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Personal Narrative of a Journey of Archaeological and
Geographic Exploration in Chinese Turkestan


M. Aurel Stein
London, T. Fischer Unwin, 1903

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This is Stein's personal story of his first expedition into Chinese Turkestan. It is designed to accompany the lengthy and more detailed official report that was not published until 1907 as Ancient Khotan. The chronology of the first expedition is here. {short description of image}In this account Stein leaves out much of the digressions into historical records and the detailed descriptions of individual artifacts recovered that form an important part of Ancient Khotan. But there is much more about his interactions with members of the expedition and local hired labor. And more also on his personal reactions to experiences in freezing winter and broiling summer. The reader obtains the appreciation of Stein's personal delight in ultra-high mountains and even pleasures from being in desolate deserts. I personally love reading Victorian literature, and Stein's is among the best. Stein's dry humor at unexpected or interesting events has to be read in the original. I can only present brief summaries here. Worth noting is the variety of archeological sites Stein found containing much different documents and artifacts. Clear, without his overt mentioning it, is his managerial skill in organizing and leading such a motley crew of different ethnic and religious members. And his diplomatic skill in dealing with Chinese officials is remarkable as well. Some of the illustrations have been copied here.


Table of Contents - xxvii - xxxvii
Introduction - vii - xxvi
Chapter I - Calcutta to Kashmir - 1 - 10
Chapter II - To Astor and Gilgit - 11 - 28
Chapter III - Through Hunza - 29-56
Chapter IV - On the Taghdumbash Pamir - 57-70
Chapter V - In Sarikol - 71-83
Chapter VI - On Miztagh-ata - 84-105
Chapter VII - Through the Gez Defile to Kashgar - 106-120
Chapter VIII - Stay at Kashgar - 121-138
Chapter VIX - Kanui and Ordan-Padshah - 139-160
Chapter X - Yarkand and Karghalik - 161-179
Chapter XI - On the Road to Khotan - 180-193
Chapter XII - Arrival in Khotan - 194-205
Chapter XIII - To the Headwaters of the Yurung-kash - 206-224
Chapter XIV - Over the Kara-kash Ranges - 225-243
Chapter XV - Antiquarian Preparations at Khotan - 244-255
Chapter XVI - Yotkan, The Site of the Ancient Capital - 256-269
Chapter XVII - To the Ruins of Dandan-uiliq - 270-280
Chapter XVIII - Excavation of the Buddhist Shrines - 281-294
Chapter XIX - First Finds of Ancient Manuscripts - 295-306
Chapter XX - Discovery of Dated Documents - 307-324
Chapter XXI - Through the Desert to Keriya - 325-338
Chapter XXII - To Niya and Iman Jafar Sadik - 339-353
Chapter XXIII - First Excavation of Kharoshthi Tablets - 354-368
Chapter XXIV - Excavation of Ancient Residences - 369-384
Chapter XXV - Discoveries in an Antique Rubbish Heap - 385-397
Chapter XXVI - Decipherment of Ancient Documents on Wood and Leather - 398-408
Chapter XXVII - The Ruins of Endere - 409-422
Chapter XXVIII - Expedition to Karadong Ruins - 423-433
Chapter XXIV -The Search for Hiuen-Tsang's Pi-mo - 434-445
Chapter XXX - Ak-sipil and the Sculptures of the Rawak Stupa - 446-468
Chapter XXXI - Islam Akhun and his Forgeries - 469-481
Chapter XXXII - Last Days in Khotan Oasis - 482-489
Chapter XXXIII - From Khotan to London - 490-502
Index - 503-524
List of Illustrations - xxxix-xliii



Stein describes his motive - to inform the public of the interactions of India, China and the Classical West during ancient times in Central Asia. After extensive lobbying he induced the Government of India to release him from his normal duties and to provide necessary funds, equipment and personnel. He refers to a preliminary report published in 1901. He mentions the recent explorations by the Swedish traveler, Svein Hedin, during which Hedin discovered several buried ruins in the Takla Makan Desert. (From his several books it seems clear that Stein always felt a keen competition between himself and the French, German and especially this Swedish explorer.) Stein describes with gratitude the support he received from many senior officials in the Indian Government, especially Lord Curzon. He mentions his own extensive experience in camping and exploring acquired during such work throughout India. He also notes his apprehension not only about the difficulties and dangers during work in mountains and deserts but also from the possible adverse reactions by Chinese officialdom to his incursions. He points to the interest in the West in archeology related to Biblical associations and to the lack of similar interest in the Orient as another motive for his efforts. He is therefor proud to point to the acclaim he has received in professional circles.

He then turns to summarize the main results obtained in relation to his effort to inform the public about the mentioned interaction. He writes, "The early spread of Buddhist teaching and worship from India into Central Asia, China and the Far East is probably the most remarkable contribution made by India to the general development of mankind." He mentions his 'patron saint' the Chinese Buddhist monk, Hinen-Tsiang, "master of the law" as the Indian Pausanias. Carrying the monk's memoir and showing it to Chinese senior officials never failed to gain Stein great respect and immediate support. One of Stein's major efforts would be to uncover the physical evidence of Indian and Classical Western influence throughout Central Asia to expand on the fragmentary written material in Chinese archival records. To accomplish this Stein proposes 'systematic excavations' in the Khotan region because it was a very important location on the trade routes.

He writes that his excavation of ruined sites has "more than justified" his hopes in selecting Khotan. These sites are spread over an area of 300 miles east to west and date to different eras (3rd to end 8th centuries) but the conclusion is that they show the significant influence of India in their early development. But he has found also significant Chinese and Western influence as well. He notes the evidence of 'Graeco-Buddhist art developed from Hellenistic-Roman influences that developed in Gandhara (Peshawar Valley) in north-west India plus later influences from India. Chinese annals show that Khotan was under their control during both Han and T'ang dynasties. He maintains that the influence went from Khotan to Imperial China. Western classical influence is also evident, in the models for seals. Persian art too has its influence. Stein here notes the significance of Tibetan conquest of the region at the end of the 8th century. More important are the Kharoshthi documents on wood and leather dating from the early 3rd century. They are Indian. He deplores the damage wrought by 'treasure seekers' eager to profit from sale of ancient artifacts to Europeans. He remarks, "The time seems still distant when Khotan will see its annual stream of tourists." (How prophetic - but that time has now long since begun.)

Stein, as always, is profuse in his appreciation of those who rendered assistance. Here is specifically honors Pan Darin and Huang Daloi, the Ambans of Khotan and Keriya. And he here, as frequently, praises the extensive efforts of Mr. G. Macartney, the British representative of the Indian Government at Kashgar, whose influence on Chinese officials was large and well deserved. Stein does not mention here that he made much use of Mr. Macartney's residence in Kashgar as well as his official influence.

Stein also points out that preparation of detailed reports on such a volume of field work and acquired artifacts was made possible by the subsequent authorization by the Indian Government of his return to London where the artifacts were in storage. He specifically mentions individual scholars whose assistance has been vital to the results.


Chapter I - Calcutta to Kashmir

Stein notes that he had been reassigned from Punjab to Calcutta, a place he disliked intensely, and therefore was happy to escape back to Kashmir in April 1900 to prepare for the expedition. He describes the preparations, assembly of equipment, organization of transport, selection of the assistants. His descriptions of sights and sounds are as vivid as always. In an understated, matter-of-fact, way he describes the efforts required when dealing with craftsmen to insure that requested results are obtained. For this first expedition he had been granted permission to travel north along the Gilgit-Hunza route (no small privilege) (See National Geographic articles about Gilgit and Hunza, which in 1900 were only becoming part of Indian government control. (From reading the reports of his second and third expeditions we see that Stein made a point of using very different routes from Kashmir to Kashgar in order to expand exploration of north-west India as well.) This first route was the furtherest east, the second was west of this in the center, and the third was furtherest west. While engaged in all this intensive preparatory work, Stein continued to work on translation of ancient Sanskrit literature. He completed this work on 23 May and returned to Srinagar to make final preparations. Stein was pleased at the arrival of the experienced Gurkha surveyor, Ram Singh, seconded to him by the Surveyor General along with the Kangra Rajput, Jasvant Singh, who would cook for Ram Singh and act as his assistant. (Stein elsewhere notes that strict Indian caste dietary rules required Ram Singh to eat separately.) On 28 May Sadak Akhun arrived from Kashgar, sent in April by Macartney to be Stein's servant. (Imagine traveling back and forth over the mountains.) Stein also had his Kokandi servant, Mirza Alim, who among other things helped Stein practice his Turki language skill. But Alim lacked the experience necessary to prepare meals for an European, which skill Akhun theoretically had. Stein quietly notes that he had also to prepare to be a "Hakim" (medicine man) according to local expectations of European "Sahibs", by ordering an important medical supply from London which was delayed by the war in South Africa and then transport from Calcutta to Srinagar. The local postman proudly produced it on the last evening prior to departure by boat in 29 May.


Chapter II - To Astor and Gilgit {short description of image}

Stein's boat trip went to Bandipur, the port for entrance into Gilgit. Stein's beloved home was a tent high on a hill in Kashmir. {short description of image}Transport (ponies and coolies) from there on would be provided by the Indian Commissariat over a newly constructed road. On 31 May Stein had 16 ponies ready for his loads. Stein signed his invoices with the Commissariat Conductor whose permission is required for any travel on the road. At once we read Stein's evocative descriptions of the scenes he passes up the valley. On 1 June he started over the Tragbal Pass (11,900 feet). The "Markobans" (owners of the hired ponies) recommended a route down that proved extremely difficult in the melting snow. But they managed in a driving rain to go 11 miles in 7 hours, and that down hill to reach the Kishanganga (Black Ganga) valley. Despite all being soaked Stein pushed on to Gurez. He notes that the range just crossed marks the ethnic division with inhabitants north being Dards rather than Kashmiris. The former have held these inaccessible valleys for millennia. Herodotus mentioned Dards along with Afridis. Stein stayed put for the following day to dry equipment and rest the party. On 3 June they set out for the Burzil Pass {short description of image}toward Astor relying on ponies except for the delicate instruments like theodolite and camera, which were assigned to impressed coolies. Stein's vivid descriptions continue. The crossing began at 2AM in order to traverse the pass at 13,500 feet before snow softened in the sun. (Imagine the DAK runners crossing during winter as well as summer.) Again, the descent was more difficult. At the Chillum Chanke rest stop Stein exchanged the Kishanganga ponies for fresh ones sent up from Astor, then continued down on 6 June. Stein remarks about the Dard use of valuable patches of land for polo fields. They finally reached Astor on 7 June, situated at 7,700 feet elevation on a plateau above the valleys and above The Fort of the Sikhs, that held a battery of the Kashmir Imperial Service troops. The next stage was to reach the Indus River near Duyan. There he met with the British Political Agent of Gilgit in 9 June. This notable was Captain J. Manners Smith, holder of a Victoria Cross from the storming of the Hunza area beyond Nilth.{short description of image} Stein spent a day with the captain and his family, then hurried to catch up with his caravan past Bunji and across the Indus. After a dark night in the narrow Indus gorge Stein reached Minaur, the first village in Gilgit. Stein became the guest of the officers of the Gilgit garrison. Stein was delighted to see the civilization that the British had brought in 11 years' occupation to this remote valley. He remained there for 3 days resting the men and repairing equipment.


