Loulan Kingdom


Loulan Kingdom

𐨐𐨿𐨪𐨆𐨪𐨍𐨙𐨿𐨙𐨅𐨣𐨿𐨟𐨿𐨯𐨅 𐨩𐨤𐨆𐨩
樓蘭國
𐰚𐰺𐰆𐰺𐰃𐰣𐰃𐰣⸰𐰴𐰀𐰍𐰀𐰣𐰞𐰃𐰍𐰃
630–1132
Location of Loulan
Capital
  • Kroraina (630—902)
  • Qarah-Xâja (902—940)
  • Korlâ (940—1006)
  • Bashbâlik (1006—1132)
Common languages
Religion
GovernmentBuddhist Despotic Monarchy
• King
History 
• Established
630
• Disestablished
1132
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Oasis states
Tibetan Empire
Göktürk Khaganate
Western Liao
Today part ofLoulan, China

The Loulan Kingdom (Kroraini: 𐨐𐨿𐨪𐨆𐨪𐨍𐨙𐨿𐨙𐨅𐨣𐨿𐨟𐨿𐨯𐨅 𐨩𐨤𐨆𐨩 kroräññentse yapoy; Middle Chinese: 樓蘭國 ləulɑnkwək̚; Old Uyghur: 𐰚𐰺𐰆𐰺𐰃𐰣𐰃𐰣⸰𐰴𐰀𐰍𐰀𐰣𐰞𐰃𐰍𐰃 krorɯːn'ɯn kaɣaːnlɯ̀ɣɯ) was a medieval kingdom originally based around Kroraina, an important oasis city along the silk road. The term Loulan is a Chinese transcription of the Tocharian name for the city on the northeastern edge of the Lop desert, Kroraina, and is used to refer to both the city itself and to the kingdom as a whole. It existed from 630–1006 CE variously as a client state of the Tibetan Empire and the Tang and Liao dynasties, and from 1006–1132 as an independent Uyghur ruled state.

Prior to the incorporation of the city-state of Kroraina into the Tibetan Empire in 763 CE, it was one of the numerous quasi-independent oasis states in the Tang dynasty's Protectorate General to Pacify the West, overshadowed by the more populous and influential Tocharian kingdoms of Ārśi, Kucina, Turpan, and Qocho to the north, and the Saka kingdoms of Xotan and Shule to the west. As a Tibetan client state, the Loulan Kingdom began to expand under the reign of Gunachandra the Great, who rose to power with the support of the Tibetan emperor Trisong Detsen in 769. During Gunachandra's reign, which lasted until 817, the Loulan Kingdom united all of the former Tocharian petty kingdoms under a single authority, catapulting from the status of a city-state of negligible relevance to that of an expansive and influenctial merchant kingdom occupying several important routes of the Silk Road.

After the assassination of the Tibetan emperor Langdarma in 842, civil war broke out in the Tibetan Empire, leading to its fragmentation and a brief period of independence for the Loulan Kingdom from 842 to 845, when Queen Roce appealed to the Emperor Wuzong of Tang to annex the kingdom as a protectorate after seizing power with the assistance of a Tang general, Rèn Zhuāngsūn (任莊孫). Loulan remained a Tang protectorate until the fall of the dynasty in 907.

The character of the kingdom shifted somewhat during the 10th century: first, when King Priyadeva II (r. 902–909 CE) attempted to shift trade relations from sole dependence on China to a more balanced connection with Persia in the wake of the collapse of the Tang dynasty, in the process inviting thousands of Dehqâns fleeing the Islamization of Persia (a trend continued by his successor Priyadeva III (r. 909–929 CE)); second, when a merchant uprising in Qara-Xâja placed Indra, an Afghan merchant, on the throne of Loulan in 929 CE. This event, along with the extensive settlement by Persian-speaking Dehqâns and Persified Afghans, who quickly found their niche in the merchant classes throughout the Kingdom, established Persian as the lingua franca and administrative language of Loulan. It is believed that Afghan settlers were responsible for introducing the Hindu festival of Diwali (Tokhari: dewâli, دوالی) among other cultural contributions.

