killed in a plot. His successor, Abdul Latuif had to deal with even more serious domestic and foreign troublesinhis12yearsofreign. Therebellionoftheeastremainedthere,whichwascomplicated further by the involvement of the Kazakh and Oyrat Mongols. Within the ruling class, Imis were at each other's throat for the grip on the power. With the development of the Islamic forces, the internal conflicts of the Islam religion and secular politics increasingly affected one another. After Abdul Latuif were several short-lived khans, and the power of the khan got further eclipsed.

In 1045 of Muslim Calendar (1635 AD), Abdul Rahman from the rebellious eastern family of the khanate cashed in on the internal conflicts of the Yarkand ruling class and entered the Yarkand City with a big army and reunified the khanate with the support of Islamic Hoja forces and some Irnis, Abdul Rahman Khan was seen as the most accomplished ruler in the latter half of the Yarkand Khanate. Upon getting in power, he sent his brothers to various parts of the khanate for defence purpose and exiled to India a number of nobles and senior ministers from the previous dynasty. He also executed hundreds of people in the two strategic points of the khanate, Yarkand and Kashgar, including some religious ligures, even the Major Imam ofYarkand who used to support him when he tried to get the power. Abdul Rahman Khan sent troops to fight back the invasion of the emerging Oyrat Mongols , assaulted the Kirgiz and went on a west expedition to Ferghana. He continued his father's policy of friendship with the Ming Dynasty and sent envoy as a token of goodwill after the Qing Dynasty began its rule in Beijing. However, like all other autocratic monarchs, Abdul Rahman Khan trusted neither his kinsmen nor the ministers. He continued to cultivate new elites to replace the old ones, therefore, his ministers were always plotting against him. In the meantime, he supported the Hoja forces of the Karataglik Sect (or black-caps) within the khanate, particularly Hoja Shadi, which made the oppressed Muslim population tum to the Aktaglik Sect (or white-caps), making the domestic situation in the Yarkand Khanate even more complex", Abdul Rahman's eldest son, Yolebars Sultan, who was

I Wei Lian gtao, ibid. p117.
2 Wei Liangtao. ibid . p 128.


stationed at Kashgar, was ambitious since long time ago. After his father's fiasco in the war with Oyrat Mongols, YoIebars Sultan began to interfere with the state affairs . On his side was the Hoja oftheAktaglikSect,whoharboureddiscontentagainstthekhan. WhenAbdulRahman Khan started to quell, once again, his challenging children, Yolebars Sultan sided with Oyrat Mongols and, with the latter's support, fought back and took Kashgar. The father, Abdul Rahman, who found everyone turning away from him, had no other option but to give up the khanship and leave in the guise of paying pilgrimage to Mecca. Both Yolebars Sultan and Ismail Khan, who took the khanship shortly after, seized power through the support of a certain faction within Oyrat Mongol. After taking control, they started to murder dissident kinsmen and suppress opposite Islamic sects. The Karataglik Sect was the first to be quelled; and the Aktaglik Sect was the next, after Ismail Khan got in power. Amidst the political and religious conflicts, ApakHojaoftheAktaglikSectwenttoTibetandsecuredtheinvolvementofDalaiLama. Thus Galdan from the Junggar division of the Oyrat Mongols sent troops in 1680 (the 191h year of Kangxi reign of Qing Dynasty) and captured Yarkand City. So the Yarkand Khanate was extinguished and Junggar's comprehensive rule over both the north and south of the Tianshan

Mountains began.

Since the west expeditions ofChinggis Khan , the most profound impact of the Mongols' ruleon the Western Regions was that the Golden Clan of Chinggis Khan was regarded as local orthodox royal blood. This idea was especially evident in the period of Eastern and Western Chagatai Khanates and Yarkand Khanate after the Mongol Yuan Dynasty. No matter how powerfullmis could be, they still had to find a descendant of the Golden Clan, or even make up one, and let him be the khan. It is highly possible that it is due to this orthodox idea that most of the Turkic-speaking tribes previously active in different ways in the time of the Turki Khanate, Karakhanid Dynasty in particular, could no longer be found in later historical records . If we call such development "Mongolization" of the Western Regions, then the "Turkic-ization" of the many Mongol tribes was equally evident. In the several centuries when they ruled the Western Regions, the Mongol tribes gradually lost their own language and adopted local Turkic language as they lived, mixed and fought with the natives. Today, the records about the Eastern and WesternChagatai KhanatesandYarkandKhanateweremostlywritteninthelocalTurkiclanguage,

The second biggest influence of the Mongol rule over the Western Regions was the destructionof local economy and society by the conflicts and wars between members of the ruling class in the later stage of the Mongol Yuan Dynasty, particularly during the Eastern and Western Chagatai Khanates and Yarkand Khanate periods. Prolonged wars were not only capable of destroying property and life and con suming resources, but also likely to tum into irreversible destruction since the Western Region s was extremely vulnerable ecologically. This might be an important factor explaining the long-term economic backwardness in that area afterwards.

What came as the third was the social impact of Islam and the development of its internal conflicts in the time of the Eastern and Western Chagatai Khanates and Yarkand Khanate. On the whole, Eastern Chagatai Khanate and Yarkand Khanate were always in political turmoil, the succession of khanship often relied on support of strong and powerful families through plots. Both those who tried to get the khanship and those who succeeded went all out to demonstrate theirpiety andsupportforIslam,with theaimofwinningendorsementoflocal Islamic forces. Political interferences, plus the general public's expectation for some supernatural power to save them from social turmoil , led to the rapid growth of religion . As an accentuated manifestation of politics' interference with religion, the bidders for the khanship utilized some religious sects and


crackeddownuponothers. Suchinterferenceresultedinseriousreligiousinter-sectconflictsand xenophobialocally. TheentryoftheJunggarforcespushedlocalpoliticalandinter-sectconflicts to a new height.

5. Junggar Khanate

In the Ming Dynasty, roaming in the Dzavhan and Hovd river basins in the west of the Mongolian Steppe as well as the upper Ertix and Yenisei were the Woyila division of the Mongols , who were called Wala in the Ming Dynasty and Oyrat in tbe Qing Dynasty. When Wala entered the Western Regions, the rising Yarkand Khanate resisted their expansion there. Between 1655 and 1656(the 12th-13th years of Shunzhi reign of Qing Dynasty, 1066 in Muslim Calendar),theYarkandKhan,Yolebars,withthesupport oftheAktaglik Sect,once againdefeated, atNiya,theOyrat(Wala)troopsinvading Khotan. Afterwards,Oyrattookadvantageofdomestic conflicts within Yarkand and gradually gained the upper hand. In 1667 (the 6d' year of Kangxi reign), Abdul Rahman Khan abdicated and his younger brother Ismail was installed as Khan by the Karataglik Sect at Aksu. They then sent troops to Yarkand to seize the political power. Oyrat was part of this operation and won its first military victory near Yarkand. Shortly after, theAktagJikSectclaimed thesonofAbdulRahmanKhan,Yolebars,tobethenewkhanandsent troopstoattackAksu,wheretheygotsupportfromthechiefofOyrat,SenggeKhan. However, thereweresomeotherOyratswhoremainedsupportiveoftheKarataglikSect. Eventuallythe Aktaglik Sect prevailed over its rival, but the Oyrats took advantage of their military victory and seized control of Yarkand Khanate. Yolebars was forced to give up his power and let Oyrat designate his son as the khan. Oyrat also sent supervising officials over to "protect" Yarkand Khanate, backed up with military forces. Even at that point the fight between the Aktaglik and Karataglik Sects was far from over. At first the Karataglik Sect succeeded in a coup d'etat with the support of the Oyrat supervising official, then the Aktaglik Sect fought back and quelled the rebellion. Then Oyrat supported the Karataglik Sect and joined forces with Ismail in Aksu to attack Yarkand. The defending troops at Yarkand had no way but to surrender and Ismail was recognized as the khan. After getting hold of the power again , the Karataglik Sect killed many membersoftheAktaglik, andthelatter'schiefApakHojawasforcedintoexileinCentralAsia.

In 1671 (the 10'h year of Kangxi reign), the Big Taj (or Prince) of Oyrat, Sengge, was assassinated. Hisbrother(BaturhunTaj's6thson)Galdan,whowaswithDalaiLamainTibetat that time. rushed back to Xinjiang and unified all divisions of Oyrat in 1678 (the 17th year of Kangxi). He then started to unify the entire Western Regions. The next year, Galdan headed 30,000troopsandsubduedTurpanandHamiintheeastofYarkandKhanate. Claiminghimself Khan, Galdan founded the Junggar Khanate in that year. At that time, Apak Hoja, chief of the Aktaglik Sect, who had been in exile away from his home country for nearly 10 years, went to Tibet via Kashmir, pleading for help from Dalai Lama to get back his lost power. Dalai Lama did provide help as he sent a letter to Galdan Khan on that matter, which provided a good opportu nity for Galdan to unify the south of the Tianshan Mountains. In 1680 (the 19'h year of Kangxi reign), Galdan Khan captured Kashgar and Yarkand via Aksu and Wushi with the support of 120,000 troops and ended the history ofYarkand Khanate.

In Galdan 's reign , the united Junggar Khanate saw its zenith . Like every other nomadic

regimeinitsgoldenage,theJunggarKhanatebegantoexpandinalldirections. Itsentexpedition

troopswest tofight Kazakh,which wasitsneighbourintheCentralAsian steppenorth ofthe

Syr River. During 1682-1683, Galdan launched many attacks against the Kazakh Khanate. At


first he was thwarted and lost more than half of his troops; but later on he got the upper hand and fought all the way until capturingTashkent City. Galdan's troops continued to conquer the Kirgiz and took Farghana. The Junggar Khanate also fought Khalkha Mongols in the east. In 1688 and 1690 (the 271hand 291hyears of Kangxi reign respectively), Galdan twice sent troops to attack Khalkha Mongols to the east. In the second time, his troops went deep into Inner Mongolia and "then pursued further south in the wake of victory , penetrating deep into Ulan Bator, before they stopped 700 li from the capital'". The Qing government fought back resolutely Galdan's invasion, and got an overwhelming victory over the latter in the Ulan Bator battle inthesameyear. In1696(the351hyearofKangxi),theQingtroopsshatteredthemainforces of Galdan at Chomdo in Outer Mongolia. At that time there were in-fights in the Junggar Khanate and the centre of the khanate, IIi Valley was taken by Tshe dbang Arabutan. Frustrated at the prospect of being unable to return home and the rebellion of his own men, Galdan died of anxiety and anger,

Tshe dbang Arabutan was Sengge's eldest son. Upon assuming power, he worked vigorously and quickly restored greatness to the khanate. He also continued the expansionist policy. In 1716, eyeing the in-fights at top level in Tibet, Tshe dbang Arabutan sent 6,000 crack troops north to Tibet via Khotan. The next fall, his troops captured Lhasa, throwing the entire Tibet intochaos. In1720(the591hyearofKangxireign),theQingtroopswentintoTibetintwoprongs and took Lhasa. The Junggar Khanate amassed large troops to invade the Kazakh Khanate once again while the steppe was struck by severe snow. At that time, Kazakh was already split up intothree Tents, the Big, Middle and Small. The Big Tent, which was next to Junggar, was totally defeated and became Junggar's vassal state; the remnants of the Middle Tent also submitted to Junggar' s rule; the Small Tent fled westward to the Ural and Ishim river basins. In the occupied land, the Junggar rulers dispatched officials and collected taxes and tributes. In 1727 and 1740 (the 5th year of Yongzheng reign and the 5th year of Qianlong reign respectively), the Junggar Khanate launched several attacks on the Middle Tent and eventually forced the latter into vassalage too.