Chapter III - Through Hunza

Stein departed Gilgit on the afternoon of 15 June headed for Hunza along a narrow path over precipices above the river. In places the path was built on galleries suspended over the river. {short description of image}To reach the valley Stein had to cross over a suspension bridge that used cables made from telegraph wire. Stein waxed eloquent in describing his long-sought view of Mount Rakiposhi (25,500 feet high) above him in the Hunza valley. Eight miles above Chalt he reached Nilth, scene of the major battle in 1891 that brought British-Indian power over Hunza and Nagir (one on either side of the river but both occupied by Kanjuti people). In prior years Kanjuti raiders from these chieftaincies had brought terror to a wide area north, south and west. Stein was treated to detailed descriptions of the fighting by former participants on the loosing side, including the very assault of a mountain with his Gurkas that had won then Lt. Manner Smith his VC. He credits the new peaceful population to British tact. British overlordship is secured by their policy of strict avoidance of any interference with the local habits of the population and their own leaders. (A lesson for the US.) Nothing of the British-Indian rule can be seen in the valley except the new road. Meanwhile the Kanjuti levies were successful in participating in British conquest of Chitral. Here the language changes from Shina in Gilgit to Barisheski in Hunza. (The latter is not related to any other language.) Continuing through river gorges Stein reached Aliabad, the last post, where he stayed overnight in the Political Officer's bungalow. In the morning he had another magnificent view of {short description of image}Rakiposhi {short description of image}from the north-east. At Aliabad Stein had to change his baggage transport from ponies to human backs (of 60 coolies supplied by the local Mir). Stein used the visit of the local Wazir Humayun and the next day by the Wazir's boss, Mir Muhammad Nazim, to gain education about the history of the area on to China. Stein conversed with them in Persian. The Hunza-Nagir valley is now garrisoned by its own people forming the local militia.

Stein moved on during the morning of 20 June for the short distance to the capital of Hunza, Baltit, and its imposing castle, {short description of image}where he was entertained by the Mir. On 21 June Stein continued through more narrow gorges and over spurs to Ataabad. Beyond this village the route is carried through ravines on galleries ("rafik's") made from tree branches stuck out from and projecting from the sheer walls. {short description of image}Past these gorges Stein reached Ghulmit in the Little Gubyal valley whose population are Wakhi immigrants from Afghan Wakhan corridor (another different language and ethnic group). There Stein changed coolie teams to continue on to Pasu. On 24 June Stein reached the Batur glacier, {short description of image}there a mille and half wide, which required an hour to cross. Next came Khaibar village, Khudabad and then Misgar.{short description of image} Enroute over another 'rafik' Stein met the messenger sent by the Wazir on 18 June to Tashkurgan alerting about Stein's approach. This, Stein calculated, meant the hardy mountain man had walked 280 miles through these gorges and mountains in 7 days. Camping at Khudabad Stein remarks on the wide variety of languages spoken in his camp - Tuki, Persian, Burisheksi, Dard (Shinas), Hindustani. Yet it appeared that everyone knew enough of other languages to get by. On 26 June Stein found the march to Misgar as difficult as predicted. Up and down slippery slopes they went, along more 'rafiks' and up or down ladders. Again, outside Misgar Stein was met by the next team of local laborers. With the new team, again including ponies, he moved again on 27 June. At Topkhana he was met by a Sarikoli soldier sent to guide over the next stage. Stein enjoyed remarking about the ancient and obviously unserviceable flintlock this emissary carried as a symbol of his position. He was soon met by the Wakhis men with their yaks. At 12,000 feet elevation Stein noted the temperature at 6 AM was 47 degrees. On 28 June he reached Shirin Maidan at the foot of the Kilik Pass. {short description of image}There he discharged his Hunza and Gubyal coolies. He enjoyed conversation now in Turki with Muhammad Yusuf the Sarikoli head man who had brought the yaks.


Chapter IV - On the Taghdumbash Pamir {short description of image}

Stein wanted to get an early on 29 June start over the Kilik Pass while the snow would still be hard. But loading the yaks took until 8 AM. This region is where the drainage of the Oxus, Indus and Yarkand Rivers all meet. Stein tried to use a hypsometer to get an elevation reading and came up with 15,800 but considered the results questionable. Moving down to the planned camp at Koktorok Stein was met by Munshi Sher Muhammad, the Political Munshi from Tashkurghan, sent by Macartney. The Munshi's move elicited the local Sarikoli Begs to join in. On 30 June with the early AM temperature down to 37 degrees. At this point Stein and Ram Singh began their plane table and photo-theodolite surveying. They employed yaks to climb the Khushel spur to 16,820 feet to set up a triangulation station. From there they were able to tie their survey to known peaks back in Hunza. While Ram Singh continued detailed survey work, In 1 July Stein took a side trip to the Wakhjur Pass to see the actual divide between the Yarkand and Oxus river watersheds. (He was to visit the Wakhan corridor and cross that pass years later during his second expedition.) By hypsometer Stein found the pass elevation to be 16,200. Stein ventured a short distance into Afghanistan, figuring that no one would notice. From a side ridge he made a photo-theodolite panorama of the valley and mountains. He expressed real delight at even being able to glimpse the entrance into Badakhshan and Bactria beyond it. He longed to travel along the mighty Oxus (a hope he achieved during his third expedition.) Back in camp Stein found new mail delivered by dak runner over the Kilik Pass from Hunza. Among the messages was news by Reuter of the attack on the Peking Legations and fighting around Tien-tsin. On 3 July Stein returned to Koktorok and with Ram Singh continued to Tigharman-su. The next day Karakash Beg, the headman of Sarikol, to lead Stein further. Along the way he chanced upon a lone German out for a summer holiday in the Pamirs sans much forethought or preparation. They continued down the Taghdumbash Pamir. On 6 July Stein marched from Ghujakkbai to Dafdar where Kirghiz and Wakhis were in attendance. {short description of image}He caught first sight of Muz-tagh-Ata "father of the Ice mountains" one of his personal objectives. They reached the fortress of Tashkurghan ("the stone tower"). {short description of image}
Stein did not do surveying while in India nor provide a map of his routes there. The first mapping was on the Taghdumbash Pamir which shows here.


Chapter V - In Sarikol {short description of image}

Stein spent 8 and 9 July at Tashkurghan the main town in the Sarikol. {short description of image}The town was a major trade center for centuries, the convenient place where merchants from East and West could exchange goods. It was known to Ptolemy and Marinus of Tyre. From Tashkurghan there were always roads to both Kashgar and Khotan. Likewise the routes across the Pamirs converge there. One is via the Taghdumbash Valley to the Upper Oxus and the other crosses the Naiza-Tash Pass to the Aksu Valley and on to Badakhshan. But Stein was most interested in noting that he was again following the route of Hinen-Tsiang. This Chinese pilgrim passed Tashkurghan in 649 enroute back to China. Stein found the ancient and decaying city walls along the edges of the plateau and inside only a portion of the ancient site the more modern Chinese fortress. The town is much less populated now since peaceful conditions have enabled the farmer families to move out to villages built near the various cultivated areas. Then an earthquake in 1895 destroyed much of the ancient structures. Stein wanted to make a detailed survey for archeological and historical purposes but was concerned the Chinese governor would be suspicious. So he cleverly waited for siesta time to accomplish his projects. He noted that the actual military garrison was very small and also that the soldiers had not bothered to learn any of the local languages. The Chinese practice the same methods of control as the British in India, namely leave all local administration in the hands of the local head men. Stein refrained from visiting the Chinese Amban who was ill. But all the local Begs and head men made their appearances at his camp. As always Stein gathered much information from these worthies. The local population, he learned, almost all came from the various surrounding countries and formed a polyglot mix of languages. Although no "Hakim" Stein was pressed to provide medicinal cures and resorted to placebos and advice. He remarked that 'spells', if he could conjure then, would have been well received.
He departed on 10 July. Traveling along the river he reached Tiznaf where he found a cemetery and shrines. {short description of image}From there he turned north-west toward Muztagh-Ata. On 11 July he continued to ride through beautiful valleys. The next day he climbed a spur to do more triangulation work. At Kara-su he found a small mud fort whose garrison comprised three soldiers. Another hypsometer reading gave the elevation as 12,100 feet. Stein left Ram Singh to continue survey work while he rode off to the Ulugh-Rabat pass at 14,000 feet. That afternoon he reached shelter from the driving rain and snow at a Chinese outpost at Subashi. He was warmly received by the 8-man garrison. He then camped for the night with the local Kirghiz.


Chapter VI - On Muztagh-Ata

The chapter records Stein's strong but ultimately unsuccessful to climb higher on Muztagh-Ata than Sven Hedin had achieved. {short description of image}First Stein rode around Karkul Lake noting Hedin's prolonged stay with Kirghiz there. With heavy rain and snow Stein was forced to wait on 14 and 15 July. As usual he made use of the delay to write more letters for dispatch by dak runner from Tashkurghan. Karm Shah Beg arrived with concerns about what the Chinese Amban would allow him to provide for Stein's further movement. Stein returned the protocol visit to the Beg's yurt and used the opportunity to inspect its interior and contents. He was welcomed with warm milk that greatly agreed with him. The next day in response to his message sent to Subashi a Chinese arrived with full orders that all Stein's requirements for transport and supplies were to be met. Karm Shah Beg had wanted to do this all along but had been concerned that the Amban would not agree. Stein knew how to 'pull rank' with officials to get his way. On the 16th Stein accomplished excellent photo-theodolite work. In the 17th the weather having cleared he prepared to venture up Muztagh-Ata, leaving most of his equipment at the camp. He took Sadak Akhun and three Hunza mountaineers mounted on 10 yaks. He followed Sven Hedin's descriptions to select which approach to take - a spur along the northern edge of the Yambulak Glacier. Hedin made three attempts on the summit without reaching it. One of the Kirghiz who had been with him was there again with Stein and quickly noted that several years of extra heavy snow had covered what had been open ground in 1894.{short description of image} Stein camped on the mountain overnight of 17-18 July. Stein describes his effort in great detail. He reached 16,820 feet. The Kirghiz yak men were suffering from mountain sickness. The Hunza mountaineers reported after climbing in reconnaissance that there was no possible route. Stein tried again on the 19th with Ram Singh and a team ready to survey. The deep snow forced them to leave the yaks and proceed on foot. By noon they reached at least 19,000 feet. Both Ram Singh and Ajab Khan had to stop. Remarkably Stein felt no adverse effects but only Wali Muhammad and Ghun, the two Hunza mountaineers could continue with him. {short description of image}Finally Stein had to call it quits - stopping at a ledge he again boiled water for the Hypsometer and calculated a height of 20,000 feet. They started back down through difficult, deep snow. Stein still hoped to try again on the morrow. All the way down Stein was marveling at the scene before him of mountains all the way south to India. But the two Kanjutis were thinking about the rich grazing ground all around and the prospects for rewarding raids. Stein commented that but for the peace enforced by British, Russian and Chinese power he had no doubt the Hunza men would be raiding from the Oxus to Kashgar.

By 20 July Stein was back again at the Kirghas in the Yambulak Jilga. {short description of image}On the 21st Stein and Ram Singh were back at work surveying from a nearby ridge. That evening at camp he received a troop of ponies sent by Macartney and a pile of letters from India and Europe. All about him Stein measured the peaks at elevations up to 23,600 and 23,470 coming close to Muztagh-Ata at 24,321. He was informed that, contrary to expectations, the Gez gorge would be open toward Kashgar. {short description of image}


Chapter VII - Through the Gez Defile to Kashgar

On 23 July Stein started north toward the Gez Defile while Ram Singh moved north-east to finish survey work up the Karatash Pass. {short description of image}From there he was to rejoin Stein in Kashgar after a week. Stein sent Ajab Khan and the two Kanjutis home with ample cash rewards. He received a large mail package from Srinagar via Sarikol. Stein describes this route in the usual detail. He passed various Chinese military outposts (Karauls) and then through the Gez Defile on 'rafik's as in Hunza. They crossed the river on 25 July over a wooden bridge and then back again over another bridge but a third bridge had been washed away. This necessitated a climb over terminal moraines. At Gez the previous pony contingent left but the replacement did not show. Stein was stuck again. Eventually he negotiated with some passing merchants to use their ponies for a 10 mile trip to the next karaul. At Kauruk-Kurghan he found Kirghiz eager to help with plenty of ponies for the next section. This section required crossing a series of ridges up to 10,500 feet elevation. On 28 July Stein reached the plains at Tashmalik after crossing four more passes. {short description of image}On 29 July they left early for the final leg to Kashgar, still at least 50 miles away. The terrain for the day was obviously totally different from that in the mountains. Stein enjoyed it. Still it was well after dark before Stein dragged himself into the Macartney residence.


