Gaochang

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Gaochang
قئارئاهوجئا
高昌
Turpan-gaochang-d10.jpg
The Buddhist stupa of Gaochang ruins.
Gaochang is located in Xinjiang
Gaochang
Shown within Xinjiang
Location Xinjiang, China
Coordinates 42°51′10″N 89°31′45″E / 42.85278°N 89.52917°E / 42.85278; 89.52917Coordinates: 42°51′10″N 89°31′45″E / 42.85278°N 89.52917°E / 42.85278; 89.52917
Type Settlement
Site notes
Condition In ruins

Gaochang (Chinese: ; pinyin: Gāochāng), also called Qara-hoja or Kara-Khoja (قاراھوجا in Uyghur), is the site of an ancient oasis city built on the northern rim of the inhospitable Taklamakan Desert in Xinjiang, China. The site is also known in published reports as Chotscho, Khocho, Qocho, or Qočo. During the Yuan and Ming dynasties, Gaochang was referred to as "Halahezhuo" () (Qara-khoja) and Huozhou.

A busy trading center, it was a stopping point for merchant traders traveling on the Silk Road. It was destroyed in wars during the 14th century, and old palace ruins and inside and outside cities can still be seen today. The ruins are located 30 km southeast of modern Turpan.[1] Nearby Gaochang is the site of the Astana tombs.

History[edit]

Gaochang's location (close to Turpan) on the Silk Road.

Gaochang is located in present-day Xinjiang Province, 30 km from Turpan. The archaeological remains are just outside the town at a place originally called Idykut-schari or Idikutschari by local residents (see the work of Albert Grünwedel in the external links below). Artistic monuments of the city have been published by Albert von Le Coq. Gaochang was considered in some sources as a "Chinese colony".[2][3]

Jushi Kingdom and Chinese commandery[edit]

The earliest people living in this area were the Yuezhi (Yushi). The region around Turfan was described during the Han dynasty as being occupied by the Jushi people, while control over the region swayed between the Chinese and the Xiongnu.

Gaochang was built in the 1st century BC, it was an important site along the Silk Road. It played a key role as a transportation hub in western China. The Jushi kingdom invited the Chinese Han dynasty to take over, and pledged their allegiance. In 327, the Gaochang commandery was created by the Former Liang under the Han Chinese ruler Zhang Gui, set up a military colony/garrison, and organized the land into multiple divisions. Chinese colonists from the Hexi region and the central plains also settled in the region.[4]

After the fall of the Western Jin Dynasty, northern China split into multiple states, including the Central Asian oases.[5] Gaochang was ruled by the Former Liang, Former Qin, and Northern Liang as part of a commandery. In 383 The General Lu Guang of the Former Qin seized control of the region.[6] In 439, remnants of the Northern Liang fled to Gaochang led by Juqu Wuhui and Juqu Anzhou where they would hold onto power until 460 when they were conquered by the Rouran (Avars).[7]

Rouran, Gaoche, Göktürks and the Gaochang ruling families[edit]

Manichaean priests, writing at their desks. Manuscript from Qocho. 8th/9th century

From the mid-5th century until the mid-7th century, there existed four independent kingdoms in the narrow Turpan basin. These are known as the Kan Family, Zhang Family, Ma Family, and Qu family.

A the time of the Rouran conquest, there were more than ten thousand Han Chinese households in Gaochang.[8] The Rouran (Avars), whose base was in Mongolia, appointed a Han Chinese named Kan Bozhou to rule as the King of Gaochang in 460, and Gaochang became a separate vassal kingdom of the Rouran Khaganate.[9] Kan was dependent on Rouran backing.[10] Yicheng and Shougui were the last two kings of the Chinese Kan family to rule Gaochang.

At this time the Gaoche () was rising to challenge power of the Rouran in the Tarim Basin. The Gaoche king Afuzhiluo () killed King Kan Shougui, who was the nephew of Kan Bozhou.[2][11] and appointed a Han from Dunhuang, named Zhang Mengming (張孟明), as his own vassal King of Gaochang.[12][13] Gaochang thus passed under Gaoche rule.

Later, Zhang Mengming was killed in an uprising by the people of Gaochang and replaced by Ma Ru (). In 501, Ma Ru himself was overthrown and killed, and the people of Gaochang appointed Qu Jia () of Jincheng (in Gansu) as their king. Qu Jia hailed from the Zhong district of Jincheng commandery (金城, roughly corresponding to modern day Lanzhou, Gansu)[11] Qu Jia at first pledged allegiance to the Rouran, but the Rouran khaghan was soon killed by the Gaoche, and he had to submit to Gaoche overlordship. During Qu rule, powerful families estbalished marriage ties with each other and dominated the kingdom, they included the Zhang, Fan, Yin, Ma, Shi, and Xin families. Later, when the Göktürks emerged as the supreme power in the region, the Qu dynasty of Gaochang became vassals of the Göktürks.[14]

