Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Aksu (also known as Ak-su, Akshu, Bharuka and Po-lu-chia. Modern Chinese 阿克苏, pinyin: Ākèsù) was an ancient Buddhist kingdom located on the branch of the Silk road that ran along the northern edge of the Taklamakan desert in the Tarim basin. (The area lies in present day Xinjiang, China). A town of the same name survives today. The population was 220,415 in 1999.
The pilgrim Xuanzang recorded that there were tens of Buddhist monasteries in the kingdom and over 1000 monks. He said the kingdom was 600 li from east to west, and 300 li from north to south. Its capital was said to be 6 li in circuit. He also stated that cloth made in the area was traded in neighbouring countries.
Aksu was strongly connected with Kucha, though its spoken language differed a little from standard Kuchean. It was positioned on a junction of trade routes; the northern-Tarim silk road, and a route north to the fertile Ili River valley.
- The Chinese History of the Western Han records some information about the kingdom.
- Either the Old Book of Tang or the New Book of Tang records Xuanzang's information and a little extra.
- Hill, John E. 2003. "Annotated Translation of the Chapter on the Western Regions according to the Hou Hanshu." 2nd Draft Edition. 
- Hulsewé, A. F. P. and Loewe, M. A. N. 1979. China in Central Asia: The Early Stage 125 BC – AD 23: an annotated translation of chapters 61 and 96 of the History of the Former Han Dynasty. E. J. Brill, Leiden.
- Puri, B. N. Buddhism in Central Asia, Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Private Limited, Delhi, 1987. (2000 reprint).
- Stein, Aurel M. 1907. Ancient Khotan: Detailed report of archaeological explorations in Chinese Turkestan, 2 vols. Clarendon Press. Oxford. 
- Stein, Aurel M. 1921. Serindia: Detailed report of explorations in Central Asia and westernmost China, 5 vols. London & Oxford. Clarendon Press. Reprint: Delhi. Motilal Banarsidass. 1980. 
- Yu, Taishan. 2004. A History of the Relationships between the Western and Eastern Han, Wei, Jin, Northern and Southern Dynasties and the Western Regions. Sino-Platonic Papers No. 131 March, 2004. Dept. of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, University of Pennsylvania.
- Silk Road Seattle (The Silk Road Seattle website contains many useful resources including a number of full-text historical works)
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