Trade relations between the Fergana Valley and China

The Great Silk Road played great importance in distributing several types of plants and culinary products from Turkestan into China.
Such plants as mash-beans (hudoi), sedona (humo), turnip, radish (huluobu), pumpkin (huguo), coriander ( husui, syangtsai), and almond (hutao) were brought into China from Turkestan. The Chinese people generally called the Turkestan people “hu”, and therefore they added this word to the names of plants, culinary products and dishes.

As is well known, the dynasty Khan reigning in China in the 2nd century B.C. for political purposes sent ambassador Chzhang Chyan to Turkestan, who was delighted with sweet grapes and lucerne, the forage for thoroughbred horses. Before that, the Chinese were not familiar with grapes and lucerne. Having left Changan, the capital of China (nowadays the city of Shian) in 138 B.C., the ambassador spent 11 years to reach Fergana Valley. During this period he has even imprisoned by the Khunns. In 127 B.C. he arrived to Fergana where he learned a lot of new things. He was also delighted with the fertile drink made of grape juice. In 126 B.C. the ambassador came back home to Changan where he told the governor Udi from the dynasty Khan about this surprising sweet grape and about its healing juice, having named the plant a miracle. Here what the Chinese historian Lyu Yingsheng writes about it: “Gone with the embassy to the western countries, Chzhang Chan, whose mission was to persuade the governor of that country to jointly struggle against the Khunns, learnt a lot of unknown hitherto. He learnt that the basic forage for thoroughbred horses was lucerne. Davan (Fergana) produced enormous amount of the grape vodka; rich people stored to ten thousand poods ( one pood=16kg) of it. In ancient China vodka was much weaker and quickly turned sour. In Davan rich people could keep the vodka for some ten years and it would not spoil… Coming back, the ambassador brought a grapevine to China and gifted it to the governor. Udi ordered to plant a vine in the palace garden.”

Obviously, Chzhang Chan learned the technology of grape cultivation. The knowledge brought by him as well as the imperial decree by Udi promoted the spreading and distribution of this plant in China 21 centuries ago.
Grapes in China were called “budav”, from the ancient Persian “buda”, the Greeks pronounced it as “butruvz”, the modern Chinese transcription: “putout”, and the drink made of grapes- “putout zhyu”. “Zhyu”- the equivalent of word “vodka”, is nowadays used concerning all strong alcohol Chinese drinks.

Together with cultivation of grapes, the Chinese mastered producing the wine-musalasa. In some centuries production of wine got widely spread throughout the country. After the 7th century, there appeared the term “vodka by the Persian technology”. In ancient Chinese sources this drink is named “Shuguo” (from the name of the country, whence it was delivered-ancient Chach, Shash, present Tashkent).

Distribution of lucerne in China. When Chzhang Chan arrived to Fergana for the first time, he noticed that the local racers took the lead over the Mongolian horses with their speed and running distance. Therefore the ambassador became interested what they were fed with. Using the lucerne as forage was news for him. Leaving for the home, he took some seeds of lucerne with him. After the arrival to Changang, the ambassador related to the governor Udi about the extraordinary racers and their forage-lucerne. Before getting the horses, Udi ordered to sow the seeds in gardens of the palace and ordered to increase crops of lucerne. Soon this plant was widely spread in China.

After Chzhang Chan’s return to Fergana, Udi sends his people to Fergana to ask for the racers. However, Fergana people limited their gift to two-three horses, not having agreed to sell them many horses.
In 104 B.C. Udi sends to Fergana his big troops under the command of Lee Guanli who tries to force the local government to give them out their thoroughbred racers. But, not having achieved it, they come back from Uzgent. The Chinese governor, who was not used to the loss, sends his army to Fergana for the second time. This war neither brought success to the Chinese khakan. In 102 B.C Lee Guangli nevertheless managed to export 14, according to other sources -30, racers. After that the livestock of thoroughbred horses began gradually increasing in China. Wide spread of lucerne also improved the composition of the land which affected productivity of other agricultural products.

Distribution of lepeshka (flat cakes) and samsa in China. Bread also came to China from Central Asia. Bread in Chinese is “nong” or “hubing”, in Uzbek it is “non”. As it was already mentioned above, “hu” means Turkestan, and “bing” means bread.

The Chinese sources state that many Turkestan people lived in Changan, the capital of China, which considered as the international trade center, in days if the dynasty Tang’s reign ( 618-907). They settled near the western market located near the western gates. In this market and lengthways the roads leading to it, the Turkestan people opened different dining places and bakeries where they baked their lepeshka (flat cakes). The dining houses were given female names. For example, the dining house of one rich Turkestan person was called “Huzhi zhyusi” (“A restaurant of the free princess”)

The ancient book “Chimin yaoshu” (“National Crafts”), written in the period of the northern dynasty (386-550), describes

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