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0083 Archaeological Researches in Sinkiang : vol.1
Archaeological Researches in Sinkiang : vol.1 / Page 83 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000195
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twigs, and the third grains of wheat and millet. Near and below the right hip and outside the mantle we found the small basket 5. F: i of the ordinary type. It once contained a porridge of millet.

The shoes were of the same kind as those in 5. A and 5. E. A loin-cloth of greyish white wool of the narrow type with fringed ends was much decayed. At the right side of the corpse, and inside the mantle, there were four long arrow-shafts with double tufts of feathers, Pl. 7: 14, and a thin branch of tamarisk. Many Ephedra twigs had been strewn on top of the buried corpse. One feature that I did not find in any of the other coffins was an extra mantle placed as a matting under the corpse; it was badly preserved, woven of coarse wool with irregular stripes of brown and yellow.

From here came also the complete "horse-leg" Pl. 8: 5 retaining both lashings. A diminutive bronze ring is fastened on the lower string.

The similarities with the funeral deposit in grave 5. A make it highly probable that the body in this coffin was that of a man.

Localities 5. G-5. L.

Besides the completely preserved and untouched grave 5 A, and the plundered graves 5 B—F, where the coffins were left in situ, there were six further instances in which groups of objects could be gathered which had no doubt been buried together in the same coffin. They have been numbered 5. G-5. L, each letter denoting a special coffin or mummy. Like 5. B-5. F these inventories might be incomplete, in several cases they certainly are, being all that was left after the treasure-seekers had had their "pick" or at least thrown away some of the objects.

I do not intend to describe each of these graves separately as no coffin was left in situ, I will only draw attention to some objects of special interest.

5. G: 3, depicted in Pl. 7 : 9 but more clearly visible in the drawing Fig. 14 : 3 is a straight peg carved to represent a snake swallowing a spool-shaped peg. The back of the body is completely covered with small incised lozenges filled with red, the belly having transverse lines, each alternate one containing a row of small triangles. The decoration is intended to represent the scales and the pattern of the snake, though the same elements of multiplied triangles have been used as ornament on arrows, pegs and combs, where the designs are purely abstract. A parallel to this snake-figure is Pl. 7: 8 (detail Fig. 14: 4). Both have a small hole a little behind the middle, and might thus have been suspended on a string. The exact use of these two snake representations is hard to determine; we can only point to the magical and medicinal qualities ascribed to the snake in general. Like the frog, it has become a symbol of rain, which however is regarded by some authors as a secondary development of a primary symbolism of promoting fertility; it is also frequently used as a phallic symbol.