An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art

Jiaohe 交河

Mar 4, 2018 © Ulrich Theobald

Jiaohe 交河 (Türkic name Yarkhoto), was city in the Western Territories (Xiyu 西域) flourishing during the Tang period 唐 (618-907), and the seat of the commandery (jun 郡) and district (xian 縣) of Gaochang 高昌. Its ruins are located approximately 10 km west of Turfan 吐魯番, Xinjiang.

The name Jiaohe for the nearby river confluence was already known during the Han period 漢 (206 BCE-220 CE), and the city was the seat of the king of Fore Cheshi 車師前國. It was destroyed by the Northern Liang dynasty 北涼 (398-439/460), but became then a commandery of the kingdom of Gaochang. In 640, it became the seat of a district government of the Tang empire, and was until 658 also the headquarters of the Protectorate of the Pacified West (Anxi duhufu 安西都護府). In the mid-8th century, the region fell into the hands of the Tibetan empire (Tubo 吐蕃), and was thereafter populated by Uyghurs, as prefecture (zhou 州) of Jiaohe 交河. Families still lived in Jiaohe during the 15th century, when it was known as Ya'rhu 雅爾湖, Ya'rhetu 雅爾和圖, or Ya'r 崖兒.

The ruins were explored by Aurel Stein (1862-1943) and Dmitri A. Klements (1847-1914), and systematically excavated from 1928 by Huang Wenbi 黃文弼 (1893-1966).

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