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0335 Innermost Asia : vol.1
Innermost Asia : vol.1 / Page 335 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000187
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silk fragment, L.C. 07. a (Pl. XXXIV), also reproduced by Mr. Andrews' hand in Fig. 2 of his paper. The pattern extends to the full width of the material and is fortunately preserved complete with the selvedges at both ends. It shows a procession of six monsters all moving to the left. The fantastic shapes vary greatly, from the winged tiger on the right to the horned dragon on the left. The poses are different, too, but in all of them the feline nature of the beasts is cleverly marked. ` The whole scheme ', as Mr. Andrews observes, ` is flowing or drifting from right to left, a movement expressed not merely in the graceful action of the animals, but in every line of the scrolls. Each beast has individuality and is a delightful study. ' Between the first and last pairs of monsters a standing duck or goose is introduced at right angles to the line of animals, an arrangement characteristic also of a group of other designs to be noted presently. The Chinese lapidary characters which appear above or by the side of the animals have been tentatively interpreted by M. Arrousseau as containing on the right the mention of a ` polychrome figured textile ' r , hsiu coupled with the family name lq Han and with what may be a personal name, 4 jên, and farther on a benedictory formula for succeeding generations.6

Very closely allied with this fine design is another which is illustrated by the reproduction of the fragment L.C. iii. ou I (Pl. XXXIV) and variations of which are found in a number of other polychrome pieces.' It shows a horseman riding on a high-stepping mount towards a horned beast, rampant, and followed by two winged monsters and a leopard-like creature, all grotesque and rampant. A peculiarly interesting feature of this design is the horseman and his mount, which, as seen in Mr. Andrews' drawing, Pl. XXXVIII, show a striking resemblance in general design and pose to certain riding figures sculptured in the bas-reliefs of a Han tomb in Shan-tung belonging to the early second century A. D.8 The treatment of the cloud scrolls likewise displays a close affinity to some of the ornamental motifs in these sculptures. The zigzag arrangement of the figures results in the formation of diagonal rows of beasts, thus reproducing with pleasing freedom the effect of the lozenge diaper, a favourite scheme of these Chinese all-over patterns. The four Chinese characters to the right of the horseman have been read by my

lamented friend and secretary Chiang Ssû-yeh as     c U) ye Chang to ming kuang, [May
you] ever [be] happy [and your] faculties [remain] bright ', a common inscription on scrolls at an early period.

With the above designs must be grouped also that of L.C. iii. 017. a, in which two winged monsters figure beside a striding lion, all amidst ` vermicular ' cloud scrolls. We have already noticed as a subordinate but peculiar feature in the design of L.C. 07, that near the beginning and end of the ` procession of monsters ' birds are introduced turned at right angles to the monsters. This arrangement reappears conspicuously, and with a frequency suggesting a well-established convention, in a series of designs otherwise closely allied to those previously described. Thus in L.C. ii. 03 (Pl. XXXIV, XXXIX) we see the figure of a duck, comparatively large, standing between a winged tiger-like beast leaping down on the right and a winged goat or deer leaping or flying upwards on the left. Mr. Andrews points out that ` the collar worn by the first beast recalls a similar feature in Western and Near Eastern textiles of all periods from those of Antinoë of the sixth century onwards '.9 The three Chinese characters that have survived must be supplemented,

Design in ` procession of monsters' stuff.

in other

6 See B.E.F.E.O. xx (192o). pp. 175 sq. Mr. Andrews points out to me that the entries proposed under (f) and (g) of the reading must be omitted, as they refer to details which form part of the design and are not Chinese characters.

7 See the entries L.C. i. 09 ; ii. 07. a ; iii. ox (Pl, XXXIV), 017. c, 019.

8 Cf. Chavannes, Mission archéologique, i. PI. XXVI, No. 47.

9 See Andrews, Chin. Figured Silks, p. 8, where reference is made to von Falke, Seidenweberei 2, Fig. 16, and Strzygowski, Koptische Kunst, p. 57, Fig. 72.