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0310 Innermost Asia : vol.1
Innermost Asia : vol.1 / Page 310 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000187
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[Chap. VII

Refuse at L.A. searched afresh.

Documents in Chinese and other scripts.

and L.A. .III, carefully searched afresh and with ample reward for this unsavoury labour. As recorded in Serindia,' it had on the previous occasion been impossible to remove these big accumulations of dirt, and in turning over their layers some forty more records on wood and paper were recovered. Most of them were fragments of Chinese slips or paper documents. But in addition to a number of complete Chinese slips the fresh haul comprised also a small rectangular cover-tablet (L.A. vi. ii. 057, PI. XVIII) inscribed in Kharosthi, which judging from its shape appears to have served as a lid to a box,8 as well as a novelty in the shape of a small silk bag inscribed in Kharosthi (P1. XVII).9 Among miscellaneous objects from the same large rubbish-heap it will suffice specially to mention the well-preserved fragment, L.A. vi. ii. 05 (Pl. XLIII), of a loom-woven textile decorated with a floral pattern ; a neat little bag in crimson silk, L.A. vi. ii. o6 ; various small wooden implements ; a piece of green-glazed pottery, L.A. vi. ii. 017, &c.

Considerable refuse deposits, not previously examined, were traced also near the large dwelling L.A. Iv situated to the south of L.A. vi.10 From those to the south-east, x, several Chinese records were brought to light, including a complete paper document of large size in excellent preservation. Among the miscellaneous objects found here and in the rubbish layers, xi, to the west and southwest of the dwelling, the remains of a horn saddle-tree, obviously for use on a donkey, L.A. v. x. of (Pl. XVI) ; some pads of woollen fabric and felt, L.A. v. x. 05-8 ; a piece of basket-marked grey pottery, L.A. v. x. 013 (Pl. XXVII), closely corresponding to the common type of Han pottery on the Tun-huang Limes, may be specially mentioned.

On the narrow strip of ground along the north side of the main wall in the ` Va-mên '-like building L.A. II, running at the back of the brick-built rooms L.A. n. ii.—iv,11 some consolidated refuse had previously escaped notice. Erosion had left little of it, but there were some interesting finds among the layers, which consisted mainly of camel-dung and reed-straw. The timber-andwattle built room II. vi had attracted my attention in 1906 by its superior construction, and the high sitting platform and panelled window which it comprised ; 12 close to this room were found some much-decayed fragments of painted wall plaster. The specimen brought away, L.A. II. 04, shows remains of a geometrical pattern. The interest of these plaster fragments lay in their containing wheat-straw, conclusive evidence of cultivation having been carried on in the vicinity of the ancient station. The fragment of a carved wooden frame, L.A. II. 05 (Pl. XVI), also found there, is of interest, as the decorative pattern of lozenges filled with four-petalled flowers shows a very close resemblance to designs common to ornamental wood-carving both of the Lou-lan ruins L.B. and the Niya Site 13

We also recovered an interesting series of documents on paper outside the walls of rooms vi and vii. Apart from numerous Chinese fragments including the three large pieces L.A. Ii. x. 03-6, there were found here two small fragments in Early Sogdian script (Pl. CXXIV) and the scrap of a document, L.A. II. x. 018, in an as yet undeciphered script. This with its partly looped, partly elongated characters curiously recalled the script in the legends on the White Hun coins. A very careful search made for the remainder of this document proved fruitless. Some

Refuse near dwelling L.A. iv.

Miscellaneous finds behind

` Yamên'.

7 See Serindia, i. p. 381.

8 For similar lids with Chinese inscriptions used to close boxes containing letters on wooden slips, cf. Serindia, i. p. 382.

9 [According to M. Boyer's kindly communicated reading the little bag, L.A. VI. ii. 059, appears to have been intended to convey a small present, the name of sender and recipient being inscribed on one side, and the gift (of a precious stone ?) being referred to on the other ; cf. Chavannes, Doc. chinois, pp. 199 sq.]

10 The same misapprehension, as already mentioned above in note 6, accounts for the attribution in the List of the erroneous ` site-marks ' L.A. v. x and L.A. v. xi to the records and other miscellaneous finds from these refuse deposits.

11 See Serindia, iii. Pl. 25.

12 Cf. ibid., i. pp. 377 sq.

13 See e. g. ibid., iv. Pl. XIX, N. xllt. i. o0r ; XXXI, L.B. N. 0025-6.