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0264 Archaeological Researches in Sinkiang : vol.1
Archaeological Researches in Sinkiang : vol.1 / Page 264 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000195
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over a couple of warps instead of a single one, thus composing a band of three-strand twined work. There is a similar band round the bottom. On the inside of the basket this texture looks like a plain twined weaving.

There is still a third component of the basketwork. It is a minute round string (diam. 0.2 mm.) of a dicotyledonous root, almost certainly from an Artemisia plant. This little strand is not used everywhere, but only occasionally, especially for the strengthening here and there of the three-strand twined work. It may be added that this extra little strand has in any case not slipped out of a main weft one, but has been handled fully individually by the basket-weaver. Sometimes it has been wrapped on a warp strand, and there is no other wrapping anywhere in the weaving (-fragment).

It was difficult to find out what material the old basket-maker had used in her weft-strands. It was possible, finally, to establish that a good part of the material best corresponds to the "tsaghan deris" or "white. grass" of the Mongols or Lasiagrostis splendens of the Botanical Museum. The stems of this grass have been split to form two or more strings to be used together with dicotyledonous root strings for weft strands — also in the three-strand twine. Indeed, as a matter of fact, the clever basket-weaver has used both of these heterogeneous materials together in every one of the weft strands. A whole series of cuts through the outsides of neighbouring weft strands have been made, and one is surprised to see (through the microscope) how grass and dicot. fibres alternate in a highly irregular manner. As a matter of fact a gleaming and glossy grass surface may be seen in many parts of the plain weaving, and dull root surfaces in the three-strand weaving. The wall has a net-pattern made of glossy grass applied on top of the main weft element and showing a marked contrast in colour to this. The result is thus a proof of the simple but good basketry of the primitive Lou-lan people.

In these microscopic examinations Professor G. Edman of the Pharmaceutic Institution has given me splendid assistance and sacrificed much time, for which I give him my sincerest thanks.


The principal matter is a non-granular, most shapeless mass of a light brown-grey colour.

If a small quantity of the substance is heated in a test tube in a Bunsen flame it gives off water, brownish tar, and an intense smell of burnt milk. What remains is a structureless black carbon.

The presence of lactic acid in the mass has been proved by the common iodoform reaction and the special Uffelmann test (carbolic acid with dissolved ferric chlor-