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0130 Innermost Asia : vol.2
Innermost Asia : vol.2 / Page 130 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000187
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Stucco figures of riders, Ast. iii. 2.


life. The badly battered body lay on a low platform at the back of the chamber, which measured approximately 12 feet by 1o. From the decayed fabrics in which the body had been wrapped the fragments of figured or painted silk, Ast. iii. 2. 03-4 (Pl. LXXVIII), and of the patterned silk gauze, oI (Pl. XXXVI), and veiling, 02 (Pl. XXXVI), were recovered. In front of the platform but thrown on one side lay the clay figure of a monster (Fig. 325), with a grinning human head and the body like that of a panther, sitting on its haunches and wearing a three-cornered hat. The grotesque head was well modelled, the colouring of the whole crude. The body was painted pink in front and blue at the back, both sides being covered with bright red spots. A bushy blue tail and four wing feathers found broken added to the grotesque look of the monster. Like the other two monsters to be mentioned presently, this demon was probably meant to keep off evil spirits from the abode of the dead, like the Tu-kuei figures found in Tang tombs of China.

The small niche on the west of the anteroom next to the tomb proper held another monster, seen on the left in Fig. 325, with a half-human boar-like head showing prominent green eyebrows and wearing a peaked cap in rainbow colours. Its body was painted yellow with bright red spots. In the opposite niche was found a third monster, Ast. iii. 2. 059 (Pl. XCVI), which being in better preservation than the others could be safely removed and is fully described in the List below. I t carries on a lion-like body a head suggesting that of a dragon, painted in brilliant if not harmonious colours, still very fresh. Here, too, the curving wings were made of painted wood, while the heavy brush-like tail is of clay and shows variegated bands of vivid colours. The exact identification of the demonic guardians intended must be left to Sinologist students.

In the same eastern niche were found lying in disorder the clay figures of the two saddled horses, iii. 2. 057-8 (Pl. XCV, XCVII), and of a camel equally well modelled but unfortunately badly broken. The former are about two feet high and very spirited and carefully executed representations of the type of horse that frequently appears in Tang sculpture and is represented also in some of the Chien-fo-tung paintings.2 With their small well-shaped heads and long necks they distinctly recall the present Badakhshi breed, which is highly prized on both sides of the Pamirs. The same type, though less carefully rendered, is found also in the other clay horses from the same tomb, iii. 2. 014-16, 20—I (Pl. XCIX). The representation of the saddles and saddle-cloths on those two horses is likewise very careful and interesting. The ornamentation of the latter undoubtedly is meant to reproduce the embroidery design on ` Numdahs ' or felts such as are still used throughout Turkestan in ` horse millinery '. The elaborate flower and palmette patterns, found on the saddle of iii. 2. 058 (Pl. XCV), closely resemble the floral designs used as decorative motifs in the framing of certain Chien-fo-tung silk pictures and wall-paintings.3

In the niche on the opposite side and in front of it there lay in confusion an assortment of clay horses of smaller size, with figures of riders either still adhering to them or alongside. Special interest attaches to the careful representation of the saddlery of the horses, iii. 2. 014-16, 20—I (Pl. XCIX, XCIX. A). it includes narrow high-peaked saddles placed on tiger-skin saddle-cloths and white Numdahs, with straps flowing from the back of the saddles, just as they appear in sculptures and paintings of Tang times. Among other items of ` horse-millinery ' notice may be taken of the elaborate decoration of the trappings with large tassels, such as are also seen on the horse shown by a painted panel from Dandan-oilik and on Sasanian relief sculptures.4 The figures of the riders are with one exception those of men (iii. 2. 012-13, 23-4, Pl. XCIX, CII), dressed either in scale-armour and pointed helmet of mail or in tight-fitting coats with high-lobed caps such as form part

Clay figures of horses from

Ast. iii. 2.

2 Cf. Serindia, iv. Pl. LVIII (Ch. lviii. oor), Pl. LXXV (Ch. xlvi. 007) ; Pl. LXXVI (Ch. lxi. 002) ; Th. Buddhas, Pl. IX, XII.

3 Sec Serindia, ii. Figs. 202, 206, 208, 219-20, &c. ; Th. Buddhas, Pl. XLII.

4 See Anc. Kholan, i. p. 298 ; ii. Pl. LIX (D. vu. 5).