The Book of Wei (魏書) 102 (English)


Wu-sun (烏孫) - Shu-le (疏勒) - Ürpän (悅般)


In the Wu-sun state, (they) reside (within) the city of Chi-gu (赤谷) that is northwest of Qiu-ci (龜茲) (and) separated (from it) by 18,000 Li. Their country was frequently the victim of Rou-ran (蠕蠕) invasions. (Therefore,) they migrated West, between the Pamir mountains (葱嶺). They have no city walls, migrating their livestock (in search) of water and grass. In the third year of the Tai-yan period, the envoy Dong Wan was sent to communicate (terms) with the country. Afterward, each envoy made a tribute to the emperor.

The Shu-le state, West of Gu-mo (姑默), is more than 100 Li south of Aqtağ (白山) and was also a state during the Han dynasty. It spanned 11,250 li. Near the end of Emperor Gao-zong's (life), their king sent an envoy to deliver Shakyamuni Buddha's kasaya, which was more than two Zhang long. Gao-zong accordingly tested whether it was truly the Budha's robes (which should have been all divine). He forthwith burned it in order to test its authenticity, placing it above a fierce fire. As the day passed, it would not (burn). All of the viewers were frightened and in awe. In both heart and mind, they all believed (in the miracle). Their king wears a golden lion crown. The soil is rich in rice, millet, hemp, wheat, copper, iron, tin, Gamboge (a saffron pigment), brocade, and cotton, which are often delivered to the Kök Türük every year. Their capital city measures five Li all-around, and there are twelve large cities and ten small cities in their state. The hand and feet of their people each have six appendages. Those born without six appendages are immediately (abandoned and) not raised. They can muster 2000 soldiers. To the South is the Yellow river (黃河), and to the West are the Pamir mountains. To the East they are separated from Kuçar (龜茲) by 1500 Li, to the West they are separated from Barsqan (鏺汗) by a 1000 Li, to the South they are separated from the Red Ju-bo (朱俱波) by 800 or 900 Li, to the Northeast they are separated from the Kök Türük capital by more than a 1000 Li, and to the Southeast they are separated from Gua-zhou (瓜州) by 4600 Li.

The Ürpän state, Northwest of the Wu-sun, is separated by 10,930 Li. Initially, it was the tribe of the Northern Xuŋa's (匈奴) Darǧa (單于). Driven from their lands by the Han army's Cavalry General (車騎將軍) Dou Xian (竇憲), the Northern Xuŋa Darǧa passed through the Altay mountains (金微山), going to Kan-ju (康居) in the West. The weak and unable, who were unable to go, settled to the North of Kuçar. Their territory measured 1000 Li all-around, yet it (had a) population of more than 200,000. The people of Liang-zhou (涼州) still call (their leader) the "Darǧa king." Their customs and language are the same as the Tägäräk (高車), but their people are cleaner than the Hu (胡). It is their custom to cut their hair so that it is level with their eyebrows, and to smear it with butter (醍醐) to make it bright and lustrous. They bathe three times a day, eating and drinking afterward. There are volcanoes to the South of their borders. The stones near these volcanoes are all smelt. The lava flows for ten Li before solidifying. The people take it to use for medicine, (where) it is also known as Sulfur (流黃).

Sogdiana (粟特)


The state of Sogdiana (粟特), located to the West of the Pamir Mountains (葱嶺), was (once where the) Alans (奄蔡) (lived). It is (now known by the) name Xuna Şa (溫那沙). They (used) to live in a great marshland Northwest of Kang-ju, 16,000 li from Dai. Previously, the Xuŋa had killed their king and taken their country. Since then, it has been three generations with the Xunı King (忽倪) (ruling now). Before that, many merchants from this country would come to Liang (涼). When Gu-zang (姑臧) was taken, they were all taken as captives. During the beginning of the Gao-zong (高宗) (era), the Sogdian king sent envoys (in order to negotiate) their ransom. An imperial order approved of this. Since this time, no envoys have been sent to offer tribute to the royal court (of Wei).

