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0067 Innermost Asia : vol.2
Innermost Asia : vol.2 / Page 67 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000187
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021-58, which belong to the composition that once stood above the lower frieze representing donors, it is possible to distinguish certain groups, such as demons attending to a caldron amongst floating flames ; a spotted dragon ; floral scrollwork, &c.

The large and very interesting hoard of metal objects already referred to was discovered on the north-eastern side of the passage close to the outer wall and on a level nearly five feet above the floor. This clearly proves that when it was deposited, the interior of the passage must have been already filled to this height with debris from the vaulting and walls. The character of the objects and in particular the heap of broken pieces of iron and bronze belonging to different vessels, implements, &c., that formed part of the cache, leave no doubt that the person who placed it in the ruined structure hidden under debris was a metal-worker. As originally deposited, we found lying close together in the cache the four bronze caldrons, Kao. III. 04-7 (Pl. LXX), placed nest-like one inside another ; the bronze cooking-pot, 09 (Pl. LXX), filled with a mass of copper coins, small objects in bronze, silver, &c., and covered over with the iron casque, 0I05 (Pl. LXX) ; two bronze mirrors, bronze bowls and iron (?) saucers, a spear-head, knives, and a heap of small miscellaneous metal objects and fragments, such as might have been hurriedly gathered up in a workshop to which they had been brought for repair, sale, or simply as ` old iron '. A little apart, but lying together in the same layer, were found the pair of neatly decorated fabric slippers, 03 (Pl. LXXXVIII), and another of goloshes, 063 (Pl. LXXXVIII), elaborately worked in different cloth materials.

What invests this deposit with special antiquarian value is the fact that it comprises many objects of everyday use and that its date, owing to the large number of coins found with it, can be determined with approximate certainty. With regard to the former point, it will suffice to observe that finds of household implements and the like must needs be comparatively rare at ruins within an area, like that of the Turfân oases, which has never ceased to be occupied, and particularly among ruins of religious structures such as are most of the remains of Turfân sites. Such discoveries as this are therefore all the more welcome. For the same reason the clearness of the chronological evidence supplied by the coins deserves to be specially appreciated. Out of a total of 61 Chinese copper coins, many of them in very fair preservation, the list given in Appendix .8 shows that 39 belong to different Tang issues, while the rest bear Nien-haos of the Sung period, ranging from Shun-hua (A. D. 990-5) to Chung-ning (A. D. 1102-7). As more than half of these Sung coins have the latter Nien-hao but little worn, the numismatic evidence clearly points to this cache having been made about the first quarter of the twelfth century.

Since all the objects contained in the deposit are fully described in the List below, I need only here briefly call attention to the more interesting among them. The four bronze caldrons, Kao. 111. 04-7 (Pl. LXX), ranging from about 82 to close on 13 inches in diameter, though in good condition generally, have holes in them or lack handles, which suggests why they found their way into the hands of the metal-worker--or dealer in old things. The same applies to the bronze bowls, 0104, 0106 (Pl. LXX) ; the cooking-pots, 08-9 (Pl. LXX) ; the cast bronze bell, 017, o82-6, found broken into several pieces, and the numerous steel knife blades, 0169-74 (Pl. LXXI). Of more interest are the bronze mirrors, 01-2 (Pl. LXXI). The first, of which the ornamented reverse has suffered much from wear, had, when found, its face protected by a circular brass cover ; this however looks as if it had been in need of fitting. The other brass mirror has its reverse ornamented with a raised design in Chinese style, which shows in spirited execution a minstrel playing before dancing boys in a rural setting. The design on the obverse of the bronze disc ornamented in champlevé, oI I (Pl. LXXI), is likewise Chinese ; it displays a flaming-haired three-headed divinity faced by two worshipping demons. The saucers of thin metal, 099-103 (Pl. LXX), with sides stamped into scallops, &c., obviously were meant for table use. The two iron padlocks, 0167-8 (Pl. LXXI), are complete

Cache of metal objects.

Date of deposit.

Bronze vessels, &c.