Hsi Hsia

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Hsi Hsia


(Chinese for western Hsia), a state created in the late 10th century by Tibeto-Burman Min (Tangut) tribes in what is now the Chinese province of Kansu and the western part of Shensi Province. In 982 the Mins began a successful struggle for independence from the Chinese Sung Empire; the Sung court recognized their independence in 1006. During the reign of Yuan Hao in Hsi Hsia (1032–48), the writing system invented by Yeh-li Jen-yung was introduced; today it is known as Hsi Hsia, or Tangut, writing.

From the second half of the 11th to the early 12th century, bloody wars were continuously fought between Hsi Hsia and Sung China. In 1227 the Mongols conquered Hsi Hsia and dealt cruelly with the vanquished Mins. Later, those who survived were assimilated by the Tibetans, Chinese, and Mongols.

Hsi Hsia writing was lost by the turn of the 17th century. In 1909, P. K. Kozlov discovered in Hará Hoto a library of books and manuscripts in the Hsi Hsia language. The language was deciphered through the efforts of scholars from many countries; a major contribution in this task was made by the Soviet scholar N. A. Nevskii.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.