The Kingdom of Khotan (Tib. ལི་ཡུལ་, Wyl. li yul) is an ancient Buddhist kingdom that was located on the branch of the Silk Road that ran along the southern edge of the Taklamakan Desert in the Tarim basin―the area lies in present day Xinjiang, China. It was one of the earliest Buddhist states in the world and a cultural bridge across which Buddhist culture and learning were transmitted from India to China.
According to legend, the foundation of Khotan occurred when Kushtana, said to be a son of the Indian Buddhist emperor Ashoka, settled there in the early 3rd century BCE.
However, it is likely to have existed earlier than this as the Yuezhi (known later as the Kushans) had been trading the famous nephrite jade from the region to China for some centuries prior to this.
- Sir Harold Bailey, Indo-Scythian Studies: Khotanese Texts Volume VII
- Sir Harold Bailey, Indo-Scythian Studies: Khotanese Texts Volume VII, Cambridge University Press; 1st edition (August 20, 2009) ISBN 0521118735 ISBN 9780521118736 (This volume of Khotanese texts documents and interprets the historical contacts of the peoples of ancient north-west China and of Sin Kiang before the dominance of the Turks.)