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Small Yuezhi : The Gurjars

Tarim Besin

Notes on Central Asian History during 200 BC and its effects on later
history, Role of Yuezhi migration in Ancient History of Central Asia,
settlement of Yuezhi after migration and various theories about
current form of Ancient Yuezhi tribe:

By: Adesh Katariya

Important Note











Yuezhi/Gurjar tribe but scholars are not in position to clarify all

happenings in a series.

In this article, we are trying to compile all

happenings as per their timings. We also would like to clarify that the
material under this article is not a copyright matter and main motive of
this article is, to attract good scholars to discuss and research on the
great Yuezhi/Gurjar Tribe.

Adesh Katariya

Xiao Yuezhi or Small Yuezhi:

It is assumed, that they withdrew a little higher up in the mountains in the region of Tibet and
found a kind of coexistence with the Qiang tribes, already living there and later formed the
kingdom of Nanchao, presently in the Yunnan province and adopted the language of the
Chiang. The Kingdom of Dian was established around Kunming in Yunnan, and the township of
Yizhoujun was established in 109 BC. The Dian Kingdom was built on the east bank of the
Dianchi Lake. There the nobles and the common people, the warriors and the slaves, all were
fond of songs and dances. They showed a vibrant culture that became among the best bronze
cultures of the world. Then Nanchao Kingdom took over Yizhoujun, and made Kunming one of
its capitals.
. The other, aforementioned part of the Yuezhi remained in the area of Lake Hu-Bostan and laid
the foundation of the kingdom of Agni. It is possible that the land originally belonged to the
kingdom of Kuca.

Yuezhi burn graves near Hami - Yuezhi burned their deads

Typical landscape in Gansu - Yuezhi raised horses, it would not be very easy to day, it is too dry.
The moderne landscape seems to be better suited for camels
Note how "Qiang People" described in the classical document "Weilu."
"Section 3 - Qiang tribes

From Dunhuang in the western area of Chou Qiang (insurgent Qiang) in Nanshan Mountains
(South Mountains) and several thousand li against west to Congling (Pamir) are remnants of
Yuezhi and Congzi Qiang (Brown Onions Qiang) - Baima Qiang (White Horse Qiang) - and
Huangniu Qiang (Yellow Ox Qiang)."
Iaroslav Lebedynsky and Victor Mair speculate that some Scythians may also have migrated to
the area of Yunnan in southern China following their expulsion by the Yuezhi in the 2nd century
BCE. Excavations of the prehistoric art of the Dian civilization of Yunnan have revealed hunting
scenes of Caucasoid horsemen in Central Asian clothing. The scenes depicted on these drums
sometimes represent these horsemen practicing hunting. Animal scenes of felines attacking
oxes are also at times reminiscent of Scythian art both in theme and in composition.

A Tangard at Koko Nor and in the Nanshan Mountains

The greek geografer, Ptolemy, who lived in Egypt, knew about a people called "Tha-gouroi",
which was roughly located in the Nanshan Mountains in Qinghai ("The Cambridge History-"
page 152). Ptolemy lived from 90 to 168 AC, and the Xianbei tribe Tuyuhun first established
their kingdom at Koko Nor in 329 AC; Therefore, we must believe that this Tha-gouroi was a
little Yuezhi's territory.

The Yuezhi king Shaka with big nose and royal horse tail hair style.

In notes to the translation of "Weilu" John E. Hill writes: "Little Yuezhi were descendants of the
Yuezhi people, who took refuge in the Qilian Mountains in the early period of Han, when Yuezhi
was attacked by the great Xiongnu leader, Modun, and their main force was driven westward
into Central Asia ", and continued, "In late Han Dynasty time they could apparantly put in the
field around nine thousand armed men, their main centers were the Xi Ning valley and Lianju
Territory (east and west of Koko Nor) in Wuwei, with a few groups in the north of Zhanggye.
See HHS 87/77 , 2899. " de Crespigny (1984), p. 478, n. 15".
Another comment found by John E. Hill: "Xia Hou's Lieutenant Chang Ho crossed Huang Ho (a
river) (late in the year 217 AC) and reached Little Huang Tung's territory east of Koko Nor, the
center of Yuezhi tribe, who had been the main force in the uprising."
So this indicates that it was the Yuezhi, who lived at Koko Nor.

The Kingdom of Tuyuhun at the Koko Nor

However, it is also known that in 329 AC the Tuyuhun Xianbei people created a kingdom,
centered around the salty lake Koko Nor and the Qaidam basin in the northeastern part of the
modern Chinese province of Qinghai. What became of the little Yuezhi people, and how the
country was taken over by Tuyuhun, I do not know.
Maybe they had already left the Tibetan plateau and sought new land to the west, like so many
other people in the Migration Age did. Perhaps little Yuezhi were displaced by the invaders, or
they found a form of coexistence with the Tuyuhun. Maybe they were absorbed by Tuyuhun;
nobody knows. The migration state Tuyuhun around Koko Nor.The appearance of the Xianbei
tribes was commented by the learned Yan Shigu, who worked at the court of the first Tang ruler
Li Shimi. He wrote in a comment in Sima Qins historic work, Shi Ji: "Nowadays, these "Hu"
peoples have green eyes, red beard and their appearance is like bearded monkeys, and they are
originally from this kind."