While projecting its forces outward , the Junggar Khanate was also threatened by the Tsarist Russia in the northwest, which kept expanding and eating into Junggar's territory. Being a European country in origin, Russia crossed the Ural Mountains and entered Asia in the 1580s. AfterwipingouttheSiberian KhanateeastoftheUrals,itexpandedintwodirections,alongthe YeniseiRiver and the Ob River respectively. At that time, the upper reaches of both rivers were thepasture land ofOyrat and its subordinate tribes. Russia gradually closed in on the territory of the Oyrat in its eastward expansion. In dealing with the Oyrat, Russia first adopted a policy of "turning, through peaceful means as much as possible, Oyrat nobles and rulers into Russian subjects, Oyrat people into Russian tax-payers who paid taxed in kind to Russian coffer, and OyratsettlementintoRussianterritory'", Forthatpurpose,asearlyasin1608(the361hyearof Wanlireign of Ming Dynasty) when the two sides had preliminary contacts with each other, the Russian side proposed that Oyrats acquire Russian nationality and pledge allegiance to the Tsar as conditions for the Oyrats to exercise free faming and free trade in the border area under

1 Wei Yuan, Sheng-Wu-Ji , Vol.3 .

2 Zlatkin (pronunciation), History of Junggar Khanate, in Russian, Moscow Science Publishing House,

1964, p168.


Russia's control. The next year, at their assembly, the Oyrat chiefs rejected Russia's "proposal" and in a long period of time that followed, persisted in the principle of sovereignty for the khanate and their ethnic group in dealing with the Russians. On the part of Russia, it continuously cemented its policy of annexation and even declared that it could use force if necessary. It was already doing so after Baturhun Taj unified all the tribes of the Oyrats. In October 1640 (the 5th year of Chongde reign of Ming Dynasty), Baturhun Taj challenged the Russian envoy face to face. Hesaid,"...ontheonehand,you cometomewithyourTsar'sgiftsandpresents;onthe other, the Russians are attacking my people." After that Russia frequently encroached upon the Oyrats' land and relations between the two sides went from bad to worse. In 1647, the Oyrats stopped envoy contacts with Russia; two years later, the Junggar troops attacked Russian army in Tomsk to halt Russia's encroachment by force. When Sengge was in power, he further cemented resistance to the Russian troops. In 1667 (the 6th year of Kangxi reign of Qing Dynasty), Sengge headed over 4,000 troops and laid siege to Krasnoyarsk, requesting Russia to return the held Oyrat subjects and other hostages.

The two sides eased relations to some extent after Galdan became Khan and founded the Junggar Khanate. Particularly, at around the time of the Yaksa Battle between Qing and Russia in 1685 (the 24th year ofKangxi reign), Galdan strengthened relations with Russia. The Russian side expressed "the hope for agreement with Boshoktu Khan (that is, Galdan) on military attack against the Mongols" and "the idea of building Russia-Oyrat alliance'", prompting and emboldening Galdan to invade Khalkha Mongols. When Galdan lost in the war and fled to Hovd, Russia immediately abandoned this ally.

While Tshe dbang Arabutan and his son Galdan Tshering were in reign, Russia resumed its expansionist policy towards Junggar and escalated its encroachment activities despite repeated demands from Junggar Khanate for Russia to pull out of the Junggar pasture land. In 1716 (the 55th year of Kangxi reign), the Russian troops went along the Ertix River and penetrated deep into the Armesh Lake on the left side of middle Ertix, which triggered the famous "Armesh Lake Battle". Junggar sent over to,OOO troops and besieged the invading Russians, and finally drove them out of the Armesh Lake after killing 3,000 and capturing hundreds of Russian officers and soldiers. Then the Russians changed tactics and built "a fortress line" along the Ertix River by modern military means, which cut into the Junggar pasture like daggers. The Junggar Khanate resisted tit for tat: they moved some subordinate Kirgiz to the Issyk-kul Lake, sent troops over to destroy newly built fortresses before the enemies were fully prepared, and attacked and harassed Russian strongholds. In parallel, the Junggar Khanate also repeatedly staged protests and warnings to the Russian side through regular diplomatic channels. In 1720 (the 59th year of Kangxi reign), after being thwarted in his Tibetan expedition, Tshe dbang Arabutan sent envoy to Russia to seek support. Russia insisted that its support be preconditioned on Junggar's submission. Amidst such adversities, the ruling class of Junggar had a debated on whether they should submit to Russia. The debate ended with a "no" answer, which fully testified to the unyieldingness and integrity of the Junggar people. Upon succession to the khanship, Galdan Tshering continued to pursue a resi stant policy towards Russian's encroachment. In 1742 (the T" year of Qianlong reign),

] Russia-China Relations in the 17'" Century, in Russian. Moscow, 1969, YoU], P18.261.


the Junggar Khanate sent a special envoy to Peterburg to deliver a message to the Russian Tsarina and make serious representations with Russia over the latter's invasion and encroachment. In the letter, Galdan Tshering spell out the boundary of Junggar in details, listed the sites of all Junggar villages in the border area totalling 5,000 tents or so, and demanded that the Tsarina order the withdrawal of all invading Russians. He wrote, "Otherwise I would by no means tolerate them living on my land." (Zlatkin, History of Junggar

Khanate, p363) The Khanate began to decline as a result of internal conflicts after Galdan Tshering's death, however, it sent an envoy to Peterburg again in 1751 (the 16th year of Qianlong reign), reiterating the request for Russian withdrawal from the occupied Junggar land. In 1755, the Qing government sent out troops and unified the Western Regions, and the Junggar Khanate fell into pieces.

Chapter Two

Heritage and Co-habitation of <; Diversified Cultures

1. ParallelDevelopmentofMultipleLanguages

Since ancient times, Xinjiang (the Western Regions) has been home to many ethnic groups and the crossroad of Indian, Persian, Greek and Chinese civilizations. As a tool for the intergroup integration as well as economic and cultural exchanges, languages, both in written and spoken form, emerged and fully developed in this region . Historically, over 30 ancient ethnic groups (or tribes) lived and prospered in Xinjiang, who spoke altogether more than 30 tongues in that region, including, inter alia, Hun, Gandhara, Yutian Sakic, Chinese, Yanqi-Qiuci language, Turkic, Sogdian , Uighur (Huihu), ancient Persian, Tubo language (early Tibetan), Mongolian, Manchu. This region has also seen over 20 written languages, which include, inter alia, Chinese, Khaorosthi,Yanqi-Qiuci script, Yutianscript,Turkic, Sogdian,Syriac, Uighur(Huihu), Tubol Tibetan script, Manichean, Persian, Hakaniye, Chagatai, Khitan, Uighur Mongolian, Todo Mongolian (Clea; Mongolian Script), Phags-pa script, and Manchu. Most of those spoken and written languages were only used in small communities over a short time span without much impact on other regions. Some of them had died and others mixed with other languages. The most significant ones were the Uighur (Huihu) script and Chagatai script. The former was the source of modem and contemporary Hudum Mongolian (or, Khalkha Mongolian) , Todo script (or, Clear Script of Mongolian), as well as Manchu and Xibe written languages ; while the latter was the origin of the current Uygur, Kazakh and Kirgiz written languages. The Chinese is the only language that has seen through the entire history of the Western Regions since recorded history began in Xinjiang.

Generally speaking, the north and south of Xinjiang were different in their historical development. In ancient times, in the north lived nomadic people and the south oasis farming groups. The nomads were dubbed as "roaming states", and their written languages were not as advanced as their spoken ones . For example, the Huns , the nomadic group that ruled the Western Regions from the end of the 3'd century BC to the middle of the 2nd century BC had no written language system despite their advanced spoken language. It was recorded in Story of the Huns in Book of Han that the Huns called the heaven "Chengli", son "Gutu" and vastness "Chanyu", Veda (also known as Hephthalites), the group that was active in Northern Xinjiang from the 41h to 6th century AD and for once controlled Central Asia and Southern Xinjiang, "had

no written language as they used wood pieces to record events". "When they related to other

countries, they invited the latters' nationals to keep records on sheep skin in their own


language." IAnothercaseinpointwas Rouran,whichruled theWestern Regionsinthe51h--(j1h centuries. The Rouran people also "kept records by carving woods, without knowledge of written language'", They only began to use Chinese characters to a certain extent after being affected by the Chinese culture through interactions with the Central Plains later on.' The Southern Xinjiang was quite a different story. As the agricultural peoples in the south enjoyed a higher level in economic development, they were more advanced in culture, including the spoken and written language system. In the latter half of the middle ancient history, such north-south difference gradually faded out through the constant reshuffling of ethnic composition.

1. Languages of the Past

As history evolves, some of the many languages that were used in the Western Regions in the past have disappeared, which include, Khaorosthi-script Gandhara, Yanqi-Qiuci-script Tocharian,Yutian-scriptSakic,Sogdian,Turkic, Uighur/Huihu-scriptTurkic,TubofTibetan, Khitan and Manchu . In addition , Hakaniye, Chagatai, UighurlHuihu Mongolian, Phags-pa script, Todo script (Clear Script of Mongolian) as well as Sanskrit, Manichean, Syriac and Arabic were also scripts that were once used in the Western Regions but no longer heard or seen there. Since they were either predecessors of current languages or sacred languages of religions, we will leave them for later sections.

Khaorosthi-script Gandhara

Khaorosthi was a phonographic script based on Aramaic alphabet to express the Gandhara language in the northwest of India. In the immediate years after the beginning of the Christian era, Khaorosthi became the official written language of Kushan Kingdom (within today's Pakistan). It found its way into Yutian in the Western Regions in the latter half of the 2nd century AD and arrived in Shanshan (today's Ruoqiang) in early 3rd century AD, and became local official written language. As the Chinese language used to be prevalent in Shanshan during the Eastern Han Dynasty, academics believe that the acceptance of Khaorosthi language and Indian slang by Shanshan and other places at that point was probably due to the arrival of Kushan immigrants fleeing war, whose large population and advanced culture made them highly influential on local linguistics as well. The Khaorosthi language disappeared from the Western Regions after the 51h century.

