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0439 Innermost Asia : vol.2
Innermost Asia : vol.2 / Page 439 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000187
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can be made out [besides remains of white trousers showing a spot pattern in yellow, and of dull red top-boots tied with white laces in bows].

Of far greater interest are the paintings in the lower frieze. The height of the surviving painted surface measured from the top line of the frieze is here about 4 feet ; but below 3 feet only detached patches remain. The general ground colour appears to be an ochre yellow, and this is also the colour of the haloes next to the heads. But the background between the latter, up to the top of the frieze, is a brownish purple. The whole of the composition belongs to one scene of homage and offerings presented to a seated divine figure on the extreme right. Starting from the extreme left where the wall surface was damaged by the prospecting villager, there are seen traces of a halo belonging to a figure otherwise completely effaced. Then follows a boldly drawn male head within a narrow yellow halo bordered light green with a pink edge. Darker tints of red used for chiaroscuro treatment give strong relief to the features, which are shown in three-quarter profile and distinctly recall Byzantine work. The eyes, round and prominent, are turned upwards to the right. The head appears to have been surmounted by a tiara which has lost all colouring. A red-coloured outline appearing on the right edge of the halo suggests that the figure, otherwise effaced, carried some object in one hand. The next figure has suffered much through damp, which has caused the plaster to bulge in places and the colour to peel off. Of the head little can be made out, except that it was single, flesh-coloured, and carried a curious jewelled head-dress with apparently vandyked corners. Round the head is shown a broad dark red band ornamented with yellow jewels [and a yellow halo deepening in colour towards the outer edge]. The double necklace and the embroidered borders of the dress of the figure are decorated with short transverse lines in yellow over red. The hands joined raise to the right a richly ornamented flat dish of dark red colour ribbed vertically with yellow [in a quasi-ovolo moulding]. Within the dish small round balls, edged yellow, are probably meant for fruit.

The fourth figure preserved in three-quarter length is that of a three-headed personage, of which the middle head is fully drawn, while the other two heads on either side appear only in red outlines of profile and on a reduced scale. [The head to left has a turban-like head-dress with a flame-jewel in front.] The main head is turned half to right, which corresponds to the pose of the hands raised [with palms up and fingers lightly flexed] as if in worship (?). Traces remain of a white head-dress with a flame-shaped agraffe in red. Behind it there rises a curious object resembling the top of a chair back. It is painted in dark red and enriched with yellow ornaments. Below the ears, in which are large rings, ends of ringlets appear. Below a broad jewelled necklace there hang from the shoulders and across the breast two bands of dark red, with circlets evidently meant for jewelled chains. The upper garment is dark green and has sleeves edged with red and yellow. A red-purple lower garment apparently reaches to the ankles and is arranged in full folds. From below the hem appears the R. pr. ankle and foot with red band across instep, while the L. pr. leg is almost completely effaced.

Confronting the three-headed personage and turned to the left is seen the principal and most interesting figure of the whole composition. It is that of a youthful male in a commanding attitude seated as if on a low couch, and is drawn on a scale larger than the rest. The head with bearded upper lip and heavy eyebrows wears a stiff expression. [Immediately above the forehead is a bunch of imbrications in dark red-brown on pink, probably indicating a peculiar treatment of head-dress.] A white mass above has for the most part peeled off. [The hair hangs to the nape of the neck in a massive ` bob ', familiar from Sasanian coins, as is also the imbricated head-dress.] The R. pr. arm is slightly extended and with upraised hand holds a curving mace painted in red with yellow ornaments. The head of the mace raised to the level of the figure's head-dress has the form of

Composition in lower frieze.


Princely figure seated.