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0152 Innermost Asia : vol.2
Innermost Asia : vol.2 / Page 152 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000187
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Models of furniture ; figures of attendants, mounts, &c.


were still intact in ix. 2 and found also in other tombs. They comprised grapes and fruit (i. 4 ; iii. I, 2; ix. 2), grain (iii. 2; ix. 2), meat (ix. 2), as well as bread and pastry (iii. I, 2, 4; ix. 2). The elaborate and plentiful specimens of fancy pastry which survived in iii. I deserve special mention.

But the care for the dead was not restricted solely to his needs in the matter of clothes and food. He was to be provided also with what he might have enjoyed in life in the matter of accommodation, household comforts, attendance, and the like. This pious intention accounts for the remains found of wooden models of buildings (i. 7 ; ii. 2 ; iii. 4), furniture (vi. 4), carts (ii. I, 2 ; vi. 4 ; ix. 2), and the like. Miniature flags, like those from ii. I and Ast. o8 (Pl. XCIII), may have been meant to serve him for pious offerings, and painted wooden pegs, like ii. I. 023 (Pl. CIV), for the performance of rites. To the desire of assuring to the dead an adequate staff of servants, a cortège such as he might have liked to have around him on great occasions, and a well-filled stable, &c., we owe the large and archaeologically instructive series of figurines in clay, wood, and also in mere dough which many among the Astâna tombs have yielded up. Among them we have figures of women and men (i. 8 ; ii. i, 2 ; iii. 2, 4 ; vi. I, 2, 4 ; vii. 2 ; viii. I ; X. I), including some mounted ; of horses with saddles, of camels and cattle (i. 7 ; ii. 2 ; iii. 2, 4 ; vii. 2). It is scarcely necessary to refer here to the fact that we have evidence from a very early period of Chinese history of the practice of depositing in the graves cheap substitutes in the place of objects of value, and images in the place of the living beings formerly immolated.22 The small wooden figures of ducks found in i. I-3, ix. 2 appear to have been placed there as emblems of felicity. Finally we recognize in the clay images of composite monsters from i. 7 ; iii. 2 ; vii. 2 ; X. i representations of the mythical creatures (t`u-kuei) to whom pious imagination in China from an early age appears to have entrusted the protection of the tomb.23


Textile   I have referred briefly, in the course of the above description, to the numerous relics of ancient

remains as fabrics found in the tombs examined near Astâna. A variety of circumstances invest them with evidence of

trade   considerable interest for the archaeologist and the student of textile art, and this makes it desirable

intercourse. to attempt here a succinct review of the various techniques and decorative designs represented among them. The special interest claimed by the silk stuffs from Astâna is due in the first place to the fact that the date of their use and deposit is fixed with sufficient accuracy by inscriptional and other evidence as falling within the seventh and early eighth centuries of our era. This is the very period when the renewed expansion of Chinese political control into Eastern Turkestan, and even beyond it, once more enabled trade to proceed uninterruptedly between China and Central Asia and opened the way for that exchange of varied cultural influences both from the East and West which was its necessary accompaniment. Almost equal importance may be claimed for the circumstance that these silk textiles were recovered from cemeteries near the old capital of Turfân. This territory was then as now the meeting-place of those routes along the Tien-shan by which most of China's overland trade and other relations with inner and Western Asia were conducted, and the important part that the silk trade played in these from the outset is well known.

Comparison   It is easy to recognize the value of the contribution to the history of textile art afforded by these

.cith textiles discoveries at Astâna owing to the fact that they are chronologically intermediate between the from Lou-

lan and   abundant textile remains, mainly from later Tang times, recovered by me at the ` Thousand

Chien-fo- Buddhas ' of Tun-huang and those far more ancient relics brought to light in the grave-pits of

rung.   Lou-lan. Comparison of the silk remains from Astâna with those from the other two sites helps

22 See De Groot, loc. cit., ii. pp. 382 sqq., 8o6 sqq.   23 Cf. ibid., ii. pp. 823 sqq.