Chapter VIII - Stay at Kashgar

Stein is profuse in his expressions of appreciation for the extensive assistance Mr. Macartney provided not only during his 5 -week stay but continually throughout the months following. {short description of image}This included is powerful support via written requests to Chinese authorities, advice to Stein on best practices to employ, aid in finding worthwhile assistants and servants, use of the British financial system to transfer funds, use of the postal system, assistance in hiring artisans to build or repair equipment, purchase of valuable camels and ponies, and especially provision of a welcoming family home at which to rest and enjoy personal contacts. Stein describes Chini-Bagh, the Macartney home and official consulate as a British garden residence. With this as his 'headquarters' Stein set about organizing his expedition's staff and logistics system. He had to personally supervise every aspect of a very complex undertaking. For this his prior experience from his relatively small-scale archeological expeditions in India provided at least a solid basis. He had ordered much equipment while in India, from tents to survey and photographic gear, to kitchen and medical implements and supplies, to special canned food and fuel. But there was much more that had to be procured locally. Building from scratch additional water tanks proved especially troublesome. And the travel through the high mountains had already caused damage to equipment that required repair. Especially important was the selection and purchase of the 8 camels and 12 ponies upon which the caravan would rely for an eight-month journey into the desert. Selection required the knowledge of an expert. Stein was particularly proud to note that after his travels over 3,000 miles he returned all the animals to Kashgar and sold them for almost the prices paid. Personnel selection was also critical. The individuals had to possess experience and skill relative to their functions, physical and psychological stamina to face desert and mountain, personalities suitable for work as a team and more. During the expedition some were not up to the task. In addition to the team he brought from India he had to find experts in camel and pony care and a Chinese secretary and translator.

Stein describes each of his team members. It turned out that Mirza Alim, his personal servant from India was physically unable to withstand the ardurous terrain so Stein hired a Kirakash named Muhammad-Ju, whose prior experience with 'Sahib's' was important. Macartney found a theoretically suitable Chinese interpreter in Niaz Akhun, who doubled as a pony man. (His personality became evident later, among them addiction to opium.) Roza Akhun and Hassan Akhun{short description of image} were young local camel men, whose contribution to success Stein remembered when hiring them again for subsequent expeditions.

Stein remarks with some humor about the work habits of everyone including master artisans in Turkestan, namely that 'easy living' accustomed them to working when they felt like it. Stein used every moment away from supervision of all these chores to read up on the history of Turkestan, Chinese annals, re-read the narratives of his favorite Chinese pilgrims, reports of Hedin and other European explorers. He usually spent an hour with Mullah Abdul Kasim in study of Turki documents. He also acquired much knowledge of current conditions from discussion with Macartney and the Chinese 'Munshi, Sun-Ssu-yich. Stein repeatedly bewailed his own lack of speaking or reading Chinese. He never stresses his own remarkable ability to speak so many other languages and dialects. Another hour or so was spent developing the glass-plate negatives of the photos already taken. Stein makes note of his enjoyable contacts with Father Hendricks, a Dutch, Catholic missionary. He stresses the critical requirement to obtain full support from the Chinese officials at each of the locations he planned to visit. Repeated contact with the Tao-tai of Kashgar with Macartney's expert advice secured from that superior Chinese official instructions to the Amban of Khotan which secured for Stein essential support not rendered to other recent foreign visitors. As the narrative of the expedition progresses the reader will see the results as Stein is greeted at his arrival at every way-station and village by the local officialdom as a visiting potentate. Stein credits not only Macartney but also his own use of the potent memoir of the famous Chinese pilgrim of the 7th century - the 'great monk of the T'ang dynasty' (Tang-Seng). As Stein's expedition took place during the height of the fighting in and around Peking, he was concerned about the possible impact that might have on his dealing with Chinese officials. He was frequently reminded of the recent (1863-77) uprising of the Muhammadan population of Chinese Turkestan.

The reader may be disappointed in Stein's neglect to describe Kashgar or provide photos and town plans.{short description of image} He excuses himself on the grounds that the reports of many European visitors makes this unnecessary, plus he rightly notes that conducting survey work within and around the city would surely arouse the suspicions of the Chinese administration. However, he did satisfy his archeological curiosity by visiting several ancient sites outside the city. One such was a stupa mound north-west of the city of 85 feet height and 160 feet diameter. Stein also visited the Chinese 'new' city which contained the new Chinese temple in memory of general Liu-Kin-tang, which he describes in detail. He and Macartney also visited the Chinese garrison 'castrum' and associated bazar.


Chapter IX - Khanui and Ordam-Padshah

Stein returned to travel on 4 September with a visit to Khanui a day's travel north-east of Kashgar. This proved also to be a field test of his caravan itself. His entourage was supplemented by a contingent of officially attired city Begs. As an example of things to come, Stein was met at each village with the district Beg in full regalia, plus all the local headmen and their followers. The first of many 'Dastarkhans' commenced. The repast finished, the whole local cavalcade accompanied Stein's caravan eastward. Stein describes the scenery and the shrine of Bibi Mairyam Khanum where another mound of fruit was to be consumed. This was completed by 4 PM when the march could continue. After another short distance camp was pitched for the night. The following morning Stein moved on with this colorful cavalcade in tow. The locals and guides wanted to stop shortly for another 'Dastarkhan' but Stein would have none of it and pushed on toward several 'tim's he spied in the distance. He found the remains of a Buddhist stupa and adjacent monastery at Topa Tim. Amidst the blinding yellow dust fog he then found another mound - a stupa nearly 40 feet high - Mauri Tim.{short description of image} The Aksakal of Beshkarim, Sop Niaz Baba, was along to inform Stein about all these local antiquities. {short description of image}Their legend was that this actual stupa was a watch-tower of the fabulous "King of Chin and Machin". Stein was to encounter many such legendary explanations that linked ancient Buddhist ruins with recent Moslem history. Stein moved south-west to Eski to establish his camp for the night. On 7 September Stein returned to Kashgar but sent Ram Singh to survey to the south-east. Stein was pleased that the brief test had revealed deficiencies in the camel equipment and some saddles. He promptly put the artisans to work and completed repairs in the remarkably short time of two days. So on 10 September the real expedition began with the camels headed for Khan-arik. {short description of image}Stein followed on the 11th, slipping away without a delegation. As usual Stein selected a route away from the standard caravan route in order both to escape traffic and also survey unknown areas to Ordam-Padshah. By 6 PM he reached his camp prepared at Khanarik in the garden of the local Beg, but he was surprised to find a well-dressed, local delegation awaiting him outside the village. (So many more such greetings were to come.) These worthies were the local Hindus, Khattri moneylenders from Shikarpur. (Stein at various points in his several memoirs describes these folks as usurers who were milking the locals. Apparently for generations it had become a standard practice for natives of Shikarpur in India to seek their fortune throughout Central Asia as moneylenders, an employment their caste fulfilled also in the Punjab. Stein both deplored their sharp practices and admired their gumption.) He found 18 of these fellows firmly entrenched in this one very small village.{short description of image}

His comment, "Such an allotment of Hindu usurers to a single village tract, however large, can only imply the progressive indebtedness of the cultivators, and my informants readily admitted that business was brisk." "Their well-to-do appearance amply proved that they had employed their short residence to advantage."

Stein noted that protection of these Indians was one of the tasks of the Indian government through its representative, Macartney, hence their eagerness to continue in his good graces.

|Next day Stein as off to Achchik toward Ordam-Padshah. {short description of image}The laborious unloading - crossing - and reloading of the camels to pass a deep river delayed the party 3 hours. Stein was offered shelter in the house of the Achchik Yuzbashi (headman) but preferred his own tent. The following day Stein had a taste of desert sand dunes as he made his way to Ordam-Padshah. In the morning Stein was told the legends of the shrine to Sultan Arslan Boghra who had defeated the 'unbelievers' but died in the battle here. All the local attendants claimed to be descendents of the Sultan. Stein found sufficient ruins to suit his interest but departed the following day on the route to Yarkand via Hazrat-Begim, another shrine. Stein encountered more difficult sand dunes, which he describes vividly. Camp was made at Hazrat-Begim. On 15 September Stein continued on through Saduk-Langar, a pilgrim way station, and then reached Kizil, back on the main Yarkand-Kashgar road. There Stein's new servants received their first lesson in the 'Sahib's peculiar ways. He refused lodging at the caravansaries where, he was told, all the 'Sahibs' stayed. He noted that where most people stayed usually was the worst place. He had his tent pitched in a fruit orchard. Sixteen September found Stein on a long march to Kok-robat, the western edge of Yarkand oasis. Stein again found a grove whose owner accommodated the followers in his house.


Chapter X - Yarkand and Karghalik {short description of image}

Stein reached Yarkand center on 17 September riding all day (while surveying as he went) through the green, cultivated fields of the oasis irrigated by a maze of canals. {short description of image}Stein spoke with local workers as he went. He learned that the heavy labor to construct the canals had been 'forced labor' but that subsequently the workers were pleased to have the resulting benefits, new farm lands. Once again there was the well-dressed delegation of the entire colony of Indian traders led by Munshi Bunyad Ali, on the road for a formal greeting. {short description of image}They insisted on showing off their Sahib by escorting him throughout the town. Once again this reader is disappointed that Stein made no photographs of the city fortified walls. Macartney had arranged for Stein's camp in a Chini-Bagh palace and walled garden.

Stein describes an interesting aspect of financial dealing. He had planned on exchanging Indian Government Supply Bills and cheques for cash with the local Indian merchants, who normally were only to glad to do so. But so late in the season most merchants had already departed for Ladak with their accumulated cash. With relatively little cash on hand, Stein had to send a messenger back to Kashgar to obtain a fresh supply of silver and gold to finance his exploration eastward. This necessitated an added stay in Yarkand to await the money supply. The time was filled with work and ceremonies with a host of local VIPs. Yarkand was the key oasis on the southern rim of the Takla Makan, not simply because it was between Kashgar and Khotan, but rather because it was the northern terminus of the direct caravan route over the Karakorum Pass into Ladak and India. It also lay on a direct route westward through Sarikol to Afghanistan and Iran.{short description of image} Thus the population contains members from every ethnic group from India to Samarkand, all of whom wanted audience with the visiting Sahib. There of course was also much protocol to accomplish with the Chinese officials. Visits one way were always returned by visits the other way, and banquets were long. Stein readily took advantage of this wealth of ethnic diversity to perform his anthropometric work - a measuring routine many locals found amusing (while watching their friends, of course). Moreover, word went out that the Sahib was interested in collecting 'ancient' things, so there was a steady stream of 'fortune hunters' bringing in their often doubtful wares. .

Stein made a firm friend in Liu-Darin, the Ta-jen or Amban of Yarkand.{short description of image} Showing the memoir of 'Tang-seng' fixed Stein for good in the Amban's favor. An official banquet was set for 22 September much to Stein's consternation. But, he records, it consisted of only 16 courses and required only 3 hours. He confessed to not knowing of what many courses consisted. The host thoughtfully supplied Stein with a fork, presuming the guest's inadequate experience with 'eating sticks'.

at Yarkand Stein also had to purchase winter clothing and gear for his group. This involved conducting business according to Turkestan ways - that is bazar negotiations and complex money changing. The exchange rates varied with time and place - paper money invented by the Chinese centuries in the past was not used - but silver and gold, both coins and lumps weighted according to different scales in different places. Stein admires the arithmetical skill of the Hindu traders but confesses that the process was beyond him.

