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Old Roads In The Northwestern Borderlands

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on the role of a particular transit zone in Buddhist transmission beyond the Indian subcontinent. In the first part of the chapter (Geography, Economy, and Capillary Routes in a High-Altitude Environment), geographical and economic features are given a detailed treatment in order to explain links between transregional and intraregional networks. The second part of the chapter (Graffiti, Petroglyphs, and Pilgrims) examines epigraphic records and visual markers in correlation with literary accounts of Chinese pilgrims, Arabic and Persian sources, and a Khotanese Saka itinerary. These combined sources illustrate Manifestations of Buddhist Presence at individual nodes in the upper Indus, Gilgit and Hunza valleys. The implications of this evidence for understanding patterns of long-distance Buddhist transmission at élite and subélite levels are discussed.

Keywords:Buddhist transmission; capillary routes; Petroglyphs; upper Indus



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