It was thanks to archaeological discoveries since late-LS" century that people got to know

the "dead language"-Khaorosthi once again. It was found in Sulek, Khotan, Kuqa, Niya, Miran

and Loulan, places on the verge of the Tarim Basin as well as Dunhuang in the River West

Corridor. Such script was written on wood boxes, wood slips, leather, silk, paper, birch bark and

coins, which totalled over 1,000 pieces, mainly from the two kingdoms ofYutian and Shanshan.

I Story of Chionites, Book of Liang.

2 Story of Ruirui, Book of Southern Qi.

3 It was recorded in Story of Rouran, Book of Wei that in his second year in reign , or 466 AD, Rouran Khan

by name of Yucheng emulated the Han system and entitled his reign "Yongkang", which was supported by

archaeologicaldiscoveryatTurpan,where theGaochangFragmentaryDocumentsDatedthe 17"'YearofYongkang

(482 AD) were unearthed. See Documents Unearthed from Turpan, YoU!, Cultural Relics Publi shing House.

1981, pp4-5 .


Archaeological discoveries from Yutain included bi-linguistic coins (312 in total), Document No.

S.661 and pages of a copy of Fa Ju Sutra; while those from Shanshan included secular documents such as the king's decrees, private and public correspondences, contracts, coupons, statements and accounting books, as well as Buddhist scriptures. The number of Khaorosthi letters varied from 22 to 57 at different times. It was written from right to left, with neither space between words nor punctuations. The script found in Yutian and Shan shan was slightly different in style, as each was featured with some local dialectical elements.

Bilingual archaeological inscriptions in both Khaorosthi and Chinese were found in Yutian and Shanshan. For instance, the coins circulated in Yutian had Chinese seal characters marking the denomination on the front and Khaorosthi spelling the title and name of the king on the back, which was a typical example of bilingualism in the kingdom ofYutian. The brocade of Eastern Han excavated from Loulan of Shanshan had on it both Chinese words expressing "longevity and good luck to posterity" and Khaorosthi script stating "brocade of Pinpo Shleketo worth one million", which was also an evidence for bilingualism in Shanshan .

Yutian Language

Yutian language was the tongue of the ancient people in Khotan area and a dialect of the east IranianlanguageoftheIndo-European family. SinceitwastheSakwhospokesuchlanguage,this tonguewasalsocalledYutianSakic,orYutianlanguage. YutianscriptwasaCentralAsianvariant of the Indian Brahmi script and prevailed in the Western Regions after Chinese and Khaorosthi, roughly between the 5th and 10th century (some argue it appeared before the 4th century). In 1006 the Karakhanid Dynasty extinguished the kingdom of Yutian. As a result, Islam replaced BuddhismandUighurlHuihu languagegradually substitutedYutianlanguage,makingthelatter"dead". It was noted in Volume 12 of Records of the Western Regions in the Great Tang that "the state of Yutian followed India in both language and legal system, only making slight changes to the style...its language was different from others". Towards the end of the 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th century, documents in Yutian language were found in Khotan, Bachu, Tumushuke and Mutougou of Xinjiang as well as Dunhuang of Gansu, which gave us chances to know that language again. With efforts through several generations, most of those doetiments were well understood and even translated, yet still there arc some of them remaining short of satisfactory interpretation, including secular documents and literature works. In its early stage, Yutian language was written in regular shape and with strict grammar; while later on, it became less neat and even illegible, particularly in the case of some composite characters.

The exi sting Yutian-language documents are mainly Buddhist scriptures, especially the Mahayana (Greater Vehicle) pieces, such as Sutras and Weimojie. Yutian used to be the seat of translation of Mahayana Buddhist Sutras , and all dynasties from the Central Plains had people coming here to learn Sutras. During Tang and Song Dynasties, Yutian went beyond merely translating Sutras and began to interprete and explain the Buddhist canons. Such explanatory works were found in Dunhuang, such as Praise for Jatakas, which was a brief version of the original Sutra. Also discovered were many secular Yutian-language documents, such as over I()() Tang-Dynasty pieces discovered in Khotan area, which included the king's decrees, accounting books, contracts and correspondences. In the Sutra Cave of Mogaoku, Dunhuang, over 120 pieces of Yutian-language documents were discovered, the majority of which were secular ones. In the 10th century, the family of Cao of the Allegiance Army in Shazhou intermarried the Yutian royal family for several generations and the two sides forged close relations. Envoys and monks from Yutian travelled to Shazhou, the Central Plains, the Western Xia, and Ganzhou Uighur


Khanate in the Hexi area, thus leaving a big number of correspondences, proposals and petitions, public and private accounting books, geographical notes, medical and literature works, bilingual glossaries, calligraphy practice, alphabets and copies of reports to the king of Yutian.

Yutian area was deeply affected by Chinese/ethnic-Han culture. Following the Han Dynasty, the Tang government set up Office of Governor of Pisha in Yutian. After Tang pulled out of the Western Regions, Yutian kept affinity with Shazhou through maniage and the Chinese language remained prevalent in this area . Just like Khaorosthi and Chinese, which were used there in parallel before, now the Yutian and Chinese languages were both in use, later Tubo language as well. As a case in point, there were Yutian-Ianguage, Chinese-language and Tuba-language documents discovered there . In addition, there were also bilingual texts written in both Chinese and Yutian. One example is the 7 pieces of silk payment accounting books and military defence documents concerning the "six cities" from 755 to 790 AD discovered at the Damagou Site in Qira County, which were written in both Chinese and Yutian language as cross reference . Quite a few Yutian-Ianguage documents had Chinese words in them. For instance, while the King ofYutian Yuchi Shulo wrote to his uncle Cao Yuanzhong, King of Shazhou, to inform him of Yutian's victory in its religious war against the Karakhanid Dynasty in 970 (the 4lh year ofTianzun reign), heendedtheletterwithabigChinesecharacter"Chi"(meaningtheking's decree,andthisChinese character was written beside two corresponding Yutian words, Pa rau) and affixed a Chineselanguage seal nine times at the letter's bottom and in the margin . The seal read, "Newly Made Decree-Use-Only Seal". Some Yutian words were apparently from Chinese, such as names of Yutian Buddhist temples ended with the sound "si", which was a transliteration of Chinese word for"temple". InYutian-languagedocumentsthereweresuchtitlesasZhang-shi(SeniorOfficial), Jie-du-shi (Border Governor), Zai-xiang (Prime Minister), Du-du (Governor), Pan-guan Fu-ren (Wife of Pan-guan), Da-de and Shi-zun, which also came from official or honorific titles in Chinese. Similarly, some reign titles recorded in Yutian-Ianguage documentssuch as "Tongqing", "Tianzun" ,"Tianxing","Zhongxing" and "Tianshou"wereobviouslymimicry ofChinese/ ethnic-Han reign titles.

Tubo Language

Tubo, the Tibetan language used in writing Tubo documents, also called ancient Tibetan, was among the Chinese-Tibetan language family. Tuba emergered from the Tibet Plateau in the T" century and entred the Western Regions in 662 , vying with the Tang Dynasty for the rule there. TubooccupiedtheWesternRegionsatthetumofthe81h and9lhcenturies. In866,itpulled out of that region due to internal conflicts in its home land. Ruling the Western Regions for over half a century, Tubo exerted significant influence on the written and spoken languages there, and foramoment,Tubo languagewas theofficial languageofthesouthernstates intheTarimBasin.

Since the beginning of the 20lh century, large quantities of Tubo-language wood/bamboo

slips and scrolls were discovered at the site of old Miran City in Ruoqiang County and the site

oftheOldFortressofMazartagnorthofKhotan,totallingover700pieces. Adiviningbonewith

Tubo-language oracle inscriptions was found at the site of Tubo defence fortress in Miran . In

Dunhuang, at least 8 pieces of Tube-language documents in relation to Yutian and one piece

concerning Yizhou (Harni) were found . Yutian was an important stronghold in Tubo's rule over

the Western Regions. In the two major Tibetan-language collections that came up later, bsTan

'gyud (or Gangyur, Translation of the Commentaries) and bKa'-'gyur (or Tanjur, Buddhist

Teachings), there are five articles about Yutian-Sutra of Pure Light Buddha, Preaching at

Niujiaoshan, Preaching of Sengjiafatanna, Preaching ofYutian Arhat, and Preaching in the King


dom of Yutian, which shows the close relations between Tibet and Yutian. Miran was a major military stronghold of Tubo in the latter's rule over the Western Regions. Dunhuang was once under the occupation ofTubo, and the Allegiance Army was closely associated with Yutian in the


-l Oth centuries. Therefore, it is nothing but normal to find ancient Tubo-language materials at these three places.

The Tuba-language documents discovered in Xinjiang were mainly written in the 8th and 9th centuries, covering all aspects ofTubo's rule in the Western Regions. They touched upon the economic dimension-such as land, food, taxation, credit and goods, the military dimensionsuch as weapons, watching and patrolling, as well as posts and stations, political dimensionsuch as reports, orders and instructions, public and private documents and correspondences, and social and cultural dimension-such as religion, clans, tribes, names of places and divination. All discovered documents in Dunhuang were of the lO'" century. Despite the fact that Tubo retreated from the Western Regions and the Hexi area by late-S" century,Tubo language remained in use until far after the end ofTubo's rule there. Among the Dunhuang discoveries were Tubolanguage correspondences between local rulers ofYutian, Shazhou (Dunhuang) Allegiance Army and Ganzhou (Zhangye) Uighur, such as the letter written by Minister Cao to the King of Yutian, the letter written by King of Yutian to head of Shazhou and the letter written by King of Yutian to the Senior Ofticial of Ganzhou. There were other documents as well, such as Yutian Canon History, a historical document on the rise and fall of Buddhism in Yutian, and Letter of Yizhou Sengzheng Li Beideng to Shazhou Sengzheng Li, a document on the exchange of goods between the clergy and laity ofYizhou and Shazhou .

While in the Western Regions, Tubo applied an administration system similar to the liaison regime of the Tang Dynasty and allowed parallel use ofTubo language, Yutian languange and Chinese, which was conducive to both the new and traditional culture in that region.

Yanqi-Qiuci Language

Early in the 20th century, a script written in Central Asian Brahmi italic was found in Xinjiang, which recorded two Indo-European spoken languages. Since these two tongues were more like two dialects, sharing similar vocabulary and grammer, scholars named them according to their respective sites of discovery: the one found in Turpan and Yanqi was called Yanqi tongue, and the one found in Kuqa Qiuci tongue . The same naming principle applied to their respective written systems. The former was also known as Tocharian Affocharian I, or eastern Tocharian ; the latter Tocharian Brrocharian II, or western Tocharian, Yanqi-Qiuci language was used from the 3nl to 9th century.