Stein's caravan got underway again on 27 September. After a brief ride they crossed the Yarkand River by boat. He didn't get far by nightfall so pitched camp again, this time in Posgam Bazar. On September 28th they reached Karghalik {short description of image}after a 24-mile march during which they crossed the Tiznaf River on a bridge. {short description of image}Stein was welcomed by the local Beg dressed in official garb and offered tea. On the 29th more Begs appeared with gifts from the Amban which Stein reciprocated with special delicacies brought from Kashgar for the purpose. Later he paid his official visit to the Amban, Chang-Darin's official Yamen where he was received with due ceremony. A light lunch followed. Stein then walked through the bazar to order materials for the winter. By the time he returned to camp the Amban was already there waiting for him. As usual Stein's show of the Si-yu-ki and photos of antiquities already displayed in European publications generated the Amban's full interest and promise for full support. On the 30th Stein received the silver and gold he had applied for at Kashgar. On 1 October it being market day, Stein requested officials to keep lookout for any Phakhpo people come to town from Kokyar, but none showed up. (He found them later in the mountains.)


Chapter XI - On the Road to Khotan

October 2nd found Stein on the road eastward again. He made it to Kosh Langar for that night. On 3 October he rode through full desert comparing his own observations with those of Hiuen-Tsiang and Marco Polo . {short description of image}The only items of note along the road were the bleached bones of many unfortunate animals.{short description of image}He stopped overnight at Cholak Langar. (The langars were dak post stations and sarais for travelers at which a Chinese official was stationed. From Cholak Langar Stein passed Siligh Langar and Hajib Langar before reaching Guma oasis. There he stopped on 5 October to begin investigating the source of strange 'block print' documents that had begun appearing for sale by one Islam Akhun, who claimed to find them in the desert between Guma and Khotan. Stein quizzed the local Begs and Yuz-bashis who all claimed ignorance of such documents. The next day several Begs took Stein out to check several sites claimed as sources by Islam Akhun. Some sites were clearly empty. At another the locals denied any knowledge of such activities as Islam Akhun claimed. Stein was on the road again early on 6 October. From the road he could see the snow-covered peaks of the mighty Kun-lun behind which lay the origins of the Indus. Now the road lay across hard ground strewn with potsherds from an ancient civilization. Stein found a ruined stupa (Topa Tim) not far north of the road on ground strewn with the same kind of potsherds. Stein lingered among the debris for long in thought, but finally broke away to ride by moonlight to his waiting camp at Moji. He remained there on the 7th as locals brought him collections of old copper coins from Togujai, which location Stein naturally visited himself. The Beg supplied local labor that Stein employed in digging to unearth more coins and better pottery, glass and jade. From there he rode to Hasa, a Muhammadan cemetery. On 8 October Stein continued to Zanguya. On the 9th he reached Pialma, the last oasis of Karghalik district. Stein pitched his tent in a peach orchard. His men were offered quarters in the owner's house. Stein here takes occasion to note that his inspection of these quarters for his team always impress him with the high standard of living of the locals, much higher than comparable folk have in India.


Chapter XII - Arrival in Khotan{short description of image}

On 10 October Stein passed the boundary markers dividing Karghalik and Khotan. He passed deep wells dug for travelers. Before reaching Mazar of Kum-rabat-Padshahim (My Lord of the Sands Station) the road was again through sand dunes. {short description of image}Then he reached Kaptgar-Mazar "Pigeons' Sanctuary' a popular stop at which travelers feed thousands of pigeons, naturally with a magical origin from the heart of Iman Shakir Padshah who died there in battle with infidels. Stein duly purchased some corn at the local store to show his generosity. No doubt his Moslem team were watching, but one wonders what the Hindus thought. Stein thought these pigeons were replacements for rats mentioned in Buddhist stories. He found throughout Turkestan instances of Moslem worship sites occupying previous Buddhist shrines. The caravan halted for the night at Tarbugaz Langar. That evening the Beg of Zawa, the next village, arrived to welcome Stein to Khotan. But he decided to rest the camels and ponies so stopped one more time before making his grand entrance into Khotan city. {short description of image}On the way he crossed the Kaa-kash (Black jade) Darya and and the Yangi-Darya to camp at Sipa. On the morning of the 13th as Stein prepared to start another Beg arrived from the Amban sent as an escort. He was dressed of course in full ceremonial dress and had a suitable retinue with him. They were soon joined by Badruddin Kahn, the head of the Afghan merchants.{short description of image} Stein describes riding around the bastioned fortress walls. (Again how disappointing we have no photos.) Camp was offered in the garden of Tokta Akhun, a rich merchant, but Stein found it too dismal. {short description of image}So he simply proceeded to find another, more congenial location, which he did at the home of Akhun Beg. {short description of image}Once established, on the following day Stein paid his protocol visit to Pan-Darin, the Amban.{short description of image}Again this elderly gentleman found favor in Stein's projects, especially after they discussed Hiuen-Tsang. Meanwhile Stein asked Badruddin Khan to ask local 'treasure seekers' to present themselves and provide guidance to the potential sites in the desert. As this process would require most of a month, Stein decided to use the interval for his other project, that is searching for the headwaters of the Yurung-kash in the high Kun-lun Mountains. Stein had sketch maps created by British explorers in 1865, 1875 and 1898 but these were confusing.

With the professional transport men and animals on their yearly journey over the Karakorum Stein had a problem in finding sufficient ponies until the Amban simply requisitioned them from nearby villages. The camels would have a holiday until winter's journey into the desert. Badruddin procured the essential fur coats for the men and felt covers for the ponies. Meanwhile Stein visited Yoktan, the old capital, where gold diggers were uncovering relics buried deep in the accumulated soil. {short description of image}He purchased enough of the offered coins and pottery to generate, he hoped rightly, further activity. Then an Armenian showed up with the very kind of document Stein was looking for - something created by Islam Akhun. Sure enough Stein quickly determined it was a forgery. On the last evening the dak came in from India via Yarkand and another from Europe via Kashgar. Stein noted that the former was last dated 17 August but the latter had dates as late as 19 Sept. This impressed him about the new speed of communication created by the construction of the Russian railway system.


Chapter XIII - To the Headwaters of the Yurung-kash {short description of image}

For some reason Stein left out of his official report (Ancient Khotan) the entire content of this and the following chapter. Perhaps he was embarrassed. But he does include his similar experience when he tried again during the second expedition (Sand buried Ruins of Cathay) and a briefer mention in Chapter IV of Serindia. Here I give a more detailed summary of the activities. Stein's map in this book provides a better trace of his route than is in other of his books.
October 17 was the date of departure for Stein into the Kun-lung Range. Despite leaving all unnecessary baggage behind with Badruddin Khan Stein's survey equipment and food for a month still required 10 ponies. En route Stein soon found various ruins to inspect. First stop was at Bizil. On the 18th they started into the foothills to the next camp at Yangi-Langar. The party advanced 18 miles on the 19th through the winding gorge of the Kissel River to Tarim-Kishlak. The route already was difficult, with multiple crossings of the streams, through narrow rock filled river gorges, and the up and down over spurs.{short description of image} On the 20th the temperature was already at freezing and the hypsometer gave a calculation of 9000 feet elevation. By 2 PM they reached the Ulug-Dawan (High Pass) at 12,000 feet. Next came a descent into the Buya Valley. It was midnight, Stein remarked, before his tent and dinner were ready. Next day Stein pushed on to Pisha. Climbing another ridge Stein beheld the great mountain range extending to Ladak with great Kuen-luen peak (surveyed from India at 23,890 feet) visible. That evening Stein reached Kul-dobe, the main village in the Pisha valley. He was greeted by two dozen local Taghliks.{short description of image} The party rested on the 22nd. The entire male population of the valley assembled to see the strangers from a strange land. The oldest man by far and leader claimed to have visited Khotan but once. On the 23rd the temperature was already down to 23 degrees and the streams frozen. Having ascended the next ridge Stein could again see Kuen-luen Peak No. 5 to the south-east. After a short ride Stein set up another survey station on a ridge at 13,950 feet. Late after noon was spent in a very difficult descent by a zigzag path down to the Yurung-kash river where they managed to cross over a rude bridge and continued on in darkness toward Karanghu-tagh (Mountain of blinding darkness). The party rested again on October 24th while assembling a team of yaks for further movement. {short description of image}The locals began to clam up and deny further routes. But Stein persisted. He had assistance from Islam Beg, a official sent by the Amban for the purpose. This official impressed on the Taghliks their duty - at least for a while. The Karanghu-tagh village was actually larger than Stein had expected. {short description of image}On the 25th Stein set out, now with everything loaded on yaks with a hill man to guide and control each one. While crossing another ridge, Stein set his photo-theodolite to work to create another panorama including massive Muzagh. They camped at Terek-aghiz from which on the 26th they again crossed ridges by Muzagh. Stein could see K5 in the distance. But he could see also that there was no way to continue over the rock walls but he thought that perhaps he could continue directly through the gorges of the Yurung-kash itself. Once again down at the river all the locals insisted that no one had ever passed up the river through those gorges. On the 27th Stein persisted. He took only Ram Singh and Tila Bai with several yak men all mounted on yaks to explore up the river gorge. Eventually, even after crossing the river again and again, even swimming they were blocked. Stein's description of this unsuccessful effort shows his determination. He made it back to camp by nightfall. He returned to Karanghu-tagh via the Omsha valley. By the 29th the temperature was down to 17 degrees.


Chapter XIV - Over the Kara-kash Ranges {short description of image}

Stein begins by making light of his failure to penetrate the gorges of the Yurung-kash claiming that he had succeeded in determining the head waters of the river, when actually he devoted months to this task during his second expedition. He moved on to explore the streams south and west of Karanghu-tagh. He learned about local topography and potential routes from inhabitants of Omsha, but still the people of Karanghu-tagh claimed ignorance. Stein was told about a possible track that would lead to the Nissa Valley and at least a view of the upper Kara-Kashs River. He set out on 30 October despite the efforts to prevent him by the Yuzbashi of Karanghu-tagh. This delayed departure until 10 AM. After a 3 hour climb Stein reached the Pom-tagh Pass at 12,400 feet. From there he could see the entire ranges from Muztagh to the glaciers above the Karanghu-tagh Valley. He estimated all the horizon was at least 20,000 feet with peaks reaching 22,000 and 23,000 feet. The route down was steep and narrow to the Nissa gorge where they had to start up again. The late start resulted in their not reaching Nissa until well after dark. Stein remained at Nissa with the local Bai on the 31st while Ram Singh completed astronomical observations and Stein gathered more topographical information. Again the hill men claimed ignorance, fearing they would be called upon for labor. So on 1 November Stein left Nissa for the Brinjak Pass toward the north. He with difficulty found a small spot at 12,800 feet (by aneroid) just short of the pass to camp for the night. At 7 AM the next morning the temperature was 21 degrees and the stream was frozen. After an hour Stein reached the summit where the aneroid showed 14,000 feet. A difficult climb up the adjacent ridge with a Taghlik carrying the photo-theodolite enabled Stein to reach a suitable survey site at 15,300 with views all around. To the north was Mudache-tagh at 17,220 feet and Muztagh was impressive to the south-east. {short description of image}The view to the south showed peaks and glaciers at a distance of 100 miles. One at the head of Nissa Valley measured 23,070 feet elevation. {short description of image} (Unfortunately Stein's photography is all in B/W.) Upon completion of the triangulations the party descended into the valley between the Iskuram mountains. It was treacherous going over slippery sheets of ice that even yaks tread with great difficulty. While camping again Stein was met by four Taghliks sent by order from Mitaz, the next village northward to report that forage had been gathered. More claimed ignorance about routes was all that Stein could obtain. Stein set a late start for 3 November down the Chash valley. Another climb then was made to the Yagan-Dawan. The pass being very narrow, Stein again climbed the adjacent ridge to 12,000 feet to get a view for a survey station, but the height of nearby intervening peaks blocked effective triangulation. He determined that this was the watershed between the Yurung-kash and Kara-kash. The way down led through deep, barren rock ravines and defiles to the Mitaz valley. On the 5th Stein paid off the men from Nissa while those from Mitaz loaded the yaks and ponies. {short description of image}The next stage led through a river bed with water 2 feet deep. They continued down the Mitaz stream on 7 November, then up a long slope at 25 degrees. Stein and Ram Singh found a survey spot above the Ulughat-Dawan {short description of image}saddle from which again was visible the whole panorama of the mountain chains, beyond Muztagh, necessary for triangulation. They could also see to the north the Takla Makan and the fringe of cultivation about Khotan. Stein noted that the layer of yellow dust over the desert and oasis was only about 1,000 feet deep. The late time required camping overnight right in the pass in order to have time next day for the survey work. There was no water, but Stein had sent Islam Beg ahead down to Pujia to bring up water and more ponies.

