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Qibi 契苾

Feb 15, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald

The Qibi 契苾, original name approximately "Kitbit", also transcribed as Qibi 契弊 and called Qibi yu 契苾羽 "Wing of the Qibi", were a tribe of the Turkish federation of the Tölöš 鐵勒. They lived as pastoral nomads in the indirectly administered prefecture (jimizhou 羈縻州) of Yingsuo 鷹娑 (modern Yanqi 焉耆, Xinjiang) during the early Tang period 唐 (618-907). Their northern neighbours were the people of the Dolange 多覽葛. In 605 the chieftain Qibi Gelang 契苾歌楞 proclaimed himself Yiwuzhenmohe Khan 易勿真莫何可汗 and declared his resistance to the leader of the federation of the Western Turks 西突厥, Juenijuechuluo Khan 厥泥撅處羅可汗. He established his court at Mt. Yatanhan 牙貪汗山 (in the eastern fringes of the Tianshan Range 天山).

The Qibi took over control over the oasis cities of Gaochang 高昌, Yanqi 焉耆 and Yiwu 伊吾. In 632 the chieftain Qibi Heli 契苾何力 accepted the suzerainty of the Tang empire and was ordered to settle down his people more to the east, in the prefectures of Ganzhou 甘州 and Liangzhou 涼州 (modern Gansu province), where the indirectly administered prefecture of Yuxi 榆溪 was founded. Heli also visited the Tang court in Chang'an 長安 (modern Xi'an 西安, Shaanxi) and delivered tributes. In 653 the original living place of the Qibi was transformed into an area command (dudufu 都督府) Helan 賀蘭 that was subordinated to the protectorate (duhufu 都護府) Yanran 燕然.

Sources:
Gao Wende 高文德, ed. (1995). Zhongguo shaoshu minzu shi da cidian 中國少數民族史大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin jiaoyu chubanshe), 1563.
Zhou Weizhou 周偉洲, Ding Jingtai 丁景泰, ed. (2006). Sichou zhi lu da cidian 絲綢之路大辭典 (Xi'an: Shaanxi renmin chubanshe), 368.