We now have a good collection ofYanqi-Qiuci scripts. There are poetry, such as Admoni

tion Poems and Manichean Psalms; song stories, such as Six-Ivory Elephant Jatakas Story and

Stories of Carpenter and Painter; dictionaries, such as ancient Qiuci-UighurlHuihu and San

skrit-Qiuci cross reference vacabularies; public and private accounting records, such as Busi

ness Traveller Passage Statement, some incomplete govemment decrees, and accounting books of

larmasaries; as well as medical data and incantation records. The most famous piece of Yanqi

Qiuci-Ianguage document is the Script of Maitrisimit, which included 27 acts and 88 pages, the

oldest and longest play script found in China up to now. Among all types of documents,

Buddhist Sutras accounted for the biggest number, including Suira on Path of Buddha's Dharma,

Praise of Buddha's Travels, Reincarnation Sutra. However, they were all Hinayana (Lesser

Vehicle) Sutras rather than Mahayana, from which we can get a sense of the division of the two

Buddhi st sections then in the Western Regions .


All Yanqi-script data were hand-written copies, while Qiuci-script materials included quite a few wood slips , frescoes and stone-carvings in addition to hand-written copies, which accounted for the great majority. It was noted in Records of the Western Regions in the Great Tang that the state of Qiuci "got its language from India with slight alterations", which was proved true through the existing Yanqi-Qiuci scripts. Despite its main feature of Brahmin script of the IndoEuropean family, Yanqi-Qiuci language had many transcribed foreign words . Research shows that it not only shared some features with the Iranian, Germanic and Slavic groups in the IndoEuropean family, but also had certain relations with non-Indo-European family, as was shown in the language structure and borrowed words . There were Tucharian words in Chinese and vice versa. The Book of Sui had a chapter on music, which discussed the seven notes: "The first is Sotoli, or Pingsheng as the Chinese call it, and another name for it is Gong". The first name in the description was a Qiuci word (or an altered Indian word' from Qiuci language). The word "Shamen" or "Sangmen" in Chinese was also transcribed from Yanqi language. The Buddhist terms in early Chinese translations (Eastern Han Dynasty or Three-State Period) came through themediaofancientCentralAsian languages,suchasTocharian,instead ofdirecttranslationfrom Sanskrit or Pali, In Tocharian there were also many words borrowed from Chinese, such as "cane" ("qian" in Chinese, meaning money), "tau" ("dou" in Chinese, a unit of measure for grain), and "sakse" ("shao jiu" in Chinese, meaning a kind of liquor)', Since those who spoke and wrote Yanqi-Qiuci language lived in the Western Regions , where various ancient civilizations met, it was only natural for this language to mix with languages of other peoples.


Sogdian script, also known as Serik script, was a writing system for the Sogdian tongue and originated from Aramaic script. Sogdian, a tongue of the eastern branch of the Iranian subgroup the Indo-European family of languages, prevailed in the Zelafshan river valley in Central Asia at

least no later&m tire6.lb cemnry Beandrrs scnpr was a6andonedafter the Mongo[s entered

Central Asia in the 13lh century. The Sogdian people were good at trade and served as significant

intermediary on the international trade route in Central Asia, hence their language became the

linguafrancainthatregion,exertingmajor bearingonthelanguagesystem ofsome ethnicgroups

and countries.

TheTurks used to adopt Sogdian as their officallanguage. So did the Uighurs immediately

after theyfounded Uighur Khanate. Later on, on the basis of Sogdian, the Uighurs invented the

Uighur/Huihu script, which then evolved into Uighur-style Mongolian. Uighur Mongolian had

aderivative, Manchu language, which was the origin of Xibe script. Sogdian was the basis or

originofallthoselaterscripts,which wasatypical footnotetotheinter-assimilation ofcultures

ofdifferent ethnic groups in the Western Regions.

Sogdian was found everywhere along the Silk Road, both within and without China. A

number of8lh-century Sogdian documents were found at the site ofMuge Mountain in Tajikistan.

HundredsofpiecesofSogdianmarkingswerediscoveredonthecliffalong theancientSilkRoad

attheupperreach oftheIndusRiver. SogdianlanguagewasalsospotontheMemorialtoMugan

Tegin near Bugute in Mongolia. A lot of Sogdian-script relics were also found within China,

I Ji Xianlin, Introduction to the Research on Tocharian language in Dunhuang and Turpan, Taiwan Xinwenfcng Publishing Company, 1993, p254"


among which were 8 Sogdian correspondences written in early 4th century discovered at the heacon tower site of the Han Dynasty Great Wall in Dunhuang, which were the oldest Sogdian documents found up to now. Many Sogdian-language Sutras were found at the Sutra Cave in


. ~i~jiang was where most Sogdian documents were discovered. Stone men with Sogdian mscnpnons were found in front of the mausoleum of Western Turki Khan on the northern bank

..... l

of Tekes River in IIi at the Tianshan Mountains. From oulan to }{botan. mllny commercial Sogdian documents were found in ancient relic sites. From Turpan discovered Sogdian contracts and other secular documents as well as religious classics in Sogdian, including those on Buddhism, Nestorianism and Manicheism. The Sogdian documents found in Xinjiang had a long time span. including those both before and after the westward movement of the Uighur Khanate in 840 AD. A few examples were: the late-S " century "people-substitution" wood tablet, which had a Sogdian Turkic word "people" on the back; a Sogdian contract on maids purchase, a relic of the Qu family in Gaochang State in 639 AD; a collection of Sogdian names of places. recording the Sogdian people's trade route from Fulin (Rome) to Bugulu (Lingwu of Ningxia) on the Euro-Asia continentfrom the9thto l O'"century,aproductofGaochangUighurKhanateera,allofwhich wereexcavatedinTurpan. SogdiandocumentsonManicheismandNestorianismwerealsodated between the 9th and 1O"centuries . The Sogdian language had long associations with the Western Regions.

Sogdian was a syllahic language without vowel letters. It had 19 syllahle letters and used weak consonant s to represent vowels. The Sogdian scripts discovered in China had three major styles:BuddhistSutratype(standard),ancientSyriactype(usedbyNestorianists) andManichean type (used by Manichei sts). Sogdian was usually written right-left horizontally, hut sometimes it was also written vertically. from top down , due to Chinese influence.


"Turks"hastwodefinitions.thenarrowandthebroad. TheformerreferstotheTurkitribes

that set up the Turki Khanate in the north and northwest of China in the 6th-8'" centuries; the

latter all tribes and clans under the Turki tribal federation . That federation was once exception

ally stron g and big, hence a great number of Turkic-speaking tribes . In the 6th_7th centuries,

Western Turks ruled the Western Regions, putting Turkic in use there. In the 8th_9th centuries,

two major groups of nomads, Karluk and Uighur moved to the Tarim Basin and converted to

settled agricultural life. The Turkic tongue with UighurlHuihu and Karluk languages as the core

gradually became the lingua franca of that region, andthe previously prevalent Indo-European

languages spoken by local residents phased out, only leaving some sounds, vocahulary and

grammar in Turkic. No later than the end of the II'" century. Turkic already spread to most

places of the north and south of Xinjiang.

Turkic was an alphabetic system of writing. From the fact that the Memorial to Turki Toho

Khan was written in Sogdian, we know that Sogdiarrscript remained the official written language

oftheTurksinthe580s. BookofNorthernQirecordedastorythattheemperor"askedShiqing

to translate Nirvana Sutra into Turkic as a gift to the Turki Khan" , which took place between 574

and 576 AD. Here Turkic meant the spoken language rather than the written one. Book ofZhou

noted in its chapter on the Turks that "their script looked like that of Hu", which might be what

happenedatalaterstage. TheTurkicscriptwasprevalentfromtheendofthe71h centurytothe

10th century. The Turki Khanate. Ouigour Khanate, Gaochang Uighur Khanate and Qirqiz,

whose language was similar to Turkic, all used that script. The Ouigour people used Turkic in


inscriptions on stone tablets when they had the Ouigour Khanate to the north of the desert. However, duc to outside influence, while using Turkic, the Ouigour people borrowed many words from foreign languages , including Chinese, Tocharian, Greek, Sanskrit, Tibetan, Sogdian and Iranian . Lots of them were borrowed from Chinese, like names for most silk products and some official titles, such asjinduan (brocade), du-du (military governor) ,jiang-jun (general) and du-tong (commander-in-chief). Other words, such as miantuan, mo, cha, baozi, zui, long, la, sheng, fashi, mi, wan, were also borrowed expressions from Chinese. The Ouigour people also transcribed Sogdian words for wheat and mucus, Tibetan word for envoy, Greek and Sanskrit expressions for classics , crocodile and officialdom. Turkic also inherited some vocabulary from the Huns, Rouran and othe steppe tribes, such as khan, kedun and heaven'.

Turkic was lost and remained unknown for a long time until being rediscovered in the 19<h20'hcenturies. At first scholars named it Turki Runic due to its formal similarity with the Runic scriptusedbytheancientGermans,andlateroncalled itOrkhon-Yeniseiscriptbasedonwhere important inscriptions in that language were discovered, which was in the Orkhon and Yenisei river basins.

The number and shapes of Turkic letters varied on a temporal and regional basis. Normally the total number of the letters ranged from 38 to 40, among which 23 came from Aramaic, and othersoriginated from clan or tribal symbols and some ideographic signs. The Turkic letters had manyvariants, in some cases even five or six for one letter. Turkic was written from right to left, with two dots telling each word (or word group) apart.

The existing Turkic scripts were mainly inscriptions on stone memorials and tablets (totalling over 200 pieces), mostly discovered in the northern Mongolian plateau, Yenisei River Valley, Lena River-Baikal Lake region and Altay region. Among the important were Memorial to Kul Tegin, Memorial to Bilga Qakhan, Dun-Xi-Gu, and Ongin Memorial. The former two had bilingual inscriptions, Chinese and Turkic . On the Memorial to Kul Tegin, the year was numbered on the basis of the Chinese year-recording method in the Chinese language-the 2200 year ofKaiyuan reign of Great Tang (734 AD). The Memorial to Ouigour Gele Khan was written in three languages, Turkic, Chinese and Sogdian. There were also hand-written copies of Turkic script, such as a complete Book on Divination found in Dunhuang.

Turkic scripts discovered in Xinjiang included military documents (found in Miran), incom

plete manuscripts of hand-written copies (found in Tuyugou, Shanshan County, Turpan Region),

andpainting remarks (found in caves near old Jiaohe City). There were also Turkic relics spelt

outthrough other scripts, such as coins ofTurgis Khanate discovered at IIi, Kuqa and Turpan, all

having Sogdian script on them conveying Turkic language. The "people substitution" wood

tabletdiscovered in Turpan also had a Sogdian-script Turkic word of "people" on the back. In

addition, 79 pieces of Brahmi-script Turkic documents and relics were found in Xinjiang.

Discovery of Turkic script not only helps us to learn more about this spoken and written

language, but also provides important foundation for the research on the Turki history and the

Turkic-ization of the Western Regions.