The triangulation began with a fix on Kuen-luen Peak No 1 of the India Survey at 21,750 feet. To the east they recognized Tartary Peak No 2 and through a gap appeared Kara-kash Peak No 2. With these three base stations a complete triangulation as far as Khotan was possible. Stein waxes poetic describing the shifting color scheme as the sun moved westward and set. This was followed by a full moon. The following day survey work proceeded with successful triangulation of 26 peaks forming a tight net from a central station at 9,890 feet. In addition to the plane table that Ram Singh used, Stein again used the photo-theodolite to make a panorama. Then they constructed a mound that could serve as a marker from the next station. On 8 November Stein started down from Ulughat-Dawan to the Kara-kash near Popma. They rode through the river to Langhru for over night. On 9 November Stein moved south to find another survey station on Kauruk-kuz. They camped below the ridge that was 10,820 feet elevation and then did their survey work on it on 10 November. They had to work fast to beat the arrival of a large dust storm. {short description of image}


Chapter XV - Antiquarian Preparations at Khotan

Stein continued down the Kara-kash on 11 November to Ujat in a thick cloud of dust that obscured the nearby mountains. He was fortunate to have completed his survey work in time. He was interested in Mount Gosringa, the Buddhist pilgrimage site described by Hiuen-Tsang now called Kohmari. Stein includes the legend of its origin. Typically a Muhammaden Mazar had replaced the Buddhist Vihara (monastery), dedicated to a very different saint. The same cave mentioned by Hiuen-Tsang still exists and is frequented by a new type of pilgrims. Stein was also attracted by the previous obtaining there of Kharoshthi manuscripts by M. Grenard. Stein personally inspected the cave and surroundings which caused him to doubt that the manuscripts had actually come from the site. And the monks there whom he interrogated professed no knowledge of the French having obtained the documents there. He proceeded to Ujat, a sizable village known for its grapes. Again, the dak man managed to deliver mail from Kashgar at this distant location. On 15 November Stein returned to Khotan where he declared a much needed rest for men and ponies. But he remained busy, now inspecting the antiquities that his prior request now were delivered. He was quickly taken with Turdi Khwoja, an experienced 'treasure seeker from Tawakkel. {short description of image}Stein was much pleased with the finds and hired Turdi to guide him to Dandan-Uiliq (houses of ivory) not too far north-east into the desert. Amban Pan Darin ordered the Beg there to send two experienced hunters as guides. On 20 November, these gentlemen, Ahmad Merghen and Kasim Akhun, duly responded to the summons along with their Beg. Stein set his tent again in Akhun Beg's garden rather than Tokhta Akhun's house despite the increasing cold. The following days were devoted to repair of the gear the yaks had so cleverly seen to damage by knocking them off against convenient rocks. This required the combined efforts of saddler, blacksmith and tailor under Stein's watchful eyes. Many locals turned up with antiques from Yoktan, but the purveyor of the mysterious 'ancient' documents was no where to be found. Stein suspected his absence was purposeful. Stein had to give priority to local Begs and Chinese officials seeking cures from his limited medicine supply (even though Stein considered most of it placebos).{short description of image} Meanwhile Stein sent Ram Singh back into the mountains east of their just completed route. (It shows on Stein's map). They departed Khotan on 23 November. The first night they camped at Jamada. The next day Stein crossed another hard plain covered with potsherds and then the area in which prospectors were digging deep holes, searching for jade deposited by the river centuries ago. {short description of image}He also found another ruined stupa. Finds of jade are quite rare but the occasional one of great value is enough to cause the hopeful to invest in the efforts. Stein found one Kashgar Bai supervising a team of 20 hired men who claimed to have cleared a total of 100 Yambus of silver from an investment of 30 over the previous three years. Separately jade is also 'fished' for by prospectors searching right in the upper river bed. Stein notes that this activity is fully described in Chinese annals back to Han dynasty times.


Chapter XVI - Yotkan, the Site of the Ancient Capital {short description of image}

Stein turns to his visit to Yotkan on 25 November. He remained over night in the comfortable home of the local Yubashi next to the area being dug for gold. Unfortunately the camels became stuck in a ravine so Stein had to send a rescue party back. They did bring the camels in but not before the one carrying Stein's tent and bedding had slipped in a river and soaked the load. It was the creation of the ravine some years previous by a flood of the river that uncovered the remains of the medieval city under many feet of accumulated soil. And the strata so revealed contained enough bits of gold to generate a significant but part time industry of 'treasure seekers'. Stein was not much interested in bits of gold but very highly interested in antiquities that would identify the medieval capital. {short description of image}This work became organized and gradually expanded the ravines so much that the owners of the lost land were compensated from the results obtained from the digging. Evidently the results generate a small profit for everyone. Stein discusses the expanding process and its results. He purchased some samples - shown in his official report.{short description of image} Among the many coins Stein dated samples from Han to T'ang eras.{short description of image} Stein examined the 'culture strata' which varied from 5 to 14 feet thick and could find no traces of the buildings which no doubt had been built of mud bricks. This strata was under 9 to 20 feet of soil of different color and devoid of any artifacts that was deposited over centuries by the river and irrigation brought from it. The level of the cultivated fields constantly rises. Thus roads and cemeteries lie on ground at a level below the fields.

On 28 November Stein began survey of the villages west of Khotan looking for sacred places mentioned by Hiun-Tsiang and other pilgrims. He soon found in Somiya the remains of a stupa where the annals indicated it would be, but now reduced to a 5 foot high mound which the local elders considered to be a sacred spot, not to be touched, although who it related to was unknown{short description of image}. Stein spent the day locating still more modern replacements for ancient Buddhist holy places. He returned from Yoktan to Khotan on 29 November. Along the way he interviewed an elderly gentleman at Halalbagh who informed him of the history and legends related to Khotan. Upon his return this time Stein forwent his usual criteria when the cold drove him into the warm home of Tokhta Akhun.


Chapter XVII - To the Ruins of Dandan-uiliq {short description of image}

Stein finally got underway to the desert on 7 December.{short description of image} He followed the route through Tawakkel, home of his guides. The first night's stop was at Yangi-arik at the edge of oasis cultivation. Then followed two long days along the Yurung-kash beside the desert. On the third evening they reached the southern edge of Tawakkel oasis. The Beg was waiting along with his large group of attendants. Large bonfires lit the way. The next day Stein moved to the Beg's house at Atbashi. On Pan Darin's order Stein was able to hire 30 workers and a month's supply of food. Despite the ample wages offered, the superstitious laborers were reluctant to obey their Amban. Ahmad and Kasim greatly assisted in assuring all that there would be no danger from desert 'jins'.{short description of image} Each man had to provide for his own winter garb, a month's food, and his ketman. {short description of image}A dozen donkeys were assigned to carry all this supply. The camels were fed with half a pound of liquid rape seed oil each day. Stein sent the ponies back to Khotan with Niaz. Stein expresses amusement at the crestfallen countenances of his permanent team when they learned they must walk along with him. He suffered greatly from the failed attempts of the local barber to remove a painful tooth with rudimentary tools. The desert beckoned on 12 December as they set out for a short initial move. The next day they turned east through deep sand. They could barely make 9-10 miles a day through (or over) these dunes. Stein sent Kasim ahead to mark a route and dig wells in convenient locations. The daytime temperature remained below freezing but at night it dropped to zero or 10 below. Stein kept his lined tent a little warmer by use of a Stormont-Murphy Arctic Stove and compressed fuel cakes from London. Even so his beard was frozen by morning. On the fourth evening the guides admitted that they had lost the way. Stein was glad that Turdi Khwoja then noted that he had suspected as much as he knew the proper route.{short description of image} From there Turdi led them properly. {short description of image}They reached Dandan-uiliq on the 18th a set of ruined buildings spread over an area some 1.5 miles north to south and 3/4 miles west-east. Stein immediately identified frescos of Buddha and Bodhisattvas. {short description of image}Copper coins soon confirmed Stein's dating to the 713-741 AD period. Turdi showed Stein around so he could select a location for the camp convenient to all the scattered remains yet with a supply of firewood and well water. Once the camels were unloaded Stein sent them with Ahmad Merghen eastward to the Keriya River. The donkeys were sent back to Tawakkel.


Chapter XVIII - Excavation of Buddhist Shrines

Excavation work began on the morning of 19 December at a building next to the camp. {short description of image}and {short description of image}This process revealed double walls with corridor between composed of wood and reed matting covered with plaster. {short description of image}Under the sand were plaques that had fallen from the upper walls. {short description of image}There were many relievos of Buddha and various attendants. {short description of image}These clearly were casts from a standard set of moulds. In style they looked Indian. The desert sand had preserved the bright colors on both the relievos and wooden posts and beams. Stein retrieved about 150 stucco pieces from this building alone. (Samples of these are shown and described in the official report.) The following day the work shifted to a group of buildings further from the camp. A photo shows the place prior to excavation. Stein describes all these buildings in detail.{short description of image}The walls were decorated with images of Buddha and Bodhisattvas and many other figures. {short description of image}The frescos were too fragile to remove and the B/W photography could not capture the rich colors..


Chapter XIX - First Finds of Ancient Manuscripts

Not having yet found any documents after three days of work Stein was becoming disappointed. But on 22 December he turned to a different type of building. This soon was revealed as a residence some 23 x 20 feet in plan and 10 feet in height. Stein offered a silver reward to whomever would find the first document. {short description of image}The young man - the only one who could read and write Turki - whom Stein had brought along due to this was the first to unearth a manuscript. The writing was in Brahmi script of Gupta type but a non-Indian language that Stein decided was Sanskrit. Many more soon followed.{short description of image} Other objects and elements of construction showed that the room was the basement of the house and its kitchen, while the collapsed upper story was the library of the monastery. Later that afternoon Ram Singh and Jasvant Singh appeared after a month's surveying along a very different route. He had returned to the Pisha Valley and then begun triangulations from the Yurung-kash north of K5 (Muztagh) to the glaciers east to tie the survey into work previously accomplished by Captain Desay around Polu. From there he went to Keriya where the Amban supplied a guide for his route down the Keriya River to a point where he could turn west to reach Dandan-uiliq. Examination of Ram Singh's work in comparison with Stein's revealed that the two quite long and independent survey lines met within a half mile of longitude and less than a mile in latitude. Quite extraordinary work indeed. Ram Singh's line was over 500 miles of which 120 was across flat desert. And Stein's line was over 120 miles almost all in desert without landmarks. Both Indians found the freezing desert distinctly unpleasant and indeed painful, Ram Singh suffering from rheumatism and Jasvant Singh suffered from scorbutic affection. Even the hardy Kashgar and Yarkand natives were suffering from the extended stay in the freezing desert. Stein set Ram Singh to work making detailed plain table diagrams of the Dandan-uiliq site published in the official report.


