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0165 Archaeological Researches in Sinkiang : vol.1
Archaeological Researches in Sinkiang : vol.1 / Page 165 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000195
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the Hsiung-nu (Huns) and this is hinted at also on p. 166 (and Bergman 1935 c, pp. Io6—Io8), though there have been no close affinities between the two peoples. This is attested for instance by the textiles. Miss SYLWAN has drawn my attention to the fact that the woven fabrics of wool from the Lop-nor graves are technically of a higher quality than the felt from there. The Lou-lan people were skilful weavers and knew well how to utilize their primitive resources. We know nothing about any definitely Hunnish textile fabrics,' but we are fully aware that the Huns manufactured e. g. excellent felt carpets (the Noyan-ola tombs). In this respect the Mongols are true successors to the Huns : they have not learned the art of weaving to this day, but they produce felt of high quality. Miss SYLWAN will enter more thoroughly into this matter in her forthcoming publication on the textiles.

The Chinese expansion into the Tarim Basin started in the last decades of the second century B. C., and the Lou-lan kingdom must have been the first part to be subdued. At the beginning there were hardly any Chinese settlements here. In B. C. 49 the military station T'u-ken existed, and by and by the Chinese influence must have made itself perceptible. The homogeneity of the graves at "ÖRDEK'S necropolis" and the absence of silk stuff there might be used as arguments for regarding this cemetery as anterior to the time of the Chinese domination of the Lou-lan kingdom.

Finally we will touch on the question of the chronology of the Chinese graves. The Lop-nor mass-graves are no doubt secondary graves and have nothing in common with, for instance, Siberian mass-graves. The primary tombs have probably in most cases consisted of single graves, such as Grave 35 (and possibly double-graves). If these latter were placed on too low ground where inundation would one day threaten the tombs with destruction, or if they were exposed to the ill-effects of the ever active wind-erosion, the corpses had to be moved and reburied at a safer place in accordance with the pious Chinese custom to take care of the dead relatives. Only the tops of the big mesas could afford a relatively safe resting place for the dead. Inundation from the river could never reach so high, and the effect of wind-erosion was also less strong on the hard mesa material than on the rather soft yardang clay. STEIN, who advocates this theory, is of the opinion that the Chinese settlers in Lou-lan, when they perceived the grave situation approaching through the diminishing water-supply in the Tarim delta, collected the contents of all exposed graves before leaving the region and reburied them in safe places on the high mesas.

This explanation is quite reasonable and explains the mixed contents of the collec-

1 I am not at all convinced of the correctness of CAMILLA TREVER'S statement when she ascribes certain of the woollen textiles from Noyan-ola to the Huns. And the examples of Hunnish textiles which ALFÖLDI mentions in his review of TREVER'S book (in Artibus Asiae 6, pp. 16o f f.) may refer to embroideries or felt carpets and not to really woven materials.