On the time of Yan Shigu the dominant steppe barbarians were the Xianbei tribes, so it must
have been those, he spoke about.The Tuyuhun people was a branch of the Murong Xianbei
The scriptures from Dunhuang give us some information about Tuyuhun's language.

Stone lion near Dulan in Qinghai made by the Tuyuhun people.

The Dunhuang documents, P. 1283 (in Tibetan), tells of the Qi Dan (See Chapter 17 "Qi Dan
people") people's language: "In the language they (Qi Dan) and Tuyuhun could broadly
communicate with each other." As Tuyuhun was a branch of Murong Xianbei and Qi Dan
descended from Tuoba Xianbei, this indicates that the migration time's Xianbei tribes spoke
very much the same language.
The Xianbei peoples created the Wei Dynasty and many other migration states. Sui and Tang
Dynasty originated from Xianbei people, who had accepted Chinese culture. Their language
must necessarily have had a marked influence on the development of the Chinese language.

And since there are many words in both Danish and Chinese, that are similar and there are
other cultural similarities, this could indicate that the original Xianbei language and culture was
a common source, which has affected both Scandinavian and Chinese culture.

Ancient burial mounds in the Qaidam Basin of Qinghai.

Around the salty Lake Koko Nor and in the Qaidam basin in the northeast of the modern
Chinese province of Qinghai hundreds of traces of ancient burial mounds have been found,
believed to origin from the Tuyuhun. In some of the old documents, which Stein and Pelliot
brought back from Dun Huang, it is said that an "Aza" people still had a foothold around Koko
Nor about 800 to 900 AC. They conducted raids into the Chinese Dun-Huang area, where they
abducted children and young people as slaves or perhaps "thralls" (trlle in danish) (See "Life
Along the Silk Road" page 176). In modern Tibetan slaves are still called "tralpas".
In "The History of Tibet" by Alex Mcay (page 46) he makes the point that it was the royal family,
who called themselves "A-cha'i" (found in Tibetan Literature as "A-sha") and the people were
called "T'u-yu-She", in Tibetan "Thogon", "Tho-Yu-Gon."

Tuyuhun tomb from the Tang Dynasty period in the Qaidam Basin on the Tibetan plateau.

Tuyuhun was a rather mysterious kingdom, as one does not know much about. When the
kingdom was at its greatest extent it covered very near the same area as the later Dan Xiang
kingdom, namely the North Qinghai and parts of the modern provinces of Gansu, Xin Jiang,
Ning Xia and Sichuan. A branch of the Silk Road passed through the Qaidam Basin, and it seems
to have made the Tuyuhun people rather wealthy. Persian and Byzantine coins and hundreds of
remains of silk have been found.
It is said about the A-Zha people: "After many years of war, they were finally defeated by the
Tibetans in 663 AC and never again regained their independence.
"See: Mole (1970), p. 2, 30 and 73, n. 22" (Hill).
The Tuyuhun kingdom lasted for about 300 years. It ceased to exist around 663 AC. Some
sources say it was destroyed by the king of Tibet, others say it was conquered by the King of
Turfan, and still others say it was conquered by the Western Wei.

The high altitude plateau in Qinghai Province.

The nationwide Chinese CCTV 1 Television Channel in cooperation with The Japanese TV
brought an excellent series about the Silk Road. Among was a episode about Qinghai, which
make up the western part of the Tibetan plateau, where the little Yuezhi, Tuyuhun and Aza
once lived.The broadcasting showed the Qinghai plateau, which has an altitude of around 3000
m. The landscape reminds about parts of Iceland, as far as I could see. Completely without
trees, cold, even in the summertime there can fall snow.On the plains are a lot of ancient burial
mounds, all robbed once in the past. They are dug up, and everything has been removed. By
the construction of these mounds large amounts of wood has been used. They are built up in
layers of timber logs and soil.

Logs of cypress used in Tuyuhun burial mounds.

So many parts of Qinghai may in a remote past have been covered by forest. It can be shown,
that for the older graves bigger timber logs had been used than for the younger graves. This
suggests, that big trees were increasingly difficult to find. It complies with the fact that cypress
grows extremely slow. Today the area is absolutely treeless. Some Tuyuhun graves from the
Despite the fact that the graves were robbed, there have been found some things in Qinghai.
The most interesting is some silk carpets produced with the same technique that was used in
the West and what nowadays is called Middle East. The reconstructed silk rug motifs showed an
apparently dark-haired people of European appearance, big noses, eyes, etc.. The subject of the
carpets displays people, who live an active and cheerfull life, they go hunting, drinking and gets
some good dinners. A man is shown throwing up, as if he had got too much to eat and drink.
Many other findings indicate that they had good connections with the West and the Greeks in


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