Chapter XX - Discovery of Dated Documents

December 25th, Christmas Day, was devoted to clearing more structures north-east of the camp. Turdi and others had in the past made cursory efforts to find valuables. Nevertheless, Stein found much of interest. First there were large painted panels. One depicted the 'king' of the holy rats that had saved Khotan from barbarians. Then there were curious documents in a language later thought to be in an Indo-Iranian dialect from the Pamirs. They were mixed in with Chinese documents exactly dated to 781-787 AD. There were many other items such as a lacquered bowl. Stein records that by tarrying too long alone at one ruin he nearly lost his way back to camp in the darkness. Such was the difficulty of keeping one's bearings in the sand dunes. More dated documents were recovered the next day from other structures. Several were contracts about loans related to a Hu-kuo monastery. The names inscribed show that the monastery and its priests were Chinese but that the local population was not. Stein concluded that the settlement and monastery had been abandoned shortly after 790 AD.

He also recovered more panels whose painted scenes were in excellent condition.{short description of image} and {short description of image}Stein describes one image of a mounted warrior seated in a saddle with stirrups and another mounted on a camel. Other panels depict Buddha or Bodhisattvas. Stein remained at Dandan-uiliq for another week and excavated a total of 14 buildings in various states of decay. In addition to buildings Stein made note of the orchard that surrounded the site and traces of irrigation canals. He concludes that a nearby site, Pi-mo survived for an additional 5 centuries and follows this by correcting Sven Hedin's guess that Dandan-uiliq was several thousand years old.
Stein included detailed descriptions of each article found plus many illustrations in the official report.


Chapter XXI - Through the Desert to Keriya {short description of image}

Stein notes that he received a heavy bag of mail on 2 January. (Again the reader may wonder at how this dak system could find him at such an isolated spot far into the desert, but it never failed whether he was in desert of high mountains.) While the baggage was being reloaded on the camels, Stein decided to visit yet another ruin described by Turdi Khwaja, a Rawak (high mansion) some miles further north. On 4 January Stein paid some of the Tawakkel work party and sent them home. He took the rest north. Despite an absence of 9 years, Turdi unerringly led Stein to two decayed mounds. In the general debris they found Chinese copper coins from Han era and stucco that retained flakes of its former gold gilding. Stein guessed that this Rawak had been abandoned long before Dandan-uiliq. On 6 January Stein paid the remaining Tawakkel laborers and set off eastward for the Keriya River. Stein paid well and observed that the workers knew it. Islam Beg also departed, back to Khotan to report success and thanks to the Amban and set Stein's mail on its way to Kashgar. Stein genuinely hated to leave the solitude, despite the cold. They camped between dunes with only the ice carried in the tanks. Next day they veered to the south-east. Some of the dunes reached 150 feet in height. They found the characteristic tamarisks in sand cones indicating likely sub-surface water, which indeed was found at 6 feet depth under 2 feet of frozen soil. The temperature was 5 degrees below zero. They reached to Keriya River that day, after crossing four more huge sand dunes and many smaller ones. They soon found the ponies sent with Ibrahim, the daroga sent from Keriya. Next morning Kasim also left to return to Khotan Darya. Stein and company could now ride again, beside the frozen river south to Keriya. That evening they sheltered at the Shrine of Saiyid Burhanuddin Padshahim. The attending sheikhs receive hundreds of pious pilgrims each year so are well prepared to accommodate visitors in warm rooms, for which Stein was grateful. Three more long rides brought the party to Keriya. {short description of image}They reached Bostan Langar on 12 January where Stein was met by Abdullah Khan, an Afghan merchant.{short description of image} He had made arrangements for quarters in a relative's spacious house. Very soon the usual group of Begs with suitable followers showed up in the Amban's name.

Stein writes that the Begs were required to wear their Chinese official garb. They had no trouble with the cape worn over their thick fur coats. But the badge of office, a black silk cap with red button, was inadequate for their shaven heads. So they made a follower wear it while they kept their large fur cap in place.

The Amban's official soon arrived for the required greeting. His gifts were so lavish that Stein was concerned about providing a suitable return as required. The state visit was conducted the following day. At 1 PM Stein rode to Huang-Daloi, the Amban's, Yamen. {short description of image}A salute of three 'pop guns' suitably announced Stein's arrival. Stein's delightful description of official Chinese protocol has to be read in the original. Every detail including the locations for table and chairs is prescribed. After the enjoyable conversation the Amban, as per rules, went with Stein to his pony. Along the way across the courtyards Stein observed the full detachment including the red-coated executioners drawn up for review. No sooner was he riding back to his lodging than he learned that the Amban was already on his way for the standard return visit. Stein had to rush to get the place in order. He notes the problem with a suitable table cloth for his camp table since white is the color of mourning in China. He substituted with a rug and vowed to bring a red cloth if ever returning to China. Again the conversation went well, as now Stein was able to show Huang-Daloi documents and some of the objects found at Dandan-uiliq. He used the occasion to obtain the Amban's full support for the next excursion - to Niya.


Chapter XXII - To Niya and Iman Jafar Sadik {short description of image}

On 18 January Stein was on the road again (or train in the desert). As usual the departure generated a crown of locals to witness the strange caravan. To the south the peaks of the Kun-luen that Ram Singh had triangulated were visible as points for extending the survey further. The first overnight was at the home of the local Bai in Ui-toghrak. The next morning the temperature was 9 degrees and it was snowing. The next place was Yesyulghum. A stay at Ovraz Langar followed. During the following day Niaz Akhun caught up with Stein's caravan bringing more ponies and mail from Kashgar. Most recent mail from Gilgit was dated October but that from Europe was of 7 December. A march of 24 miles brought them to Niya oasis and river.{short description of image} Again a Bai's home was waiting. The bazar was full of people in holiday costume, buying for Id - the end of Ramadan. January 22nd then was a day of halting to celebrate the festival. Stein duly notes that Hiuen-Tsang included Ni-jang in his memoir as the eastern frontier post of the king of Khotan. Stein's camel man, Hassan Akhun, found a villager who possessed two written fragments he had found in the desert near Iman Jafar's Mazar - written in Kharoshthi. But the offeror had obtained from another, Ibrahim, who noted he had found many more but discarded them Naturally Stein was delighted and hired the fellow as a guide on the spot. At that point no such wooden documents with written Kharoshthi script had been found. The next march of three days took them down the frozen Niya River, through the jungle that lay on both sides, {short description of image}to the Iman Jafar Saduk's Mazar (shrine). {short description of image}Stein describes the efforts at irrigation undertaken with canals along the river. He stopped overnight at Otra Langar to do more survey. The clear atmosphere now enabled Ram Singh to intersect on known peaks near 70 miles away to the south. The next stop was at Dobe-Bostan with evening temperature down to 10 degrees. On 26 January they needed to travel only 13 miles further to reach the Mazar. This shrine contained mosques, madrasahs, homes of the hereditary attendants and rest stops for the many pilgrims who visited each year. The tomb was on an adjacent hill. Typically the trees and poles were decked out with flags in a profusion of textiles and varied colors, and yak tails. Always the archeologist, Stein muses on the results if all this were to be buried and preserved for the wonder of some archeologist after future centuries. The shrine marks the spot where Iman Jafar Sadik fell in battle against the infidels of 'Chin and Machin'. Stein makes a mistake in the text at this point by writing that the march on into the desert also commenced on 26 January, or the arrival was on the 25th. In addition to the two tanks from Calcutta and several more from Kashgar Stein packed ice into sacks and nets, essential supply for 40-50 people in a waterless desert. They soon left the jungle and cultivated areas for open sand dunes. They reached the edge of the ruins on 27 January.{short description of image} Stein immediately saw that the buildings at Niya were both older and more substantially built than those at Dandan-uiliq. He placed his tent near the ruin of a brick stupa. {short description of image}Recognizing the great extent of the work to be done he immediately sent word to the Mazar asking for every able bodied man.


Chapter XXIII - First Excavation of Kharoshthi Tablets

Stein began work on 28 January by sending Ram Singh and Ibrahim Akhun out on reconnaissance to determine if a safe route over 50 miles directly west to Karadong on the Keriya River would be possible. {short description of image}Then Stein eagerly followed Ibrahim to the ruin at which he had found the Kharoshthi documents. Recognizing that Ibrahim had now discovered just how valuable Stein considered these to be, Stein took precautions to insure Ibrahim did not slip away and beat him to the site.{short description of image} Stein's apprehension soon turned to delight. Sure enough, the place was littered with the discarded documents that Ibrahim had thrown away a year previous. But Ibrahim then showed the spot inside the ruined walls where he had found the treasure, and there was much more of it. The 14 x 16 foot room was soon cleared. The building also gained much of Stein's attention. It was solidly built with massive posts and beams some of which formed the footings. The walls were of tamarisk branches woven and then covered with hard plaster. Eighty-five tablets were recovered in the first room alone and more in others to a total of over 100. {short description of image}Stein describes these and provides illustrations.{short description of image} The tablets were made in pairs connected by string. The writing was on the inner side of each board. On the outside surface there was a indented square space in which a seal was affixed. {short description of image}And there would also be writing showing addresses for these peculiar envelopes. The script was similar to the inscriptions in India of the Kushana or Indo-Scythian kings. Of course those inscriptions were in stone, no such wooden documents had ever been found. The Kushana era was the first 3 centuries AD. After hours of careful study Stein decided the documents were written in Indian Prakrit and were official documents such as contracts and petitions. Many had the salutation "his Highness the Maharaja writes...." The obvious conclusion was that at some time an Indian speaking population had migrated this far into Turkestan. The next day Stein continued in other rooms that continued to produce more and more wooden documents of various types. Stein noted that amid all the wooden text he found not one on paper. {short description of image} and {short description of image}and {short description of image}and {short description of image}and {short description of image}and {short description of image}and {short description of image}and {short description of image}


Chapter XXIV - Excavation of Ancient Residences

Stein continued to excavate ruins visible over a wide area. {short description of image}Many were covered only with a shallow depth of sand. More Documents turned up. Also the laborers identified systems used for storing ice exactly as still practiced in the Khotan area. Stein carefully measured the dimensions of these buildings and some plans were published in the official report. On 30 January Ram Singh and Ibrahim Akhun returned from reconnaissance westward. That day the temperature at mid-day was already up to 42 degrees, indicating that the protection of winter would not last. Even with the reinforcements there was too much work in such a large number of buildings.{short description of image} One building alone was 100 feet long by 80 feet wide.{short description of image} Besides documents there were examples of many different textiles and even household goods to catalog and pack. Copper coins from second Han Dynasty were uncovered as well. Work continued on 4 and 5 February in buildings very similar in layout to contemporary dwellings. Gardens and orchards including Peach ,Plum, Apricot, and Mulberry trees, also were surveyed.

Stein records his problems that arose from the personal conflicts of his various supporters, beginning with Niaz Akhun, the Chinese interpreter, whose personality grated on everyone. Stein had left him behind at the Mazar in charge of the ponies hoping it would keep him out of mischief. But to the contrary Niaz used the opportunity to bully the locals and impose on the women. Complaints grew numerous so Stein had to order him to the work site. No sooner there but Niaz got into a fight with honest Hassan Akhun who had the support of all the Muhammadans. Stein with help of Ram Singh had to intervene forcefully, at which point Sadak Akhun rushed into the fray brandishing his sword. Fortunately Stein had the two Hindus, Ram and Jasvant Singh, to enforce the peace and keep Niaz separated from the others for the rest of the expedition. But morale was broken and all sorts of desperate threats were made. Stein's book contains much more about this affray.


