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0036 The Thousand Buddhas : vol.1
The Thousand Buddhas : vol.1 / Page 36 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000188
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the present Badakhshi breed of Western Turkestan, a favourite region for China's horse imports since early times ; it is exactly represented also among the numerous clay figures of horses which in 1915 I excavated in plenty from Turfan graves of the Tang period. The saddles, high-pommeled at back and front, and covered with long saddle-cloths, are met with there also. For the ornamentation of headstall, breast-band, and crupper, reference to a painted panel from Dandan-oilik showing a horseman and also of the Tang period is instructive 15

The scene on the left forms an exact pendant to the one just described. Here a lady similarly placed and attired is having her head shaved by a monk. Among the attendants behind her two ladies have their hair done in topknots with two high loops, whereas two others, evidently girls, wear it in a bunch on either side of the head with a short lock hanging from each. Behind appear bearers of the hexagonal palanquin with pagoda roof, of which a small portion is included in the reproduction.

The central scene shows the adorning of a Stûpa or Buddhist relic tower and presents points of distinct antiquarian interest. Its shape is cylindrical, with a low flat dome and a square base below. A three-tiered umbrella, hung with streamers and metal ornaments, surmounts it. Below workmen are seen engaged in arranging the draperies. Two long tables are laden with flasks, bowls, and other offerings, while bundles of manuscript rolls are placed at either side ; they are all likely to represent votive gifts made at the time of consecration.



THE painting (Ch. liii. ooi) which this Plate successfully reproduces in colours, on the scale of three-eighths of the original, is a good representative of the small but interesting class of what may be designated as simplified Paradise pictures. We see in it Amitabha enthroned on a lotus between Avalokite§vara and Mahasthama, with two lesser Bodhisattvas in front and a row of well-individualized disciples behind. No lake is represented ; but a cornparison with the painting represented in the next Plate, xi, with which ours shares a number of marked peculiarities in composition, style, colour, and treatment, suffices to show that a representation of Amitabha's Heaven is intended.

Amitabha is seated with legs interlocked and his right hand raised in the usual vitarkamudrâ. His flesh is yellow shaded with red which has changed to a curious iridescent mauve ; his hair a bright blue. His mantle, vivid crimson, is wrapped round both shoulders, its drapery reproducing all details of the arrangement which Graeco-Buddhist sculpture had borrowed from Hellenistic art and handed over to be stereotyped with hieratic convention in the Buddha figures of Central Asia and the Far East. The lotus, his seat, is raised on a high stepped pedestal and has its pink petals covered all over with beautiful floral scrolls in white, blue, and black. Similar rich scroll-work adorns the base of the pedestal and reappears on the canopy which hangs above the Buddha's head, raised on two trees. Their stems are treated like jewelled poles, and their large star-shaped leaves are arranged in whorls enclosing conical clusters of red fruit. An Apsaras sweeps down on either side, scattering flowers ; her floating garments and the gracefully curling clouds which support her express rapidity of movement.

Avalokitesvara and Mahasthama occupy well-designed, if less ornate, lotus seats, the former raising a flaming jewel in his left hand and the latter an alms-bowl. Among the multicoloured jewellery with which they are bedecked, the Dhyàni-buddha set in front of the tiara may be mentioned. Below them are seated two lesser Bodhisattvas, in similarly rich dress and adornment, the one, in profile, holding a red lotus, the other, in three-quarters profile, a flask. Their foreshortened elliptical haloes in green and the transparent light blue stoles deserve notice.

i5 Cf. Stein, Ancient Khotan, ii. Pl. LIx.