A report on Xinjiang and Silk Road

Woven silk textile from Tomb No. 1 at Mawangdui, Changsha, Hunan province, China, dated to the Western Han Era, 2nd century BCE
Dzungaria (Red) and the Tarim Basin or Altishahr (Blue)
Chinese jade and steatite plaques, in the Scythian-style animal art of the steppes. 4th–3rd century BCE. British Museum.
Northern Xinjiang (Junggar Basin) (Yellow), Eastern Xinjiang- Turpan Depression (Turpan Prefecture and Hami Prefecture) (Red) and Altishahr/the Tarim Basin (Blue)
Achaemenid Persian Empire at its greatest extent, showing the Royal Road.
Physical map showing the separation of Dzungaria and the Tarim Basin (Altishahr) by the Tien Shan Mountains
Soldier with a centaur in the Sampul tapestry, wool wall hanging, 3rd–2nd century BCE, Xinjiang Museum, Urumqi, Xinjiang, China.
Map of Han Dynasty in 2 CE. Light blue is the Tarim Basin protectorate.
A ceramic horse head and neck (broken from the body), from the Chinese Eastern Han dynasty (1st–2nd century CE)
Old Uyghur/Yugur art from the Bezeklik murals
Bronze coin of Constantius II (337–361), found in Karghalik, Xinjiang, China
The Tarim Basin in the 3rd century AD
The Silk Road transmission of Buddhism: Mahayana Buddhism first entered the Chinese Empire (Han dynasty) during the Kushan Era. The overland and maritime "Silk Roads" were interlinked and complementary, forming what scholars have called the "great circle of Buddhism".
A Sogdian man on a Bactrian camel. Sancai ceramic statuette, Tang dynasty
Central Asia during Roman times, with the first Silk Road
Mongol states from the 14th to the 17th centuries: the Northern Yuan dynasty, Four Oirat, Moghulistan and Kara Del
A Westerner on a camel, Northern Wei dynasty (386–534)
The Dzungar–Qing Wars, between the Qing Dynasty and the Dzungar Khanate
Map showing Byzantium along with the other major silk road powers during China's Southern dynasties period of fragmentation.
The Battle of Oroi-Jalatu in 1756, between the Manchu and Oirat armies
Coin of Constans II (r. 641–648), who is named in Chinese sources as the first of several Byzantine emperors to send embassies to the Chinese Tang dynasty
The Qing Empire ca. 1820
A Chinese sancai statue of a Sogdian man with a wineskin, Tang dynasty (618–907)
Scene from the 1828 Qing campaign against rebels in Altishahr
The empires and city-states of the Horn of Africa, such as the Axumites were important trading partners in the ancient Silk Road.
Yakub Beg, ruler of Yettishar
After the Tang defeated the Gokturks, they reopened the Silk Road to the west.
19th-century Khotan Uyghurs in Yettishar
Marco Polo's caravan on the Silk Road, 1380
Kuomintang in Xinjiang, 1942
Map of Eurasia and Africa showing trade networks, c. 870
Governor Sheng Shicai ruled from 1933 to 1944.
The Round city of Baghdad between 767 and 912 was the most important urban node along the Silk Road.
The Soviet-backed Second East Turkestan Republic encompassed Xinjiang's Ili, Tarbagatay and Altay districts.
A lion motif on Sogdian polychrome silk, 8th century, most likely from Bukhara
Close to Karakoram Highway in Xinjiang.
Yuan Dynasty era Celadon vase from Mogadishu.
Pamir Mountains and Muztagh Ata.
Map of Marco Polo's travels in 1271–1295
Taklamakan Desert
Port cities on the maritime silk route featured on the voyages of Zheng He.
Tianchi Lake
Plan of the Silk Road with its maritime branch
Black Irtysh river in Burqin County is a famous spot for sightseeing.
Yangshan Port of Shanghai, China
Kanas Lake
Port of Trieste
Largest cities and towns of Xinjiang
Trans-Eurasia Logistics
Statue of Mao Zedong in Kashgar
The Silk Road in the 1st century
Nur Bekri, Chairman of the Xinjiang Government between 2007 and 2015
The Nestorian Stele, created in 781, describes the introduction of Nestorian Christianity to China
The distribution map of Xinjiang's GDP per person (2011)
Fragment of a wall painting depicting Buddha from a stupa in Miran along the Silk Road (200AD - 400AD)
Ürümqi is a major industrial center within Xinjiang.
A blue-eyed Central Asian monk teaching an East-Asian monk, Bezeklik, Turfan, eastern Tarim Basin, China, 9th century; the monk on the right is possibly Tocharian, although more likely Sogdian.
Wind farm in Xinjiang
Bilingual edict (Greek and Aramaic) by Indian Buddhist King Ashoka, 3rd century BCE; see Edicts of Ashoka, from Kandahar. This edict advocates the adoption of "godliness" using the Greek term Eusebeia for Dharma. Kabul Museum.
Sunday market in Khotan
A statue depicting Buddha giving a sermon, from Sarnath, 3000 km southwest of Urumqi, Xinjiang, 8th century
Ürümqi Diwopu International Airport
Iconographical evolution of the Wind God. Left: Greek Wind God from Hadda, 2nd century. Middle: Wind God from Kizil, Tarim Basin, 7th century. Right: Japanese Wind God Fujin, 17th century.
Karakorum highway
Caravanserai of Sa'd al-Saltaneh
This flag (Kök Bayraq) has become a symbol of the East Turkestan independence movement.
Sultanhani caravanserai
"Heroic Gesture of Bodhisattvathe Bodhisattva", example of 6th-7th-century terracotta Greco-Buddhist art (local populations were Buddhist) from Tumxuk, Xinjiang
Shaki Caravanserai, Shaki, Azerbaijan
Sogdian donors to the Buddha, 8th century fresco (with detail), Bezeklik, Eastern Tarim Basin
Two-Storeyed Caravanserai, Baku, Azerbaijan
A mosque in Ürümqi
Bridge in Ani, capital of medieval Armenia
People engaging in snow sports by a statue of bodhisattva Guanyin in Wujiaqu
Taldyk pass
Christian Church in Hami
Medieval fortress of Amul, Turkmenabat, Turkmenistan
Catholic Church in Urumqi
Zeinodin Caravanserai
Temple of the Great Buddha in Midong, Ürümqi
Sogdian man on a Bactrian camel, sancai ceramic glaze, Chinese Tang dynasty (618–907)
Taoist Temple of Fortune and Longevity at the Heavenly Lake of Tianshan in Fukang, Changji Hui Autonomous Prefecture
The ruins of a Han dynasty (206 BCE – 220 CE) Chinese watchtower made of rammed earth at Dunhuang, Gansu province
Emin Minaret
A late Zhou or early Han Chinese bronze mirror inlaid with glass, perhaps incorporated Greco-Roman artistic patterns
Id Kah mosque in Kashgar, largest mosque in China
A Chinese Western Han dynasty (202 BCE – 9 CE) bronze rhinoceros with gold and silver inlay
Erkin Tuniyaz, the incumbent Chairman of the Xinjiang Government
Han dynasty Granary west of Dunhuang on the Silk Road.
Green Roman glass cup unearthed from an Eastern Han dynasty (25–220 CE) tomb, Guangxi, southern China

