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0416 Innermost Asia : vol.2
Innermost Asia : vol.2 / Page 416 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000187
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Halt at Bamrnd.

Valley of Tabbas.

Decayed town of Tabbas-iZVlazena.


of the regular ` Tati ' type extending for about half a mile. Local information secured during a night's halt there pointed to the site having been occupied by an ` old town ' down to the time of Shah Abbas. The few specimens of glazed pottery (Pl. XVIII) and fragments of ornamented bronze picked up here fully support this dating.3 The old name of the place was said to have been Manijdbe d and to be derived from that of a daughter of Afrasiab.

On November loth a march of some thirty-five miles carried us over a low barren hill range fringing the Namak-sar depression to Bamrûd. We encountered no habitation, and only at one place wells occasionally visited by shepherds. The small village of Bamrûd lies in a wide bare valley which drains eastwards into a second depression holding a salt marsh near the Afghan border. The route leading past it was in frequent use by parties of robbers from that side, and Bamrûd was not without reason supposed to enjoy immunity from their attentions by serving as a convenient victualling station. A band that had recently captured a large convoy of camels on the high road between KaIn and Turbat-i-Haidari was expected to pass very shortly on its way back, and acting on local advice we used the protection here afforded for a day's halt.

Two long marches then carried us due south through the hills of Ahingaran and Gûmeh to the wide valley of Gezik. Of the three small villages passed on the northern slope of the range that we crossed, that of Gûmeh was found to be occupied by people of Arab appearance and speech. It brought home to me that my cherished Central-Asian field was now finally left behind. From the comparatively populous village of Gezik we reached on November 24th the broad upland valley of Tabbas-i-Mazena, which physical features and antiquarian observations combined to invest with some interest. Barren enough the open valley looked ; for whatever drainage it receives in its upper portion disappears on the large peneplain of clay and gravel, fringed by bare hill chains, long before the valley passes into a third desert depression, significantly named Dasht-iNaumëd. Yet the water-supply obtained from an extensive system of Karézes had evidently sufficed at one time to maintain cultivation over a much greater area than is now tilled by the four hundred odd households of the Tabbas tract.

This was clearly proved by the size of the ruinous walled town (Fig. 451), which, as abundant remains of crumbling dwellings all round it showed, had once formed but the nucleus of a much larger settlement. The tiers upon tiers of small domed structures of mud bricks filling the interior of the circumvallation were distinctly instructive from an archaeological point of view. The lower

3 Muj. oi. Fr. of pottery, from base of bowl ; shows rounded ring foot. Glazed inside copper green with slightly incised annular line ; within a rosette of thick solid black petals curved as though swirling ; each separate and widely detached. Diam. 3" ; H. 1". Pl. CXVIII.

Muj. 02. Fr. of pottery, from base of bowl ; shows heavy ring foot. Inside glazed white with patterns in zones painted in grey outline with touches of bright blue-green and grey-blue. 3k" x 2é" x i".

Muj. o3. Fr. of stone vessel, from rim and wall. Flat front of rim ornamented with cross-hatching. Below rim there is a set back of about ii", and from this the wall gradually bulges outwards. 2"X r ".

Muj. 04, 05, 06, 08. Frs. of pottery. Glazed. 04, from lip of bowl. Turquoise inside and over lip to about i" down outside, where glaze has turned to yellow. o,+ o6, from turquoise glaze inside, with pattern of annular lines and panels in dense black. 08, from lip of bowl ; glazed both sides turquoise, changed to a mottled quality inside. Bold pattern

in black, inside. Gr. fr. (08) 4"x I ~ ". Pl. CXVIII.

Muj. og, ono, 011. Bronze. 09, vase-shaped object. Bulbous body with trumpet-shaped projections above and below. Top surface pierced with broad lateral slit. Underside entirely open. Round bulb a zone of engraved Kufic characters with floral background divided into four parts by circular panels in each of which is a double-line small circle placed above centre. Round shoulder an incised line and a corresponding line on under-side of bulb. Near edge of lower ` trumpet ' a band of engraved guilloche. H. 3â" ; diam. 2".

ozo, small turned ` baluster ' with ` ball ' and ` cone ' forms, divided by three annular ribs and ribs above and below. Broken above ` cone ' ; other end has flat surface ; whole suggests a modern seal. 4" x r.

ozz, peacock finial, has forward pointed crest and three-pointed tail, turned sideways. A short, thick, round tang below for insertion into other portion (missing). 2"X I$". Pl. CXVI.