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0397 Innermost Asia : vol.2
Innermost Asia : vol.2 / Page 397 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000187
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Sec. iv]   FROM RÖSHAN TO DARWAZ   887

forms lozenge shapes within each circlet. The resulting ornamentation can be interpreted also as a continuous band of those four-petalled clematis-like flowers which occur so constantly on the Graeco-Buddhist relievos of Gandhâra and are frequent, too, in the wood-carvings of the Niya and Lou-lan sites.3 Halves of the same flower are used to fill the spandrels left on the side of the jambs. The abundant rosettes also point to lingering classical influence.

The internal arrangement of the Ming-bashi's house is typical of all Rôshân dwellings of the better class, and the notes taken of it, as illustrated by the rough plan and elevation in PI. 5o, may be recorded below.4 The castle in which the sons or brothers of the Shughnân Mfrs, deputed to govern Rôshân, used to reside retains its thick outer walls of rough stonework. They are reinforced by large tree trunks set in it, after a fashion prevailing from the Indian NW. frontier right away to the Oxus. The interior, badly decayed, showed no distinctive local features. I was to meet there Muhammad Ghiyâth Khan, the surviving son of the last Mir of Shughnân, who had escaped the year before from his family's enforced exile at Kabul and had been allowed by the Russian political authorities to return to this part of his ancestral domain on a modest pension. The family of the Shughnan Mirs claim descent from a ` Shah Khâmôsh' of Iran and are Sunnis, while the great majority of their old subjects belong to the Ismailia sect. The heavy features and swarthy complexion of Muhammad Ghiyâth Khan seemed to bear out this assertion of nonautochthonous origin.

On September 27th I started from Kala-i-Wâmar in order to make my way towards Karategin across the easternmost valleys and ranges, once included in the principality of Darwâz ; this since 1877 had become subject to the rule of the Amir of Bokhâra. In view of the close approach of the season when the high passes on the route I had planned to follow might become closed by

Mirs' castle at Kala-i\\Tamar.

Start for Bokhâra territory.

3 See Ancient Khotan, ii. Pl. LXVIII, LXIX ; Serindia, iv. Pl. XVIII, XIX. For the use of the same motif in modern wood-carvings of Chitral and Khotan, cf. Serindia, i. pp. 35, 48 sq. ; iii. p. 1525 (Index). See also above, i. p. 26.

4 Through the outer door (Fig. 449) a high and well-lit exterior hall (daliz) is entered. It is divided by slender wooden columns into a central passage, i, and two aisles, ii, with their floor raised 2 feet to serve as sitting platforms. Behind a plain inner door a narrow passage leads into the hall (chüt) which serves as the living room for the whole household. Two small recesses open on this narrow passage from the winter quarters : on the right for the calves (gaukheina), and on the left (bajid) for the lambs. The former is roofed at a height of about 6 feet, and the space left between this and the ceiling is used as the sleeping-place for the children (dishatak), who thus get the direct benefit of a kind of hypocaustic heating during the cold of the winter.

The roof of the other recess is at a height of only 4 feet, and thus slightly above the level of the floor of the adjoining platform (arzân) in the proper hall. This, raised 3 feet 5 inches from the ground, contains the main fire-place and is reserved for the work of the women. They also command the small room (khanjin) above the ` Bajid', provided with an additional fire-place, and a corresponding space (chirèzek) screened off on the opposite side of the ` Arzan '. In front of the latter is a narrow platform, nearly 2 feet lower (pish-arzen), with a sunk space in the centre to receive the ashes from the ` Arzan '.

Opposite to the ` Arzan' is the platform of honour (barnèkh), which is reserved for the master of the house and

his guests of distinction. The pillar between it and the ` Dishatak ' hears the significant designation of sir-takia-sitan (Persian sitün). The other three pillars supporting the ceiling likewise have their particular names, as shown in the plan (Pl. 5o), and their special attributions of rank. The platform facing the entrance (lushakh) and that adjoining it in the corner (kunj) are only 2 feet high and allotted to men of lesser standing. In front of the ` Lushakh ' a broad wooden bench (rdrau), slightly hollowed out, is used during the winter months for feeding calves and lambs.

Small recesses in the wall of the ` Arzan ' and elsewhere serve as cupboards for the storage of miscellaneous small objects. Apart from the Chüt' there are no rooms for human occupation even in well-to-do people's houses.

The roof is invariably constructed in the antique fashion, found also in Chitral and Yàsïn houses, of four courses of beams forming successively diminishing squares or oblongs (char-khâna) ; see Serindia, i. p. 14, Fig. 16 ; above, i. P. 44. The opening (rôz) left in the topmost course admits light and allows the smoke to escape.

The walls of the house are very thick, of rough stonework set in mud, and offer good protection against the bitter cold of the winter. But in other respects the traditional domestic architecture of Rôshân, while it compares favourably with that of houses of the old type I saw in Wakhan and Shughnan, is inferior in its standard of comfort to the ruined dwellings dating back to the early centuries of our era which I explored at ancient sites in the Tarim basin.