The most well-known route of the historic Silk Road ran through the territory from the east to its northwestern border.

- Xinjiang

The southern stretches of the Silk Road, from Khotan (Xinjiang) to Eastern China, were first used for jade and not silk, as long as 5000 BCE, and is still in use for this purpose.

- Silk Road

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The Tarim Basin is the oval-shaped desert in Central Asia.

Tarim Basin

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Endorheic basin in Northwest China occupying an area of about 888,000 km2 and one of the largest basins in Northwest China.

Endorheic basin in Northwest China occupying an area of about 888,000 km2 and one of the largest basins in Northwest China.

The Tarim Basin is the oval-shaped desert in Central Asia.
Physical map showing the separation of Dzungaria and the Tarim Basin (Taklamakan) by the Tien Shan Mountains
Tarim basin ancient boats; they were used for burials
NASA landsat photo of the Tarim Basin
The Tarim Basin, 2008
Tarim Basin in the 3rd century
Tarim mummies, found in westernmost Xinjiang, within the Tarim Basin.
Fragmentary painting on silk of a woman playing the go boardgame, from the Astana Cemetery, Gaochang, c. 744 AD, during the late period of Tang Chinese rule (just before the An Lushan Rebellion)
Map of Taizong's campaigns against the Tarim Basin oasis states, allies of the Western Turks.
A document from Khotan written in Khotanese Saka, part of the Eastern Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages, listing the animals of the Chinese zodiac in the cycle of predictions for people born in that year; ink on paper, early 9th century
Uyghur princes from the Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves near Turpan, Kingdom of Qocho, 8th-9th centuries
An Islamic cemetery outside the Afaq Khoja Mausoleum in Kashgar
Subashi Buddhist temple ruins
Northern Xinjiang (Dzungar Basin) (yellow), Eastern Xinjiang - Turpan Depression (Turpan Prefecture and Hami Prefecture) (red), and the Tarim Basin (blue)
Uyghurs in Khotan
Fresco, with Hellenistic influences, from a stupa shrine, Miran
Painting of a Christian woman, Khocho (Gaochang), early period of Chinese Tang rule, 602–654 AD

Located in China's Xinjiang region, it is sometimes used synonymously to refer to the southern half of the province, or Nanjiang, as opposed to the northern half of the province known as Dzungaria or Beijiang.

