A Turkic people who ruled a central Asian empire in the medieval period, first in the Turfan-Kucha region and later in the Tun-huang area. Though its early rulers were keen Manicheans, many of the general population were Buddhist, and Buddhist texts were translated into Uighur as early as the 7th century ce. Later the rulers also became Buddhists and with their support several flourishing centres of Buddhist learning were established. The Uighurs often functioned as traders and scribes and thus were instrumental in transmitting Buddhism to other people in the area. Their script, itself derived from an earlier Sogdian model, served as the basis for the standard script that was adopted by the Mongols. See also Mongolia.