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Section 1



Section 2



Section 3
fragrant concubine



local communities
   

 

In the vast desert area between the southern foot of Tianshan Mountains and the eastern Kunlun Mountain Ranges there is a well -known arid land, which is far from the seas and which seems to take its place willingly and self -sustainingly on the map. The colouful ancient Silk Road, went past the land like a snake, leaving something like the skin of the snake hanging on the map. The oases along the edge of the great desert look like mildewy spots on which there scatter some black dots, which are oasis towns. Of them Kashgar is the most visible and attractive. On the map, it is the black dots that look more powerful than the plain spots. Some one said, "One can see through the inside of many cities, but one can not see through the blurred eyes of Kashgar" And it looks as if the town had been living in a dreamland. For, Kashgar has given the impression that it is indulged in the memories of its past and cares little about the time it exists now and is indifferent to new things and. new spirits of the modern time. Id Kah Mosque, famous in Central Asia, is the symbol of the town as well as the very place where the dreamland starts For it stands significantly in the\' square with its dignity, opposing a big department -store, as if two opposite forces exist, facing to each other in the same time and same space. Kashgar is a city with a long-standing history. Inthe" Western Regions Section of the History of Han Dynasty", it was recorded as " Shule" . WhenZhangqian, According to some ancient Persian records, Shule had become a city earlierthanthetimeoftheWesternHanDynasty, andithadbelongedto theTribeUnionof"Turan"Aroundthe 200B.C., itdevelopedintoalarge one of 36 kingdoms of the Western Regions. " The History of the Han ~ty"recordedtbat" there asa.Ki rrul cilyof Shule, and vehundred and ten, the population undred and forty seven. "
The Immortal UY8ur Lon8 Poem The lIappiness and Wisdom

