Bonvalot in 1887, Littledale in 1888, Cumberland, Bower and Dauvergne, followed by Younghusband in succeeding years, extending to 1890; Dunmore in 1892 and Sven Hedin in 1894-1895, have all contributed more or less to Pamir geography; but the honours of successful inquiry in those high altitudes still fall to Lord Curzon, whose researches in 1894 led to a singularly clear and comprehensive description of Pamir geography, as well as to the best map compilation that till then had existed.
In 1896 Dr Sven Hedin discovered in the desert not far from the town of Khotan, in a locality known as Borasan, objects in terra-cotta, bronze images of Buddha, engraved gems, coins and MSS.; the objects, which display artistic skill, give indications of having been wrought by craftsmen who laboured to reproduce Graeco-Indian ideals in the service of the cult of Buddha, and consequently date presumably from the 3rd century B.C., when the successors of Alexander the Great were founding their kingdoms in Persia, Khwarezm (Khiva), Merv, Bactria (Afghanistan) and northern India, and from that date to the 4th or 5th century A.D.
After a journey of half a year Hedin reached Shigatse; on leaving it he turned north again, intending to explore the large sacred lake Dangra-yumso, west of Ngantse t'so, but when within sight of it he was prevented by Tibetans from approaching it.
During his second and more important journey in Central Asia (1899-1902), Sven Hedin left Charkhlik, on the edge of the Taklamakan desert, in May 1901, intending to cross Tibet in a diagonal direction to the sources of the Indus.