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0095 Innermost Asia : vol.2
Innermost Asia : vol.2 / Page 95 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000187
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drawn and painted small figures, all haloed and seated, grouped amidst exquisitely designed floral tracery around a central medallion in the zenith. Within this medallion, which appears to have suffered in ancient times and to have undergone some rough repair, was represented a seated Bodhisattva-like figure from which rays spread in all directions. This nimbus of radiating shafts of light makes it evident that a representation of the sun or moon divinity was intended. As the total number of small seated figures in the two circular rows surrounding this medallion is twenty-six, and a broken portion of the ceiling towards the entrance leaves room for two more, the conclusion naturally suggests itself that a representation of the twenty-eight Naksatras or lunar mansions was intended. The use of this motif for the decoration of temple ceilings is illustrated in a number of shrines which Professor Grünwedel has examined at Turfân and Shôrchuk and described with care.18 This interpretation is supported by the fact that among the short Brâhmi inscriptions recognizable by the side of some of the figures seated amidst the tracery, the name of Rohinai, one of the Naksatras, could be read with certainty.

Below the second row of these figures the ceiling in its present state retained towards the northeastern corner a small portion of a third band containing four more seated figures with halos, while adjoining, on the top of the eastern wall, could be seen the head and bust of a Gandharvi-like figure floating through the air, with the banderoles of the head-dress fluttering behind. The ground of the painted ceiling was formed of a fairly hard plaster, mixed cement-like with small pieces of gravel. Small wooden pegs driven into the rock served to secure this plastering. The removal of the whole painted ceiling was the only means of saving this fine piece of decorative art from risks of further destruction. Owing to the position and the hardness of the plaster, this operation offered considerable practical difficulty, which, however, was successfully overcome by Naik Shamsuddin's skill and devoted care. Only when the twenty-one panels in which the painted surface of the ceiling was removed shall have been set up once again at New Delhi in their proper position,18a will it be possible to render a full account of this remarkably graceful composition.

Finally mention may be made here of a series of small objects which were acquired at Toyuk by purchase. The statements made as to their provenance from the ruins above the village were probably true in most cases. But there can be little doubt that the two interesting stucco figurines, Toy. 049-50 (Pl. CII), representing mail-clad warriors, and also the three hats in stucco, 051-3 (Pl. CII), were obtained from graves, as our finds in the Astâna cemetery furnished exact counterparts. Apart from these remains, the brass disc Toy. 063 (Pl. XI), showing in relief the animals symbolic of the twelve years' cycle with their Chinese names, may be specially noted. The provenance of the coins purchased at Toyuk is also uncertain. Twelve of them are Tang issues, six show Sung Nien-haos ranging from A. D. 1008 to 1056, and the remaining fourteen belong to the Manchu period.

[I have as yet no information as regards the fragments of Chinese MSS. found in the course of our excavations at Toyuk. But among the pieces of such materials acquired at Toyuk, M. Maspero has kindly brought to my notice one (Toy. 042) which is of distinct antiquarian interest. It contains the closing portion of the 18th chapter of the Chinese version of the Prajfidpdramitd, together with a colophon. In this the copyist states that the MS. was written in the 39th year of the Yen-ch`ang regnal period, corresponding to A. D. 599, by order of Ch`ii Han-ku

14 [ , king of Kao-ch`ang. The full Chinese titles of the king are given, and also a rendering of what appears to be his indigenous Turkish designation. The name of this king, according to M. Maspero, fills the gap previously found in the regnal list of the Ch`ü dynasty ruling at Kao-ch`ang previous to the Tang conquest.]

18 See Grünwedel, Idikutschari, pp. x44 sqq., Pl. XXIVXXVII ; Kultstätten, pp. 193, 198 sq., mox.   188 Since done.

Painted ceiling of dome in Toy. vr.

Removal of painted panels.

Antiquities acquired at Toyulc.