Another great change occurred when a Persianate Uyghur clan from the north, the Idiqut, invaded and overtook the kingdom. Many of the previously established political structures remained in place after the Uyghur conquest, including the use of the Persian language as the primary administrative language of the Kingdom. A major change was the introduction of Nestorian Christianity as a major religion in Loulan, as it was practised by the members of the Idiqut clan and many of their close companions and followers. The Kingdom was a sovereign and independent entity under the Idiqut dynasty for more than a century until its subjugation by the Western Liao in 1132.

History

Pre-dynastic period (before 769)

Some of the monarchs in the pre-dynastic period are considered to be semi-legendary, as primary sources do not exist and the only source for their existence is the epic poem The Hidden Flower of Loulan. Of the pre-dynastic monarchs, the greatest evidence exists for the veracity of Ptoṃpile and of Siddhartha I, the latter of whom is well documented in both Chinese and Tibetan sources.

List of monarchs

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death Notes
Sanlyudo
c. 630

c. 673
(43 years, 0 days)
BactrianZoroastrian.jpg c. 600-610? Does not appear unknown c. 673 First named King of Kroraina named in The Hidden Flower of Loulan; allied with Emperor Tang Taizong against the Western Turks.
Saṃghatrāte
c. 673

c. 698
(25 years, 0 days)
Does not appear No image.svg Does not appear unknown Does not appear unknown Does not appear unknown Relatively nothing is known about Saṃghatrāte other than his name, which is referenced in The Hidden Flower.
Ptoṃpile
c. 698

c. 728
(30 years, 0 days)
Battriana, monete d'oro del IV secolo 14.JPG Does not appear unknown unnamed Tang princess
3 children
c. 728 Ally of Emperor Xuanzong of Tang. First Kroraini king for which evidence is not dubious.
Cakravār
c. 728

c. 765
(37 years, 0 days)
Battriana, monete d'oro del IV secolo 16.JPG Does not appear unknown Does not appear unknown c. 765 Submitted to the rule of Me Agtsom, bringing Loulan under the rule of the Tibetan Empire.
Siddhartha I
c. 767

12 February 769
(2 years, 0 days)
Siddhartha I.jpg c. 742 Argiyotisāe
3 children
unnamed Tangut woman
2 children
13 November 785
Aged about 43
May have been a relative of Cakravār. Led a minor uprising against Trisong Detsen of Tibet and was deposed and replaced with Gunachandra.

Gunachandra Dynasty

The Gunachandra dynasty was the longest-ruling dynasty of the Loulan Kingdom, beginning with the appointment of Gunachandra the Great by the Tibetan emperor Trisong Detsen. It is sometimes known as the Deyue dynasty after Gunachandra's Chinese name, Déyuè (德月).

Although Sanlyudo is the earliest known ruler of Loulan, Gunachandra is considered by most to be the founder of the Loulan Kingdom, uniting most of the northern and western Tarim Basin.

Despite the dynasty's auspicious beginnings with Gunachandra, the middle and later periods of the dynasty were marked by rampant dynastic infighting, intrigue, and civil wars.

List of monarchs

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death Claim Notes
Gunachandra
"the Great"

12 February 769

26 February 817
(48 years, 15 days)
Pipa player from Kizil.jpg c. 744 Tsame
6 children
Maya
2 children
Bum
1 son
26 February 817
Aged 73
Appointed by Trisong Detsen of Tibet Appointed to pacify the Tocharian dependencies of the Tibetan Empire. Famously united the northern and western Tarim Basin and made peace with the Uyghur Khanate.
Kshmavarma
26 February 817

29 December 823
(6 years, 307 days)
Does not appear No image.svg 22 March 774
Son of Gunachandra and Bum
Purgyal Lha
4 children
Shang Drablai
1 daughter
29 December 823
Committed suicide aged 49
Third son of Gunachandra
Inheritance
Third and favoured son of Gunachandra. Secured the Turpan Depression.
Siddhartha II
29 December 823

