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Turfan

From Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia
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Turfan
トルファン (Jpn Torufan)

    A city in the eastern Sinkiang Uighur Autonomous Region of China. It lies on a fertile oasis at the foot of the southern slope of the Tien Shan range and on the northern side of the Turfan Depression, about 110 kilometers southeast of Urumchi, the capital of the [[Wikipedia:Uighur Autonomous Region|Sinkiang Uighur Autonomous Region]]. The present-day inhabitants of Turfan are mostly Uighur Muslims. Many archaeological and religious relics can be found in the vicinity of Turfan, such as the ruins of ancient capital cities and Buddhist caves. Buddhism once flourished in Turfan, which was home to many monks who engaged in the translation of Buddhist scriptures from Sanskrit into Chinese. In the early seventh century, the Chinese priest and pilgrim Hsüan-tsang, who chronicled his travels through Central Asia and India in The Record of the Western Regions, stayed for about a month at a Buddhist monastery in Karakhoja, capital of the Kao-ch'ang kingdom of the Turfan region. There he received support from the Ch'y, the ruling clan of the kingdom. The Uighurs migrated to the Turfan region in the latter half of the ninth century and built their kingdom there. Though largely adherents of Manichaeanism, they came into contact with the Buddhists in the region and took faith in Buddhism. They translated Buddhist scriptures into the Uighur language and developed a unique Buddhist culture. Later the region became primarily Islamic, but many of the cultural and religious treasures of Buddhism were preserved. Toward the close of the nineteenth century, archaeological exploration began in Central Asia and, from the early twentieth century, was carried out in full scale. Buddhist images and paintings, as well as Buddhist scriptures written in Sanskrit, the Uighur language, and other Central Asian languages, were discovered near Turfan.

Source

www.sgilibrary.org