Recent research with help of GIS database have provided a fine-grained analysis of the ancient oasis of Niya on the Silk Road.

Uyghurs

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The Uyghurs ( or ), alternatively spelled Uighurs, Uygurs or Uigurs, are a Turkic ethnic group originating from and culturally affiliated with the general region of Central and East Asia.

The Uyghurs ( or ), alternatively spelled Uighurs, Uygurs or Uigurs, are a Turkic ethnic group originating from and culturally affiliated with the general region of Central and East Asia.

A Uyghur girde naan baker
Uyghur man in traditional clothing, playing a tambur, a traditional Uyghur instrument.
A possible Tocharian or Sogdian monk (left) with an East Asian Buddhist monk (right). A fresco from the Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves, dated to the 9th or 10th century (Kara-Khoja Kingdom).
Uyghur hunter in Kashgar
Uyghur schoolchildren in Kashgar (2011)
Uyghur princes from Cave 9 of the Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves, Xinjiang, China, 8th–9th century AD, wall painting
An 8th-century Uyghur Khagan
Uyghur Khaganate in geopolitical context c. 820 AD
Chagatai Khanate (Moghulistan) in 1490
Ethnolinguistic map of Xinjiang in 1967
Map showing the distribution of ethnicities in Xinjiang according to census figures from 2000, the prefectures with Uyghur majorities are in blue.
Protesters Amsterdam with the Flag of East Turkestan
A Uyghur mosque in Khotan
Map of language families in Xinjiang
Leaf from an Uyghur-Manichaean version of the ‘‘Arzhang’’.
Uyghur Meshrep musicians in Yarkand
Wall painting at Bezeklik caves in Flaming Mountains, Turpan Depression.
Xinjiang carpet factory
Uyghur polu (پولۇ, полу)
Doppa Maker, traditional Uyghur hats, Kashgar
A Uyghur man having his head shaved in a bazaar. Shaving of head is now seen mostly among the older generation.
Uyghur girl in clothing made of fabric with design distinctive to the Uyghurs
Uyghur women on their way to work, Kashgar. 2011

The Uyghurs are recognized as native to the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in Northwest China.

During the late-19th and early-20th centuries, scientific and archaeological expeditions to the region of Xinjiang's Silk Road discovered numerous cave temples, monastery ruins, and wall paintings, as well as miniatures, books, and documents.

Hotan

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Kanishka's Empire (2nd century AD) including Khotan
Bronze coin of Kujula Kadphises found in Khotan.
Khotan Melikawat ruins
Khotan in the Tibetan Empire
Map of Central Asia (1878) showing Khotan (near top right corner) and the Sanju Pass, Hindutash, and Ilchi passes through the Kunlun Mountains to Leh, Ladakh. The previous border of the British Indian Empire is shown in the two-toned purple and pink band.
A mosque in Hotan
Amban Ch´ê Ta-jên's guests festing on a terrace in Nar-Bagh, 1912
Chinese troops at Khotan, 1915
Collecting jade in the White Jade River near Hotan in 2011
Map of Hotan (labeled as HO-TIEN (HO-T'IEN) (KHOTAN)) and surrounding region from the International Map of the World (USATC, 1971)
Locals at a busy Hotan market
Light coloured or "Mutton fat" jade for sale at Hotan Jade Market
Silk weaving in Hotan
Khotanese silks on display in shop.
Entrance to the Khotan Jade Market Center
Market in Hotan
Uyghur people at Sunday market
Carpet weaving in Hotan
Silk weaving in Hotan
Entrance to the Hotan Cultural Museum
Local jade displayed in the Hotan Cultural Museum lobby.
Map of the region including Khotan (Ilchi) (1893)
Map including Hotan (Ho-t'ien, Khotan) (DMA, 1983)
Ambassador from Khotan (于闐國 Yutian) to the Tang dynasty, in Wanghuitu (王會圖) circa 650 CE.

