TANGUTANS, OR SI-FAN;
THE TANGUTANS AND DUNGANS.
Tangutan territory — The people — Characteristic traits — Stature; appearance; mode of wearing hair — Kara Tangutans — Language; dress; habitations — Black tents and wooden huts — Occupations — The domesticated Yak — Its different uses — Nomadising habits — Contrast between Mongols and Tangutans — Industry; food; dirt — Tonkir, a trade centre — Avarice — Polite customs — Monogamy — Religion — Government — Dungans or Mahommedan rebels — Their temporary success — Chinese towns fall into their hands — Revolt becomes brigandage — Opportunities neglected — Causes of non-success — Cowardice of rebels and of Chinese — Inefficient weapons — Siege of Chobsen — Commercial relations between belligerents — Measures of Chinese Government — Chinese soldiers — Bad arms — Want of discipline — Opium smoking — Looting — Government defrauded — Desertion — Punishment — Low morals — Mode of fighting — State of Affairs in Kan-su — Chinese take the offensive — Advance on Si-ning — Assault of this town — Marriage of Emperor of China — Siege operations suspended — Cowardice of besieged — Capture of Si-ning and advance westwards — Tangutan vocabulary.
The Tangutans, or the Si-fan as the Chinese call them, are of the same race as the Tibetans. They inhabit the hilly region of Kan-su, Koko-nor, Eastern Tsaidam, and the basin of the Upper Hoang-ho, and are met with as far as the Murui-ussu, and perhaps beyond it. They regard these countries, to which they apply the name of Amdo, as their own peculiar
- The ancestors of the present Tibetans were Tangutans who removed to Tibet from Koko-nor in the fourth century B.C. See Father Hyacinthe's 'Statistical Description of China,' Part II. p. 145.
- I.e. the Tibetan course of the Kin-sha Kiang, which eventually becomes the Great Yangtse-Kiang. — Y.