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0569 Innermost Asia : vol.1
Innermost Asia : vol.1 / Page 569 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000187
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Before proceeding to describe the remains outside the town, reference must be made to the group of four Stùpas built on the top of the walls in the north-western corner. As appears from

the photographs in Figs. 241, 248, one of these Stûpas, which rises above the corner bastion, is

still almost intact and forms a very conspicuous object in the general view of the ruined town. From the plan and elevation in Pl. 19 it will be seen that this Stûpa stands on a podium 18 feet

square, and including it rises to a height of close on 3o feet in its present state. The crowning member which, as the still extant central pole indicates, must once have risen above the thirteen Chattras of the Tee, has fallen. The portion corresponding to the hemispherical dome of the original Stùpa form is reduced here, as in the smaller Stûpas outside the walls, to a bulb shape disproportionately low, thus giving to the whole structure a somewhat dumpy appearance distinctly reminiscent of Stùpa forms now common in Tibet. The whole is built of bricks set on edge, as are all the Stûpas of the site, and still retains a good deal of its thick white plastering.

While this corner Stiipa has escaped with comparatively little damage, another standing farther south has been completely destroyed except for its threefold base or podium. The same fate has overtaken two small Stûpas, seen in the plan, Pl. 18, flanking the head of the terrace on the north wall over which led the approach to the corner Stûpa.

Judging from the condition of the miniature votive Stûpas in clay which lay in masses among the debris around the bases of the wrecked Stùpas, it would appear that the work of destruction was here of recent date. As shown by corresponding observations at all Stûpas outside the walls, these little model Stûpas had been originally packed by the hundreds within the hollow drum resting on the top of the Stûpa base and also around the wooden shaft passing through the bulb portion of the Stûpa proper. I had found exactly corresponding deposits at the Stùpas of the So-yang-ch`êng site where burrowing had taken place.'°

Specimens of these votive model Stùpas taken from different Stûpas of Khara-khoto are described in the List below under K.K. o90–IoI. They were everywhere produced from the same moulds, two types being distinguishable among these. In one type which is represented also by K.K. I. 0225 (Pl. LIII), the base or podium reproduces almost exactly the elaborate arrangement of the Rawak Stûpa base with its projecting plinth and flights of steps. In the other type a conical base, with four tiers of miniature Stùpas of similar shape shown close together in relief, takes the place of the above-described base. Both types are found, in sizes practically the same, also among the miniature Stùpas of So-yang-ch`êng, a fact that points strongly to contemporary occupation of the two sites. In both types the shape of the Stûpa dome and base differs strikingly from that shown by the actual Stùpas of the two sites, being evidently derived from a much more ancient model to which conservative tradition adhered in the case of votive offerings, while actual architectural practice had departed from it long before. The procedure of packing the interior of Stùpas with masses of such miniature models may well have been meant to symbolize in a modest—and cheap—fashion the ancient Buddhist custom, so well attested in India, of depositing under Stùpas built by royal patrons, &c., a multitude of sacred relics collected from earlier Stûpas.

Stûpas on top of town wall .

Miniature votive Stûpas.

Types of votive Stûpas.


Our survey of the ruins examined outside the town walls may well start with the group of Ruined


Stûpas which, as seen in Fig. 241, stood close to the north-western corner. They had all been badly outsde

damaged by burrowing, apparently long ago. In shape and manner of construction they resembled NW. corner. very closely those on the town wall. The northernmost and largest, though completely laid open

io Sec Serindia, iii. p. iios.