Like all other cities of Central Asia, it has changed hands repeatedly, and was from 1864-1877 the seat of government of the Amir Yakub Beg, surnamed the Atalik Ghazi, who established and for a brief period ruled with remarkable success a Mahommedan state comprising the chief cities of the Tarim basin from Turfan round along the skirt of the mountains to Khotan.
When, however, we turn to the numerous fragments of authentic Manichaean liturgies and hymns lately discovered in Turfan in East Turkestan, Mani's direct indebtedness to the cycle of Magian legends rather than to Chaldaic sources (as Kessler argued) is clearly exhibited.
They were brought back by Professor Grunwedel and Dr Huth from Turfan in East Turkestan, and were partly translated by Dr F.
Much of this literature is still left in Turfan, where the natives use the sheets of Vigur and Chinese vellum MSS.
Next come the Turfan fragments described in the body of this article.