National Institute of Informatics - Digital Silk Road Project
Digital Archive of Toyo Bunko Rare Books

> > > >
Color New!IIIF Color HighRes Gray HighRes PDF   Japanese English
0377 Innermost Asia : vol.1
Innermost Asia : vol.1 / Page 377 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

New!Citation Information

doi: 10.20676/00000187
Citation Format: Chicago | APA | Harvard | IEEE

OCR Text




tightly wound rags of miscellaneous silk and wool fabrics, exactly after the fashion so fully illustrated by the remains of the L.C. grave-pits. Near the head-end of the coffin were found the elliptical food-tray, L.H. 013 (Pl. XXVIII), with remains of another, L.H. 028 (Pl. XXVI). At the head of the next coffin, too, there had survived a wooden food-tray, L.H. 02 (Pl. XXVII), of circular shape on the top and supported by short legs showing the same conventional lion-leg pattern as the legs of cupboards from the Niya and Lou-lan sites 19 Shreds of miscellaneous fabrics, largely silk, evidently from much-worn garments, enveloped what remained of the body. By its side there were found two wooden cups, L.H. 01, 012 (Pl. XXVII, XXIX), and five wooden arrows, L.H. 023-7 (Pl. XXV), obviously meant only as a sepulchral deposit, since the shafts though fitted with feathers had no heads, being merely trimmed smoothly to a point. The third coffin was a small one and lay embedded in drift-sand and gravel. Here a coarse woollen shroud, which had once apparently enveloped the whole body, had helped to preserve an abundance of silken and woollen rags, which had served for the tight wrapping of the limbs. A finely woven woollen shoe, L.H. 04 (Pl. XLII, LXXXV), decorated in excellently designed tapestry work, was a particularly interesting find made here. The several bands across the toe portion show heraldic lions and flying birds in alternating colours, disposed among geometrical motifs. The whole is of extremely good workmanship, and in design and technique closely recalls the fine woven slipper L.B. iv. ii. 0016, brought to light in 1906 from a residence at the Lou-lan site.20

The style of decoration on this shoe and on the fragment of another, L.H. 015, leaves it open to us to assume local origin, as in the case of the tapestry pieces from L.C. But there can be no doubt that all the remains of silk fabrics were imports from China. Most of them are coloured silks of plain weave (L.H. o6, 8, Io, 14, 16, 17, 20) ; but in addition we have in L.H. 09 the fragment of a figured silk, in ` warp-rib ' weave and showing a cloud-scroll pattern. There are fragments also of a crimson silk damask, L.H. 011, with a geometrical pattern of the ` spot ' type composed mainly of lozenges.

Though our examination of this small cemetery yielded no exactly datable objects, yet the general character of the graves and the nature of the textiles suffice to prove that they belong to the same period of Chinese control over Lou-lan as the remains gathered into the grave-pits of L.C. From the position chosen it may be safely concluded that the intention was to place the habitation of the dead on ground which by its higher level was protected from inundation or subsoil moisture and by its gravel cover less exposed to early attack by wind-erosion. The condition to which the coffins, &c., were here reduced shows how thoroughly even on such apparently safe ground the wind was able to assert its destructive force in the course of sixteen centuries or more. Lower down, on the sand-swept expanse of alluvial clay, the work of destruction would necessarily have proceeded much faster. This helps to explain how it came about that remains of many similarly eroded coffins, &c., were awaiting collection and reburial by pious hands even at a time when this area of ancient Lou-lan was still partially occupied, and when Chinese traffic was still proceeding by the desert route eastwards.

The exploration of the two burial-places had delayed our start for camp till late in the afternoon. Darkness overtook us while we were marching towards it along the foot of a line of low reddish ridges showing extreme disintegration. The guidance of the camels' footprints on the track previously followed by Lai Singh now failed us, and we had to make our way by what light and direction the stars of a dust-laden sky afforded. There was uncertainty, too, to which point of the shallow Nullah intended for the night's rest Abdurrahim might have guided our convoy.

19 See N. xxvt. of (Pl. XV) and Serindia, iv. Pl. XLVII,   20 See Serindia, i. p. 401 ; iv. Pl. XXVVII.

L.B. ttt. r.

Textile finds at L.H.

Period of burials.

March to camp in the dark.