Page:Mongolia, the Tangut country, and the solitudes of northern Tibet vol 2 (1876).djvu/177

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GUIDES. TEMPLE OF KUMBUM.

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would now have placed within our grasp? A sum of 1,000 lans (275l.) would have sufficed to take us from Koko-nor to Lhassa and thence to Lob-nor, or whither we would.

Although thus obliged to give up all hopes of extending our travels to the capital of Tibet, we determined nevertheless to advance as far as possible, well aware how important to science is every additional footstep in these unknown regions of Asia. We obtained two guides as before from the

Mongol and Tangutan military officials, partly in return for presents, and partly in consequence of the letter of the treasurer of Chobsen to Mur-zasak and of our Peking passport, which specified that two subjects of the Celestial Empire were constantly to be in our service. This paragragh indeed was inserted to provide for the event of our hiring Mongols or Chinese servants, but we were advised to take advantage of it to obtain guides, as we succeeded in doing, to Koko-nor and Tsaidam.

One of the guides whom we hired at Koko-nor had formerly been an officiating lama at the temple of Kumbum,twenty miles south of Si-ning,famed throughout Lamadom as the birthplace of the Buddhist reformer Tsong-kaba, whose sanctity, the Buddhists say, was proved by different miracles. Thus a tree grew up from the place where his swaddling clothes were buried,[1] bearing leaves marked with the Tibetan alphabet; this may still be seen at Kumbum, where it stands in a separate court, the most sacred

  1. His hair according to Huc (II. 113). — Y.