Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Khotan or Hotan (, formerly: ) is an oasis town and a prefecture in the Taklamakan desert that was part of the southern silk road. Two strong rivers provided the water that made this town inhabitable in the midst of the second largest desert. Presently located in the southern Xinjiang Autonomous Region of China, this ancient city has a rich history. It was once famous for its silk, jade and pottery.
Today, however, this dusty Uighur town is off the beaten path. No longer the great trading city of the past, this town is now a large, if out of the way agricultural town. The population in 1999 was 86,019.
The town lies just west of the White Jade River, named for the white jade that was recovered from its alluvial deposits. Most of the jade is now gone, but an occasional piece may still be found. The river still provides water and irrigation for the town though.
Khotan is now famous for the discovery of caucasoid mummies, and are evidence of long term inhabitation of the area by the Tocharians. The desert atmosphere has preserved perishable items such as wood and fabric, attracting archaeologists. The area is rich in archaeological sites that are buried beneath the desert sand.
- Area - 40 Miles Across
- Airport Code - HTN
- Culture - Uighur
- Population - 1.4 Million (Town & Region)
- Religion - Muslim
- Tocharians - Early Indo-European culture
- Kingdom of Khotan
- Kushan Empire
- Han conquest - 73 A.D
- Uighur uprising - 1995
- Hill, John E. 2004. The Western Regions according to the Hou Hanshu. Draft annotated English translation.
- Hill, John E. 2004. The Peoples of the West from the Weilue 魏略 by Yu Huan 魚豢: A Third Century Chinese Account Composed between 239 and 265 CE. Draft annotated English translation. 
- 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.
- Laufer, Berthold. 1912. JADE: A Study in Chinese Archaeology & Religion. Reprint: Dover Publications, New York. 1974.
- Mallory, J. P. and Mair, Victor H. 2000. The Tarim Mummies: Ancient China and the Mystery of the Earliest Peoples from the West. Thames & Hudson, London.
- 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. 1912. Ruins of Desert Cathay: Personal narrative of explorations in Central Asia and westernmost China, 2 vols. Reprint: Delhi. Low Price Publications. 1990.
- 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.
- Stein Aurel M. 1928. Innermost Asia: Detailed report of explorations in Central Asia, Kan-su and Eastern Iran, 5 vols. Clarendon Press. Reprint: New Delhi. Cosmo Publications. 1981.
- Stein Aurel M. 1932 On Ancient Central Asian Tracks: Brief Narrative of Three Expeditions in Innermost Asia and Northwestern China. Reprinted with Introduction by Jeannette Mirsky. Book Faith India, Delhi. 1999.
- Silk Road Seattle (The Silk Road Seattle website contains many useful resources including a number of full-text historical works)
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