Wednesday, 10 April 2013

A Fragment of Tangut Geography

Something I have always wanted to see is an original 12th or 13th century map of the Western Xia territory with place names written in the Tangut script. Unfortunately, as far as I know, no such map exists any longer. However, there is a Chinese map of the Western Xia territory (entitled the Western Xia Topographic Map 西夏地形圖) that probably dates back to the late Northern Song (circa 1108), although extant editions were printed between 1608 and 1895 :

  • Map included in the Collected Works of Fan Wenzheng in a Ming Wanli 36 (1608) edition of The Collections of Two Famous Song Dynasty Ministers (宋兩名相集), held at the National Library of China in Beijing
  • Map included in a Ming Wanli 37 (1609) edition of the Collected Works of Fan Wenzheng (重校范文正公集), held at Peking University Library
  • Map collected from China in the late 19th century by Konstantin Andreianovich Skachkov (1821–1883), held at the Russian State Library in Moscow
  • Map included in Zhang Qian's 張鑒 1895 Chronological History of the Western Xia 西夏紀事本末

Modern Redrawing of Zhang Qian's 1895 version of the Western Xia Topographic Map

[poor quality image of the 1608 version]


As far as I know, there are no surviving examples of Tangut geographic or topographic works, but parts of the Western Xia Law Codes enumerate administrative divisions and list various place names. 150 fragments of the Western Xia law codes as established during the Celestial Prosperity era (1149–1169), collected from Kharakhoto by P. K. Kozlov in 1909, have been compiled by E. I. Kychanov and published as The Revised and Newly Endorsed Code for the Designation of Reign ‘Celestial Prosperity’ (1149-69) in 1989. Unfortunately, I have not had the opportunity to see this book, but yesterday I came across a fragment of a page from a printed edition of the Western Xia law codes collected by Aurel Stein from Kharakhoto in Eric Grinstead's 1961 discussion of "Tangut Fragments in the British Museum" :

Fragment of an edition of the Western Xia Law Codes held at the British Library : Or. 12380/2249 (ex. K.K. II. 0227.n)


This fragment consists of lists of Western Xia place names. I have transliterated and translated these in the table below :


Line Tangut
Character
Reconstructed
Reading
(Li Fanwen 2008)
Meaning Translation
1.1 *zjɨr "south" 南 Southern Court 南院 (an administrative department)
1.2 *iọ "court" 院
1.3 *mjijr "palace" 宮 Mobile Palace 行宮
1.4 *bji̱j "to travel" 行
1.5 *dzjɨ "to provide" "three offices" 三司 = "State Finance Commission"
1.6 *ka̱r "steelyard" (a balance)
2.1 *śia Transcribes Chinese sha 沙 "sand" Shazhou 沙州 (modern Dunhuang in Gansu)
2.2 *tśjiw Transcribes Chinese zhou 州 "prefecture"
2.3 *kjij Transcribes Chinese jing 敬, 經, jin 近, etc. Fiscal Commission 經治司
2.4 *tśji Transcribes Chinese zhi 至, 治, 志, etc.
2.5 *sə Transcribes Chinese shi 氏, si 司, 斯, etc.
3.1 *da Transcribes Chinese lin 臨, 林, etc. Linhe County 臨河縣 (modern Bayannur in Inner Mongolia)
3.2 *xụ̃ Transcribes Chinese hong 紅 "red", 洪, 弘, he 和, 河 etc.
3.3 *xjwã Transcribes Chinese xian 縣 "county"
3.4 *po Transcribes Chinese bao 堡 "fort", 保, 包, etc. Baojing County 保靜縣 (in the vicinity of modern Wanghong 望洪 in Yongning County in Ningxia)
3.5 *tshjɨj "purple"; also transcribes Chinese qian 倩, qing 青, jing 靜, etc.
3.6 *xjwã Transcribes Chinese xian 縣 "county"
4.1 *ljạ to pierce (also used in place names) ?
4.2 *wjij Transcribes Chinese wen 温, yong 永, ying 穎, etc. Yongchang County 永昌縣 (modern Yongchang County in Gansu)
4.3 *śjow "to guard"; also transcribes Chinese shang 尚, chang 昌, etc.
4.4 *xjwã Transcribes Chinese xian 縣 "county"
4.5 *khej "luxuriant"; also transcribes Chinese kai 開, 凱, etc. Kaibian County 開邊縣 (in the vicinity of modern Zhenyuan County in Gansu)
4.6 *pjɨj Transcribes Chinese bian邊 "border"
4.7 *xjwã Transcribes Chinese xian 縣 "county"
5.1 *iọ "court" 院 ... Court ...院
5.2 *zjɨr "south" 南 Southern Court 南院 (an administrative department)
5.3 *iọ "court" 院
5.4 *su "to plot"; also transcribes Chinese su Suzhou 肅州 (modern Jiuquan in Gansu)
5.5 *tśjiw Transcribes Chinese zhou 州 "prefecture"
6.1 *tśjiw Transcribes Chinese zhou 州 "prefecture" ...zhou ...州
6.2 *zjɨ̱r "water" 水 Black Water 黑水. The Ejin River in Gansu and Inner Mongolia, perhaps referring specifically to the Tangut fortress city of Kharakhoto (黑水城), known to Marco Polo as Etzina.
6.3 *nja̱ "black, dark" 黑
6.4 *•ow Character used in Tangut surnames, of uncertain meaning here Black Mountains (the Wolf Mountains or the western part of the Yin Mountains 陰山 in Inner Mongolia). Transcribed in Chinese as 午腊蒻 wǔlàruò in the History of the Song Dynasty 宋史 vol. 485 (see Nie Hongyin 2008).
6.5 *rar "hill, mountain" 山
6.6 *nja̱ "black, dark" 黑
7.1 *lji "west" 西 Western Court 西院 (an administrative department)
7.2 *iọ "court" 院
7.3 *su "to plot"; also transcribes Chinese su Suzhou 肅州 (modern Jiuquan in Gansu)
7.4 *tśjiw Transcribes Chinese zhou 州 "prefecture"
7.5 *kiwa Transcribes Chinese gua 瓜, 寡, etc. Guazhou 瓜州 (modern Guazhou County in Gansu)
7.6 *tśjiw Transcribes Chinese zhou 州 "prefecture"

Having translated the above fragment, I thought it would be a fun idea to plot the place names mentioned in it on Google Maps, with the names given in Tangut script. This I have done on the map below, with additional place names taken from other sources. Click on a tag to see the name of the place in Tangut characters.


