Valerie Hansen, The Tribute Trade with Khotan in Light of Materials found at the Dunhuang Library Cave




Drawing on materials found in cave 17 (the library cave at Dunhuang), this paper suggests that much of the trade between Dunhuang and Khotan in the ninth and tenth centuries was official trade conducted by envoys representing the respective rulers of the two Silk Road oases. In addition to envoys, the official delegations included monks and lay people, who sometimes engaged in trade. Traded goods included Khotanese jade, textiles (silk, of course, but increasingly linen and cotton, too), metal, incense, furs, animals, slaves, and precious stones. Almost all of these goods (with the exception of precious stones) were produced locally. Documents in both Chinese and Khotanese shed light on the trade; one document in particular (Dx 2148, Dx 6069) documents the close relations between members of the Khotanese royal family living in Dunhuang with their relatives in Khotan. That document offers a clue for why the library cave contains the Khotanese-language materials it does