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0257 Innermost Asia : vol.1
Innermost Asia : vol.1 / Page 257 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000187
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resting in their cases, shall have been set up afresh for exhibition in our Museum at New Delhi. [The task has been safely accomplished in 1925, after these pages were written.] What supplementary data I was able to collect during my renewed visit to Mirân concerning ruined structures previously noticed, such as M. iv, M. viii and M. ix, have been embodied in the account I have given of the latter in Serindia.14 Similarly the more detailed survey of the site which I now was able to make with the help of Miân Afraz-gul has been fully utilized in the plan which Plate 29 of Serindia reproduces. But, apart from the structures already explored, my fresh stay at Mirân enabled me to trace some ruins which, hidden away in the close-set tamarisk-cones to the north, had previously escaped me, and among them two which presented features of distinct interest.

On the first day after my arrival Tursun Akhûn, an old Loplik, told me of a mound he had seen among the ` Donglik ' or sand-cones to the north, and guided me to it from the ruin M. 11. This small mound, M. xmv, was situated about if miles almost due north of the Tibetan fort M. I and at first sight looked very puzzling. Its height was about eight feet. Clearing soon showed that it contained the remains of a small rotunda with the central Stûpa base still standing to a height of about five feet, but the wall of the enclosing circular passage almost completely decayed on the western and southern sides (see Fig. 118 ; Pl. 9). The extant portion of the Stiipa base, all covered with stucco, showed a triple plinth below and a series of flat mouldings above, as seen in the elevation of Pl. 9. The width of the circumambulatory passage was only 41 feet and that of the enclosing wall approximately 5 feet. The wall of the enclosing passage bore signs of having once been painted. The remaining traces were too faint to permit of any conclusion as to the subjects represented ; but what survived of colours and outlines seemed to point to a style different from that of the mural paintings in M. 111 and M. v.

Among the small objects recovered in the course of the clearing were five small wooden tablets bearing Tibetan writing (Pl. CXXX), found on the north and north-west sides of the passage. These proved clearly that the small shrine, if not actually of contemporary construction, must in any case have remained accessible during the period (eighth—ninth century A. D.) when the Tibetan fort M. I was occupied.15 The fact that the style of the Stûpa mouldings distinctly differs from that observed in the case of the Stiipas of M. III and M. v 18 seems also to indicate a later origin. The other objects found here and described in the List below comprise a specimen of gilt stucco, M;xiv. oi, evidently from some Buddhist image ;17 a turned wooden box, M. 'ay. 02-3, with traces of lacquer ornamentation (P1. XXI) ; several fragments of relief carvings in wood, M. xiv. 04-10 (Pl. XXI), of which one, M. xiv. 09, shows the familiar ornament of the four-petalled Gandhâra flower. The fact that a layer of reed-straw and sheep-dung was found embedded in the debris at a level of about five feet above the floor shows that this small ruin, too, like the remains near M. I118 and elsewhere, had at some later time served as a herdsman's shelter.

Another mound, M. X111, reported to me by one of my Loplik diggers, was found amidst tamarisk-cones, both living and dead, about i mile to the north-east of M. xIv. It proved to be the ruin of a Pao-fai-like tower (Fig. 120), closely corresponding in type to the tower M. xi' visited by me in 1907, some two-thirds of a mile to the south.19 It measured about 17 feet square at the base and rose to about 16 feet above the original ground level, which wind-erosion had here lowered by about 8 feet. The sun-dried bricks measured on the average 18" x 10" x 41". The

M. xrv.

Finds in ruin M. xlv.

Ruined tower M. xiii.

14 See Serindia, i. pp. 533 sq. For a photograph of the small ruin M. ix, situated on a typical erosion terrace, see now Fig. 117 ; for one of the large Stiipa base M. iv, see Fig. 116. Plans of both are shown in Pl. 9.

15 Cf. Serindia, i. p. 474.

16 See ibid., iii. Pl. 32.

17 A larger stucco fragment, with its straw core, certainly from a statue, but unrecognizable as to its character, is shown by the photograph, Fig. 118, in the foreground.

18 Cf. Serindia, i. pp. 490 sq., 536.

19 See ibid., i. p. J37.