Google Maps map showing Western Xia locations with place names in Tangut


Note 1. Some Tangut place names are written with different characters in different sources, and where this is the case one spelling has been arbitrarily chosen.

Note 2. Tags without a dot in the middle indicate that the exact location of the place is uncertain or unknown.



Index of Tangut Place Names



Superior Prefectures

Tangut Name Chinese Name Modern Location
*tśhjow xjow xu Zhōngxīng Superior Prefecture
中興府
Yinchuan 銀川, Ningxia

Prefectures

Tangut Name Chinese Name Modern Location
*thjij tśjiw Dìngzhōu
定州
Pingluo County 平羅縣, Ningxia
*kã tśjiw Gānzhōu
甘州
Zhangye 張掖, Gansu
*kiwa tśjiw Guāzhōu
瓜州
Guazhou County 瓜州縣, Gansu
*kwej tśjiw Huìzhōu
會州
Jingyuan County 靖遠縣, Gansu
*kjij tśjiw Jīngzhōu
涇州
Jingchuan County 涇川縣, Gansu
*ljow tśjiw Liángzhōu
涼州
Wuwei 武威, Gansu
*śia tśjiw Shāzhōu
沙州
Dunhuang 敦煌, Gansu
*śji tśjiw Shízhōu
石州
Lüliang 呂梁, Shanxi
*su tśjiw Sùzhōu
肅州
Jiuquan 酒泉, Gansu
*su tśjiw
*zu tśjiw
*śjwa tśjiw Suīzhōu
綏州
Suide County 綏德縣, Shaanxi
*we tśjiw Wéizhōu
韋州
Tongxin County 同心縣, Ningxia
*xia tśjiw Xiàzhōu
夏州
North of Jingbian County 靖邊縣, Shaanxi
*xjow tśjiw Xīngzhōu
興州
Yinchuan 銀川, Ningxia
*xjow tśjiw Xióngzhōu
雄州
Zhongning County 中寧縣, Ningxia
*gjĩ tśjiw Yínzhōu
銀州
Northwest of Mizhi County 米脂縣, Shaanxi
*gjĩ tśjiw
*·jiw tśjiw Yòuzhōu
宥州
Northeast of Yulin 榆林, Shaanxi
*tśhjow xjow tśjiw Zhōngxīngzhōu
中興州
Yinchuan 銀川, Ningxia

Counties

Tangut Name Chinese Name Modern Location
*po tshjɨj xjwã Bǎojìng County
保靜縣
Vicinity of Wanghong 望洪 in Yongning County 永寧縣, Ningxia
*thjij ɣjwã xjwã Dìngyuǎn County
定遠縣
Yuzhong County 榆中縣, Gansu
*xu khjij xjwã Fùqīng County
富清縣
Xinhure Sumu, Urad Middle Banner, Inner Mongolia.
Site of the Black Mountain Fortress (Mongolian Uraqai, Chinese 兀剌海城).
*xiwəj ɣjwã xjwã Huáiyuǎn County
懷遠縣
Helan County 賀蘭縣, Ningxia
*khej pjɨj xjwã Kāibiān County
開邊縣
Vicinity of Zhenyuan County 鎮原縣, Gansu
*ljwĩ xụ̃ xjwã Línhé County
臨河縣
Bayannur, Inner Mongolia
*tshjịj ljow xjwã Píngliáng County
平涼縣
Pingliang 平涼, Gansu
*wjij śjow xjwã Yǒngchāng County
永昌縣
Yongchang County 永昌縣, Gansu

Forts

Tangut Name Chinese Name Modern Location
*·ã ɣjwã po Ānyuán Fort
安原堡
*we tśhiej po Chéngzhài Fort
城寨堡
*xwej thjij po Huídìng Fort
回定堡
*sjwa te po Xuāndé Fort
宣德堡

Mountains

Tangut Name Chinese Name Modern Location
*·ow rar nja̱ Black Mountains
黑山
The Wolf Mountains 狼山 or the western part of the Yin Mountains 陰山 in Inner Mongolia. May refer specifically to the Heishan Weifu Military Command (黑山威福軍司) garrisoned at the Black Mountain Fortress (Mongolian Uraqai, Chinese 兀剌海城) at Fùqīng County 富清縣.
*xẽ lã ŋər Helan Mountains
賀蘭山
The Helan Mountains 賀蘭山.
*tśjɨ̱r njir ŋər Wutai Mountain
五臺山
Perhaps the site of the Baisigou Square Pagoda in the Helan Mountains. Named after the the famous Buddhist mountain Wutaishan in Shanxi.

Rivers

Tangut Name Chinese Name Modern Location
*zjɨ̱r nja̱ Black Water
黑水
The Ejin River. May refer specifically to the Heishui Zhenyan Military Command (黑水鎮燕軍司) garrisoned at the Black Water Fortress (Mongolian Kharakhoto, Chinese 黑水城).


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