448 THE ETSIN-GOL DELTA AND THE RUINS OF KHARA-KHOTO [Chap. XIII
books, paintings, small idols and the like. For this statement, too, there is confirmation in the very large quantity of books, cult objects, &c., that Colonel Kozlov's brief report mentions as having been removed by him, and likewise in the abundance of the relics left behind, evidently as waste, among the debris that was thrown down in the course of this ` exploration '. According to Shapir the structure, found practically intact, had no visible entrance, but a hole existed on the top.
[Since the above was written, the kindness of that distinguished Oriental scholar, Professor Serge d'Oldenburg, Perpetual Secretary of the Russian Academy of Sciences, has made accessible to me two important Russian publications—his own exhaustive monograph on Materials for Buddhist Iconography from Khara-khoto (St. Petersburg, 1914), and Colonel Kozlov's narrative of his expedition of 1907-9, Mongolia, Amdo and the dead town Khara-khoto (Moscow-Petrograd, 1923). The account given from the discoverer's record in the introduction to the former publication and reproduced in chapter XXV of his own book as to the place and manner in which the great discovery of the expedition was made is too brief to clear up all points of archaeological interest connected with the ruin or to answer all the questions raised by its surprisingly rich and varied deposits. But fortunately the three photographs reproduced in both publications suffice, even in the absence of a plan or other exact records, to acquaint us with the appearance of the structure before it was destroyed, and with the general character of so much of the sculptural deposits as remained in situ after the rough ` clearing ' of the structure was done. That the ruin was that of a sepulchral Stûpa' is made certain by the discovery in it of a skeleton (see Col. Kozlov's Mongolia, Amdo, &c., p. 555) ; but whether the recorded observations furnish sufficient evidence for the assumption that the clay sculptures, paintings and other sacred objects were deposited at the same time I am unable to judge. I f the interior of the Suburgan'—to use the Mongol term applied by the Russian explorers to the ruin—was from the first, as seems probable, intended to hold this great deposit, it has supplied us with a very instructive instance of a practice not previously, as far as I know, attested by definite archaeological evidence.' The packing of other Stûpas at this site and also at So-yang-ch`êng with miniature votive models of Stûpas offers, however, an analogy.6
Colonel Kozlov's photograph of the ` Suburgan ', before it was opened and levelled to the ground, does not admit of exact measurement of structural features. But it shows that there was a three-storied base, with boldly projecting cornices ; an apparently circular drum, and above this a cylindrical dome. In general appearance the structure seems to have differed from the other Stûpas of the site, while in some respects its picture curiously recalls the ruined Stûpa seen by me at Thol in Hunza 7 and its Tibetan counterparts.]
It is only from a full analysis of the antiquarian riches transmitted to the Asiatic Museum of the Russian Academy that a correct estimate can be expected of the date, extent, and true value of this great deposit. [The great artistic and iconographic interest of the very numerous fine paintings comprised among these finds has been discussed with full competence by Professor d'Oldenburg in a separate monograph ; see above.] Of the importance of the materials recovered for the study of the previously almost unknown Hsi-hsia language, some idea may already be gained from certain publications of M. Ivanov in the Russian Academy's Proceedings, and from the summary information contained in a notice by the same Oriental scholar, translated in the Journal Asiatique
5 Can the scene at the bottom of the Chien-fo-tung painting, Ch. lviii. ooi (Serindia, ii. p. 1082 ; iv. Pl. LVIII ; Thousand Buddhas, Pl. IX ; p. 19), which represents the construction of a Stùpa, with gifts of manuscript rolls, sacrificial vessels, &c., set out on tables by its side, be possibly
indicative of a later custom of this kind ? Or is the practice, so abundantly attested, of depositing leaves from sacred texts at the base of Stiipas, as of images also, a reflex of it ?
6 See above, p. 445 ; Serindia, iii. p. 5105.
7 Cf. Ancient Khotan, i. p. 20 ; Fig. 4.