While the material civilization of Kucha to its west in this period remained chiefly Indo-Iranian in character, in Goachang it gradually merged into the Tang aesthetics.[15] In 607 the ruler of Gaochang Qu Boya paid tribute to the Sui Dynasty, but his attempt at sinicization provoked a coup which overthrew the Qu ruler.[16] The Qu family was restored six years later, and the successor Qu Wentai welcomed the Tang pilgrim Xuanzang with great enthusiasm in 629 AD.[15]

Wall painting from a Nestorian Christian church, Qocho 683–770 CE

Tang rule[edit]

However, fearing Tang expansion, Qu Wentai later formed an alliance with the Western Turks and rebelled against Tang suzerainty. Emperor Taizong sent an army led by General Hou Junji against the kingdom in 640, and Qu Wentai apparently died of shock at news of the approaching army.[15] Gaochang was annexed by the Chinese Tang dynasty and turned into a sub-prefecture of Xizhou (西州), and the seat of government of Anxi (安西).[14][15] Before the Chinese conquered Gaochang, it was an impediment to Chinese access to Tarim and Transoxiania.[17]

Under the Tang rule, Gaochang was inhabited by Chinese, Sogdians, and natives.

Tang dynasty became greatly weakened due to the An Lushan Rebellion, and in 755, the Chinese were forced to pull back their soldiers from the region. The area was first taken by the Tibetans, then finally by the Uyghurs in 803, who called the area Kocho (Qocho).

Uyghur princesses, cave 9, wall painting from Bezeklik caves.

Uyghur Kingdom of Qocho[edit]

After 840 it then became occupied by Uyghurs fleeing Kirghiz invasion of their land.[18] The Uyghurs established the Kingdom of Qocho (Kara-Khoja) in 850. The inhabitants of Qocho practiced Buddhism, Manichaeism and Nestorian Christianity. The Uyghurs converted to Buddhism and sponsored building of temple caves in the nearby Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves where depictions of Uyghur sponsors may be seen. The Buddisht Uyghur kings, who called themselves idiquts, retained their nomadic lifestyle, residing in Qocho during the winter, but moved to the cooler Bishbalik near Urumchi in the summer.[19]

Qocho later became a vassal state of the Kara-Khitans. However, In 1209, the idiqut Barchuq offered Genghis Khan the suzerainty of his kingdom, and went personally to Genghis Khan with a sizeable tribute when demanded in 1211.[20] The Uyghurs thus went into the service of the Mongols,[19] who later formed the Yuan Dynasty in China. The Uyghurs became bureaucrats (semu) of the Mongol Empire and their Uyghur script was modified for Mongolian. As far south as Quanzhou, preponderance of Gaochang Uyghur in Nestorian Christian inscriptions of the Yuan period attests to their importance in the Christian community there.[21]

The Gaochang area was sieged by the Mongols of the Chagatai Khanate (not part of Yuan Dynasty) from 1275 to 1318 by as many as 120,000 troops.

Buddhism[edit]

Buddhism spread to China from India along the northern branch of the Silk Road predominantly in the 4th and 5th centuries as the Liang rulers were buddhists.[22] The building of Buddhist grottos probably began during this period. There are clusters close to Gaochang, the largest being the Bezeklik grottos.[1]

Goachang ruling families[edit]

Rulers of the Kan Family[edit]

Temple names Family names and given name Durations of reigns Era names and their according durations
Chinese convention: use family name and given name
Did not exist 闞伯周 Kàn Bózhōu 460-477 Did not exist
Did not exist 闞義成 Kàn Yìchéng 477-478 Did not exist
Did not exist 闞首歸 Kàn Shǒugūi 478-488?
or
478-491?
Did not exist

Rulers of the Zhang Family[edit]

Temple names Family names and given name Durations of reigns Era names and their according durations
Chinese convention: use family name and given name
Did not exist 張孟明 Zhāng Mèngmíng 488?-496
or
491?-496
Did not exist

Rulers of the Ma Family[edit]

Temple names Family names and given name Durations of reigns Era names and their according durations
Chinese convention: use family name and given name
Did not exist 馬儒 Mǎ Rú 496-501 Did not exist

Rulers of the Qu Family[edit]

Temple names Family names and given name Durations of reigns Era names and their according durations
Chinese convention: use family name and given name
Did not exist 麴嘉 Qú Jiā 501-525
Did not exist 麴光 Qú Guāng 525-530 Ganlu (甘露 Gānlù) 525-530
Did not exist 麴坚 Qú Jiān 530-548 Zhanghe (章和 Zhānghé) 531-548
Did not exist 麴玄喜 Qú Xuánxǐ 549-550 Yongping (永平 Yǒngpíng) 549-550
Did not exist unnamed son of Qu Xuanxi 551-554 Heping (和平 Hépíng) 551-554
Did not exist 麴宝茂 Qú Bǎomào 555-560 Jianchang (建昌 Jiànchāng) 555-560
Did not exist 麴乾固 Qú Qiángù 560-601 Yanchang (延昌 Yánchāng) 561-601
Did not exist 麴伯雅 Qú Bóyǎ 601-613
619-623
Yanhe (延和 Yánhé) 602-613

