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0085 Archaeological Researches in Sinkiang : vol.1
Archaeological Researches in Sinkiang : vol.1 / Page 85 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000195
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are very fragmentary (cf. Pl. Io : I and 4) but on the fine and well-preserved head-dress from Grave 36 the skin and the way it is fastened is clearly seen, Pl. 26 : 3. Mr. GERHARD BEXELL has kindly examined a couple of the skulls and found them to be of the species Mustela erminea.

As these ermine skins have been fastened to women's head-dresses as well as to men's it is unlikely that they represent an adornment for hunters only. Have they possessed a magical significance ? Though furnishing no exact parallel, it is nevertheless worth mentioning that the present-day Mongols have a couple of rounded felt caps the tops of which are decorated with the tail of a squirrel.

The group of feathered pegs or plumes that is so characteristic of these Lop-nor head-dresses was inserted on the left side. The specimen in Pl. Pc): 2 has only a small set of such a kind, and on those depicted in Pl. Io: I, 3 and 9 most of it has disappeared. Pl. Io : 8 shows a complete set of plumes with finely preserved feathers. The pegs are wound round with gaily coloured red wool, most of the feathers are light brown, possibly those of the Lama duck; the longest one, however, is black and its stem is wound round with red wool. A fragment of a weasel's skin is adhering to these plumes.

There were several less complete plumes from head-dresses, both short and long, Pl. Io: 5 and 9:9-1o.

As we have seen from Grave 5 A, B, F and K, both men and women wore a woven loin-cloth of wool. They are of two types, one very narrow with fringed ends, Pl. I i : 3 (already described), the other of varying breadth but having fringes along the lower edge as well. It is not impossible that the former were used by men and the latter by women, though the specimens are too few to allow of any definite statement. And it must be remembered that the old lady in Grave 36 wore a very narrow loin-cloth (though with long fringes). STEIN does not describe any of these articles, merely mentioning that they were made of tassels.

Pl. I : 7 is typical of the broader form, with a long thick fringe along the lower edge and at the ends. It is executed in plain weave and of rather uneven make.

Pl. 12 : I is more elaborate, plaited of fine and even, twisted wool. Here the fringe does not consist of the extended weft or warp threads as in the former cases, but is inserted and is of two different colours. The ends are torn off. Mr. LJUNGH'S microscopical analysis of the wool used in this loin-cloth has revealed the unexpected fact that this sheep's wool is of such fine texture that we must presume it to be an importation from the west, probably Bactria, where very fine sheep's wool was procurable at the time in question (cf. Appendix II). Now we have no idea what kind of sheep formed the herds of the autochthon population around Lop-nor. But it seems that other woollen articles from here are of a much coarser material, though none of these have so far been examined microscopically. In any case a connection with the West is unmistakable.