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0564 Innermost Asia : vol.1
Innermost Asia : vol.1 / Page 564 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000187
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Remains of large shrine.

Clearing of image platforms.

Remains of sculptural ornament.


specimens of silk fabrics, 02, 4, 6, may be mentioned also the pieces marked K.K. 1. 01-4, found close to the temple to be described presently.

The western portion of the town appeared to have been mostly occupied by shrines. But among these only very few retained more than the foundations of their walls or outlines of platforms, as can be seen by comparing the photograph in Fig. 247 with the corresponding portion of the plan, Pl. 18. Near the northern wall, however, the walls of a large cella, K.K. 1. i, still rose to a good height, while the interior held a considerable accumulation of debris. The cella, as shown by the plan in Pl. 19, measured about 32 feet in width and had a length of over 5o feet, the end towards the front on the south being broken. The walls were a foot and a half thick and built of sun-dried bricks, about 12" x 5" x 2", set on edge with the shorter side upright. As the enclosing walls stood uniformly to a height of only 6 or 7 feet, while the wall of the niche once backing the colossal central image still rose to over 15 feet in height, it appears probable that the roof was carried by a wooden superstructure above the enclosing walls. Of this, however, only matrices remained, showing the position of heavy timber posts.

On clearing the debris of brickwork, roof tiles, &c., which lay to a height of over 4 feet from the floor, it was found that the high wall of the niche already mentioned was once flanked by side walls forming two alcoves. These placed back to back, one in front and another behind, had contained raised image platforms of a type with which the cave-shrines of the ` Thousand Buddhas ' at Tunhuang had made me familiar. The platform in front, facing south, showed signs of having been burrowed into in recent times, and the base of the colossal central image that must have once occupied the niche had completely disappeared. Close to the east of the place where it once stood, there was found a Chinese copper coin, with the Nien-hao Hsi-ning (A. D. 1068-78), which may be supposed to have been laid at the foot of the image base as a votive gift. The colossal stucco image itself must have been destroyed long before ; but many large pieces of gilt stucco which had belonged to this figure, probably a standing Buddha, were discovered among the debris. The circular lotus bases of minor images, two on either side, could still be traced. The platform on which they stood had a horseshoe shape, such as is common at Chien-fo-tung.

By a passage leading round the cella walls for pradaksi?zâ purposes the smaller alcove at the back was approached. Excavation here brought to light the main image base, as seen in Fig. 249 and PI. 19, retaining traces of painted floral decoration ; also the bases of two flanking statues. In front of this platform two small circular bases may once have carried figures of Dvârapâlas. The two flanking bases still retained portions of the reed-covered sticks which once had served as cores for the stucco figures.

The complete wrecking of this shrine must be all the more regretted in view of the rich decoration to which the mass and variety of fine fragments of sculptural ornament in stucco and faience bear witness. They are fully described in the List, where attention has been also drawn to the curious points of contact in subject and style of treatment which a number of the small decorative motifs in stucco exhibit with details of the sculptural friezes of the ` Ming-oi ' shrines near Karashahr.7 The remains recovered from the large statues in stucco include the front portion of a colossal

foot, K.K. 1.046 ; life-size or colossal fingers and toes, gilt, 012, 015, 041, 0109, &c. (Pl. LIV) ; locks of hair, 040 (Pl. LIV), &c., often in spirals painted blue, 0151, &c. ; hands, o8, 010 ; the painted

forearm, 076 ; &c. To the dress and ornaments of such statues belong the very numerous pieces of gilt drapéry, oil, 016, 021, &c., among which 033 recalls the peculiar ` poky' sleeve of a fine wooden sculpture from Ming-oi ;71 the many fragments of a gilded pearl cable ornament, 014 (Pl. LIV), &c., of pearl strings, 092, and of pearl straps, with rosettes, 029, &c. (Pl. LIII), all also

7 See Serindia, iii: pp. 1192 sqq.   7a See Serindia, iv, PL CXXVII, Mi. xv. 031.