Hotan (also known as Gosthana, Gaustana, Godana, Godaniya, Khotan, Hetian, Hotien) is a major oasis town in southwestern Xinjiang, an autonomous region in Western China.

An important station on the southern branch of the historic Silk Road, Hotan has always depended on two strong rivers—the Karakash River and the White Jade River to provide the water needed to survive on the southwestern edge of the vast Taklamakan Desert.

Kashgar

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Kashgar in the Kushan Empire under Kanishka the Great
Camels traversing the old silk road in 1992
The Chinese Tang dynasty during its greatest extension, controlling large parts of Central Asia.
Mosque entrance in old Kashgar
Kashgar road scene, 1870s
Kashgar (c. 1759)
Kalmyk Archer, Kashgar Army in the 1870s
Night interview with Yakub Beg, King of Kashgaria, 1868
A view of the City of Kashgar in 1915
Colonel Mannerheim at the Russian Consulate in Kashgar, 1906
Sign marking previous Russian Consulate in Kashgar
Map of Kashgar (labeled as SU-FU (KASHGAR)) and surrounding region from the International Map of the World (1966)
Map including Kashgar (labeled as Kashi K'a-shih (Kashgar)) (DMA, 1983)
Cafe built on site of old British Consulate-General. Kashgar. 2011
Kashgari Musicians in 1915
Kashgar market
Woman on motorcycle. Kashgar. 2011
Uyghur family with two calves for sale at Kashgar market.
Kashgar's Sunday market.
Kashgar Airport
Kashgar railway station
Map of the region including Kashgar (1893)
thumb|Downtown Kashgar. 2011
Id Kah Mosque
Kashgar minaret at night
The tomb of Afaq Khoja
Mosque next to the tomb of Afaq Khoja.
Mao statue in the city square of Kashgar.
An old Kashgar city street.

Kashgar (قەشقەر) or Kashi is an oasis city in the Tarim Basin region of Southern Xinjiang.

With a population of over 500,000, Kashgar has served as a trading post and strategically important city on the Silk Road between China, the Middle East and Europe for over 2,000 years, making it one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the World.

Circa 210 BC, the Yuezhi resided to the northwest of Qin China.

Yuezhi

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Ancient people first described in Chinese histories as nomadic pastoralists living in an arid grassland area in the western part of the modern Chinese province of Gansu, during the 1st millennium BC. After a major defeat at the hands of the Xiongnu in 176 BC, the Yuezhi split into two groups migrating in different directions: the Greater Yuezhi and Lesser Yuezhi (Xiǎo Yuèzhī 小月氏).

Ancient people first described in Chinese histories as nomadic pastoralists living in an arid grassland area in the western part of the modern Chinese province of Gansu, during the 1st millennium BC. After a major defeat at the hands of the Xiongnu in 176 BC, the Yuezhi split into two groups migrating in different directions: the Greater Yuezhi and Lesser Yuezhi (Xiǎo Yuèzhī 小月氏).