Chapter XXV - Discoveries in an Antique Rubbish Heap

Stein recognized that the departing owners had taken everything they thought valuable. He turned to the usual rubbish heaps. {short description of image}These were to produce vast quantities of important finds during all three explorations. With reconnaissance over the wide area in which evidences of ruined buildings appeared above the sand he soon found such a rubbish dump. {short description of image}He shifted the camp to the new location on 6 February while Stein studied the remains of a stupa with a base 13.5 feet square and only 6.5 feet high. The hemispherical dome rose an additional 7 feet. Knowing this must not be all of it, Stein excavated around it and found a wider base course another 6 feet high. Tunnels dug into this structure showed that 'treasure seekers' had already been active. {short description of image}

Stein turned to the new location beginning with a room 23 by 18 feet. It was filled with many layers of wood tablets mixed with other refuse. The whole room was a dump filled to a depth of over 4 feet with rubbish discarded into it over many years. He obtained over 200 documents alone from amongst broken pottery, straw, rags, woven fabrics, leather pieces and more. Stein was kept busy with the archeologist's need to record the exact location where each item was found to enable later chronological information. All this had to be accomplished in freezing weather that numbed his fingers amidst a haze of pungent dust and inhaled microbes that Stein was sure were safely dead. This room alone required three days to excavate. There were Kharoshthi texts on carefully rolled sheepskin up to 15 inches long. The salutations read, "His Highness the Maharaja orders in writing...'. The reverse sides showed the addresses. These were the first Kharoshthi documents on leather of an Indian culture ever found. Even more important were the more numerous wood tablets that still contained their clay seals and strings. The intact tablets came in pairs attached at one end by a string through corresponding holes. The message was written on the inside and an address was on the outside. Stein was particularly excited by the seals that were placed in cut sockets designed for the purpose. His illustration shown the method by which the seal kept the document closed. What was significant was the design of the seal itself. Stein found images of Pallas Athene, Eros, Heracles, and other Greek deities. That classical art had reached so far east into the desert was a revelation. {short description of image} and{short description of image}


Chapter XXVI - Decipherment of Ancient Documents on Wood and Leather

In this chapter Stein remarks that the volume of his labors since bringing out these precious Kharoshthi documents has prevented his expanded study.{short description of image} But as always he credits another scholar, in this case Mr. E. J. Rapson of the British Museum with extended study that continues.{short description of image} Stein includes here a brief summary of the results to date, which confirm his initial evaluations. The language used is early Indian Prakrit with Sanskrit mixed in. Most are official documents, reports, orders, complaints summons, safe-conducts, and the like. Others are records of payments, requisitions, agreements, bonds and accounts. The titles of some dignitaries addressed conform to the usage of the Indo-Scythian Kushana princes who ruled north-west India and Afghanistan in the first centuries AD. The names addressed are Indian. But some titles are not Indian. {short description of image}and {short description of image}
Stein describes one document in detail as an example. {short description of image}and {short description of image}This one is on a oblong tablet and is dated in the 9th year of King Jitroghavarshman. It is about a transaction by a Buddhagosha, slave of the Scramana or Buddhist monk, Anadasena, and concerns some household goods pawned or taken over on mortgage. The articles are enumerated in detail and their value is shown in an unknown currency. The list contains sheep, vessels, wool-weaving appliances and some other implements, and enumerates also the earliest mention of felt rugs.

Work continued until Stein was satisfied he had found everything that was to be found. On 13 February he set out to return to Mazar Iman Jafar Sadik.


Chapter XXVII - The Ruins of Endere {short description of image}

As he departed Niya Stein mused about the wood he was collecting from poplars and orchards, "Where will it be next that I can walk amidst poplars and fruit trees planted when the Caesars still ruled in Rome and knowledge of Greek writing had barely vanished on the Indus?" Nevertheless time pressed on Stein as he knew he must complete his desert excavations before the burans (high wind sand storms) of spring would hit and then the desert heat would make work impossible. So he set out again on 13 February back to Iman Jafar Sadik Mazar. He had to pay his current labor team and hire a new, fresh group for work at Endere. On the way he met the deputy Beg of Niya who was sent ahead with mail and assurance that all men and supplies necessary would be sent to Endere from Niya. With this Stein was able to ride directly from Iman Jafar eastward to Endere without first detouring south-west to Niya. His map shows the route. For the one evening at the Mazar Stein indulged himself with staying by a fireplace and a 'tub'. As was his constant habit he despatched another pile of mail to India and Europe. After the usual claiming ignorance, several locals admitted they knew a route to Endere. On the morning of 15 February he set out eastward. They were immediately in high sand dunes with flat gravel spaces between. He made sure to carry ice so as to be able to camp without local water. On the second day they reached the Yartungaz River and then followed it on 17 February. Stein found a tiny settlement by the river at which the party could stay over night. They were welcomed as usual, this time by one Abdul Karim, whose father had come from Bakakhshan (in other words an Afghan settler). Again Stein observed that expansion of agriculture along the desert was not limited by lack of water but by lack of sufficient manpower to develop the irrigation system. Two more long marches then were necessary to reach the Endere. Again ice carried (from the Yartungaz) enabled the party to camp overnight half way in the desert.

On 19 February then crossed the last high dunes and found the frozen river. Another day brought them to a brick stupa and then further southwards to the ruins.{short description of image} Here, for a change, Stein found not only the upper part of wood posts protruding from the sand indicating houses, but also brick buildings. {short description of image} Plus, at Endere the site was encircled by the rampart of a real fort. He was very pleased that then new labor gang arrived at the same time, marching directly over the 120 miles from Niya.{short description of image} Stein measured the fort at a diameter of 425 feet. {short description of image}He immediately put his augmented work force to digging at a likely place in the center of the circle. Soon fragments of very large sculptures were revealed. This time paper documents in Brahmi script in Sanskrit and a non-Indian language.{short description of image} Two further days were required to clear this one building, which turned out to be a temple having a central room 20 feet square with a 5 foot wide hallway all around. In the center was a large pedestal that had held four seated stucco images now gone except for their lower legs. {short description of image}There were life sized statues but broken at the waist in the four corners. Plenty of manuscripts were scattered on the floor, under the sand. These were about Buddhist worship. Stein considered another find, 'remarkable'. It was a packed roll of paper 4 inches high and half an inch thick described fully in the 'official report'. The script was Central-Asian Brahmi but the text was in a non_Indian language. There were also scraps of paper with Chinese and Tibetan writing. These religious texts had been placed at the various statues as votive offerings. Since the material was deposited in the British Museum it has been determined to be pages from the Salistamba-sutra, a Buddhist book on philosophy. Stein considers this document of highest importance.

Tibetans invaded and took control of much of the Tarim Basin in the second half of the 8th century when T'ang power declined. Stein digresses into an account of the history of Chinese - Tibetan relations and conflicts in the 700's AD during which the Chinese garrisons and administrations were gradually overwhelmed. Thus the shrine was abandoned not later than 791 AD. Rags composed of a variety of fabrics also were deposited as votive offering, giving Stein a quick collection of many kinds of cloth. Stein continued excavations throughout the enclosure, clearing most of it. He learned much about methods of architectural construction but found little of the kinds of artifacts and documents from Niya and Dandan-uiliq. He surveyed the fort walls as well. The rampart of clay was at least 80 feet wide at its base and 17.5 feet high but existed only in sections and a gate. The rampart was surmounted by a brick parapet 5.5 feet high and a platform paved with brushwood Stein could not find any evidence of attack and defense. The base of the stupa measured 23 feet each side. And the height of the base was 7 feet. Above that was a solid dome 16 feet in diameter and about 16 feet high.
Stein finished what he could at Endere on 26 February. He returned during his second expedition. A this point in time he had to return westward to complete his plans for exploration around Khotan.


Chapter XXVIII - Expedition to Karadong Ruin

Stein left Endere on 26 February, returning to Niya. He managed to get the camels back across the now unfrozen Endere River and then filled the water tanks. On the 27th he continued south though the Kumush and jungle. Plane table survey was enhanced during the mornings by sighting to familiar peaks in the Kun-lun 60 - 80 miles to the south. By afternoon they disappeared in the dust haze. Ever kindly, Stein offered chocolate to the shepherd guide's children but they were to afraid to try it. The party reached the Keriya- Cherchen road and turned west to use this 'highway' caravan track. After one camp in the barren flat they reached the Yartungaz River the next day. Enroute Stein was met by Tila Bai bringing more mail and supplies from Khotan. It required two more long days of riding during which they crossed the Shitala Darya at the Mazar of Shitala Padshahim to reach Niya. Stein calculated that from departing Niya on 23 January he had covered 300 miles in a loop and was delighted to find the survey closure had an error of only 3/4 mile in longitude and 1 mile in latitude. (Remarkable indeed). Stein rushed on ahead to Keriya in two days, letting the slow camel caravan catch up as it could. He left all the heavy winter clothing and gear at Keriya prior to the next stage. And he hired a fresh team of laborers. He had a visit to the Amban, Huang-Daloi, followed immediately by the required return visit. Stein showed samples of his findings and gave the Amban choice presents from Khotan. In return he was given a large quantity of supplies and food.

On 7 March Stein was again in the saddle, headed north down the Keriya River to Karadong, some 150 miles away. {short description of image} He benefited from having Sven Hedin's report from a visit in 1896. In three days he reached to point where he had found the river while coming from Dandan-Uiliq. By then the ice sheet had been replaced with muddy water. - the spring flood (Kara-su - black water). The summer flood (Ak-su- white water) would come later with the runoff from the mountain glaciers. Stein was welcomed back at the Burhanuddin Mazar. The lead Sheikh, Ghazi, enabled Stein to add local shepherds to his work force. He describes his band as a 'avalanche' as it gained manpower strength as it progressed. Three more days of travel along the river followed. On 12 March they crossed the high Yogham-kum Dawan (crest) of sand. The next camp was by a lagoon populated by wild ducks. At that point they had to leave the river and enter full desert again, but now in a blinding dust storm. Two local shepherds were recruited as guides. It took some doing for even the local guides to find the objective amid the concealing high dunes in a dust storm. Karadong turned out to be a small site, mostly a quadrangle with mud rampart 235 feet square and timber rooms on top.{short description of image} On the whole the expedition there was a bust. After two days of hard work not much was found. Even the timber used for the buildings was poor. Stein decided that the place was not an agricultural community but rather a small frontier fort constructed when the Keriya River still reached across the desert to Kucha. At that time the direct trade route might have required this sort of guard post. {short description of image} Stein did find a few copper coins from Later Han dynasty to confirm the dating. The best preserved structure he found was the old gateway, about 22 feet square with an intact roof and massive wood doors all buried deep in sand. It took two days to clear this one structure. Of some interest was the find of a quantity of various cereal grains in the storeroom there. Stein completed work on the evening of 17 March and departed on the 18th in the midst of another Buran. On the way back Stein and the two Indian Hindus learned of the death of their Queen-Empress with much sadness. .


Chapter XXIX - The Search for Hiuen-Tsang's Pi-mo

In keeping with his desire to follow Hien-Tsiang, Stein was determined to locate the pilgrim's Pi-mo which he recorded as being between Khotan and Niya. Marco Polo also mentioned this place as Pein. Various stories including from the Amban indicated there was a ruin in the desert 60 miles east of Khotan and 30 miles west of Keriya and north of Gulakhma. Accordingly Stein struck directly through the desert to the south-west. They traveled along the Keriya River for 4 days. The weather remained cold. At Burhanuddin Stein was joined by two guides the Amban had ordered the Beg of Gulakhma to provide. But these ignorant worthies knew nothing but were afraid to admit it or let it be known. Thus by 23 March Stein and company were in a marsh west of the Keriya that was difficult to escape. They did reach Arish-Mazar with its Sheikh. Eventually they reached Malakalagan, a newly opened cultivation track. Stuck with his two incompetent guides, Stein on 25 March set out once again with six tanks full of water. He was pleased that Turdi had just returned from dak duty. Stein could count on Turdi's experience and sense of direction. Three more fruitless days wandering followed. But Stein's ever watchful eyes gained him a lot of understanding of contemporary conditions in the area of old, abandoned farms called "old" Domoko. "As they rode the local peasant guides recounted to Stein the same old legends he heard elsewhere about ancient abandoned cities - the very same legends Hien-Tsiang recorded centuries past. Eventually they came across as Tati of pottery sherds and debris covering a wide, hard clay surface. This open area, called Uzun-tati, Stein had to accept as his objective. At least he did pick up some Chinese copper coins of the Southern Sung dynasty (1127-1278) he could regard as proof. From there the guides led him around in circles over 25 miles of trying desert and two days to reach another ruin only 3 miles direct distance from Uzun-tati. At least this second site contained a remanent ruin of a small, oval fort some 480 by 348 feet with a wall of stamped clay 11 feet thick at the base and with a parapet that brought the height to 14.5 feet. By 27 and 28 March the daytime temperature reached 88 degrees in the shade while night minimums were 28-30 degrees. With water supply running low Stein decided to give up further searches and return to Gulakhma on the 29th. Already the fields were turning green, much to Stein's delight. He could rationalize that Gulakhma and Domoko together represented the modern equivalent of Pi-mo. On the 30th he sent Ram Singh on with most of the caravan back to Khotan, while he returned to pay courtesy call on the Amban at Keriya. The town was in the midst of a festival. {short description of image}and {short description of image} On 1 April Stein sent his presents to Huang-Daloi followed by a visit to the Yamen. Stein took the occasion to praise Ibrahim for his Daroga services to induce the Amban to award Ibrahim with a valuable post. On 2 April Stein started back to Khotan as rapidly as he could. He made night stops at Karakir Langar, Chira, and Sampula and a last day exploring a ruined stupa at Hanguya, where he found more copper coins. That evening Stein reached Yurung-kash village where Islam Beg, Badruddin Kahn and crowd of local Begs and Yuzbashis were waiting to escort him to quarters in a garden by the Madrasah. (But some of the best results were yet to come).