In the time of Karakhan Khanate with Kashgar as it centre, as the religious war came to an end, t~e Khanate and
Kashgar were both prosperous and peaceful. Kashgar attracted a large number of scholars and students from the
western Khanate and Central Asia to it to learn for scholarly knowledge or for official ranks. Of them was Ajhi Yusup,a young man born and brought up in an old and well -known family at Barashagun. He was born in the year of
1018 and in Kashgar he studied at "Khantemedlis" (the Khanate Islamism College), later he became a teacher there.
From 1069 -1070, he spent 18 months completing a long narrative poem: " The Happiness and Wisdom",
with 85 chapters ( with three additional chapters) 13290 lines. This great work turned him to be a great poet, scholar
and thinker. Now his Mausoleum is at Kashgar, which is a famous historical and cultural site of the city.
Com ig to Kashgar in 1929 was like coming from the present to the Middle Ages, like comign to a setting for A Thousand and One Nights. There were no cars, 110 motorcycles, not even a bicycle. No electric lights illuminated the dark, narrow passges in the bazaar districts. There were no newspapers, no printde books-scribes sat crosslegged and copied manuscripts in neat Atabic charac-ters. The water carrier walked around with his heavy load of water contained in a sheep or goat skin. Dyers hung their sheins of yarn on rods on top of the flat roofed mud houses. Their section of the bazaars was painted blue, yellow, red, and mauve, and those cheerful colors were repeated in the clothes they wore. People of all nationalities teemed inside the narrow alleys. There were Turks, Tajiks, Chinese, The rich and the aristocrats rode through the throng on stately horses with beautifully embroidered saddle blankets. Those who were less well off rode on mules, and the poor people, who were the majority, walked. In the beginning I was fascinated by the mules. They are the most patient ani mals in the world. In the Kashgar bazaars, one could see them heavily loaded with full sacks on both sides and with their ~wner sitting on top holding one or two of his children. There was no necessity for a bridle, the owner sat there, and with a stick in his hand, directed his mule through the throng. To make the mule go to the left or to the right, he tapped it lightly on the ears. To increase speed, the mule received a thorough lashing on its hindquarters. Mules have an a-mazing capacity to sneak through gaps in the traffic, and they are just as famous for their sudden stops from which no power in the world can make them budge. According to tradition, this is the result of wh at happened to mules.Comig to Kashgar in 1929 was like coming from the present to the Middle Ages, like comign to a setting for A Thousand and One Nights. There were no cars, no motorcycles, not even a bicycle. No electric lights illuminated the dark, narrow passges in the bazaar districts. There were no newspapers~ no printde books-scribes sat crosslegged and copied manuscripts in neat Atabic charac-ters. The water carrier walked around with his heavy load of water contained in a sheep or goat skin. Dyers hung their sheins of yarn on rods on top of the flat roofed mud houses. Their section of the bazaars was painted bhre, yellow~ red, and mauve, and those cheedul colors were repeated in the clothes they wore. People of all nationalities teemed inside the narrow alleys. There were Tur'ks, Tajik.s, Ghiriese, The rich and the aristocrats rode through the throng on stately horses with beautifully embroidered saddle blankets. Those who were less well off rode on mules, and the poor peop'le, who were the majority~ walked. In the beginning I was fascinated by the mules. They are the most patient animals in the world. In the Kashgar bazaars, one could see them heavily loaded with full sacks on both sides and with their o.wner sitting on top holding one or two of his children. There was no necessity for a bridle, the owner sat there, and with a stick in his hand, directed his mule through the throng. To make the mule go to the left or to the right, he tapped it lightly on the ears. To increase speed, the mule received a thorough lashing on its hindquarters. Mules have an a-mazing capacity to sneak through gaps in the traffic, and they are just as famous for their sudden stops from which no power in the world can make them together with all the other animals, were to board Noah's Ark. The devil, who was not allowed to board, jumped up and hid under the tail of the mule. The mule became aware of this. Therefore, when its tum came to board, it refused, since it was an honest animal. Noah tried to hurry the mule, but it didn ' t budge. Noah took a hold of the mule's ears and pulled. It didn't help. The ears just became longer andlonger-that ' s why they have such long ears, Kashgar bazaar people believed. Finally, Noah understood that something was not right. He walked around the mule, picked up its tail, and took away the well-hidden devil. Freed from its ungodly and uncomfortable burden, the mule walked on board proudly with its newly acquired long ears. Apparently this experience with the devil and his cunning is still today the reason that mules sometimes stop short and refuse to budge.
In those days the city of Kashgar was surrounded by a massive wall about ten meters high and built of sun-dried brick with mud filling in the spaces be-tween. On top it was wide enough for a two-wheeled cart. Communication with the outside world was through four great gates which were closed at dusk and reopened at sunrise. Inside the walls were bazaars, the large mosques, and dwellings for both rich and poor. The Chinese authorities were outside the walls, as were the British and Russin consulates, and the Swedish missin with its hospital and other welfare establish-ments. Outside there was green nature, sunshine and light; inside it was always half dark. Nowhere in the world can one today find such a well-developed Islamic medieval society as Kashgar was in those days. For a long time there were some in Afghanistan, but even there they have had to give way to the assault of modem times. Unfortunately, there exists no satisfactory description of the old Kashgar. There are no descriptions of the bazaars and of the organization of life around them. I am very sorry now that I did not devote more time while there to their mysteries. My excuse is that my studies of the Turkic languages took all my time. But I do still have some notes from its atmosphere of A Thousand and One Nights.