Circa 210 BC, the Yuezhi resided to the northwest of Qin China.
artifacts were sinicized
Figures in one of the embroidered carpets of the Xiongnu Noin-Ula burial site, a luxury item probably imported from Bactria. They are thought to represent Yuezhis. 1st century BC - 1st century AD.
A later mural (c. 618–712 AD) from the Mogao Caves, depicting the Chinese mission of Zhang Qian to the Yuezhi in 126 BC.
Watershed of the Oxus River (modern Amu Darya)
A dagger excavated in Tillya Tepe.
The first self-declared Kushan ruler Heraios (1–30 AD) in Greco-Bactrian style Obv: Bust of Heraios, with Greek royal headband. Rev: Horse-mounted King, crowned with a wreath by the Greek goddess of victory Nike. Greek legend: TVPANNOVOTOΣ HΛOV – ΣΛNΛB – KOÞÞANOY "The Tyrant Heraios, Sanav (meaning unknown), of the Kushans"
Possible Yuezhi king and attendants, Gandhara stone palette, 1st century AD
Buddhist art c. 300 AD, depicting (left to right) a Kushan lay Buddhist, Maitreya, Buddha, Avalokitesvara, and a Kushan Buddhist monk.
Yuezhi horseman on the coinage of Heraios.
Nomadic figure, typically with a long nose, on a Bactrian camel. Southern Ningxia, 4th century BC.<ref>{{cite book |last1=Bunker |first1=Emma C. |title=Nomadic Art of the Eastern Eurasian Steppes: The Eugene V. Thaw and Other Notable New York Collections |date=2002 |publisher=Metropolitan Museum of Art |pages=120–121, item 92 |url=https://archive.org/details/NomadicArtoftheEasternEurasianSteppesTheEugeneVThawandOtherNotableNewYorkCollection/page/n133/mode/2up |language=English}}</ref>
Harness ornament in the shape of a coiled wolf, characteristic of nomadic artifacts of southern Ningxia and southeastern Gansu, 5th-4th century BC.<ref>{{cite book |last1=Bunker |first1=Emma C. |title=Nomadic Art of the Eastern Eurasian Steppes: The Eugene V. Thaw and Other Notable New York Collections |date=2002 |publisher=Metropolitan Museum of Art |page=45, item 7 |url=https://archive.org/details/NomadicArtoftheEasternEurasianSteppesTheEugeneVThawandOtherNotableNewYorkCollection/page/n59/mode/2up |language=English}}</ref>
Belt plaque in the shape of a standing wolf, characteristic of nomadic artifacts of southern Ningxia and southeastern Gansu, and related to the Scythian styles of Pazyryk. 4th century BC.<ref>{{cite book |last1=Bunker |first1=Emma C. |title=Nomadic Art of the Eastern Eurasian Steppes: The Eugene V. Thaw and Other Notable New York Collections |date=2002 |publisher=Metropolitan Museum of Art |page=122, item 94 |url=https://archive.org/details/NomadicArtoftheEasternEurasianSteppesTheEugeneVThawandOtherNotableNewYorkCollection/page/n137/mode/2up |language=English}}</ref>

The Kushanas played an important role in the development of trade on the Silk Road and the introduction of Buddhism to China.

They have thus placed the original homeland of the Yuezhi 1,000 km further northwest in the grasslands to the north of the Tian Shan (in the northern part of modern Xinjiang).

Central Asia

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Subregion of Asia that stretches from the Caspian Sea in the west to China and Mongolia in the east, and from Afghanistan and Iran in the south to Russia in the north.

Subregion of Asia that stretches from the Caspian Sea in the west to China and Mongolia in the east, and from Afghanistan and Iran in the south to Russia in the north.

Expanded definition of Central Asia. Core definition that includes the five post-Soviet states in dark green. Afghanistan, the most commonly added country to Central Asia, in green.
Three sets of possible boundaries for the Central Asia region (which overlap with conceptions of South and East Asia).
On the southern shore of Issyk Kul lake, Issyk Kul Region.
Central Asia map of Köppen climate classification.
Iranian-speaking people circa 170 BC. Eastern Iranian languages are in orange, Western Iranian languages are in red.
Uzbek men from Khiva, ca. 1861–1880
The Chinese Tang dynasty at its greatest extension, controlling large parts of Central Asia.
The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, 1979
Mosque in Petropavlovsk, Kazakhstan
Saadi Shirazi is welcomed by a youth from Kashgar during a forum in Bukhara.
Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi in Hazrat-e Turkestan, Kazakhstan. Timurid architecture consisted of Persian art.
Kazakh man on a horse with golden eagle
GDP growth trends in Central Asia, 2000–2013. Source: UNESCO Science Report: towards 2030 (2015), Figure 14.1
GDP in Central Asia by economic sector, 2005 and 2013. Source: UNESCO Science Report: towards 2030, Figure 14.2
GDP per capita development in Central Asia, since 1973
Trends in research expenditure in Central Asia, as a percentage of GDP, 2001–2013. Source: UNESCO Science Report: 2030 (2015), Figure 14.3
Central Asian researchers by sector of employment (HC), 2013. Source: UNESCO Science Report: towards 2030 (2015), Figure 14.5
Central Asian researchers by field of science, 2013. Source: UNESCO Science Report: towards 2030 (2015), Figure 14.4
Scientific publications from Central Asia catalogued by Thomson Reuters' Web of Science, Science Citation Index Expanded, 2005–2014, UNESCO Science Report: towards 2030 (2015), Figure 14.6
Cumulative total of articles by Central Asians between 2008 and 2013, by field of science. Source: UNESCO Science Report: towards 2030 (2015), Figure 14.6
Ethnic map of Central Asia.
White areas are thinly-populated semi-desert.
The three northwest-tending lines are the Syr Darya and Amu Darya Rivers flowing from the eastern mountains into the Aral Sea and in the south the irrigated north side of the Kopet Dagh mountains.
Uzbek children in Samarkand
Children in Afghanistan
Tartar prostrating before Qianlong Emperor of China (1757).
Political cartoon from the period of the Great Game showing the Afghan Amir Sher Ali with his "friends" Imperial Russia and the United Kingdom (1878)
Islam Karimov (President, Uzbekistan) in the Pentagon, March 2002

Central Asia was historically closely tied to the Silk Road trade routes, acting as a crossroads for the movement of people, goods, and ideas between Europe and the Far East.

