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0343 Innermost Asia : vol.1
Innermost Asia : vol.1 / Page 343 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000187
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illustrate this influence," and traces of inspiration drawn from later Far Eastern designs are recognizable also in the Persian figured velvets of the seventeenth century.4°

Iran can be shown to have always readily responded to ` artistic penetration ' of this kind from the Far East, whenever political conditions favoured it, as under Mongol domination ; or when prosperity and flourishing maritime trade facilitated imports, as under the Sefevide dynasty. The expansion of China's political power and commerce beyond the Imaos and the Pamirs which occurred in Han times must have opened the way for similar influences, as may be inferred from the account given by the Han Annals of the relations established by the Imperial Court with Parthia and the smaller states of Eastern Iran.41 But unfortunately only the scantiest remains of Iranian arts and crafts of the Parthian period have come down to us, and specimens of Persian textile work, as practised during the centuries when China's silk export was most active, are completely wanting. Hence we can at present only conjecture the part played by the latter in stimulating the development of that style which we see displayed, in stiff maturity, by our late ` Sasanian ' textiles.

China's relations with Iran under Parthians.


After our examination of the textile relics recovered from the grave-pits of L.C., it still remains for us to pass in rapid review the miscellaneous objects which had found their way into the sepulchral deposits there collected. These miscellaneous articles, like the fabrics, correspond very closely in character with those usually found in the undisturbed Chinese burials explored by me elsewhere. Among small objects of personal use deposited with their dead owners, we may note first two well-preserved bronze mirrors, L.C. 013, 021 (Pl. XXIV), besides a number of fragments, L.C. 017-18, 043-4. L.C. 013 is of special interest as it shows in the low-relief ornamentation of the reverse a band containing eight different Chinese lapidary characters separated by simple decorative motifs. In L.C. 021, also showing low-relief ornaments on the back, both this and the flat front appear to have been silvered. On the fragment L.C. 020 (Pl. XXIV) traces of gilding remain. The original use of the embossed gold-foil disc L.C. 022 (Pl. XXIV) is uncertain. Other small objects in bronze are the buckle, L.C. 041 (Pl. XXIII) ; the hook L.C. 042, similar to one found on the Tun-huang Limes, and the buttons L.C. 014, 023. Among toilet articles we have, besides the mirrors, the well-made wooden combs, L.C. x. 012-13 (Pl. XXI), with fine teeth.

Remains of personal possessions are probably represented also by the ornamented wooden lid of a box, L.C. iii. 03 (Pl. XXIX) ; the fragments of a lacquered wooden box, L.C. iii. 07, and those of other small receptacles in bent cane, L.C. X. 011, 023 (Pl. XXI, XXVIII). The well-preserved melon-shaped basket of fine grass, L.C. 05 (Pl. XXVI), originally varnished or perhaps lacquered, may, judging from similar baskets found at L.E.,1 be safely assumed to be a local product and to have held food deposited with the dead. The matting of hemp string, L.C. ii. oio, is also probably of local origin, but resembles in weave the piece T. xiv. 004. b found on the Tun-huang Limes.2 The four-legged wooden food-trays, L.C. x. 015-16 (Pl. XXVII), were, no doubt, meant for food offerings as usually found by me in intact Chinese tombs ; the numerous knife cuts, however, show that these trays had previously been utilized by the living. Of other similar food-trays there survive only the legs L.C. i. 016 ; iv. o6-8 ; x. 05-8 (Pl. XXIX), 024-6, usually beast-shaped. Whether the jug, L.C. 012 (Pl. XXIX), the goblet, L.C. iv. 09 (Pl. XXIX), and the ladle, L.C. x. 027 (Pl. XXI),

39 See von Falke, Seidenwebere:2, p. 33, Figs. 285-92, 295.   Inst., x. pp. 39 sqq. ; Chavannes, T`oung-pao,1907, pp. 197 sq.

40 Cf. ibid., Figs. 524-6 with Figs. 273-4.   1 See below, p. 265.

41 Cf. Wylie, ' Notes on the Western Regions ', J. Anthrop.   2 See Serindia, iv. PI. XLVIII.

Objects of personal use deposited in burials.