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0211 Archaeological Researches in Sinkiang : vol.1
Archaeological Researches in Sinkiang : vol.1 / Page 211 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000195
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After all, the hands on the Quruq-tagh petroglyph show connections with the south-west and the south and not with the north.

Stylistically the majority of the animals are poorly executed ; they are stiff, and outlined in profile. Some of the human figures are seen en face. The "artists" have been most successful in depicting ibex bucks, some of them being highly suggestive and recalling the best ibex representations in the Ordos bronze art. A mounted horse is shown at the trot, and an antelope is also depicted in lively movement. Though the rest of the horses are stiffly drawn, their movements have been emphasized by the position of the riders. With one hand they hold the reins and with the other they whip their small, long-tailed mounts. Everybody who has been fortunate enough to see a Mongol hurrying across the wide spaces of the steppes at a joyful speed, riding his pony in the way peculiar to these people, with his bodily weight on one thigh, and urging his mount by touching the rear of its hind-quarters with the whip, will understand that the simple rock-picture horsemen are founded on observations of nature.

The occurrence of domesticated animals among the wild ones shows that the makers of the pictures relied not only on hunting, but also on cattle breeding. In this instance the making of the pictures had the object of increasing the number of cattle.

Whether the Mongols of our days who made the horses and camels on the lowest level were moved by the same wish, or whether they just wanted to show their superior ability in drawing is hard to say. They have in any case felt an attraction to this old place of primitive worship, regarding it as "powerful" and sacred and therefore enriching it both with animals and lamaistic signs. STEIN also mentions that local worship of some kind attaches to the spot in another way : he saw a flag which a Mongol visitor had set up near the rock pictures.

It is, of course, impossible to answer the question as to whether there exists an unbroken local tradition here. There may be several hiatuses in the genesis of the engravings, as there are rather well-marked generations. Different tribes may indeed be responsible for different parts of the petroglyph, but the conception underlying these manifestations is the same.

The chronology of primitive petroglyphs is always hard to decide. For the S. Siberian and N. Mongolian rock pictures TALLGREN gives the probable limits as

B. C. 500   A. D. Boo. The rock pictures of Ladakh and W. Tibet are of varying
dates. The qualifications for very early pictures exist, if we can rely on the palaeolithic age ascribed to some rock paintings in NW India. The rock carvings along the different routes connecting India with the Tarim and the Oxus Basins are in many cases of a Buddhist character : stupa representations and a few lines of script. Some of them can be dated in the third, others in the fifth, eighth or ninth centuries A. D. In some instances such Buddhist rock carvings are combined with human