Page:Mongolia, the Tangut country, and the solitudes of northern Tibet vol 2 (1876).djvu/202

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180

SOURCES OF THE HOANG-HO.

lation whatever.[1] The Mongol name for this region is 'guressu-gadsir,' or 'country of wild beasts,' from the abundance of animals which exist here in a state of nature, and which we shall have occasion to speak of presently.

The group of the Urundushi mountains, from which the Shuga range diverges, rises on the north of the plain of Odon-tala,[2] famous for its springs, and known to the Chinese under the name of Sing-su-hai or 'Starry Sea.' Here are the sources of the celebrated Hoang-ho, only seven days' journey from the point where we crossed the Shuga range, but unfortunately our guide did not know the road. Every year in the month of August the Mongols of Tsaidam make pilgrimages to Odon-tala to offer sacrifices and pray there. Their offerings consist of seven white animals (a yak, a horse, and five sheep) decked with red ribbons and let loose in the mountains. What becomes of them afterwards is not known, but it is not impossible that they are slain by Tangutans or devoured by wolves. About seventy miles to the south of the Shuga range rises a third chain of mountains, called by the Mongols Baian-

  1. With the exception of 500 Tangutans encamped, as the Mongols informed us, in the valley of the Murui-ussu (Blue River), six days' journey from its confluence with the Napchitai-ulan-muren. [Murui-Ussu signifies in Mongol, according to Klaproth as well as Huc, 'Tortuous River.' It is the Bri-chu of the Tibetans, the Brius of Marco Polo, and as already stated the upper stream of the Yangtse. — Y.]
  2. This plain is two days' journey in length; to the south lie the Soloma mountains, forming the eastern part of the Baian-kara-ula range.