The Jushi (Chinese: 車師; pinyin: Jūshī), or Gushi (Chinese: 姑師; pinyin: Gūshī), were a people who established a kingdom during the 1st millennium BC in the Turpan basin (modern Xinjiang, China). The kingdom included the area of Ayding Lake, in the eastern Tian Shan range. During the late 2nd and early 1st century BC, the area was increasingly dominated by the Han Dynasty and the northern neighbours of the Jushi, the Xiongnu, and became one of the many minor states of the Western Regions of Han dynasty China. The Jushi capital (Jiaohe, later known as Yarkhoto, and Yarghul) was destroyed in a Mongol attack in the 13th century.
According to J. P. Mallory and Victor H. Mair, the earliest accounts of the Jushi report them to have "lived in tents, followed the grasses and waters, and had considerable knowledge of agriculture. They owned cattle, horses, camels, sheep and goats. They were proficient with bows and arrows".
In or about 60 BC, the Han—ruled at the time by Emperor Xuan—defeated Xiongnu forces at the Battle of Jushi, during the Han–Xiongnu War. Afterwards the main part of the Jushi lands was divided into two states: a southern area controlled by the Han, who referred to it as “Nearer Jushi” (or "Anterior Jushi"), and a northern area known to the Han as “Further Jushi" (or "Posterior Jushi") that was dominated by the Xiongnu. Nearer Jushi was administered by the Han from a capital at Jiaohe (16 kilometres west of the site of modern Turpan). The capital of Further Jushi appears to have been called Yuli or Yulai, and was located about 10 km north of Jimasa, 200 km north of Jiaohe. The Jushi never regained their independence.
A 2,700-year-old grave discovered in 2008 at the Yanghai Tombs, an ancient cemetery (54,000 m2 in area), has been attributed to the Jushi or a precursor culture. The remains belonged probably to an shaman. Near the shaman's head and foot were a large leather basket and wooden bowl filled with 789 grams of dried cannabis, superbly preserved by climatic and burial conditions. An international team demonstrated that this material contained tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive component of cannabis. The cannabis was clearly "cultivated for psychoactive purposes," rather than as fibre for clothing or as food. It may have been employed as a medicinal agent, or an aid to divination. This is the oldest known use of cannabis as a pharmacological agent. The extremely dry conditions and alkaline soil acted as preservatives, allowing a team of scientists to carefully analyze the stash, which still looked green though it had lost its distinctive odour.
- Jan Romgard, “Ancient Human Settlements in Xinjiang and the Early Silk Road Trade” Sino-Platonic Papers, 185 (November, 2008)[permanent dead link]
- Mallory, J. P.; Mair, Victor H. (2000). The Tarim Mummies: Ancient China and the Mystery of the Earliest Peoples from the West. London: Thames & Hudson. pp. 143–144. ISBN 9780500051016.
- Fan Ye , Chronicle on the 'Western Regions' from the Hou Hanshu. (transl. John E. Hill), 2011] "Based on a report by General Ban Yong to Emperor An (107–125 CE) near the end of his reign, with a few later additions." (20 December 2015)
- Russo, Ethan B.; et al. (2008). "Phytochemical and genetic analyses of ancient cannabis from Central Asia". Journal of Experimental Botany. 59 (15): 4171–4182. doi:10.1093/jxb/ern260. PMC 2639026. PMID 19036842.
- Hill, John E. (2009) Through the Jade Gate to Rome: A Study of the Silk Routes during the Later Han Dynasty, 1st to 2nd Centuries CE. BookSurge, Charleston, South Carolina. ISBN 978-1-4392-2134-1.
- Hulsewé, A. F. P. (1979). China in Central Asia: The Early Stage 125 BC – AD 23: an annotated translation of chapters 61 and 96 of the History of the Former Han Dynasty. E. J. Brill, Leiden. ISBN 90-04-05884-2.