The Russian geographer Nikolaĭ Khanykov questioned the latitudinal definition of Central Asia and preferred a physical one of all countries located in the region landlocked from water, including Afghanistan, Khorasan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uyghuristan (Xinjiang), and Uzbekistan.

Domain and influence of Xiongnu under Modu Chanyu around 205 BC

Xiongnu

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The Xiongnu were a tribal confederation of nomadic peoples who, according to ancient Chinese sources, inhabited the eastern Eurasian Steppe from the 3rd century BC to the late 1st century AD. Chinese sources report that Modu Chanyu, the supreme leader after 209 BC, founded the Xiongnu Empire.

The Xiongnu were a tribal confederation of nomadic peoples who, according to ancient Chinese sources, inhabited the eastern Eurasian Steppe from the 3rd century BC to the late 1st century AD. Chinese sources report that Modu Chanyu, the supreme leader after 209 BC, founded the Xiongnu Empire.

Domain and influence of Xiongnu under Modu Chanyu around 205 BC
Asia in 200 BC, showing the early Xiongnu state and its neighbors
Plaque in the shape of a grazing kulan (wild ass), 2nd–1st century BC, Northwest China, Xiongnu culture.
A traveling nomad family led by a man in belted jacket and trousers, pulling a nomadic cart. Belt Buckle, Mongolia or southern Siberia, dated to 2nd-1st century BC (Xiongnu period).
The Han dynasty world order in AD 2.
Xiongnu among other people in Asia around 1 AD.
Bronze seal of a Xiongnu chief, conferred by the Eastern Han government. Inscribed 漢匈奴/歸義親/漢長 ("The Chief of the Han Xiongnu, who have returned to righteousness and embraced the Han"). Seal, impression, and transcription in standard characters.
Belt hook depicting an animal fight, Xiongnu, 200-100 BC, bronze. Östasiatiska museet, Stockholm.
Southern and Northern Xiongnu in 200 AD, before the collapse of the Han Dynasty.
Xiongnu cauldron, Eastern Han
Location of Xiongnu and other steppe nations in 300 AD.
An embroidered rug from the Xiongnu Noin-Ula burial site. This luxury item was imported from Bactria, and is thought to represent Yuezhi figures.
Belt plaque in the shape of a kneeling horse, 3rd-1st century BCE, gilded silver, made in North China for Xiongnu patrons.
Belt Buckle, 2nd-1st century BCE, Xiongnu. Another naturalistic belt buckle made to the Xiongnu taste, showing a mounted warrior frontally, holding a dagger and grabbing the hair of a demon who is also attacked by a dog. Also appears a nomadic cart pulled by reindeers, and another dog on top of the cart.
Xiongnu Leather Robe, Han period, Henan Provincial Museum, Zhengzhou
Xiongnu bow
Belt plaque with design of wrestling men, Ordos region and western part of North China, 2nd century BC, bronze - Ethnological Museum, Berlin.
Belt buckle with three Ibexes, 2nd-1st century BC, Xiongnu. Chinese foundries made bronze belt plaques to the taste of the Xiongnu, who preferred designs of real animals in naturalistic settings. These plaques have typically been excavated in Xiongnu tombs of the 1st century BC.
Belt buckle with animal combat scene, 2nd-1st century BCE, made in North China for the Xiongnu. These plates were inspired by the art of the steppes, but the design was flattened and compressed within the frame.
Belt Buckle with nomadic-inspired zoomorphic design, manufactured in China for the Xiongnu. Mercury-gilded bronze (a Chinese technique). North China, 3rd-2nd century BC.
2nd century BC – 2nd century AD characters of Xiongnu-Xianbei script (Mongolia and Inner Mongolia).{{sfn|Ishjamts|1996|p=166, Fig 5}}
2nd century BC – 2nd century AD, characters of Xiongnu-Xianbei script (Mongolia and Inner Mongolia).{{sfn|Ishjamts|1996|p=166, Fig 5}}
"Pastoralist expansion into Mongolia ca. 3000 BCE, and by the Late Bronze Age, Mongolian populations were biogeographically structured into three distinct groups, all practicing dairy pastoralism regardless of ancestry. The Xiongnu emerged from the mixing of these populations and those from surrounding regions".
Uniparental haplogroup assignments by group and sex-bias "z" scores of Xiongnu.

