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0127 Innermost Asia : vol.2
Innermost Asia : vol.2 / Page 127 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000187
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corresponding to A. D. 632.' From this date and those recorded in the inscriptions from Ast. i. 4 we may safely conclude that the burials in this group of the Astâna cemetery belong to the early part of the Tang period, either before or after the annexation of the Turfâ.n territory to the Chinese Empire, in the year 640.

Of the two bodies lying with their heads pointing southward, the one, a, nearer to the entrance, was found in a strangely animated position, with the left leg bent at the knee while the right rested on the ground with one foot touching the other foot. The body was kept in place by two bricks pushed underneath the matting. In the disturbed condition of the tomb it was difficult to be sure whether the body, which by its size was manifestly that of a man, had been buried without a coffin or had been so poised by some pillager in a playful mood after he had turned the corpse out of its coffin. In any case it is certain that it retained the pose assumed in death agony. The outer shroud of buff silk was badly decayed, and broke at touch ; but as the fragments i. 6. 02 show it still retained colours applied in bold ornamental outlines. The right hand, i. 6. 05, clasped a small wooden cylinder wrapped in silk. Another such cylinder, wrapped round with a figured silk, i. 6. o6 (Pl. C), was found lying between the two bodies. From the head of the other body, b, which may have been that of a woman, was recovered the fragmentary face-cover of polychrome figured silk, i. 6. o1, showing a ` Sasanian ' pattern with a boar's head and pearl border, similar to Ast. i. 5. 03 (P1. LXXVI), but smaller. Underneath was found the pair of silver spectacles i. 6. 07 (Pl. LXXXIX). The mouth of b held a thin gold coin (Pl. CXX), struck on one side only, showing the three-quarter face bust of Justinian I, as it appears on the Byzantine coins of which this and the gold pieces from Ast. i. 3. and i. 5 are undoubtedly imitations. Two Wu-shu coins, in perfect condition, were found near the head of b. In the south-western corner of the chamber, which was only 42 feet in height, there hung fastened to the ceiling by a twig a rag of completely rotten material, apparently silk. It was interesting as a proof that the rags found clinging to the wall of tomb i. I had been placed there on purpose.

Among the remaining tombs of group i, which all appeared to have been searched in recent years, there were two at the north-eastern end in which Mashik stated that he had left some figures in stucco. These were found to have been almost completely smashed up by boys, who had amused themselves in the opened tombs and also played havoc with the corpses. In both tombs, however, the plan (Pl. 32) was of interest, being more elaborate than that of the tombs previously described. In i. 7 the outer entrance led into a narrow passage, from which access was gained by a second gate to a small central hall, about 8 feet square. This was flanked on either side by a little cella, 51-. feet square, which appeared to have served as places of deposit for stucco figures and other sepulchral objects. The tomb chamber proper adjoined the side facing the entrance ; it measured 13 feet by 12 and had on three sides a low platform, 4 feet wide. The only stucco figures that remained in a recognizable condition were the well-modelled demon's head, Ast. i. 7. 07 (Pl. CIII), and the body of a humped bull, i. 7. 014 (Pl. CIII), also well executed. The fragment of a wooden model of a house, i. 7. o8 (Pl. XCIV), showing the front painted with a two-leaved door and with flowering plants growing up the wall, is of interest. The wooden railing posts and slabs i. 7. 09-10, 012-13 (Pl. XCIV), also probably belonged to the same model. Among the rags which had been torn from two almost completely shattered bodies were found the printed silk i. 7.01 (Pl. LXXXII), and the fine damask pieces i. 7.03,05-6 (Pl. LXXIX, LXXXIV). They are of interest owing to

Bodies found in Ast. i. 6.

Plan of tomb Ast. i. 7.

7 The family name e borne by this official is identical

with that of the family or clan which, as we know, supplied Tun-huang with its hereditary governors or semi-independent chiefs during most of the Tang period, and also played a very

important part elsewhere on the Kan-su marches from the fourth century onwards ; cf. Chavannes, Dix inscriptions, pp. 12, 8o ; Anc. Klzotan, i. p. 543, note 4 ; Serindia, i. p. 409 ; ii. pp. 838, 840 ; iii. p. 1338 ; also above, ii. p. 575.