Page:Mongolia, the Tangut country, and the solitudes of northern Tibet vol 2 (1876).djvu/90

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TEMPLE OF CHOBSEN:

These are all the observations I could make of this people, of whom we saw little. The Mongols spoke in a disparaging way of their physical and moral qualities, and described their language to be a mixture of Mongol, Chinese, and words of their own.

The temple of Chobsen, which was the starting point of all our subsequent excursions, stands on the northern border of the hilly region which we have mentioned It is forty miles NNE. of Si-ning, in 37° 3′ north latitude, and 100° 58′ east longitude from Greenwich, fixing the latter approximately by existing maps. Its elevation is 8,900 feet above the sea. The temple comprises a principal shrine, surrounded by a mud wall, and a number (perhaps 100) of smaller buildings, which were all destroyed by the Dungans three years before our arrival, the shrine alone, protected by its wall, escaping.

The temple is of brick, in the usual quadrangular

    Vlangali, dated Peking, August 13, 1873, supplies further particulars about the Taldi: 'It is certain that in the last century a colony of Mahommedans, "turban wearers" from the western countries, settled near Si-ning; probably in the course of time they became like the common Dungans, judging from those of the Si-ning Mahommedans who brought rhubarb to Kiakhta. As to the name of Taldi, I suspect that it refers to the general appellation of the emigrants from Taltu, or Tartu (the Chinese reading is uncertain), in the sixteenth century, and originated in the following way: when the inhabitants of Hami were hard pressed by the sultans of Turfan, the Ming Government built them a separate city 400 li from Suh-chau; this city is mentioned in Chinese history under the name of Kuyui-chen (its extensive ruins and aqueducts are still visible), but the settlers themselves called it Taltu, in what language I know not; a short time afterwards the Turfanis advanced to Kuyui or Taltu and obliged its inhabitants to remove to Kan-su, where they simply called themselves "people of Taltu," without any other name to indicate the origin of their tribe. I offer this explanation merely as a suggestion founded on actual fact.' — M.