The Xiongnu were also active in areas now part of Siberia, Inner Mongolia, Gansu and Xinjiang.

Ban Chao, Protector General (都護; Duhu) of the Han dynasty, embarked with an army of 70,000 soldiers in a campaign against the Xiongnu remnants who were harassing the trade route now known as the Silk Road.

Tarim Basin in the 3rd century

Kucha

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Tarim Basin in the 3rd century
Tarim Basin in the 3rd century
Location of Kucha within Xinjiang with the county of Kucha in pink and the prefecture of Aksu in yellow
Kuchean monks and lay devotees circa 300 CE, in the paintings of the Cave of the Hippocampi (Cave 118), Kizil Caves.
The "Peacock Cave", in the Kizil Caves near Kucha, built circa 400 CE.
Kucha ambassador at the Chinese court of Emperor Yuan of Liang in his capital Jingzhou in 516–520 CE, with explanatory text. Portraits of Periodical Offering of Liang, 11th century Song copy.
Royal family of the oasis city-state of Kucha (King, Queen and young Princes), Cave 17, Kizil Caves. Circa 500 CE, Hermitage Museum.
Dali coins founded in Kucha
Bust of a bodhisattva from Kucha, 6th-7th century. Guimet Museum.
Wooden plate with inscription in a Tocharian language. Kucha, 5th-8th century. Tokyo National Museum.
A "Han Gui bilingual Wu Zhu coin" (漢龜二體五銖錢) produced by the Kingdom of Kucha with both a Chinese and what is presumed to be a Kuśiññe inscription.
King Suvarnapushpa of Kucha, from Cave 69, Kizil Caves.

Kucha, or Kuche (also: Kuçar, Kuchar; كۇچار, Кучар; also ; कूचीन), was an ancient Buddhist kingdom located on the branch of the Silk Road that ran along the northern edge of what is now the Taklamakan Desert in the Tarim Basin and south of the Muzat River.

The area lies in present-day Aksu Prefecture, Xinjiang, China; Kuqa town is the county seat of that prefecture's Kuqa County.

The empire during the reign of Wu Zetian, circa 700

Tang dynasty

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Imperial dynasty of China that ruled from 618 to 907 AD, with an interregnum between 690 and 705.

Imperial dynasty of China that ruled from 618 to 907 AD, with an interregnum between 690 and 705.