Uighur/Huihu Languge

UighurlHuihu tongue belonged to the eastern branch of the Turkic subgroup in the Altaic

I Claussen (pronunciation), Foreign Elements of Early Turkic, in Ethnic Language Studies. 198I, Issue 3.


family of languages. Its script was the written language recording the spoken UighurlHuihu tongue. In 744 AD, the Ouigour tribe in the Turki tribal federation replaced the Turks and built its own khanate. In the early stage of the khanate, the Ouigours carried on with the traditional political, cultural and language system of the Turks. In 788 AD (the 4'" year of Zhenyuan reign of Tang Dynasty), Ouigour sent the Tang government a memorial, asking to be renamed as Uighur. In 840 AD (the 5'"year of Kaicheng reign of Tang Dynasty), Uighur Khanate ended, and the Uighur people moved westward in three groups, of which the most important one first went to Beshbalik (within today's Jimsar County) in the Western Regions, then crossed over the Tianshan Mountains, occupied Turpan, Yanqi, and Kuqa, and founded Gaochang Uighur Kingdom. The Uighurs began to use Uighur/Huihu script prior to their westbound movement. During the reign of Gaochang Uighur Kingdom, UighurlHuihu script gradually took the place of Turkic as the generally-used written language. In the 14"'-15'" centuries, under the impact of Islam, the Arabic alphabet-based Chagatai script replaced Uighur/Huihu script and became the prevalent written language in that area.

Uighur/Huihu script was a phonemic language composed of 18-22 letters (whose number varied from time to time). Originated from ancient cursive Sogdian script, it was named after the people who used it most widely, the Uighurs. However, it was different from the cursive Sogdian in some aspects, such as, it did not use the four ideographic signs in Sogdian and added certain symbols on top of or after some letters. Uighur/Huihu script usually used one or two dots to punctuate and sometimes four dots to suggest a new paragraph. Earlier, it was written right-left horizontally, which afterwards changed to vertical writing from left to right. The styles of UighurlHuihu script included, inter alia, the sutra-type, the regular, the cursive and the wood typeprint.

Uighur/Huihu script had deep influence on the languges of the ethnic groups living next to the Uighurs and those who came up later. From 13'" to 15'" century, UighurlHuihu script used to be the offical written language for the Golden Horde (also known as Kepqak Khanate), Timur Empire , and Chagatai Khanate, all built by the Mongols. Early in the 13'"century, the Mongols adopted UighurlHuihu script and created a Uighur-style Mongolian, which evoled into Todo Mongolian (Clear Script) and the current Hudum Mongolian.

Uighur/Huihu script was the most widely-used and well-recorded written language in the history of the Uygurs before the Arabic alphabet was adopted. Among all the remaining records, the biggest share was Uighur/Huihu Buddhist documents, including, first and formost, the Mahayana Buddhist texts, as well as some Hinayana and Tantra (Esoteric Sect) documents. Apart from Buddhist relics, there were also Manichean, Nestorian and Islamic documents written in UighurlHuihu script, such as Manichean Confession Prayers, Nestorian Book of Blessing and Story of St. George's Sacrifice, and early Islamic works such as Stories of Saints, Story of Ascension and Candle of Heart. Other UighurlHuihu-script pieces included literature works such as Kutadgu Bilig (Wisdom of Royal Glory) and Door to Truth, medical works such as Shadasada, and social documents such as Shanbin's enslavement indenture, and land transaction documents of the Karakhanid Dynasty. Many of UighurlHuihu-script documents were actually bilingual, including both UighurlHuihu and Chinese, such as a Gaochang station circular in the Ming Dynasty and inscriptions on the Memorial at the Tudumsari Temple of Gaochang, Memorial to Gaochang Idikut, Loyakadlurhachi Memorial, Memorial for the renovation of Wenshu Temple , and Ulanhom Memorial.


Khitan Language

KhitanlanguagebelongedtotheMongoliansubgrouptheAltaicfamily. Khitanscriptwasthe written system to record Khitan spoken language, it included the Big Script and the Small Script. Invented in reference to the Chinese character, the Khitan Big Script was not well-suited to the abundant multi-syllable words in Khitan vocabulary and agglutinative suffix in Khitan grammar. So, the phonographic Small Script was invented on the basis of both Chinese and Big Script.

In 1124, Khitan noble YolligTaxin split away from the Liao Kingdom and moved westward. HebuilttheWesternLiaoEmpireandruledtheWesternRegions. Themajorlanguagesusedinthe WesternLiaoDynastywereChineseandKhitan. CoppersealswithKhitancharactersonboth the front and the back were discovered in Iii, Xinjiang, which proved the use of Khitan language in the Western Liao government. It is assumed that both the Khitan and Chinese officials in the Western Liao government could speak and write Khitan. Yollig Chucai recorded in Volume 8 of Collection of Works of Zhanran Jushi that a Chinese called Li Shichang, who was granted lordship by the Western Liao government, was capable of using Khitan language. In early 13th century, the Mongols wiped out the Western Liao Empire, and Khitan became a dead language.

2. Languages of the Present Among all the ethnic groups that have long settled in Xinjiang, the Han and Hui people use Chinese; the Uygurs, Mongols, Kazak, Kirgiz, Xibe and Russ each have their own spoken and

written languages; and the Tajik, Uzbek, Tatar and Daur have their own spoken languges . Other ethnicgroupsmovingintoXinjiang lateralsohavetheirspokenlanguages.


Chinese, as a language, belongs to the Chinese subgroup of the Sino-Tibetan family. The Chinese script was the earliest script that was found in the Western Regions. Despite the vicissitudes in languages in the Western Regions throughout its history, Chinese was present almost all the time.

In the 2nd century BC, Zhang Qian was sent by the Han Dynasty as an envoy to the Western Regions, which began the history of the Chinese language in that region. In 60 BC (the 2nd year of Shenjue reign ), the Han government set up Office of Protector of Western Regions; as a result, "decrees of Han reached the Western Regions", and Chinese became the official spoken and written language among states in that region. According to the chapter on the Western Regions in Book of Han , "the total number of such states was fifty, and from the director of translation, director ofthe city, jun,jian, Ii, dalu, baizhang to noble and king, all wore seals and ribbons issued by the Han government". This was the official record of the acceptance of Han rule by states in the Western Regions and the installation of directors of translation to ensure the use of Chinese. Numerous discovered materials provided futher evidence for the use ofChinese in all aspects. The use ofChinese script in local governments, military strongholds and commercial goods was exemplified by the "Seal ofGuiyi (Allegiance) Qiang in the Han Dynasty" discovered in the old city of Yushgeti in Xayar County, over 70 slips recording the agricultural activities of the military discovered in the site ofTuyin on the northern bank of Lop Nur, and brocade found in the Eastern Han tomb at Niya, with Chinese characters reading "longevity and good luck to posterity" on it. There was another piece discovered in Niya, which was probably a wood slip for presenting gifts, with Chinese words of "Xiuwusongye wishes to pay regards through this jade" on the front and "held by Xiaodazi Jiujian" on the back as well as "Madame Qierno" on it, showing the penetration of Chinese into the life of average local residents there.


After the Western and Eastern Han Dynasties, Chinese was still prevalent in the Western Regions. In Gaochang region (today's Turpan), the Han people was a major ethnic group and hence the consistent dominant role of Chinese in local language system . Even after the Uighur began their rule there in the 91hcentury, Chinese still remained important. Chinese-UighurlHuihu bilingual tablet insciptions of that period were found in that area, such as the Memorial at the Tudumsari Temple of Gaochang, Memorial to Gaochang Idikut, Loyakadlurhachi Memorial, and Ulanhom Memorial. Other such bilingual data included Shanbin's enslavement indenture dated the 13th or 14°' century and remarks about the patron in Cave No.9 of Bezklik grottoes.

From the Han to Wei and Jin Dynasties, Shanshan region (today's Ruoqiang) was the seat of the Senior Official of Western Regions. Chinese was the main language in Loulan, a city in this region. From here a lot of Chinese-script slips were found, which recorded local military, political, economic, cultural, criminal law and social developments. This is also where the famous Li Bai Documents were found, Li was a Senior Official of the Western Regions in the Former Liang Dynasty. Other places in Shanshan region also saw the excavation of many Chinese slips and textiles with such Chinese words as "Forever Happiness and Brightness" and "Longevity" on them. In 1987, Chinese texts of the Yuan Dynasty were discovered here, which testified to the prolonged use of Chinese in the region.

Yutian region (today's Khotan) used Kharosthi-script Gandhara from the late 2nd century to the 41h century AD, and shifted to Yutian Sakic between the 51h and IO" centuries. Tuba language was in vogue from the late 91hcentury to the l O'" century. However, despite all the changes, Chinese remained in wide use, which was proved true by a huge number of discovered materials, including Chinese texts, Chinese-and Kharosthi-demoninated coins, Chinese-Yutian bilingual texts and Tubo-script documents of the same period.

A number of people who translated Buddhist Sutras into Chinese lived in Qiuci area (today's Kuqa) since the Wei and Jin Dynasties, whose magnificent comprehension and appreciation of the Chinese language represented the highest level in that area . At Qiuci grottoes, there were many Chinese inscriptions of the Tang Dynasty and number of years recorded in the Ten Celestial Stems and Twelve Branches system, including one about 100 years after the retreat of the Tang government from the Western Regions, which was the year of Dingwei (the 3'dyear of Guangqireign,or887AD). InKumuturacaves,therewereinscriptionswrittenin three languages, Chinese, Qiuci and UighurlHuihu, which proved that Chinese script was still in use even under the Uighur reign.

The use and development of Chinese in the Western Regions was made possible by the

promotion efforts of the united or centralized regime in China after the Han Dynasty. The

unification of the Western Regions by the Tang Dynasty provided a strong boost to the use of

Chinese, making it not only an official language of local governments at all levels but also a tool

of communication among the public , Ethnically Khitan, the Western Liao Dynasty was deeply

Han-ized, as it was profoundly influenced by the Han people. It made big efforts to promote the

Chinese language in the Western Regions, which led to its spread to wider areas. During the Yuan

Dynasty, the Western Regions saw many famous scholars well-versed in Chinese, such as

Chopasari from Beshbalik, who was said to be "good at many foreign languages, including

Chinese",andShengXirningfromQuxian(today's Kuqa),whowroteabook(StudyonCaligraphy)

on Chinese calligraphy as well as the Phags-pa script and Sanskrit. The Ming government had

comparatively fewer connections with the Western Regions, yet it did once have Hami under its

control and issued Chinese-script seals to the Wala tribe. After the Qing government unified the


Western Regions, Chinese became the official language together with Manchu language, and was extensively used among the ordinary people . Since modem times, Chinese has always been a significant lingua franca among all ethnic groups in Xinjiang no matter they have their own languages or not. Since the People's Republic was founded in China, while paying attention to minority languages, the government has also worked vigorously to improve the Chinese language education, hence considerable development of Chinese in Xinjiang.

In short , over the past 2000-plus years since it first arrived in Xinjiang in the 2nd century BC, Chinese has remained in uninterrupted use there in spite of changes in prevalence scope and degree at different times. It is the only language that has seen through the history of Xinjiang since recorded history began there.

