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0085 Innermost Asia : vol.2
Innermost Asia : vol.2 / Page 85 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000187
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The unfavourable conditions of the soil disclosed by this trial excavation made it inadvisable to proceed with the work at other tombs of this site. Nor did we obtain any better result from the clearing of a small ruined structure, manifestly a Buddhist shrine, situated about 200 yards farther east near the edge of the terrace. It was said to have been dug up by I lyâs and to have yielded some small stucco images. Its walls of sun-dried bricks were found to be broken within a few feet from the ground, and all that we learnt from the excavation carried out by Naik Shamsuddin during my visit to Pichan was that the structure had once consisted of a small cella and circumambulatory passage measuring about 34 feet by 27 outside. The similarity of the masonry with that found in parts of the walls enclosing the mosque of the present Muhammadan Mazâr suggests that the latter was actually built into the ruins of a Buddhist sanctuary. We have here another illustration of that continuity of local worship so often observed elsewhere.

Local reports that old walls were to be found on the steep and utterly bare sandstone ridge that rises above the Mazâr induced me to send Afrâz-gul to the spot. I myself was still much hampered by the condition of my injured leg, which did not allow me to walk more than a few hundred yards at a time even on level ground. Afrâz-gul, after a stiff climb, reached the top of the ridge at an elevation of about 1,500 feet above the Mazâr, and found there low remains of roughly built stone walls enclosing three small detached rooms aligned in a row. Mixed with the refuse, mainly of straw and horse-dung, found within them, there were fragments of pottery and coarse fabrics, as shown by the specimens described in the note below.4 The former and the fragment of a turned wooden leg, Yut. 04, appear to be old, as do the fragments of Chinese documents on paper which were discovered in the easternmost room. [In one of them Dr. L. Giles has noted the date, A.D. 743.] What purpose these rough quarters served, at a spot far removed from traffic or water, is puzzling. Possibly they may have sheltered a look-out post.

About a mile and a half lower down, on the right bank of the Khandô stream, there rise the badly injured ruins of what must have once been a large Buddhist shrine, with monastic quarters attached. The most imposing features of the otherwise much-decayed ruins are the outer north wall of the whole structure (see the sketch-plan, Pl. 26), which in parts still rises to over 25 feet, and the tower-like image base, 13 feet square in the outer court. This contains niches for four large images, now completely destroyed, and stands to a height of about 18 feet. The lower portion of the base and all the walls is cut out of the solid clay of the terrace, and the upper portion is constructed of stamped clay. The interior of the several rooms built round a central court was found completely bare, the position of the ruin on a comparatively steep slope having facilitated erosion. But round holes in the flooring of two rooms remain to mark the places where large jars probably once stood for the storage of grain, &c.

Half a mile farther down the gorge, also on the right bank, lies a group of small caves, badly injured by the decay of the loose conglomerate into which they are cut, and also by vandal hands. About 3o feet above a narrow strip of cultivation two vaulted rooms open from a small terrace, one measuring 10- feet by 2i and the other 8 feet by 7. Their plastered walls were so much begrimed

Continuity of local worship.

Rough quarters on ridge above Mazâr.

Buddhist shrine below Yutôgh.

Cave-shrines below Yutôgh.

4 Yut. or. Fr. of pottery ; pinkish-grey clay, thick, strongly convex, outside orn. with two bands of small rude chevron orn. drawn with toothed instrument. 3" x 2e" x 1".

Yut. 02. Fr. of pottery ; reddish-grey clay, wheel-made ; no orn. s ice" sq. x }".

Yut. 03. Fr. of pottery ; reddish-grey clay, thick, rough, hand-made ; no orn. 2" x si" x 1" to 1".

Yut. 04. Fr. of turned wooden finial, or short turned leg of wooden stand. If taken as leg, is of flattened globular

shape in upper part, with sharp-edged moulding above sloping back to flat top. Below, rounded moulding, from which foot spreads out in concave curve. Only about one third of circumference preserved. Wood soft. I-I. 31", gr. diam. was c. 2g".

Yut. o5. Lump of goat's hair, brown and yellow, partially felted, and grass fibre. 3f" x 21".

Yut. 06. Fr. of cotton (?) fabric ; loose plain weave, wrapping lump of raw cotton and pod (?). Fabric 4i" x4"

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