Zhongguang (重光 Zhòngguāng) 620-623
Did not exist unnamed usurper 613-619 Yihe (Yìhé 義和) 614-619
Did not exist 麴文泰 Qú Wéntài 623-640 Yanshou (延壽 Yánshòu) 624-640
Did not exist 麴智盛 Qú Zhìshèng 640 did not exist

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b "The Silk Road". ess.uci.edu. Retrieved 2007-09-21. 
  2. ^ a b Louis-Frédéric (1977). Encyclopaedia of Asian civilizations, Volume 3. the University of Michigan: L. Frédéric. p. 16. Retrieved May 17, 2011. 
  3. ^ Jacques Gernet (1996). A history of Chinese civilization. Cambridge University Press. p. 253. ISBN 0-521-49781-7. Retrieved 2011 17 May. 
  4. ^ Ahmad Hasan Dani, ed. (1999). History of civilizations of Central Asia, Volume 3. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. p. 304. ISBN 81-208-1540-8. Retrieved May 17, 2011. 
  5. ^ Jacques Gernet (1996). A history of Chinese civilization. Cambridge University Press. p. 186. ISBN 0-521-49781-7. Retrieved 2011 17 May. 
  6. ^ Society for the Study of Chinese Religions (U.S.), Indiana University, Bloomington. East Asian Studies Center (2002). Journal of Chinese religions, Issues 30-31. the University of California: Society for the Study of Chinese Religions. p. 24. Retrieved May 17, 2011. 
  7. ^ Jacques Gernet (1996). A history of Chinese civilization. Cambridge University Press. p. 200. ISBN 0-521-49781-7. Retrieved 2011 17 May. 
  8. ^ Ahmad Hasan Dani, ed. (1999). History of civilizations of Central Asia, Volume 3. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. p. 305. ISBN 81-208-1540-8. Retrieved May 17, 2011. 
  9. ^ Tatsurō Yamamoto, ed. (1984). Proceedings of the Thirty-First International Congress of Human Sciences in Asia and North Africa, Tokyo-Kyoto, 31st August-7th September 1983, Volume 2. Indiana University: Tōhō Gakkai. p. 997. Retrieved May 17, 2011. 
  10. ^ Albert E. Dien, Jeffrey K. Riegel, Nancy Thompson Price (1985). Albert E. Dien, Jeffrey K. Riegel, Nancy Thompson Price, ed. Chinese archaeological abstracts: post Han. Volume 4 of Chinese Archaeological Abstracts. the University of Michigan: Institute of Archaeology, University of California, Los Angeles. p. 1567. ISBN 0-917956-54-0. Retrieved May 17, 2011. 
  11. ^ a b ROY ANDREW MILLER, ed. (1959). Accounts of Western Nations in the History of the Northern Chou Dynasty. Berkeley and Los Angeles: UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA PRESS. p. 5. Retrieved May 17, 2011. East Asia Studies Institute of International Studies University of California CHINESE DYNASTIC HISTORIES TRANSLATIONS No. 6
  12. ^ Ahmad Hasan Dani, ed. (1999). History of civilizations of Central Asia, Volume 3. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. p. 306. ISBN 81-208-1540-8. Retrieved May 17, 2011. 
  13. ^ Tōyō Bunko (Japan). Kenkyūbu (1974). Memoirs of the Research Department of the Toyo Bunko (the Oriental Library), Volumes 32-34. the University of Michigan: The Toyo Bunko. p. 107. Retrieved May 17, 2011. 
  14. ^ a b Chang Kuan-ta (1996). Boris Anatol'evich Litvinskiĭ, Zhang, Guang-da, R. Shabani Samghabadi, ed. The crossroads of civilizations: A.D. 250 to 750. UNESCO. p. 306. ISBN 92-3-103211-9. Retrieved May 17, 2011. 
  15. ^ a b c d Rene Grousset (1991). The Empire of the Steppes:A History of Central Asia. Rutgers University Press. pp. 98–99. ISBN 0813513049. 
  16. ^ Jacques Gernet (1996). A history of Chinese civilization. Cambridge University Press. p. 253. ISBN 0-521-49781-7. Retrieved June 6, 2012. 
  17. ^ Jacques Gernet (1996). A history of Chinese civilization. Cambridge University Press. p. 238. ISBN 0-521-49781-7. Retrieved 2011 17 May. 
  18. ^ Susan Whitfield, British Library (2004). The Silk Road: trade, travel, war and faith (illustrated ed.). Serindia Publications, Inc. p. 309. ISBN 1-932476-13-X. Retrieved May 17, 2011. 
  19. ^ a b Svatopluk Soucek (2000). "Chapter 4 - The Uighur Kingdom of Qocho". A history of Inner Asia. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-65704-0. 
  20. ^ Biran, Michal. (2005). The Empire of the Qara Khitai in Eurasian History: Between China and the Islamic World. Cambridge University Press. p. 75. ISBN 0-521-84226-3. 
  21. ^ The Stones of Zayton speak, China Heritage Newsletter, No. 5, March 2006
  22. ^ 北凉且渠安周造寺碑

External links[edit]