Uigur Language

Uigur belongs to the Turkic subgroup of the Altaic family and is a phonographic language based on Arabic alphabet. In its long history of 800-900 years, Uygur has been through several stages: Hakaniye,Chagatai,oldUygur script,new Uygurscript andthecurrentUygur script.

(i) Hakaniye Period

From the 9th to early 13th century, there existed in parallel two kingdoms, the Kashgar-based Karakhanid Dynasty and the Turpan and Kuqa-centred Gaochang Uighur Kingdom. Speaking almost identical Turkic , these two kingdoms used different offical scripts due to their different religions . Gaochang Uighur Kingdom believed in Buddhism and used UighurlHuihu script as official written language until the Ming Dynasty (in Gaochang and Hami). Karakhanid Dynasty converted to Islam in the latter half of the IO'" century, and Arabic alphabetic script gradually replaced Uighur/Huihu script as the offical written language. The Arabic alphabetic script used by Karakhanid Dynasty was caned Hakaniye script. The Turkic Lexicon and Kutadgu Bilig of the 11th century were Hakaniye-script masterpieces.

(ii) Chagatai Period

In the 14th-15th centuries, Islam became the dominant faith in the entire southern areas of the Tianshan Mountains, which gave Chagatai script the opportunity to rise to prevalence amongtheUygurs. Asadeveloped formofHakaniye script,Chagatai had32letter,including28 Arabic letters (while Hakaniye had 24 Arabic letters) and 4 borrowed Persian letters. Chagatai letters had four different forms, depending on where they were-written separately, at the beginning, in the middle or at the end of a word . In Chagatai script, words were the smallest meaningful units, but every letter was connected, written from right to left horizontally, normally without punctuation. There are a big number ofexisting Chagatai documents, dated from the 14th to 19th century, such as the long essay of the 14th century-Story of the Prophet and Collection of Four-Part Lyrics during the 15th-16th centuries.

(iii) Old and New Uygur Script Period

Chagatai script did not go perfectly well with Turkic. For example, there lacked corresponding letters for some phonetic sounds, some different letters represented the same consonant, or the same letters represented different vowels. For that reason , the Uygurs started to reform their language in 19305 and further revised the system in 1954, when the orthography of Uygur script was promulgated, which was known as the old Uygur script. In the 1950s, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region attempted to replace Arabic alphabet with the Slavic one but came to no avail. In the I960s, the Autonomous Region formulated the new Uygur script on the basis of Roman alphabet, which was spread and expected to take the place of the old script.


(iv) Current Uygur Script Period

In 1982, Xinjiang Autonomous Region decided to restore the old script to use . They mended the shortcomings in the old Uygur script and its orthography, issued the current Uygur alphabet, which, they stipulated, would be put into use comprehensively in 1984. That is the current Uygur script.

Mongolian Language

Mongolian belongs to the Monglian subgroup of the Altaic family oflanguages. Historically, the Mongols have used several scripts: UighurlHuihu-style Mongolian, Phags -pa script, Todo Mongolian (or Clear Script) and Hudum Mongolian (or Khalkha Mongolian).

Mongolian is closely associated with UighurlHuihu tongue, as both are agglutinative language and share a lot of common elements as well as similar phonetic system. Therefore, the alphabet suitable to UighurlHuihu language is also suitable for Mongolian. In the early 13th century, the Mongol Empire invented the Uighur-style Mongolian based on UighurlHuihu alphabet. Uighur Mongolian was a phonographic language including two catergories of letters representing vowels and consonants respectively . But the total number of letters was increased to 31 from 14 in the Uighur alphabet. The Uighur Mongolian language went through two periods. The first was from the l3'h to 17thcentury, when it had similar strokes and structures ofletters, spelling rules and written forms with UighurlHuihu script. The 17th century saw the commencement of the second period, when the Uighur Mongolian developed differently in different regions. On the Mongolian steppe and most other areas, the traditional Uighur Mongolian script underwent changes in strokes of letters and spelling rules, hance the formulation of modem Mongolian distinguished from the ancient one. The Mongols in Xinjiang call that Hudum Mongolian. In the Western Regions formed Todo Mongolian, or the Clear Script, which was adapted to the dialect features of Oyrats from western Mongol. Being apart from their native land for long, the Oyrats hadtheiruniquelocalfeaturesintheirlanguageandculture.Therefore, in 1648,aneminentmonk, Zaya Pandit invented the Todo ("Clear") Script on the basis of Uighur-style Mongolian in the light of the language features of the Oyrats, which was only used among the Mongols in Xinjiang.

In the mid-l J'" century, the Mongol Empire conquered many nation-states. In order to cement his rule, after assuming the khanship, Kublai, Shizu Emperor of Yuan Dynasty ordered the Grand State Tutor, Phags-pa to invent a written language that could "spell all tongues" (spell the spoken languages of all ethnic groups in the empire), which was duely done, and the new script was released in 1269. That was the Phags-pa script (it was named "new Mongolian script" at first, soon after renamed as "Mongolian script", also known as "national script", "national language"). Being an alphabetic writing system, the Phags-pa script was composed of 41 letters, which rose to 57 later. The great majority of its letters were from Tubo script, and a few from Sanskrit, plus several newly-created ones. Phags-pa script was used for about 100 years and "died" after the Yuan Dynasty was overthrown.

Texts in early Uighur Mongolian, Phags-pa script and Todo (Clear Script) used by the western Mongols were all discovered in Xinjiang, such as the translation of Legends of Alexander done in Uighur Mongolian and Saja Axioms written in Phags-pa script, both discovered in Turpan. Todo (Clear Script) Mongolian was the main script in use from the Ming and Qing Dynasties to the 1970s among the Mongols in Xinjiang. In order to lend uniformity to the written languages of the Mongols in China, it was decided at the Conference of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on the Work of Mongolian Language in 1981 that starting from the next year, the entire region would officially adopt Hudum Mongolian. Hudum is a script beyond


dialectical restrictions, so it is a more appropriate written system for the Mongolian language which has several dialects.

Kirgi; Language

In history, the Kirgiz people were called as Jiankun, Qirqiz, Qirgyz, Blute, and so on. Their language is called Kirgiz, which belongs to the Turkic subgroup of the Altaic family. It has many transcribed words from Mongolian, Uygur, Kazakh and Chinese, and to a lesser extent, Arabic, Persian,RussianandEnglish. Thecharacteric oftheKirgiztongueisitsrichvocabularyon animal husbandry. Having 22 consonants, 14 vowels and 6 phonetic structures, this language is featured with strict vowel harmony.

The ancestors of the Kirgiz used cliff painting script in early times and started to use OrkhonYcnisei and Talas script, which was similar to the ancient Turkic used by the Turks and Uighurs. According to the chapter on Qirqiz in New Book of Tang, "their language was exactly the same as that of Uighur". However, the said language was different from Turkic in the number and way of writing of letter variants . It was assumed that this script stopped being used after the Mongols subdued the Central Asia in the 13th century. A typical example of it was the Memorial to Suji.

The Kirgiz began to use Chagatai script in the 14th century, but never widely , as it was very different from the oral language of Kirgiz. In the 19th century, some folk tales were recorded in the "Kirgiz-ized" Chagatai script, such as the epic Manas. In 1911 (the first year of Minguo, or Republic of China), Kirgiz scholars compiled Reading Primer on the basis of simplified Chagatai script, which was accepted by the Kirgiz people and followed up by a Kirgiz-Script Reading Primer in the 1930s. That was the first textbook on the written and spoken language of the Kirgiz people compiled by the Kirgiz themselves, whose script was widely used in schools and government circulars. In 1955, the Committee on Written and Spoken Languages of Kizilsu Kirgiz Autonomous Prefecture produced the orthography of Kirgiz script. In 1989, a revised Orthography was released in Xinjiang, which was the most comprehensive and complete one in the history of the Kirgiz script.

Kazakh Language

Kazakh language belongs to the western Hun branch of the Turkic subgroup of the Altaic family, The ancestors of the Kazakh used pictographic and ideographic languages first, and then Turkic and UighurlHuihu tongue for a long time before switching to Kepqak language based on Chagatai alphabet. At the end of the 15th century and the beginning of the 16th century, the Kazakh people formed their own ethnic group and started to use the Kazakh script based on Arabic alphabet as a way to record their spoken language. In 1912, a scholar of Kazakhstan Ahmed Baitolson (pronunciation) proposed a new scheme for the Kazakh script based on Arabic alphabet,which was accepted and used for nearly four decades after certain improvements by the Kazakh people in Xinjiang. Several reforms took place afterwards, including one new script based on Slavic alphabet and another one based on Roman alphabet. In 1982, the People's Govemment of Xinjiang Autonomous Region decided to restore the old script and keep the new one as phonetic symbols only.

Xibe Language

The Xibe people formerly lived in China's northeast and some of them moved westward as garrison troops in IIi of Xinjiang during the Qianlong reign of Qing Dynasty, whose descendants thus settled down there. The ancient Xibe people spoke Xianbei tongue first and used Jurchen language later. While under the administration of Kerqin Mongols, most of Xibe people began to learnMongolian, both orally and in writing. At the end of the 17th century, the Xibe people were


incorporated into the Manchu Eight-Banner Institution. While keeping their own spoken language, they started to learn the oral and written language of Manchu in a large scale. In 1764 (the 29th year of Qianlong reign), the Xibe people who were moving west to IIi took Manchu language and their own spoken language to Xinjiang. In the following 200-plus years, their language underwent new developments, as the vocabulary expanded and the phonetic and grammar system changed and acquired new features. In the light of these new changes, some Xibe language workers improved the language on the basis of Manchu script (such as taking out the 6th vowel letter and 13 syllables based on it, and adding 3 new forms of syllable spelling, etc.) and invented the Xibe script. They also published Grammar of Xibe Language and created and standardized a big number of new terms and expressions.

3. Sacred Languages of Religions The five major religions of the world, Buddhism, Christianity, Manicheism, Juddaism and Islam, one by one, all found their way into China at a certain point in history. Together with the entry of these religions came their respective sacred languages, Sanskrit, Syriac, Pahlavi, Hebrew,

Arabi c and their corresponding scripts. With the only exception of Hebrew, all of these languages left their mark in Xinjiang.


India is the birthplace of Buddhism, and Sanskrit is the tongue of Indian nobility (or a manmade standard language). Towards the end of the 4th century, India was reunited by the Gupta Empire, and Buddhism rose to the ruling faith . As a result, Buddhists abandoned the secular language and adopted Sanskrit as the sacred languge of religion. Such Sanskrit culture affected states in the Tarim Basin as well. In the 20th century, thousands of pieces of Sanskrit Buddhist Sutras were found in places all over Xinjiang, such as the site of Buddhist temple in Kashi, the old city of Toguzshari and the Buddhist site of Tumushuke in Bachu , Yotgan and Dadaulik sites in Khotan, the old city of Qarkilik in Ruoqiang, the temple site in Miran, the old city of Subash in Kuqa, the Thousand-Buddha Cave in Kizil, the Thousand-Buddha Cave in kumutura, Duledu, the old city of Ahur, the old city of Gaochang in Turpan and the Thousand-Buddha Cave in Bozklik, which shows that Sanskrit was popular to a certain extent in the Western Regions as the sacredlanguageof religion.