8 December 829
(5 years, 345 days)
Does not appear No image.svg 20 December 805
Son of Kshmavarma and Purgyal Lha
Ayardhyame
1 daughter
Gülçiçek
2 daughters
8 December 829
Aged 24
Third son of Kshmavarma
Inheritance
Youngest son of Kshmavarma. Killed in battle against Uyghur raiders.
(1st reign)
Roce
8 December 829

14 July 831
(1 year, 219 days)
Queen tati.jpg 21 February 824
Daughter of Siddhartha II and Ayardhyame
Ye Hong
4 children
Poyul Lhawang
1 daughter
Kausal
1 daughter
9 May 862
Allegedly murdered aged 38
Daughter of Siddhartha II
Primogeniture
Child queen. Deposed in favour of her great uncle, Wrauske I.
Wrauske I
14 July 831

16 January 841
(9 years, 187 days)
Does not appear No image.svg 18 February 770
Son of Gunachandra and Tsame
Khon Purbulcam
4 children
Qaraqaz
1 son
Baninera
2 daughters
16 January 841
Aged 71
First son of Gunachandra
Installed by noble demand
Eldest son of Gunachandra. Killed in a duel with a rival. Controversial for the murder of his second wife, the Uyghur princess Qaraqaz.
Siddhartha III
14 July 831

12 August 845
(4 years, 209 days)
Does not appear No image.svg 1 December 789
Son of Wrauske I and Khon Purbulcam
Zhongyang
1 son
25 May 847
Aged 58
First son of Gunachandra
Installed by noble demand
Broke ties with Tibetan Empire. Deposed by claimant Roce with the support of the Tang Empire.
(2nd reign)
Roce
12 August 845

11 March 857
(11 years, 212 days)
Queen tati.jpg 21 February 824
Daughter of Siddhartha II and Ayardhyame
Ye Hong
4 children
Poyul Lhawang
1 daughter
Kausal
1 daughter
9 May 862
Allegedly murdered aged 38
Daughter of Siddhartha II
Conquered as claimant.
Ousted Siddhartha III with the help of the Tang general Rèn Zhuāngsūn (任莊孫). From 845 to 850 disputed rule with Wrauske II.
(disputed)
Wrauske II
December 17 845

5 May 850
(4 years, 140 days)
Does not appear No image.svg 11 September 798
Son of Kshmavarma and Purgyal Lha
Özlem
1 daughter
14 February 867
Aged 69
First son of Kshmavarma
Conquered as claimant
Took control of the Turpan Basin. Forced to relinquish claim in 850.
Priyadeva
11 March 857

1 August 861
(4 years, 144 days)
Does not appear No image.svg 9 October 797
Son of Kentarske and Ibilgä
Örün
6 children
Purnaya
2 children
20 February 873
Aged 76
Grandson of Gunachandra
Conquered as claimant
Grandson of Gunachandra and Maya via their son Kentarske.


(3rd reign)
Roce
1 August 861

9 May 862
(282 days)
Queen tati.jpg 21 February 824
Daughter of Siddhartha II and Ayardhyame
Ye Hong
4 children
Poyul Lhawang
1 daughter
Kausal
1 daughter
9 May 862
Allegedly murdered aged 38
Daughter of Siddhartha II
Conquered as claimant.
Final reign. Allegedly murdered in 862.
Siddhartha IV
9 May 862

23 August 888
(26 years, 107 days)
Does not appear No image.svg 16 January 848
Son of Roce and Ye Hong
Li Diaochan
2 daughters
Liang Zhong
2 children
23 August 888
Aged 40
Son of Roce
Inheritance
First Loulanese monarch to practice Daoism rather than Buddhism. Slain in battle against Uyghur raiders.
Nanda
23 August 888

