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0225 Archaeological Researches in Sinkiang : vol.1
Archaeological Researches in Sinkiang : vol.1 / Page 225 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000195
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groups of stones. Each group consisted originally of about eight boulders from one to three feet in diameter arranged in a circle perhaps six feet across."

OWEN LATTIMORE also visited this place, and he saw three monoliths, one of them being the baba stone of my Pl. IX a. Besides he mentions "five large tumuli arranged in a line, surrounded by curious broken circles of small boulders on the bare ground. The disposition of the whole site is a little confused by the mounds about the shafts giving access to an abandoned k a r e z." (Lattimore 1930, p. 148 f.)

In the Ili valley LATTIMORE saw not a few monoliths.

As far as I am aware STEIN is the first to have recorded a baba stone in Sinkiang. It is standing in a primitive Kirghiz shrine at Chalkoide in the mountains between Kelpin and Uch-turfan (Stein 1921, Fig. 341) . There the stone effigy was worshipped by the Kirghiz.

As a rule the baba stones are placed on a tomb or in the immediate vicinity of a tomb. It is hardly likely that the baba found by STEIN and the shrine surrounding it are contemporaneous. Whether the baba was taken to the shrine from its original place or the shrine was erected around the baba is hard to decide. In any case the combination of shrine and effigy is highly suggestive as a manifestation of the survival of ancient pre-Mussulman worship.

VON LE COQ tells us about similar worship by the Kirghiz (Le Coq 1928, p. 154) . They regard the baba figures either as gods or as memorials of famous ancestors.

In Qasaqstan the baba figures are common. LE COQ mentions one along the road from Semipalatinsk to Sergiopol and another between Sergiopol and Kulja (Le Coq 1926, p. 16o).

In Sergiopol I noticed two babas which had been moved thither from the surrounding neighbourhood, and one is standing at the roadside on the outskirts of Urdjar. Several baba stones have been taken to the museum in Semipalatinsk. In the Minusinsk region and in N. Mongolia they are extremely common, and many specimens are also known from the eastern part of Inner Mongolia, Chakhar and Ulan-chap, the former discovered by Prof. J. G. ANDERSSON, the latter found by me.

The baba stones are distributed over practically the whole Eurasiatic steppe region, and seem to belong mainly to the first millenium A. D.

The stones at Ch'ai-o-p'u have nothing to do with the few finds of worked flint recovered in the vicinity and discussed on p. 26.

I will revert to the question of the baba figures and hope to be able to treat it more fully in a forthcoming publication on Inner Mongolian antiquities.


Though they have no connection with the monuments above, it ought to be mentioned that there are several ruins of ancient watch-towers or signal-towers around Ch'ai-o-p'u along the Turfan-Urumchi road.