T'un-hwang (lat. 39d 40s N.; lon. 94d 50s E.) is still the name of one of the two districts constituting the department of Gan-se, the most western of the prefectures of Kan-suh; beyond the termination of the Great Wall.
 Who this envoy was, and where he was going, we do not know. The text will not admit of any other translation.
 Le Hao was a native of Lung-se, a man of learning, able and kindly in his government. He was appointed governor or prefect of T'un-hwang by the king of "the northern Leang," in 400; and there he sustained himself, becoming by and by "duke of western Leang," till he died in 417.
 "The river of sand;" the great desert of Kobi or Gobi; having various other names. It was a great task which the pilgrims had now before them,--to cross this desert. The name of "river" in the Chinese misleads the reader, and he thinks of crossing it as of crossing a stream; but they had to traverse it from east to west. In his "Vocabulary of Proper Names," p. 23, Dr. Porter Smith says:--"It extends from the eastern frontier of Mongolia, south-westward to the further frontier of Turkestan, to within six miles of Ilchi, the chief town of Khoten. It thus comprises some twenty-three degrees of longitude in length, and from three to ten degrees of latitude in breadth, being about 2,100 miles in its greatest length. In some places it is arable. Some idea may be formed of the terror with which this 'Sea of Sand,' with its vast billows of shifting sands, is regarded, from the legend that in one of the storms 360 cities were all buried within the space of twenty-four hours." So also Gilmour's "Among the Mongols," chap. 5.
ON TO SHEN-SHEN AND THENCE TO KHOTEN
After travelling for seventeen days, a distance we may calculate of about 1500 le, (the pilgrims) reached the kingdom of Shen-shen, a country rugged and hilly, with a thin and barren soil. The clothes of the common people are coarse, and like those worn in our land of Han, some wearing felt and others coarse serge or cloth of hair;-- this was the only difference seen among them. The king professed (our) Law, and there might be in the country more than four thousand monks, who were all students of the hinayana. The common people of this and other kingdoms (in that region), as well as the sramans, all practise the rules of India, only that the latter do so more exactly, and the former more loosely. So (the travellers) found it in all the kingdoms through which they went on their way from this to the west, only that each had its own peculiar barbarous speech. (The monks), however, who had (given up the worldly life) and quitted their families, were all students of Indian books and the Indian language. Here they stayed for about a month, and then proceeded on their journey, fifteen days walking to the north-west bringing them to the country of Woo-e. In this also there were more than four thousand monks, all students of the hinayana. They were very strict in their rules, so that sramans from the territory of Ts'in were all unprepared for their regulations. Fa-hien, through the management of Foo Kung-sun, /maitre d'hotellerie/, was able to remain (with his company in the monastery where they were received) for more than two months, and here they were rejoined by Pao-yun and his friends. (At the end of that time) the people of Woo-e neglected the duties of propriety and righteousness, and treated the strangers in so niggardly a manner that Che-yen, Hwuy-keen, and Hwuy- wei went back towards Kao-ch'ang, hoping to obtain there the means of continuing their journey. Fa-hien and the rest, however, through the liberality of Foo Kung-sun, managed to go straight forward in a south-west direction. They found the country uninhabited as they went along. The difficulties which they encountered in crossing the streams and on their route, and the sufferings which they endured, were unparalleled in human experience, but in the course of a month and five days they succeeded in reaching Yu-teen.
 An account is given of the kingdom of Shen-shen in the 96th of the Books of the first Han dynasty, down to its becoming a dependency of China, about B.C. 80. The greater portion of that is now accessible to the English reader in a translation by Mr. Wylie in the "Journal of the Anthropological Institute," August, 1880. Mr. Wylie says:-- "Although we may not be able to identify Shen-shen with certainty, yet we have sufficient indications to give an appropriate idea of its position, as being south of and not far from lake Lob." He then goes into an exhibition of those indications, which I need not transcribe. It is sufficient for us to know that the capital city was not far from Lob or Lop Nor, into which in lon. 38d E. the Tarim flows. Fa-hien estimated its distance to be 1500 le from T'un-hwang. He and his companions must have gone more than twenty-five miles a day to accomplish the journey in seventeen days.
 This is the name which Fa-hien always uses when he would speak of China, his native country, as a whole, calling it from the great dynasty which had ruled it, first and last, for between four and five centuries. Occasionally, as we shall immediately see, he speaks of "the territory of Ts'in or Ch'in," but intending thereby only the kingdom or Ts'in, having its capital, as described in the first note on the last chapter, in Ch'ang-gan.