Nestorianism went into the Western Regions in the 6th century as a heterodoxy branch of Christianity , which was accompanied by the entry of Syriac, the sacred language of Nestorianism. In the 20th century, many Nestorian inscriptions written in Syriac script were found in Turpan, the old city of Almalik (today's Huocheng County), Kashi and Kuqa, which included Syriacalphabet Turkic, Syriac-alphabet UighurlHuihu, Syriac-alphabet Sogdian documents and Syriac prayers of Nestorianism. As to the dates of those documents, the Syriac Nestorian prayer texts discovered in Turpan were of the late-9 th century, the incomplete Nestorian classics written in Syriac-alphabetSogdian,whichwasalsodiscoveredinTurpan,wereproductsofaroundthe lOth century, and the Syriac documents found in IIi and Kuqa were of the Yuan Dynasty. Syriac was at its prime time on its homeland between the 4th and 6'h centuries and went out of use in the 711> century due to the restraining force of Arabic. However, it seemed to have been in use for longer time in the Western Regions.

Pahlavi and Parthian Language as well as Manichean Script

Manicheism was a religion founded by a Persian, Mani, in mid-3mcentury AD. Pahlavi (also


,t j n




ch of usm. [pan, 'fiacyriac

texts ten in Ie IOIh icwas the71h longer

vi (also


known as Pahlevi or mid-ancient Persian) and Parthian were sourthern and northern dialects of Persian in the middle ancient times. Both the Uighur Khanate to the north of the desert and Gaochang Uighur Khanate used to adopt Manicheism as their state religion. From the 71h to 9th century, with the entry of Manicheism, the oral languages of Pahlavi and Parthian and the Manichean script (or Mani script) reached into the Western Regions as the two sacred languages and one sacred script of Manicheism. As many as thousands of pieces of Manichaeist documents written in Parthian and mid-ancient Persian were found at ancient sites in Turpan. An underground Manichean book storeroom was also found there ; however, the documents were unableto be restored as they were devastatingly soaked. Other discoveries included an incompletesheet of Turkic-Manichean cross-reference alphabet found at Tuyugou in Turpan and an

incomplete volume (118 lines in total) of Confession Prayers written in Manichean found at the Idikut site. Manichean script only had one classic type, which was easy to read due to its neat style and simple structure. This elegant-looking script was always written on nice-decorated quality paper. So many discoveries in Xinjiang of Pahlavi and Parthian language as well as Manichean script point to the considerable impact of the Persian civilization to this region.


Islam,thereligion born intheArabianPeninsula,found itswayintotheWesternRegionsin the 10,h century and gradually ascended to dominance there. According to Islam, the Sacred Koran is "God-given" scripture issued by Allah through Arabic and can only be read and written inArabic; therefore, Arabic became the common language of Islam and was introduced into the WesternRegionsinthatway. InKhotanregion,fourArabic-scriptcontractswerefound,among which one piece, an Arabic-alphabet Persian document, had on it the year numbered in the Islamic calender-the 501't year (or 1107 AD). A square copper plate of the Karakhanid Dynasty unearthed in Khotan was decorated with exquisite Kufic-style Arabic script. Three pieces of Arabic contracts dating somewhere between 1096 and 1114 were excavated in Shache region,and quite a few Arabic documents in the Karakhanid Dynasty era were discovered in the old city of Toguzshari of Bachu. All these discoveries were proof that Arabic, the sacred language of Islam, was used both officially and unofficially during the reign of the Karakhanid Dynasty. The Arabic language had such a big influence on the Western Regions that the predecessors of the current

r{ ,. ,"...., :-.-. :'h 'h '\' .... ,

" ~')'~U~mL . cc "b ~ flWe"'m1O ~n'li~~'1t'S'l:1'mlf-S~1B~"leg~1l~JS1~ IRlpWl(L.

.Uygurscript were H akaruye ana L naga ai sci P

4. Features of Languages in Xinjiang .

The written and spoken language system in Xinjiang can be divided into tw~ major.pedno~
. I . h 8th 9thcenturies The first peno w,
bv the entry of the Karluk and Uighur peop e 10 t e -. hil h d by Alta

J d Ch nese: w let e secon

dominated by Indo-European languages, Brahrm scnpt an I '. d f tw Turkic languages, Aramaic and Arabic alphabetic scripts. The first pe~od w~s compo~ ~ari ' arts on a eo ra hical basis: the northern (and eastern) part of the Tarim Ba:>m,.w~ere . DC ,


fang'uage ~f t;e I~do-European family and the italic script of Brahmi, Yanql-QflUKhscnPtht~scwn~

hi h w the prevalence 0 aros I s

as Chinese were popular; and the southern p~, w IC sa nd-4th centuries AD), al

Gandhara of the Indo-European family and Chmese first (a~out the.2 . Yutian Sal

later the Sakic language of the Indo-European family, the straight scnpt ofB~~-.t ft1

script as well as Chinese (about the 51h_ IOth centuries AD). ~e sec,~nd peno cons::eSt~e f

stages in different time frames . The first stage was from t~e 9 to 14. c~nt~ry . k~:;~oms at ~

that it was both Turkic-speaking Uighurs who held the ruh~g power10 e wo. I . 1

time, they had no unified languages due to their religious difference and opposite regimes.


northeastern Gaochang Uighur Khanate believed in Buddhism and regarded the UighurlHuihu script-based Turkic as their official language; while the southwestern Karakhanid Dynasty believed in Islam and regarded Hakaniye script, which was Arabic alphabet-based Turkic as their official language. The second stage runs from the 15'h century up to now. During this period, Islam became the dominant religion in the entire southern part of the Tianshan Mountains, and the parallel prevalence of two written languages in the previous stage gave place to a single script, Chagatai script, which later on went through a series of changes such as the old and new Uygur scripts, finally forming the current Uygur script. In the whole process of development over the p~st 2000 years and more, other languages were also spoken and used in Xinjiang as it is the junction of four major civilizations of the world. Sogdian, the oldest language for international trade, was used here after the beginning of the Christian era and affected the formulation and use ofTurkic and UighurlHuihu script, and even Mongolian, Tibetan and Manchu language. Turkic script also used to be prevalent as the primitive written language of the Turkic-speaking people. In addition, the ancient Tibetan script of Tubo, the Khitan script of Western Liao, the three Mongolian scripts (Uighur-style Mongolian, Phags-pa script and Todo script), and Manchu script of the Qing Dynasty were all used widely in a certain period and scope there. The four sacred languages of religions, Sanskrit, Manichean script, Syriac and Arabic also left their mark in the region. In modern times, a number of languages were spoken in Xinjiang and 7 scripts, Chinese, Uygur, Mongolian, Kazakh, Kirgiz, Xibe and Russian were used in writing there as a result of movement of ethnic groups and their cultural advancement. Most of the aforementioned spoken languages and scripts were or have been present in Xinjiang for a while only, either separately or in different combinations. Only Chinese, the earliest script that appeared

there, has been in use throughout the entire history.

The overwhelming feature of languages in Xinjiang is their diversity and colorfulness, which is manifested in the following aspects . First, huge quantity. Historically, Xinjiang has used over 30 spoken languages and more than 20 written scripts, which far exceeds any other region in terms of quantity.

Second , multiple families oflanguages. All the four major families oflanguages in the world, the Altaic, the Indo-European, the Sino-Tibetan and the Hamito-Semitic, have (or had) their representatives in Xinjiang. Turkic, UighurlHuihu language, Uygur, Mongolian and Manchu belong to three subgroups of the Altaic family: Turkic subgroup (Turkic, UighurlHuihu language and Uygur). Mongolian subgroup (Mongolian) and Manchu-Tungusic subgroup (Manchu). Gandhara,Tocharian,TutianSakicandSogdianbelong totwosubgroupsoftheIndo-European family : Indian subgroup (Gandhara and Tocharian) and Iranian subgroup (Yutian Sakic and Sogdian). Chinese and Tubo language belong to two subgroups of the Sino-Tibetan family: Chinese subgroup (Chinese) and Tibeto-Burman subgroup (Tubo language). Arabic and Syriac belong to the Semitic subgroup of the Hamito-Semitic family.

Third, variou s sources of scripts. There are about five sources for all written languages in

Xinjiang. The Yanqi-Qiuci, Yutain, Tubo and Phags-pa scripts come from Indian Brahmi script;

Kharosthi, Sogdian and Turkic come from Persian Aramaic alphabet (as mentioned before, Uighurl

Huihu script, Uighur-style Mongolian, Todo script, Manchu script and Xibe script are affected

by Sogdian ); Hakaniye, Chagatai, Uygur, Kazakh and Kirgiz scripts come from Arabic alphabet;

Khitan script comes from Chinese and Russian script comes from Slavic language.

The languages in Xinjiang fully testify to the integration and interconnection of world

cultures as well as the capacity and inclusiveness of this region in absorbing outside cultures.


There is one more feature to the languages in Xinjiang, which is the close association of languages with political, economic and cultural developments there. Religious culture has the biggest bearing on languages in Xinjiang, which is manifested in the entry offour sacred languages of religions: Sanskrit, Manichean script, Syriac and Arabic. As a further demonstration of such impact, the Arabic alphabet that went into the Western Regions with Islam finally took the place of Brahmi as the dominant script. What comes next is economic factor. The entry ofSogdian was a typical case of languages in the Western Regions being affected by the economy. As Sogdian found its way in, it not only added to the number of languages but also affected, or facilitated the formulation ofa series of languages. Therefore its role cannot be underestimated. The transmission of Chinese and Manichean language was also more or less directly linked with economic demand. As to political factors, their impact can be felt in every historical period. Chinese, ancient Tibetan, Khitan, Mongolian and Manchu were used in the Western Regions as the language of the ruling dynasty in different periods, and they all left marks, to varing degrees, on other languages. A prominent example of such impact is the apprearance of Chinese either simultaneously or alternatively with other languages in documents ofalmost all historical periods.