2 August 890
(1 year, 345 days)
Does not appear No image.svg 21 August 884
Son of Siddhartha IV and Liang Zhong
Does not appear unmarried 2 August 890
Aged 6
Son of Siddhartha IV
Inheritance
Child king. Murdered in cold blood by live burial by Siddhartha V after a palace coup.
Siddhartha V
"the Cruel"

2 August 890

31 July 893
(2 years, 364 days)
Does not appear No image.svg 1 October 844
Son of Siddhartha and Zhongyang
Does not appear unmarried 31 July 893
Allegedly murdered aged 58
Grandson of Wrauske I
Usurpation
Grandson of Wrauske I and Khon Purbulcam via their son Siddhartha. Daoist. Allegedly murdered in 893.


Tati
31 July 893

15 September 902
(9 years, 47 days)
Tati gunachandra.jpg 16 February 843
Daughter of Roce and Ye Hong
Khan Erin
4 daughters
Bökiye
1 daughter
Wisikke Kausali
2 children
15 September 902
Aged 59
Daughter of Roce
Installed by noble demand
Last ruler of the Gunachandra dynasty. Daoist.

Kausali Dynasty

List of monarchs

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death Claim Notes
Priyadeva II
15 September 902

9 October 909
(7 years, 24 days)
Does not appear No image.svg 1 September 865
Son of Tati and Wisikke Kausali
Arjune
4 children
9 October 909
Aged 40
Son of Tati
Inheritance
Restored Buddhism to the palace. Died of poor health.
Priyadeva III
"the Mutilator"

9 October 909

31 July 929
(19 years, 295 days)
Does not appear No image.svg 13 February 903‬
Son of
Priyadeva II
and Arjune
Güneş
3 sons
Kosthile
2 children
2 other children by concubines
16 May 973
Aged 70
Son of Priyadeva II
Inheritance
Known for his excessive cruelty. Deposed by an uprising of Tajik and Pathani merchants.

Zalmaizai dynasty

The Zalmaizai dynasty, also known as the Afghani or Pathani dynasty for their Pashtun origins, rose to power during a merchant uprising in Kara-Xâja which overthrew the previous reigning monarch, Priyadeva III, in 929 CE. The head of one of the merchant guilds, a Pathani man named Patwal, was installed by the rebelling merchants. Patwal, a Hindu, took the regnal name Indra after the Hindu guardian deity.

The Persianisation of Loulan accelerated during the Zalmaizai period, as the Pathan king Indra spoke no Kroraini — but he did speak Persian fluently, and made it the language of his administration. A further influx of Dehqân settlement from the 960s to 1000 CE, coinciding with the wars between the Samanids and the Ghaznavids thoroughly Persianised the lower classes, who prior to that point were already shifting to adopt the language of the merchants and officials throughout the land.

During the Zalmaizai period, syncretic elements of Hinduism seeped into the local Buddhist sect — most notably the celebration of Diwali and reverence for the goddess Padme.

List of monarchs

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death Claim
Indra
31 July 929

4 April 939
(9 years, 247 days)
Does not appear No image.svg c. 893
Son of Zalmai
Kashmala
3 children
Purike
(no children)
2 other children by concubines
4 April 939
Aged about 46
Usurpation
Chandra
4 April 939

26 October 987
(48 years, 205 days)
Bhagwan Swaminarayan.png 12 March 928‬
Son of Indra
and Roce Nyantsentkacer
Sumagati
1 daughter
Ötüken
(no children)
4 other children by concubines
26 October 987
Aged 59
Son of Indra
Inheritance
Trinayani
26 October 987

1 January 1001
(13 years, 67 days)
Asoka's Queen.jpg 8 September 945
Daughter of Chandra
and Sumagati
Yudisthira
4 children
1 January 1001
Aged 55
Daughter of Chandra
Inheritance

Prabhasi dynasty

Idiqut dynasty

Cultural syncretism between Chinese and Persianate influences was particularly strong during the Idiqut period.