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0128 Innermost Asia : vol.2
Innermost Asia : vol.2 / Page 128 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000187
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Sepulchral deposits in Ast. i. 8.


their designs, which are of manifestly Chinese character and show points of close contact with figured silks from the ` Thousand Buddhas ' of Tun-huang.

The tomb i. 8 (Pl. 32) was provided with two small anterooms and in its inner chamber, 8i feet square, with a low brick-built platform. Among the rags left with what remained of the only body that could be traced here, were fragments of polychrome figured silk, i. 8. 01-3 (Pl. LXXVIII, LXXXVII), with rosette designs also reminiscent of Chien-fo-tung fabrics. The well-preserved pair of scissors i. 8. 05, and the head net i. 8. o6, suggest that the body was that of a woman. The piece of canvas i. 8. 04, painted in tempera to imitate brocade, is curious. Of sepulchral attendant figures there were recovered the well-modelled woman's head in stucco i. 8. o8 (PI. CI), with the hair dressed in ` pompadour ' fashion ; a roughly dressed-up straw man, i. 8. oio (Pl. XCI), and a small and roughly modelled dough man, i. 8. 09 (Pl. LXXXIX).

Tomb Ast. ii. I.

Sepulchral deposits.


In order to acquaint myself with possible variations in the practice of burial, I turned next to a group of about a dozen tombs at the south-western extremity of the cemetery area, near the road leading from Sengim-aghiz to Abàd (Pl. 31). About half of them appeared to have been searched recently. In the trench leading to Ast. ii. 1, the first tomb here examined, we soon came upon evidence of an earlier plundering. At an early stage of the removal of the drift-sand, which had completely filled up the trench again, fragments of a wooden coffin emerged, with part of a corpse and pieces of the coarse rope which had been used to drag the coffin out. Evidently those who had worked here had wished to examine their haul in daylight. Of the paper painting Ast. ii. 1. 01-3 (Pl. CVII), one portion was found outside the entrance, the other within the tomb. It represents figures in voluminous garments and with their hair dressed in an elaborate fashion with wing-like appendages. Comparison with the dress and coiffure shown in certain Chien-fo-tung paintings proves that the figures are those of women. Judging from the objects depicted, a scene in the future life of the deceased appears to be intended.

The single body that still remained in the tomb lay with its face downwards and a piece of matting on its back, obviously just as it had been thrown out from its coffin. It was wrapped in a much-decayed patchwork of printed silk pieces, padded and lined with coarse canvas, as seen in the specimens Ast. ii. I. 014-15. This practice of dressing the dead in what was evidently old worn clothing, or meant to be representative of it, naturally reminded me of the condition of the ragged silk fabrics recovered in the grave-pits of the Lou-lan cemetery L.C. as it must have been when these were placed round the dead bodies. The sepulchral deposits in the tomb had been much disturbed when it was first plundered ; but the remains recovered sufficed to show their general character. Among them are pieces from miniature carriages in wood, ii. 1. 09-10, 12-13 (Pl. XCIV) ; the wooden figurine of a man, painted and fitted with movable arms, ii. i. o6 (Pl. CIII) ; the wooden leg of a cow or bull, ii. 1. on, of which the body was probably modelled in clay ; a wooden ladle, ii. I. 07 (Pl. CIV), of a characteristic curved shape dating from Han times ; a number of miniature flags made of twigs and scraps of silk or paper, ii. I.04-5. Some small models of garments, like the silken sleeves ii. I. 020, and the little shoes of figured silk ii. 1. 022 (Pl. XCIII), were evidently meant to symbolize provision for the needs of the dead in another world. Some wooden pegs, ii. I. 023-6 (Pl. CIV), showing at the top a rudely drawn face and Chinese characters below, may throw light on the purpose served by very similar pegs found along the Han Limes.'

The tomb Ast. ii. 2 adjoining on the south measured about io feet by 9i and, as seen in Pl. 32,

1 Cf. Serindia, ii. p. 767 (*T. 002) ; above, i. p. 416, T. xxii. d. 027 ; p. 423, T. XLIII. h. 013.