Fars (波斯)



(As for the) state of the Greater Yue-zhi (大月氏), its capital lies in the city of Lu-jian-shi (盧監氏), to the West of Fu-di-sha (弗敵沙). It is 14,500 li from Dai (代). To the North, they border the Rou-ran (蠕蠕), who invaded their land a number of times. They forthwith moved Westwards, moving their capital to Bao-luo (薄羅), 2,100 li from Fu-di-sha (弗敵沙). Their king Qıdır (寄多羅) was brave and valiant. He forthwith crossed the Great Mountains, moving South, invaded India (天竺). Gandhara (乾陁羅) and the five states to its North were defeated and subjugated to him. During the time of Shi-zu (世祖), the merchants of that state conducted business in the capital. They claimed they were capable of molding stones into (a stone of) five colors (which they called) Lapis Lazuli (瑠璃). Thus, they mined ore from within the mountain and molded it within the capital city. When it was completed, its luster was more beautiful than those brought in from the West. Therefore, an imperial decree was issued for the construction of a palace that would house over a hundred people. Its luster was blinding. (Of) those who saw it, there was not a single one of them who was not in awe, believing that the gods (themselves) had built it. Since then, Lapis Lazuli in the Central States has lost its value so much so that people no longer cherish it.


(As for the) state of the Lesser Yue-zhi (小月氏), its capital lies in the city of Fu-lou-sha (富樓沙). Their king was originally the son of the Greater Yue-zhi king, Qıdır. When Qıdır was expelled from his land by the Xuŋa, he moved Westward, ordering his son to keep watch over the city. This is why they are called the Lesser Yue-zhi. (The city is) Southwest of Bo-lu and 16,600 li from Dai. They formerly resided between Xi-ping (西平) and Zhang-ye (張掖). Their clothing is similar to that of the Qiang (羌). Their custom is to use gold and silver coins as currency. Like other Xuŋa, they (used to) migrate in tandem with their livestock.


Yedivar (Hephthalites)


(The Hephthalites or) Yedivar (嚈噠), also known as the Greater Yue-zhi (大月氏), were also a division of the Tägäräk (高車). Their homeland was originally beyond the wall: from South of the Altay Mountains (金山) to the west of Yu-tian (于闐). Their capital is more than two hundred Li South of the Amu Darya (烏許水), separated from Chang'an (長安) by ten thousand and one hundred Li. Their king’s capital is in Bactria (拔底延), where his royal residence is also built. The city is more than ten Li away, and there are many temple towers, all decorated with gold. Their customs were similar to those of the Kök Türük (突厥).

(Now) it is their custom that all the brothers share one wife. If the husband does not have any brothers, then the wife wears a horned cap. If the husband does have brothers, then the wife wears a cap with as many horns as there are brothers. Their clothing is enmeshed. They all have cut hair. Their (current) language differs from that of the Rou-ran (蠕蠕), Tägäräk, and Zhu-hu (諸胡). They can muster a force of a hundred thousand.

They did not have cities, migrating (in search) of water and grass, furnishing their dwellings with felt, moving to cooler lands during the summer, and moving in search of warm land during the winter. They would divide their wives, placing each in a separate location, where they would govern lands separated by two to three hundred Li. Their king traveled to examine (his territories) once a month. During the winter, in the third month, he would not change his dwelling place. The position of king was not necessarily passed on to the child. (Rather, both) the child and younger brother were eligible to rule upon the death of the king. There were no carts or carriages in their country. They had many camels and horses. They apply punishments that are severe and violent. Whether you steal a few or many, you are cut down at the waist. Steal one and you’ll owe ten. (As for the) funerary (customs), the rich are buried in a pile of stones, while the poor must dig and bury (their dead). The dead carry many things with them, that are all placed in their tomb. Their people were fierce and brave, capable of fighting in wars.

In the Western Regions (西域), Kang-ju (康居), Qotan (于闐), Sha-lei (沙勒), Arşak (安息) and many smaller states numbering thirty were allowed to appoint an official subordinate in command to the Great State (Hephthalites). They intermarried with the Rou-ran. Since Tai-an (太安), each of their emissaries were sent to pay tribute to the emperor. Towards the end of the Zheng-guang period (正光), they sent an envoy with a lion as tribute. Arriving at Gao-ping (高平), he encountered Mo-qi’s (万俟醜奴) rebels and left. Mo-qi was suppressed and (the lion) was sent to the capital. After the Yong-xi period (永熙), the Dawn Presentation was finished off.

Their country reaches as far South as Cao-guo (漕國) for one thousand and five hundred Li, and as far East as Gua-zhou (瓜州) for six thousand and five hundred Li.

In the early days of Xi-ping (熙平) (516– 517) Su-zong sent Wang Fu-zi, who supervised the envoys Song Yun, the Sramana Fa-li, and others, to the Western Regions to search for the Buddhist sutras. (At that) time there was the Sramana Hui-sheng, who also went with them, returning during Zheng-guang (正光). Hui-sheng could not retain the ins and outs, the geography, and the number of li of the states he traveled.