Written by a team of local researchers, these six volumes deal with many aspects of the history and of the cultural, social, economic and politic life of the city of Khotan. The vol. 1 (Yillar, adämlär, väqälar [Years, People, Events], 315 p.) has articles on the history of Khotan in the Buddhist era, on its population during the Chin dynasty, on Süpürgä Akhun and the 1912 uprising, and on the Dungan occupation of the region.  There is also a very detailed chronological table of events from the years 1949 up to 2002.  The vol. 2 (Mädäniyät, Yadigarlikliri, bostanliq vä ekologiyisi [Civilisation, Historical Relics, Oases and Ecology], 384 p.) has a huge section (100 p.) by Abduqadir Tursun and Eziz Atavullah Sartekin on 110 Buddhist and Muslim archaeological relics (ruined cities, walls, mazars, mosques, etc.) of the nahiyä of Khotan (Guma, Keriyä, Qaraqash, Niyä, Chira, Lop, Khotan).  Several articles deal with the question of oases, desertification and ecology.  There are other contributions on the geography of the Khotan oasis, its fauna, rivers, mineral and agricultural resources, medicinal plants, and on the present and future ecology of the place.  The vol. 3 (Mädäniyät, maarip, tibabät [Civilisation, Education, Medicine], 367 p.) starts with a huge section (166 p.) by Muhämmäd Imin Sabir dealing with the cultural history of Khotan in the Buddhist era.  Another chapter by Tokhtiniyaz Tursun is devoted to a general history of education since the introduction of Islam (madrasas, new schools, schools for girls, Chinese schools, professional education, etc.).  The other articles examine the situation of Uighur language in the Khotan oasis, the history of money, the paper production, and the Uighur medicine. The vol. 4 (Yepäkchilik, qäshteshi, gilämchilik [Silk, Jade, and Carpet manufacturers], 397 p.) consists of three huge and very detailed chapters on the history of silk, jade, and carpet in the Khotan area by Muhämmäd Imin Sabir, Abdurishat Musajan, Muhämmäd Imin Sabir, respectively. The vol. 5 (Ädäbiyat, sän’ät [Literature, Art], 433 p.) provides a wide presentation of Buddhist and Islamic literature written by Khotan writers and also by foreign writers interested in this city.  A huge section (86 p.) by Ababäkri Jappar deals particularly with Buddhist religious literature.  Other authors explore several aspects of Islamic literature and culture: classical literature (e.g., the poet Nawa’i and Khotan), popular songs, traditional Uighur music, the historiography of music, and fine arts. The vol. 6 (Hekayätlär [Tales], 361 p.) offers studies and essays by native writers and poets on various topics, with studies on the panegyrists (mädha) of Khotan, on the image of Khotan in Turkic classical literature; on the history of Khotan in verses (Khotännamä), on the poet Shah Mäshräb at Khotan, on popular festivals, etc.  Obviously, these six volumes deserve to be considered an irreplaceable encyclopaedia of the city of Khotan—with flaws of its own, inevitably: some weak articles, some others deprived of any references.

Thierry Zarcone, National Centre for Scientific Research, Paris
CER: I-3.5.A-335