II. ParallelPresence ofMultipleReligions

Like all other regions, Xinjiang saw the prevalence of primitive religions first in the early stage of human society. However, given its geographical location at the crossroads of ancient world civilizations, a number of religions have been present side by side later on in Xinjiang, which can be divided into three phases: first , multi-religious phase dominated by Buddhism; next, multi-religious phase dominated by Buddhism and Islam; and third, multi-religious phase dominated by Islam. Prior to the IO'h century AD, Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Manicheism, Nestorianism and Taoism found their way to Xinjiang along the Silk Road from either the east or west and formed a picture of multi-religious presence together with local primitive religions, where Buddhism was dominant. In the 10mcentury, Islam reached Xinjiang; iu the following 600 years, Buddhism and Islam each took their tum to grow at the other's expense and they constituted the two major religions of this period. The multi-religious pattern persisted despite the rise and fall of other religions. After the 16mcentury. Islam becam e the majorf;illb . ~ . " ~.e H A

w "", .s t::Jo PI ~¢~d1t. r«1'im; titymeans;Loroastnimlsm,Manicheismand Nestorianisrn phased out; Buddhism was strengthened by Lamaism; Taoism underwent ups and downs; Protestantism, Roman Catholicism and Orthodox Church went on stage one after another, thus sustaining the multi-religious pattern until today.

1. Primitive Religions, Buddhism and Taoism

Primitive Religions

Born inthelaterstage ofprimitivesociety, primitivereligions werecharacteristic ofworshiping natural phenomeina, such as the sun, the moon. mountains and rivers. Gradually they developed 10 thestageofanimaland plantcult,totemismandancestercult. Intheir concludingstage, primitivereligionsbroughtforthShamanism,areligionnamed afterShamans,wizardsinTungus language. Shamanism had no written scriptures, no religious organizations, no specific founder, no temples and no unified or standardized religious rituals. It worshipped almost the same objects asother primitive religions did; however, it fumly believed that Shamans could communi


cate between people and ghosts, gods and spirits. Ancient residents in Xinjiang and the Huns, Rouran, Turks, Uighur, Mongols, Kazakh and Kirgiz all used to believe in primitive religions or Shamanism. It was recorded in Records of History that the Huns "waited for the right stars and moon phase to undertake an endeavour". Similarly, it was noted in Book of Sui that the Turks "often killed sheep and horses as sacrifice for the heaven". According to Legend of Ugus Khan, while calling for a tribe assembly, Ugus Khan erected a wood pole on both sides of the tent with gold and silver chickens hanging on the top and black and white sheep tied to the bottom. All these were manifestations ofShamanist faith. Up to now, there are still some Shamanist customs among the Uygurs, such as the Uygur Muslims planting wood poles with sheep heads hung on

them around Mazaar and dancing "Shaman Dance" while worshipping Mazaar.


Buddhism was founded by Sakyamuni in India between the 6th and 5th centuries Be. According to Buddhism, the world is a boundless sea ofsufferings; the eight sufferings of human life are triggered by the 12 principal and subsidiary causes which are one another's conditions or results such as absence of perception; and the way of explaining and resolving the sufferings is the Four Truths: sorrow, cause of sorrow, cessation of sorrow and path. After three major Councils, Buddhism established the so-called Three Collectios-Sutra (doctrine), Vinaya (rules of discipline) and discussion during the Asoka reign (268-232 BC) and began its outward transmission. Buddhism found its way into the Central Plains of China during the Yongping reign (58-75 AD) of Mingdi Emperor of the Eastern Han Dynasty. The time of its entry into the Western Regions should be earlier than that, about the 151 century BC. Since Buddhism is a typical philosophy ofescapism, the ruling class in the Western Regions wanted to use it to dispel people's discontent and resistance, while the general public who knew too well sufferings and servitude longed for spiritual comfort from it, hence its rapid spread in the Western Regions and gradual rise to the status of dominance among all religions.

Qiuci, Yutian, Gaochang and Sulek around the Tarim Basin were all Buddhist centres.

Qiuci was the centre of the Hinayana Buddhism. It was noted in Volume I of Records of the Western Regions in the Great Tang that in early Tang Dynasty period, there were "over 100 temples and 5,000 monks" in Qiuci who studied "all teachings of the Hinayana", which showed that Qiuci did have a lot of Buddhist temples and monks and that the Hinayana was overwhelmingly dominant there. Stressing individual salvation, the Hinayana distinguishes itself from the Mahayana that came up later, which underlines the salvation of all. The two developed into different divisions of Buddhism. The Hinayana valued Four Truths and Eight Noble Paths and regards meditation as an important way to achieve the Eight Noble Paths. Qiuci was an important base for practising Buddhist rules in the Western Regions and the world-renowned Qiuci Grottoeswereaproduct oftheprevalence ofBuddhism. Inthe20thcentury,manyBrahmiscript Qiuci-Yanqi-Ianguage Buddhist Sutras were unearthed, basically all being classics of the Hinayana, which pointed to the popularity of the Hinayana in that place. However, there was Mahayana in the state of Qiuci as well , as Kumarajiva, an eminent monk of Qiuci used to disseminate Mahayana there. He also presided over the translation of 32 Buddhist Sutras, totallingover300volumesinChang'an. QiuciproducedanumberofBuddhisttranslatorssuch as Kumarajiva, who made huge contributions to the Buddhist cause of China.

Yutian was the centre of the Mahayana. The originals of most Mahayana Sutras in China,

such as Huayan, Fangdeng, Wisdom, Lotus and Nirvana scriptures came from Yutian. Most of

China's early westbound Sutra-seeking monks, starting from Zhu Shixing of the Wei Dynasty,


regardedYutian as their destination. Yutian was not only the centre for the dissemination of the Mahayana classics but also the birthplace of some unique Buddhist scriptures, such as YutianlanguagePraiseofBastaandOriginofBatuoluo'. ThereweremanyBuddhisttemplesinYutian. As Fahien described in his Records of the Buddhist Kingdoms, in Yutian in early 5th century, therewere 14 big temples and countless small ones, with every house having one tiny pagoda in the front. According to Records of the State of Yutian, by the end of the 9th century, there were over 400 big temples and more than 4,000 small ones, which testified to the popularity of Buddhism there at that time.

The Buddhist history in Gaochang could at least be traced back to the Western Jin Dynasty, as the earlie st Buddhist scripture unearthed at Turpan was the Collection of All Major Buddhist Sutras translated and compiled by Zhufahu on March 18,296 AD (the 6th year ofYuankang reign of Western Jin). As recorded in history, in 382 AD (the 18lh year of Former Qin), the king of Cheshi went to see the emperor, and his Grand State Tutor Kumarabati accompanied him and presented Great Wisdom and other Buddhist Sutras. In 443 AD, Gaochang was occupied by the exile regime of Northern Liang, which was devoutly Buddhist, hence the first Buddhist peak in Gaochang. During that period, a lot of eminent monks appeared (such as Faxu, Fazhong and Daopu) and a lot of Buddhist scriptures were translated (such as Dafangdengtantetuoluoni Sutra). In 50 I AD , the Qu family founded the state of Gaochang, which led to the second Buddhist peak in Gaochang. During that time, more Sutras were translated. which constituted the majority of later unearthed scriptures. More temples were built there . According to some historical records, only in the area near the capital there were already over 140temples, accommodating thousands of monks and nuns, which was nearly one quarter of the total population. At that time, Buddhism also reached out to the average people and developed in a direction of complete secularization. Buddhism in Gaochang was different from that in Qiuci or Yanqi, as the formerwas basically disseminated back from the heartland while the latter originated from India. The Buddhist scriptures in Gaochang were mostly translated from the Mahayana Sutras of the northern dynasties, and the Buddhist hierarchism in Gaochang was similar to the Three Cardinal Guides system in the inland temples . While Dhyana was in vogue inland, Gaochang fashioned in meditation too; while Sukhavati was popular inland , Gaochang also turned to Pure Land. All these reflected the feature of Han Buddhism in Gaochang. As a matter of fact, however, given its location in the Western Regions, Gaochang was also affected by Buddhism from the west.

During the Tang Dynasty, the Han Buddhism prospered in the Western Regions. The central govenunent made huge efforts to consolidate Buddhism in different localities . The Tang government set up a post for Buddhist affairs in the Western Regions, "Administer of Four Garrison Commands" , to take charge of the related affairs in the four garrison commands of Qiuci, Sulek, Yutian and Yanqi (or Suiye, today's Tokmak in Kazakhstan). In 690 AD (the first year of Tianshou reign) , Wu Zetian ordered the construction of Dayun Temple in every province and capital city, hence the building of Dayun Temples in Qiuci, Sulek and Suiye. In 705 AD (the first year of Shenlong reign), Zhongzong Emperor ordered the construction of Zhongxing Temple in every province within the Tang territory, which was soon renamed as Longxing Temple, thus the buildingofLongxingTemplesinQiuci,Yutian,XizhouandTingzhou. Evidenceshowsthatthere

1 Zhang Guangda and Rong Xinjiang, Research on Yutian History, Shanghai Bookstore. 1993. p280.


were other temples in the Western Regions headed by ethnic-Han abbots, such as Huguo Temple in Yutian and Jinsha Temple, Dabao Temple, and some other temples in Qiuci. Qiuci also had lots of Chinese-style caves, which proved the prevalence of Han Buddhism in that region.

During the reign of Gaochang Uighur Khanate, the ruling class first believed in Manicheisrn. but Buddhism gradually gained ground . In 965 (the 3ro year of Qiande reign), Gaochang Uighur Khan sent a monk, Fayuan, to the Northern Song Dynasty to present Buddha's tooth. In 982, during his stay in Gaochang Uighur Khanate, Wang Yande, the envoy of Song government found that there were "over 50 Buddhist temples, all with tablets granted by the Tang government" in that country. Among the existing discoveries of Uighur/Huihu-script documents, Buddhist scriptures take the biggest share. followed by Manichean ones, and then some Nestorianist ones, which shows the status of the three major religions then. There were three periods generating UighurlHuihu-script Buddhist Sutras, each with its own source. The earliest Uighur/Huihuscript Sutras were mainly translated from Brahmi-script Qiuci-Yanqi-Ianguage scriptures, and now at least 80 such pieces have been discovered. From the l l" to 13th century, almost all Buddh ist Sutra s were translated from Chinese, and now 8 I such works covering 4 I categories have been found . Uighur was affected by Han Buddhism to the greatest extent. During the Mongol Yuan Dynasty, since Tibetan Buddhism was defined as the official state religion of the Mongols, it gained considerable development in the Western Regions and became a significant source for Uighur Buddhism. At least 16 Buddhist Sutras were translated from Tibetan to UighurlHuihu language'. In that period, the Western Regions produced many talented people who were well-versed in Tibetan Buddhism, and Uygur monks played an important role in the religious activities of the Yuan court. Anzang from Gaochang Uighur Khanate used to present an important Tibet an Buddhist Sutra, Treasures, to Shizu Emperor (Kublai Khan) of Yuan Dynasty and served as member of the Imperial Academy. Chatsari was instructed by the emperor to translate scriptures and was appointed director of Sutra translation. The Yuan government not only granted Mongolian and UygurlHuihu-script Buddhist Sutras to the Uygurs but also provided turnover expenditures to temples in Gaochang and other places.

From the lO"to the first halfof the 16th century, Islam gradually took all the ground of Buddhism in Southern Xinjiang through the "Jihad" and peaceful spread and dealt a fatal blow to Budd