Chapter XXX - Ak-sipil and the Sculptures of the Rawak Stupa

Stein spent 6 April at Yurung-kash village were more supplies and workers were to be assembled. Dust and heat alerted him that the end of excavation season was fast approaching. Stein sent darogha Ibrahim Akhun back to his Amban with a present of gold rubles and medicine for the boss, then set out again on 7 April. The target was Ak-sipil, a well known ruin only 15 miles from the Yurung-kash river.{short description of image} Once past the currently cultivated zone Stein found the ground was littered with pottery sherds indicating the extend of occupied land had been larger in the past. Soon they had to cross 60 foot high sand dunes. At Ak-sipil he found remains of the ramparts of a ruined circular fort of which only part remained. He surveyed it at about 1,000 feet in diameter. The lower part was stamped clay rising to 11 feet high plus an 8-foot thick parapet of sun-dried bricks. The parapet had two levels of loopholes. There were several brick platforms projecting 3-feet on either side, probably the base for watch towers. The site was well known both to locals and European travelers. Stein found some coins and artifacts worth taking. Turdi showed him another mound 1.5 miles away named "Kighilik" locally, that was a temple at which he recovered small items such as relievo fragments in stucco, despite its having already been plundered. Stein considered the artistic quality superior to the items he found at Dandan or Endere.

Stein moved on from Ak-sipil on 10 April headed north to a site Turdi named "Rawak' (high mansion). {short description of image}The location proved to be much more than Turdi had imagined. It was a huge stupa within a large enclosure largely covered by sand and one of the greatest of Stein's discoveries. {short description of image}On arrival and appraisal Stein immediately sent back for more workers.{short description of image} and {short description of image}and {short description of image}The Rawak was only 7 miles from the Yurung-kash. A well was quickly dug to support a very large contingent of laborers. But the Burans had begun, making all work difficult and keeping areas once uncovered from being recovered with blown sand a problem. The sun by then was oppressive not only from its heat but also from its glare. The extreme temperature variation between day and night brought on sickness and fever to all. Stein survived on liberal doses of quinine. {short description of image}So hard work commenced on 11 April at one corner of the quadrangle surrounding the stupa mound. Excavation soon revealed massive stucco statues lining the walls under at least 7 feet of sand (which was what had preserved them). {short description of image}and {short description of image}and {short description of image}Survey commenced as well and measured the quadrangle as 164 feet long north-west to south-east by 143 feet the opposite directions. The wall was of sun-dried bricks 3 feet thick and still to a height of over 11 feet. In its center was the large square base of the stupa rising in two levels to 20 feet above the floor. The plan was like a cross with extensions for stairs extending for 50 feet. Above the base was the typical circular drum above which was a dome 32 feet in diameter. The top was missing but still the total height reached 33 feet. The destructive results of 'treasure seeking' were evident. Stein lacked the manpower to clear the entire area. In niches around the stupa base and throughout the enclosure Stein found about 100 Han dynasty copper coins left as votive offerings. But it was the huge relievo statues that Stein recognized to be the greatest find. However, these were so fragile and only prevented from disintegration by the supporting sand that Stein had to work quickly to remove sand from sections and then to photograph each section.{short description of image}and {short description of image}and {short description of image}and {short description of image}and {short description of image}Already many of the heads of the largest statues were gone.{short description of image} and {short description of image}and {short description of image}In addition, the timber frames that originally held the statues in place against the wall had rotted. Many could not be completely cleared as removal of supporting sand would cause immediate collapse. Sometimes ropes were used as temporary supports during the filming. Attempting to remove them was out of the question. Stein managed only to bring back pieces that had already been detached from their original statues.
All the statues represented Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Between the huge statues were smaller figures representing attendants and saints. There were also numerous stucco plaques of halos and small painted frescos. Most of the original painting had disappeared. Stein noted also that the damage had been caused by natural erosion and not by human destruction, indicating to him that the entire site was long abandoned and buried in sand before the Moslem invasion. Stein was able to uncover 91 giant statues plus numerous small relievos along the relatively short sections of wall he could excavate, about 300 linear feet. {short description of image}and {short description of image}and {short description of image}and {short description of image}He was indeed busy, personally supervising every aspect of the excavation while also photographing it and writing detailed descriptions and measurements as he went along, and all the while contending with sand in eyes, throat and lungs plus heat and glare. In the supervision work he was aided by Ram Singh and Turdi, but still had to do most of the detailed work. {short description of image}and {short description of image}and {short description of image}and {short description of image} He defers detailed descriptions to the official report, providing in this book only a summary. Among the items illustrated and mentioned here he selected a seated Buddha with halo and larger standing statues behind with Bodhisattvas and Arhats. The entrance gate was flanked by two large statues representing the Dvarapalas (guardians of the gates) which are typical in Indian places. The art work resembles that of north-west India in the Graeco-Buddhist sculptures of the Peshawar valley. (Now Pakistan).
Stein started for Khotan on 19 April after completely refilling his trenches and burying the walls once again.


Chapter XXXI - Islam Akhun and his Forgeries

Stein remained for 8 days in Khotan busy with preparations for shipping everything to London. The chapter contains his humorous encounter with Islam Akhun, the notorious forger. {short description of image}In his encounters Stein shows himself also to be an excellent prosecuting attorney. Stein enjoyed his accommodations at Nar-Bagh in the northern suburb. He immediately paid a formal visit to Pan-Darin at the Yamen. As always, the visit was returned next day at which time Stein could show off some of the results of his efforts. Despite the considerable limitations of his interpreter, Stein was able to describe the paleography and receive in return the Amban's written lesson on changes in Chinese characters through the centuries. The Amban did raise a question brought on by inquiries from the Fu-tai at headquarters in Urumchi about why Stein was removing so much historical material to London. Stein succeed in at least disarming the issue by promising to send full text and photographs from London to which the Amban insisted that he also receive a copy.

Stein describes in full (in a very enjoyable read) his dealing with Islam Akhun and the background relating to the years in which this clever fellow had started out selling a few hand made fakes in 1895 and then upon finding such a ready market had created a regular factory to turn them out in quantity. Stein showed him copies of his own work and previous statements reproduced in European scholarly periodicals. This amazed and thrilled the forger, but proved his undoing as he had convicted himself of perjury as well as forgery. Having proved his initial disagreement with fellow European 'experts, Stein was willing to forgo pressing charges to the local Chinese officials so Akhun went free. Stein was amused when the forger promptly turned up with a petition to him asking to be taken to Europe.


Chapter XXXII - Last Days in Khotan Oasis

Stein made his last visit, the parting one, to the Yamen on 17 April. He was genuinely sorry to bid farewell to the gentleman, Pan-Darin, who had become his friend and scholarly associate. On the 18th he departed Nar-Bagh, having already sent all the heavy baggage ahead with Ram Singh to Yarkand. His final local act was to distribute medicines and silver or gold to the many locals who had been tasked with rendering assistance. First stop was at Yoktan to see the spring cultivation in progress. And to the south he marveled at the appearance of the mountains he had surveyed the past November. On 29 April he rode on to Kara-kash where he found his intrepid 'darogha' Islam Beg now appointed to the Begship. Islam and Badruddin Khan followed Stein west to the edge of Khotan oasis through Bizin. {short description of image}It was the local market day for Bizin. Stein marveled at the heavy traffic of merchants on the road with him. Stein was informed about the routine.{short description of image} There were seven main bazars - Old and New Khotan, Yurung-kash, Sampula, Iman Musa Kasim, Bizin and Kara-kash each not to far from the others. So the merchants organized things to have the market day in each on a different day and then the traders could move their wares and equipment from one to the next each day. These included many foreigners; Kabulis, Bajauris, men from Baluchistan, Andijanis, Kashmiris, Afghans and more. Badruddin Khan knew them all and described their entire personalities and operations. Stein remained overnight in Kara-kash with Islam Beg, busy with anthropological examinations of the many varieties of individuals he could assemble and recording information about local conditions from Islam. On 30 April Stein made a detour to see Kara-dobe (the black mound) another well-known tati. Again, the ground here for a mile around was covered with potsherds by a brick mound. He reached Zawa for overnight camping. Next day there he parted from Turdi with much sadness and with Niza Akhun with much less concern. But Islam Beg and Badruddin Khan insisted on continuing on to Tarbugaz. Stein felt an urge to again offer corn to the sacred pigeons as he passed their shrine for all the success he had achieved, far beyond even what he had hoped for.


Chapter XXXIII - From Khotan to London

Six more days of rapid riding brought Stein to Yarkand where his caravan had already arrived. There he paid his accounts. Three more days brought him back to Kashgar and the welcome home of Mr. Macartney. {short description of image}The Government of India had successfully arranged with the Imperial Russian government for Stein's passage with all his archeological finds through Russia via the Trans-Caspian railroad. He managed to sell the camels and ponies at small discount from the purchase price. The artifacts were repacked in 12 boxes for the journey over the mountains and through Russia and on to London. All the survey equipment and other official material and Stein's fox terrier were sent back to India with Ram Singh and Jasvant Singh. Stein also had the opportunity to meet M. Petrovsky, the Imperial Russian Consul-General and Huang-Kung-tai the Tao-tai of Kashgar. Both officials worked hard to secure Stein's travels. He departed Kashgar on 29 May, 1901 across the Alai mountains for Osh {short description of image}in Farghana, accompanied by his cook, Sadak Akhun, and 8 ponies with their pony men. He hurried along, completing the usual 18-day trip in 10. At the Russian frontier post, Irkeshtam, he was welcomed by M. Dochenko, the Cossack garrison commander. The Terek pass still being closed by snow, he had to detour over the Taun-murum Pass at 12,000 feet and then the Taldik Pass. {short description of image}Then it was down the Gulcha River valley for three days past Kirghiz hamlets and families on the move to summer grazing valleys.{short description of image} He reached the fertile Farghana valley on 7 June and into Osh. Colonel Zaytseff, the district chief along with his entourage of Ming-bashis and Kirghiz headmen, welcomed Stein. There he left Sadak Akhun and sold his camp tent and gear. Next stop was Andijan, the railroad terminus. From there travel would be by rail and steamer and nights would be in regular hotels or official houses. He departed Andijan on 11 June by rail with short stops to visit Margilan and Samarkand and then at Merv. {short description of image}From the rail at Krasnowodsk he transferred to ship across to Baku and then back to rail through Petrovsk, Rostov, Podwoliczyska, Cracow, Berlin to London, where he arrived on July 2nd.


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