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0339 Innermost Asia : vol.1
Innermost Asia : vol.1 / Page 339 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000187
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(PI. XXXV), with square dots and Chinese lapidary characters, and a check, L.C. iii. 04. d, executed in gauze. In L.C. v. 017 (P1. XLII) rows of rectangular billets are combined with rows showing a variety of other simple patterns.

But more interesting from the antiquarian point of view than any of the preceding is the pattern in L.C. 031. b (Pl. XXXV, XLII) ; ii. 05. a, composed of rows of rectangular billets, elongated octagons, and an angular meander ; for it is almost identical with that of T. xv. a. 002. a, a figured silk fragment excavated by me at a watch-station of the Tun-huang Limes, the dated Chinese documents from which extend from 53 B. c. to A. D. 137. The fragments of this fabric found at L.C. can thus safely be ascribed to the first two centuries of our era or the period of traffic through Lou-lan immediately preceding. The colouring is a deep golden yellow for the pattern and a rich blue for the ground, as also in the Limes fragment. This very effective colour scheme prevails among the ` geometric ' designs, and is frequent also among other silk fabrics of L.C. and the Tunhuang Limes. This helps still further to confirm the close chronological relation of the two series of textile remains.

Having seen that the designs of all the figured silks reviewed are clearly and exclusively Non-

Chinese, we must all the more be struck by the contrast presented by the designs of the woollen Chinese

designs in

tapestries. A reference to Pl. XXX—XXXII will show that while there is nothing distinctively tapestries. Chinese in the general style of any of the ten tapestry fragments, the designs of the most characteristic

among them bear the unmistakable impress of Hellenistic art influence.

This manifests itself most clearly in the fragment L.C. iii. oio. a (PI. XXX). It probably is part of Human

a decorative hanging of remarkably fine workmanship. It shows on the left the portion of a human head in


head, quite Western in type, rising with its neck over a draped shoulder, and to the right of it style.

a caduceus-like symbol separating this figure from another, of which little but part of the drapery

of one shoulder survives. The treatment of the facial features, the use of chiaroscuro and of different

flesh tones for modelling, also the conventions followed in outlines and colouring, exactly agree

with the work seen in the wall-paintings of the Mirân shrines M. I11 and M. v, as a comparison

with the remains reproduced in Serindia will demonstrate.19 The purely Graeco-Buddhist

character and Hellenistic inspiration of the Mirân ` frescoes ' have been established in the same

work. The evidence furnished by this close relationship in style and execution between the Mirân

work and the tapestry is particularly valuable because it makes it appear very probable that the

latter, brought to light in the same Lou-lan region, was also produced within the Tarim basin

and not an import from the distant West.

The fine tapestry work L.C. v. of (Pl. XXXI) is also quite Hellenistic in effect. The design, Designs of

purely geometric in this case, is executed with great care in a wide range of harmonious colours ` Coptic'

and is very beautiful. The fret forming Svastikas and the chevrons with midribs ending in square t pestries.

spirals, which form the ornament of the centre band, recall motifs frequent in the ` Coptic ', i. e.

late Hellenistic art of Egypt.20 The shading of the material on either side of this band into a succes-

sion of rainbow colours is done by a technique also common in ` Coptic ' tapestry work. Quite

classical in effect is the graceful pattern of undulating leaves and spirals which forms a border

or ` guard ' on both sides. We have a well-designed pattern of imbricated lily-shapes of the fleur-

de-lis type, executed in various colourings and flanked by rainbow bands, in the fragment L.C.

v. o6. a (Pl. XXXI) made up of several pieces. Here, too, ` Coptic ' work is recalled by the design and

technique. The fragments L.C. v. 03-5 (Pl. XXXI) introduce us to a debased rendering of the same

pattern in a rather coarse execution. The tapestry strip L.C. v. 019 (Pl. XXXI) is finely worked, but

shows only bands of transverse bars and small chequers in a variety of strongly contrasting colours.

19 See Serindia, iv. Pl. XLXLIV. As regards the sub-   20 Cf. e.g. Strzygowski, Koptische Kunst, p. 67, No. 7340 ;

jects, technique, &c., of these fine tempera paintings, cf.   p. 8o, No. 7356 (4) ; p. 130, No. 8790 ; von Falke, Seiden-

ibid., i. pp. 497 sqq., 514 sqq., with Figs. 133-43.   weberei2, Figs. 9, 10.

Billet pattern in yellow and blue.