From: Innermost Asia,Ralph Cobbold, William Heinemann, London 1900
p. 162: "The Tajiks have long heads with high brow, expressive eyes
shaded by dark eyebrows, finely chiselled nose, florid complexion, and full
brown hair and beard. They form the intellectual aristocracy of Turkestan …….
The Gulchas are the agricultural highlanders who inhabit the Western slopes
of the Pamirs in Darwaz, Roshan, Shighan, Wakhan and Badakshan, and are also
Iranian stock, but of a purer type. The chiefs claim descent from Alexander.
They have broad heads, delicate features, and firm lips. De Ujfalvy chronicles
having met some closely resembling the Celtic peasantry of Savoy. ..… The women
are fairly good-looking, but fade while still young."
From Ruins of Desert Cathay, Sir Aurel Stein, Macmillan, London 1912, vol. I
p. 189: "The journey down the Tagdumbash Pamir, on which I started on May 28th
from Kók-Torök, took me over ground already familiar from 1900, and therefore my account
of it may be brief. After a refreshing night's rest at Tigharmansu, where Muhammad Yusuf
Beg's clean and comfortable Kirgha might almost have tempted me to forsake my own little
tent, we rode down in a long march to the Karaul or watch station of Bayik. It was pleasant
to listen en route to all my host had to tell. Things had fared well with him since our
first meeting, and now as the happy owner of a thousand sheep and dozens of camels and
yaks the jovial Sarikoli was a man of substance fully equal to the dignity of Beg, newly
won or rather purchased from the Chinese Amban of Tash-Kurgan. With his tall figure,
fair hair, and blue eyes he looked the very embodiment of that Homo Alpinus type which
prevails in Sarikol. I thought of old Benedict Goëz, the lay Jesuit, who when passing
in 1603 from the upper Oxus to 'Sarcil' or Sarikol, noted in the looks of the scanty
inhabitants a resemblance to Flemings."
"The Anthropology of the Mountain Tadjiks"
By Soren Hansen
Extract from THROUGH THE UNKNOWN PAMIRS
Report of O. Olufsen's second Danish Pamir Expedition, 1898-99:
W. Heinemann, London 1904
"DURING the stay of the second Danish Pamir Expedition in the provinces of
Shugnan and Vakhan, the botanist of the expedition, Mr. Paulsen, had the
opportunity of making a series of anthropological examinations of the people,
concerning whom, up till then, we had no positive details as to physique, build,
and racial characteristics. It was taken for granted, of course, that there
was a certain likeness to the rest of the mountain Tadjiks ; but the mountains
of Central Asia have already afforded many ethnographic surprises, and every
positive contribution to our knowledge of the distinctive characteristics of
the races of these parts is of great significance with regard to the origin
and descent of the human races, even if it should not bring us the final solution.
The people of Shugnan and Vakhan must be regarded as Tadjiks, with distinctive
peculiarities of race, and without any noteworthy intermixture of foreign elements,
whilst the greater number of the Tadjiks in the lowlands west of Pamir are more
or less strongly intermixed, especially with Turkish elements. In strong contrast
to these Tadjiks of the lowlands, the type of the mountain Tadjiks is so pure
that we are able to form a very clear conception of that type through the brief
descriptions handed down to us by former travellers, inasmuch as the type is
identical today with the widely dispersed Celtic race of Europe. The fact that
"the Celtic race" is a disputed definition is not sufficient cause to consign
to oblivion this good and well known name; but it must be distinctly understood
that under this name I include all the peoples whose appearance corresponds with
the Celtic type set up by Broca, their origin and mutual relationship being quite
left out of the question.
It has even been supposed that this is the race mentioned in the descriptions of
the Ussunes (Wu-sun) by the very ancient Chinese authors. These Ussunes were a people
in these parts who had long "horse-like" faces, protruding noses, and deep-set, blue
eyes. It is not improbable that the Ussunes were really mountain Tadjiks, though it
is said that they spoke Turkish.
The first perfectly trustworthy characteristic is, however, due to the French [in fact Portuguese RM] missionary
Benedict Goes, who explored Pamir in the beginning of the seventeenth century, and states
that the Mountain Tadjiks had fair hair and "beards like the Belgians." This direct
comparison with a pure Celtic nation is of special interest because it originates
from a period where any influence of scientific theories was out of the question.
