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0093 Innermost Asia : vol.2
Innermost Asia : vol.2 / Page 93 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000187
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fragments, besides a neatly written Uigur leaf and a bone with some characters in the same script. The Stûpa base, 14 feet square, which faced this passage from the east still reached a height, including the lowest portion of the spherical superstructure, of about 5 feet ; it was cleared to the floor-level without any deposit being found. It proved to be built of undressed blocks of stone set in a very hard plaster, and showed signs of having been repeatedly burrowed into. The little room, iv, entered from the same passage had obviously served as a monk's living place. It contained a raised recess, about 52 feet long and under 3 feet wide, which must have been used as a sleeping platform, and a plastered hearth by its side.

The large shrine v, situated immediately to the south-west of i, was found, when the debris filling it to a height of 6 or 7 feet above the floor had been cleared, to contain in its centre an image base 9 feet square provided with four niches. The ruin must have suffered thorough damage before its vaulted roof fell in ; for the paintings on the lower portions of the walls had been almost completely effaced, while those higher up, mainly representations of Bodhisattva in a row, had also been badly injured. Of the sculptural remains, which were very scanty, the fragments of stucco relievo representations of dragons, Toy. iv. v. 01-2 (Pl. LXXII) and the male head iv. v. 03 (Pl. LXXII), may be mentioned. The manuscript remains discovered were fragments of Chinese texts. Beyond this shrine, to the south-west but on a lower level, there was found a vaulted passage, vi, completely buried with debris, which appears to have served as an approach to the main terrace from a gallery running below it along the face of the cliff. A brick wall built along the axis of the passage may have been a later addition intended to support the vaulting. In the eastern portion of the passage, numerous completely carbonized pieces of Chinese text-rolls were found ; these had evidently caught fire within a confined space or after being embedded in debris.

In continuation of the flight of chambers marked B by Professor Grünwedel but on a somewhat lower level we came upon the room vii, flanked by two passages only 5 feet wide which had lost their vaulting. The room vii, measuring 26 feet by 12, must have been richly decorated with wall-paintings. But these had for the most part been destroyed by the mud that had been carried into it from the hill-side above by occasional rain and had subsequently become solidified. This mud layer reached to within about a foot and a half of the top of the side walls. Where, however, the vaulting had survived for about one-third of its original length towards the inner end of the room, the fine decorative painting of the ceiling remained intact as well as the frescoed frieze and top portions of the painted panels running round the walls. The removal of these frescoes was successfully carried out by Naik Shamsuddin. But as they have not yet been set up 16a I must confine myself here to mentioning that the decoration of the ceiling comprised large plaquettes, about 5 feet square, painted in bright colours. They showed a large lotus with seed-pod surrounded by a circular band of graceful palmettes and outside this by a circlet of round medallions, a motif characteristic of ` Sasanian ' style. Western influence was equally marked in the fine frieze of ranking acanthus leaves. In style of design and broad brush-work these plaquettes seemed to resemble those which Professor Grünwedel has illustrated from the main shrine of this temple group and from that on the opposite side of the gorge.17

While the room was being cleared to facilitate access to the fresco remains, there were found in a fissure of the wall at the southern corner several large pieces of Chinese text rolls bearing Uigur writing on the reverse. This use of older Chinese manuscript rolls for non-Chinese writings has its exact counterpart among the Tang texts of the Chien-fo-tung hoard. The Toyuk fragments of Chinese Buddhist texts bear a close resemblance to these in style of script also, as well as in texture and colour of paper. Among some fragments of silk fabrics found in the same room, the piece iv. vii.

[16a Since done at the New Delhi collection.]   17 Cf. Grünwedel, Kultstätten, Figs. 637, 645-9.

Shrine Toy, iv. v.

painting in
Toy iv. vii.