The Site of Yumen Pass Introduction

2016-5-31 10:09| Editor: 武子| view: 419| comment: 0|Source: Nomination Dossier

Summaryuuuuuu: (1) Contribution to the Silk Roads' OUV Site of Yumen Pass is the most important pass set by the Han Empire from the 2nd century BC to the 3rd century AD on the west end of Hosi Corridor; located in t ...

(1) Contribution to the Silk Roads' OUV

Site of Yumen Pass is the most important pass set by the Han Empire from the 2nd century BC to the 3rd century AD on the west end of Hosi Corridor; located in the Gobi desert on the southern bank of the Shule River west to the Qilian Mountains, geographically, it served as a landmark dividing the east and west transport. As the best preserved and most intact ancient pass heritage of sufficiently large scale, the Site of Yumen Pass witnessed the transport management system, beacon tower system and Great Wall defense system as part of the comprehensive transport support system built by the Han Dynasty of China, and exemplified how it supported the long-distance transport and interchange along the Silk Roads.

(2) General Information

The site of Yumen Pass was located along the Shule River, 90km northwest of Dunhuang Prefecture of Han Dynasty (west of the Dunhuang city today). It was the westmost pass of the Hosi Corridor which connected Central China and the Western Regions with high strategic importance. The site of Yumen Pass is situated in a remote Gobi desert surrounded by a flat landscape and with Caohu Wetland in its north. South of the site was a section of north-south Great Wall, connecting the Yumen Pass with Yang Pass. Major remains of Yumen Pass are: Small Fangpan Castle remains90 (Fangpan refers to its square shape), Big Fangpan Castle remains91, remains of Han Dynasty Great Wall and of beacon towers (20 beacon towers92 and 18 sections of the Great Wall93). The sites were distributed in a belt area of 45 km long and 0.5km wide (From Cangting Beacon Tower to Xianming Beacon Tower), with Small Fangpan Castle in the center. The Small Fangpan Castle was built with loess in square shape, walls on four sides, covering an area of 24 meters wide and 26.4 meters long. The Big Fangpan Castle was of the same shape and material, with 150-meter-long north and south walls and 155-meter-long east and west walls. In addition, relics unearthed in the Yumen Pass sites and surrounding beacon towers include more than 2,400 pieces of bamboo and wood slips, silk products, weapons, firewood, lettuce, farming tools, food, pottery, lacquer, etc.

(3) Attributes

The Yumen Pass defense system as can be observed from the remains of Small Fangpan Castle, Big Fangpan Castle, sections of Han Dynasty Great Wall and beacon towers, composed a complete system illustrating the defense scheme in Han Dynasty along the Great Wall. The system displays how the pass functioned as an important traffic and military site and as management office, lookout and troop station, post house, and military supply site. As the most typical, best preserved and most intact of its type, it provides us unique testimony to the comprehensive longdistance transport supporting system of the Han Chinese empire.

The site choice of Yumen pass ingeniously resorted to natural environment. With Gobi desert around, the Yumen Pass was guarded by Caohu Wetland and Shule river on the north, Yang Pass from south, backed by Dunhuang Prefecture. It was an important pass on the Silk Roads controlling the traffic into and out of Central China. The bamboo and wooden slips as well as pieces of silk products unearthed provide direct evidence of largescale trade and interchange of culture and technology along the Silk Roads.

More than 2400 pieces of silk and wood slips were unearthed in Yumen Pass and its adjacent beacon towers. Contents of the slips are testimony to the multi-cultural character of the Silk Roads with abundant words about countries of the Western Regions during the Han dynasty, such as Jushi, Yanqi (Karasahr), Uisin, Yuli, Shanshan, Beilu, Rouzhi, Yulishi, Hun(Xiongnu) translation, Uisin envoy and Sogdian documents, Kharosthi silk fragments, etc.

Arithmetic books like Nine by Nine Multiples, Medical Prescriptions, Book of Changes, Cangjie Articles, Jijiu Pian as well as calendars, astrology and divination records are closely related to the interchange and transmission of science and technologies including paper making, printing, calendar system and medical knowledge along the Silk Roads.






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