The Ancient Kingdoms in Western Regions——Kashi
Kashi area was ruled by Kingdom “Shule” which was once of the ancient kingdoms in the Western Regions during pre-Qin times. During the late Qin and early Han Period, the area was under the jurisdiction of the Huns. In 119B.C., Zhang Qian entered Shule on his mission to connect with the Western Regions. In 60 B.C., the imperial court of the Han Dynasty set up a Western Regions Frontier Command, Kashi was officially incorporated in the Chinese territory as part of the Western Regions. By Tang Dynasty, Kashi had become an important military stronghold, one of the four towns in Anxi of the Western Regions. Due to geographical proximity, Shule came into contact with Buddhism quiter early. According to records in the Book of the Later Han - Western Regions, during the Yuanchu Period(1271 - 1285) of Emperor An of the Eastern Han Dynasty, uncle of the then Shule king Chen Pan was once repatriated to Dayuezhi as hostage. The Yuezhi king built three monasteries in three places for him to stay in different seasons. Chen Pan was converted to worship Buddhism during his stay there. Later when he returned to Shule and became the king, he vigorously promoted Buddhism and enabled its popularization in the kingdom. In 400, when the senior monk Faxian traveled to India he passed Shule. In his book he described the local Buddhist conference.
The unique regional environment of desert oasis and the heavy historical and cultural precipitation formed Kashi’s unique ancient style and traditional district layout, which was very common in Central Asia, West Asia and China’s Western Regions in ancient times, but no longer seen in modern times. As the only existing district bearing typical western region characteristics in ancient times, Kashi’s historic old district offers valuable information for the study of cultural development and evolution of cities in the Western Regions in ancient times and the development history of Xinjiang.
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