Nicholas Roerich (1874-1947) was een Russische schilder en schrijver, met een speciale belangstelling voor de Himalaya-landen en het Midden-Oosten, waarover hij ook schreef.
The Taotai arrived. Boring conversations about the cult of ancestors, about astrology, about the weather. He looked at the photographs of my paintings. He said that he had already telegraphed to Urumchi about permission for us to proceed. These permissions for each step recall the most brutal times and we are bored by it, to the last degree. Even to complain about the rudeness of the officials, one needs permission. Passing through the city we again observed the local types. These are very cruel faces. Many more beggars and cripples than in Yarkand. We must exchange the remaining rupees. We are advised to take some gold. The Kirghiz are bringing it from the mountains. Hindus and Turki accept it gladly.
The day for the exchange of money. The selection of a tarantas. A new driver — a Cossack refugee from Orenburg. An instructive scene in the bazaar. A mullah with a whip is chasing the people to the mosque. The lashes of the whip strike the backs, the shoulders, the faces. The enthusiasm for prayer is evoked with difficulty and many are hurrying to hide themselves in the side-streets. They say that Medresse — the schools at the mosques — are visited rarely. Even in the wilderness, the people expect more refined and more profound forms of knowledge.