In accordance with this a much later explorer, the Englishman Wood, emphasizes the
fact that the Vakhans have no characteristic marks in their features or the colour
of their hair and eyes, but at the same time he designates them Greeks (true or pseudo
Greeks), and in this there is the sign that Wood was influenced by the current
view of his time, according to which these tribes were descendants of the soldiers
of Alexander the Great. Another English explorer of quite late years, Younghusband,
seems to be somewhat influenced by their contrast to the Mongols when he terms
the Mountain Tadjiks "very fair" with handsome regular features. (Younghusband,
The Heart of A Continent.) Indeed, the same evidence is given by Biddulph, Robert Shaw,
and others, if not so markedly given; but all these observers have found well-known
features amongst the mountain Tadjiks, and, together with what we already know of the
races of Central Asia, their short remarks about the general habits of the Mountain
Tadjiks leave no doubt that they are quite in accordance with those of the Celtic race.
The only difference is that their skin is "much tanned by sun and wind and all weathers,"
(Wood, Journey to the Source of the Oxus) and in the fact that their eyes seem
more deep set - perhaps for the same reason. Otherwise the affinity is as perfect as
possible between the Mountain Tadjiks and the European peoples of the Celtic race as
we find them in the south of Zealand.
From "Dr. Albert Regel's Journey in Karateghin and Darwaz"
These observations were, of course, founded on no scientfic methods of the present day, but
on merely the general impression left on the traveller.
For the scientific treatment we must go to Charles de Ujfalvy, to whom we chiefly owe our
knowledge of the anthropology of the Mountain Tadjiks, as he has, through a thorough study
of many years of the characteristics of the races of Central Asia, procured large and
valuable material which throws a much clearer light over this subject. Ujfalvy's principal
work is "Les Aryens au Nord et au Sud de l'Hindou Kouch," in which he has collected the
contents of numerous large and small treatises.
Ujfalvy has had the opportunity, in repeated journeys, of studying part of the western
groups of mountain Tadjlks and, though he never met with either Shugnans or Vakhans,
the measurements show that there is no difference worth mentioning, though they are
far removed from the peoples Ujfalvy visited - his subject covering the country just
east of Samarkhand, and embracing in all some 58 specimens, whilst Paulsen examined 98.
Ujfalvy had, moreover, an extensive range for the purposes of comparison with almost
all the surrounding tribes, and we therefore adopted his method in working out the
material before us, though objections could be raised against it in more ways than
one. That he is, on the whole, too apt to draw more extensive conclusions from his
examinations than he is justified in doing, does not lessen the value of his positive
information; but it must be emphasised that the numerous works of Ujfalvy can only
be used under the most watchful criticisms fact which is clearly laid bare when we
go through the great number of notes and emendations at the end of his principal
work. He attributes a greater significance to the newest, often very hazardous,
theories than is their due; but he has a manifold and comprehensive knowledge
of the subject, and the sharp eye for the inconsistencies between the physical
and linguistic definition of race, which is so very necessary for the study of
the ethnography of these peoples.
What has formerly so greatly impeded the study of the very intricate distinctions
of race in Central Asia is the definition of the race-names, more especially the
much-disputed term "Aryan." To Ujfalvy is due the honour of having settled that
the term "Aryan race" is a mere linguistic definition which must neither be
attached to the fair, short-skulled Celtic race to which the mountain Tadjiks
belong, nor to the long-skulled Gothic-Teutonic race; but there is nothing to
prevent its being used as a common designation for all the races which belong
to the Aryan group of languages. There are certainly several prominent men of
science who still retain the notion of a very ancient race, characterised by
certain peculiarities of appearance, which has formed and propagated the original
Aryan language and the Aryan culture, and, indeed, this may have been so, but we
know nothing of the appearance of this hypothetical race, and its language and
culture has, at any rate, propagated itself to other races at so early a juncture
that nothing is known about the original race.
The theories as to the origin of the Celts are too many and too incompatible for
us to undertake a closer account of them.
With regard to the mountain Tadjiks, it is only known that they had already, at
least a couple of thousand years ago, found their way into the narrow and almost
inaccessible valleys where they have since preserved their racial character,
unaffected by the violent warfare which has raged again and again in their
neighbourhood and strangely unaffected by all culture."
Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society, Vol. 4, No. 7, July 1882, p. 415
"The inhabitants of the Upper Oxus regions, even in Karateghin, show a mixture of race.
But the Tadjiks of Darwaz are of pure Aryan type; their hair, sometimes dark, at others
fair, is rarely shorn, and they wear a short dress. The women go about unveiled and marry
by consent; their cast of features is curiously enough both European and gipsy-like."