The bazaar was completely covered. The alleys had roofs made of poplar trunks covered with branches, twigs and grass. The sun could not get through and it was comfortably cool during the hottest part of summer when the tem-perature rose to forty degrees centigrade in the shade. I can see an alley in my mind. It was half dark, but here and there the sun came through a gap in the roof . In this slantign ray you could see bluish smoke-smoke from the fireplaces of food markets, of artisans' workshops, from tobacco and hashish pipes. This smoke was mixed with all sorts of olfactory sensations, combining into a fra-grance that I would recognize immediately were I to meet it again anywhere in hte world. It is quite interesting, by the way, to realize how much the memory of a scent can help in making identifications. The smoke and scent from a fire of poplar logs makes me think of Kashgar still today. There were shops on both sides of the bazaar alley. The proprietors sat crosslegged on carpets on the floor and waited for customers to come They made no effort to solicit which was the prerogative of the itinerant street vendors and beneath the shop proprietors' station. There were no fixed prices. A look at the customer and a certain amount of psychological cunning as to his economic resouces and his general gullibility determined the size of the first bid . This was followed by a period of bargaining, an increasingly animated form of art for both parties. Every craft and every trade had its own area in the bazaar. Inside the fabrics and carpets bazaar, there reigned a hushed quiet, very much in contrast with the noise at the coppersmit ' s. White turbaned Thrks in loose coats moved about with dignified calm. From time to time you could glimpse a black veiled woman. Women were not allowed to go outsied without this veil. Observance of orthodox Islamic religious laws was strict. The fabric and carpet bazaars were areas of calm and comfort, not at all places for quick deals. At that time you could still find examples of ancient East Turkistan textile products-embroidered fabrics or carpets from Khotan, Yarkend, or Kashgar. However, the imported textiles from Tashkent and other Soviet textile centers were already taking over. Those new fabrics had flowery patterns and glaring colors. Today they dominate the market and are no longer imported fro m the Soviet Union, but manufactured in Kashgar' s own textile plants. In those days one could make real finds of older rugs that had not been spoiled by the use of modern aniline dyes. The past el lustre of their colors was that of the old plant dyes. You could n e~ er complete the purchase of a rug during the course of one day . It took a long time-a few weeks, or preferably a whole month. You went from shop to shop, sat down and discussed, admired the quality or showed your disapproval, you had tea, ate melon. Within the bazaars there was a special section, the so-called Khotan seraglio, where they sold rugs mostly made in Khot an, a city further east in Sinkiang, on the southern Silk Route. The Khotan rugs were then, as now, famous for their quality and for their patterns. There was the well-known pomegranate pat-tern, in deep blues and clear reds. You could also find rugs influenced by Chinese design, both for their patterns and their dyes. Sometimes you could find very rare Kinghiz rugs. They were woven up in the mountains by Kirghiz nomads and were characterized by symmetrical patterns and stro ng red and blue dyes. The food bazaars were in a special section, and they were a collection of simple restaurants and open kitchens where you could buy ready-to-eat food. Master cooks offered all sorts of tempting dishes, meat grilled on a spit, or cut up in cubes, cooked rice and fragrant pilaf, delici ous pastries. There was everything the Uighur kitchen could offer and all of the accomplishments of Chinese cooking art. The poor and the beggars sneaked through the fragrant fumes and watched their fellow human beings fill their stomachs. However, almsgiving is a part of Islamic ideology, and I believe that this precept was followed more generously in the food bazaars than in other places. The meat bazaars were of course close to the food bazaars. They were the butchers' bazaars, and erveything smelled of mutton and tallow, a raw and rank odor. Pork was strictly forbidden in this Islamic environment. Only the Chi-nese were ungodl y enough to eat pork. The word for pig. tonguz, was here in the bazaar and everywhere else a strong and often used invective. The butchers' bazaars with their odor of dead ani mal bodies must have-without my realizing it-impressed me very much. Still today, I have night-mares from time to time influenced by Kashgar' s meat bazaars. I dream that I am walkign through a long bazaar alley. There are bunches of grapes hanging from the ceiling ( this often was the case, so it is not my imagination) . In the begin-ning, rays of light come in through the poplar branch ceiling, but then it gets darker and darker. Suddenly I am in the butchers' bazaar. The shops on both sides are filled with bloody pieces of meat, whole bodies of sheep. The alley dirt floor is slippery; I try to get away from this sight and from the acrid odor of dead meat . I turn to the right into another alley, which becomes more and more narrow, and I get to the coppersmiths' section with its deafening noise, try to get out from there and come into another narrow alley, which gradually gets even more narrow. Then I walk through new sections with new goods and new alleys which get more and more narrow all the time, so that there is hardly enough room for me to move-and then suddenly I find myself in front of a wall. I have no recourse except to go all the way back, and faced with that unpleasant prospect I choose to let the dream end. Going to the bazaars toward evening was a strange experi-ence. Especially if it was during the fasting month of Ramazan. As soon sa it got dark, the orthodox practitioners were allowed to eat, thus ending their long day of abstinence. Oil lamps spread their flickering unsure light over all that moved in the alleys. You could hear music coming from the hous-es-perhaps the brittle sound from a two-stringed dutar, often accompanied by song. They were Uighur folk songs, sung in a high, shrillvoice and with suddenstops, hardly attractive to European ears. They were always connected with the sound of dutars and the atmosphere of Ramazan. You got used to this music after a while, and even learned to appreciate it. The men sat cross-legged in the tea houses, drank their brick tea, and discussed the happenings of the day. There were no women to be seen. They.had their own place, and it was not in the public arean. At 9: OOP. M., you heard the boom from a couple of cannon shots, That was the signal for the closing of the city gates. Those who lived outside but had not made it out were forced to spend the night inside Kashgar' s massive protecting walls. One part of the old town was different. It was the so-called Andijan dis-trict. It had been named after the city of Andijan in the Soviet republic of Uzbekistan, which was at that time the city where Soviet export to Sinkiang riginaled. The Andijan di strict had no bazaars. There were no covered al-levs. The merchants had built brick houses in Russian stvle, often with two stories. You could buy all sorts of European wares there, most of it of rus-sian origin, but often also Indian things. This was a sign that a new age was on its way and that Kashgar would soon be modernized. But for the time being, it was no more than an indication. In general, people were completely unacquainted with the benefits of modern culture. All incomprehensible technical things were called shaitan, something that was connected with the devil. A Chinese man had taken a bicycle to Kashgar once. The people had called it shaitan arbasi, " the devil' s cart. " When the itinerant book and antique salesman Roze akhon for the first time listened to my phonograph, he called it shaitan naghmasi , " devil music. " More freely translated" one could say"the devil' s voice. "In the Andijan district you could buy Rus-sian matches. But in 1929 most of the people used a sort of homemade sulphur-match. One end of a poplar shaving was dipped in sulphur. They were mostly used for the purpose of " borrowing" fire from a neighbor, or from some other kindly person. The Kirghiz up in the mountains still used the age-old system of striking fire with a flint stone. The tinder was often kept in beautifully decorated leather pouches, the bottom of which was made of the steelband needed for the striking. The Andijan district was Kashgar' s modern section. It pointed toward a future which was at the door, but it was a door which would not open before Mao' s transformation of China.