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0143 Innermost Asia : vol.2
Innermost Asia : vol.2 / Page 143 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000187
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been detached from one of the completely smashed horses. A large figure of a single-humped camel, too much broken to be moved, showed by its bad modelling that the maker was unfamiliar with this kind of camel. The model of a squared board, vii. 2. 014 (Pl. XCIV), seems to indicate by black and white dots that it was intended for playing some game. The wooden model of a baton-like weapon, vii. 2. 013 (Pl. CII), shows on its painted sheath a spirited hunting scene, in which the rider of a galloping horse turns round to discharge an arrow at a leopard bounding in pursuit.

Proceeding north of vii. i we next opened the tomb viii. i (PI. 34), within a small enclosure. The approach trench to it showed no sign of recent digging, though the tomb had obviously been searched at some previous time. A curious find was made in a shallow niche on the western wall of the trench, such as usually appears to have been cut to hold a brick with the sepulchral inscription. It was the painted clay figure viii. i. 03 (Pl. CI), in fair preservation, showing a man with a round face of unmistakably non-Mongolian type. The straight-set eyes and narrow-bridged aquiline nose make it quite certain that a member of a non-Chinese race is intended. The long close-fitting coat and the round black fur cap point to the same conclusion. The technique of the figure agrees so closely with that of the clay figures found in other Astâna tombs that its approximately contemporary origin can scarcely be doubted, even if it had been brought here from somewhere else. The two bodies found within the small tomb chamber were wrapped in shrouds of a plain white fabric. The head of one retained a silk covering of thin muslin, which, though much decayed, still showed a man's face painted on one side, as seen in the fragments viii. i. 02. Here were also found the large pottery jar, viii. t. 05 (Pl. XC), ornamented with painted designs of spots and flower petals in the style of the pottery of Ast. i, and the smaller decorated jar, viii. I.04. The paint on the former had been applied after the handle was broken off, which suggests that this pottery was specially adapted for sepulchral deposit after having been used for ordinary purposes.

Two adjoining enclosures close by to the north, Ast. ix (Pl. 34), were found to comprise several tombs which had escaped the attention of recent searchers and yielded interesting discoveries. The one first opened, ix. i, contained two bodies (Fig. 324) still sufficiently well preserved to be brought up without difficulty to daylight. They were clearly recognizable as those of a man and woman, both clothed in shrouds of plain cotton fabrics, with the heads wrapped in silk. On the silk with which the man's head was covered there were painted two heads facing one another, ix. 1. 04-5, in the manner observed in Ast. i. 6. 02 and v. 1. 02 but on a scale somewhat larger. The rather hasty painting is accounted for by the conditions under which it had to be done. Here, too, it was noted that the bodies had not been laid out but left just as death rigor had overtaken them. At the outer end of the trench two clay slabs were found in situ, showing Chinese inscriptions painted red on black ground (for Ast. ix. i. 03, see Pl. LXXV). They bear dates corresponding to A. D. 652 and 667. [For translations by Dr. L. Giles, see App. I, vii, ix.]

Two inscribed bricks were found at the southern end of the trench leading down to the tomb ix. 2, and the dates A. D. 667 and 689, and other information they furnish, as shown by the translations which Dr. Giles has kindly supplied,3 are of all the more interest because to our surprise and satisfaction this tomb proved to have remained unopened and its contents were quite intact. Yet the trench showed signs of having been dug at, apparently a considerable time ago ; but this attempt had been abandoned for some reason before the tomb entrance was reached. We found it completely walled up with rough brickwork and the sloping clay wall above this untouched. Our entrance was effected by cutting through this clay just above the gate which gave direct access to the tomb chamber. Thus more light, and also fresh air, were secured for the examination of its contents. But the atmosphere within was by no means oppressive even when the small chamber,

3 See below, Appendix I, vIII, xII.


Clay figure of native from

Ast. viii. r.

Tomb ix. r with inscriptions of A. D. 652, 667.

Tomb Ast. ix. 2 found unopened.