The empire during the reign of Wu Zetian, circa 700
Portrait painting of Emperor Gaozu (born Li Yuan, 566–635), the first Tang Emperor.
Empress Wu (Wu Zetian), the sole officially recognized empress regnant of China in more than two millennia. She first ruled through her husband and sons for almost three decades, then became emperor herself and ruled in her own right for another fifteen years.
Map of An Lushan Rebellion
The Leshan Giant Buddha, 71 m high; begun in 713, completed in 803
Nanchan Temple (Wutai), built during the late 8th century
Xumi Pagoda, built in 636
A late Tang mural commemorating the victory of General Zhang Yichao over the Tibetans in 848 AD, from Mogao cave 156
Emperor Xuanzong of Tang wearing the robes and hat of a scholar
Tang tomb figure of an official dressed in Hanfu, with a tall hat, wide-sleeved belted outer garment, and rectangular "kerchief" in front. A white inner gown hangs over his square shoes. He holds a tablet to his chest, a report to his superiors.
Civil service exam candidates gather around the wall where results had been posted. Artwork by Qiu Ying.
Emperor Xuanzong of Tang giving audience to Zhang Guo, by Ren Renfa (1254–1327)
Emperor Taizong (r. 626–649) receives Gar Tongtsen Yülsung, ambassador of the Tibetan Empire, at his court; later copy of an original painted in 641 by Yan Liben (600–673)
The Chinese Tang dynasty during its greatest extension, controlling large parts of Central Asia.
Chinese officer of the Guard of Honour. Tomb of Princess Chang-le (长乐公主墓), Zhao Mausoleum, Shaanxi province. Tang Zhenguan year 17, i.e. 644 CE
A 10th-century mural painting in the Mogao Caves at Dunhuang showing monastic architecture from Mount Wutai, Tang dynasty; Japanese architecture of this period was influenced by Tang Chinese architecture
Tomb figure of mounted warrior similar to the one unearthed from the tomb of Crown Prince Li Chongrun
Tomb guardian (wushi yong), early 8th century
A bas relief of a soldier and the emperor's horse, Autumn Dew, with elaborate saddle and stirrups, designed by Yan Liben, from the tomb of Emperor Taizong c. 650
Illustration of Byzantine embassy to Tang Taizong 643 CE
Tang dynasty Kai Yuan Tong Bao (開元通寳) coin, first minted in 621 in Chang'an, a model for the Japanese 8th-century Wadōkaichin
Sancai glazed horse tomb figure
Tomb figure of a horse with a carefully sculpted saddle, decorated with leather straps and ornamental fastenings featuring eight-petalled flowers and apricot leaves.
A contract from the Tang dynasty that records the purchase of a 15-year-old slave for six bolts of plain silk and five Chinese coins. Found in the Astana Cemetery in Turfan.
Tomb Figure of a Sogdian merchant, 7th-century
A mural depicting a corner tower, most likely one of Chang'an, from the tomb of Prince Yide (d. 701) at the Qianling Mausoleum, dated 706
Map of Chang'an in Tang Dynasty
The bronze Jingyun Bell cast 711, height 247 cm high, weight 6,500 kg, now in the Xi'an Bell Tower
A Tang dynasty era copy of the preface to the Lantingji Xu poems composed at the Orchid Pavilion Gathering, originally attributed to Wang Xizhi (303–361 AD) of the Jin dynasty
A poem by Li Bai (701–762 AD), the only surviving example of Li Bai's calligraphy, housed in the Palace Museum in Beijing.
Calligraphy of Emperor Taizong on a Tang stele
A Tang dynasty sculpture of a Bodhisattva
An 8th-century silk wall scroll from Dunhuang, showing the paradise of Amitabha
A timber hall built in 857, located at the Buddhist Foguang Temple of Mount Wutai, Shanxi
A Tang sancai-glazed carved relief showing horseback riders playing polo
A late Tang or early Five Dynasties era silk painting on a banner depicting Guanyin and a female attendant in silk robes, from the Dunhuang caves, now in the British Museum
Palace ladies in a garden from a mural of Prince Li Xian's tomb in the Qianling Mausoleum, where Wu Zetian was also buried in 706
Tang era gilt-gold bowl with lotus and animal motifs
A Tang sancai-glazed lobed dish with incised decorations, 8th century
Tomb figure of a lady attendant, 7th- to 8th-century; during the Tang era, female hosts prepared feasts, tea parties, and played drinking games with their guests.
A rounded "offering plate" with design in "three colors" (sancai) glaze, 8th-century
A page of Lu Yu's The Classic of Tea
A square bronze mirror with a phoenix motif of gold and silver inlaid with lacquer, 8th-century
The Diamond Sutra, printed in 868, is the world's first widely printed book to include a specific date of printing.
The Dunhuang map, a star map showing the North Polar region. c. 700. The whole set of star maps contains over 1,300 stars.
"Great Tang" (Dà Táng) in seal characters.
A Tang Dynasty sancai statuette of Sogdian musicians riding on a Bactrian camel, 723 AD, Xi'an.

From its numerous subjects, the dynasty raised professional and conscripted armies of hundreds of thousands of troops to contend with nomadic powers for control of Inner Asia and the lucrative trade-routes along the Silk Road.

In fact, it was during this rebellion that the Tang withdrew its western garrisons stationed in what is now Gansu and Qinghai, which the Tibetans then occupied along with the territory of what is now Xinjiang.

Settlements, 3rd century AD.

Taklamakan Desert

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Settlements, 3rd century AD.
Taklamakan by NASA World Wind
Desert life near Yarkand
Sand Dunes captured by NASA's Landsat-7
Map including the Taklamakan Desert (1917)
The Molcha (Moleqie) River forms a vast alluvial fan at the southern border of the Taklamakan Desert, as it leaves the Altyn-Tagh mountains and enters the desert in the western part of the Qiemo County. The left side appears blue from water flowing in many streams. The picture is taken in May, when the river is full with the snow/glacier meltwater.

The Taklamakan Desert (, Xiao'erjing: تَاكْلامَاقًا شَاموْ, ; تەكلىماكان قۇملۇقى, Täklimakan qumluqi; also spelled Taklimakan and Teklimakan) is a desert in Southwestern Xinjiang in Northwest China.

It is crossed at its northern and at its southern edge by two branches of the Silk Road, by which travellers sought to avoid the arid wasteland.