By the beginning of the Common Era, Buddhism had probably been introduced into eastern Turkistan. According to tradition, a son of Asoka founded the Kingdom of Khotan around 240 BC.
The grandson of this king supposedly introduced Buddhism to Khotan, where became the state religion. Another version said that the kingdom of Khotan had been established by the Xiongnu nomadic tribe.
Khotan is located at the southern edge of the Tarim Basin and was a powerful Central Asian state during the Han-Tang period. The kingdom of Khotan became known to the Chinese world in about 125 BC following the mission of Khang K’ien, under the name of Yu-t’ien.
The Chinese domesticated the silkworm probably as early as 5000 BC, but it was only around the 5th century AD that the Kingdom of Khotan, then located on China’s far western periphery, witnessed the raising of silkworm for their thread.
Tibetan invaders from the south threatened Khotan at the end of the seventh century but the region, while a satellite of China, retained its autonomy until the late 10th century when Muslim Turkish nomadic tribes invaded from Central Asia. The kingdom was succeeded by Kara-Khanid Khanate.
Kingdom of Khotan
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