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0204 Archaeological Researches in Sinkiang : vol.1
Archaeological Researches in Sinkiang : vol.1 / Page 204 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000195
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The distance between the extreme groups on the cliff is 54.5 m. On the central part the highest figures are situated as much as 5.45 m. above the ground, the lowest only 0.65 m. Thus the main part of the central group could not be reached by a man standing on the ground, and there are no ledges or breaks in the wall to stand on. Only with the help of a ladder, which, fortunately, was at hand at Shindi, was I able to ti-ace the upper engravings with white. As the artists most certainly did not stand on ladders when making the figures, it is obvious that some change in the level of the ground has taken place. It was also soon discovered that the brook had not always flowed close to the cliff, but 40-50 m. away from it, where traces of a dry bed were found. The cliff itself also showed how it had been covered by detritus to an average of 3.5 m. above the present level. Below this level the wall is quite smooth and clean, showing that it has been protected from the influence of the atmosphere, above it the surface of the rock is much weathered and covered with lichen. In Pl. XVI a the letters A—a mark the clear line of demarcation between these parts, i. e. the level of the ground before erosion set in. This hint given by Nature herself suggests a division of the carvings into one older and one younger facies. These two "strata" are also clearly differentiated stylistically. Below the lower stratum there is a third facies, quite modern, as is easily discernable both from the style and the content.

There are four main groups of engravings on the wall of the rock, and some scattered figures in the interspaces. The description runs from left to rigt, i. e. down-stream.

The first group, Pl. XVII a, is only 6o x 95 cm., the lower edge 2.8 m. above the brook. It consists of a man on horseback, five men on foot, one of whom seems to be leading a camel with one hand, an ibex, and some unclear lines. The figures are of poor quality both in point of style and technique. The camel, for instance, is characterized only by means of two vertical lines denoting the humps. The horns of the ibex are considerably exaggerated and badly traced. The figures are carelessly hacked into the rock, probably with a stone. The markings are quite shallow, and the contours are therefore not very distinct.

The second group is the most instructive, on account of its "stratigraphy" already touched upon, and also because it is the richest one. On the total view Pl. XV it is seen in the centre, whereas Pl. XVI a shows it separately. It measures 6.35 m. in length and 3.55 m. in height. On Pl. XVI a the different levels which mark the three stages in the origin of the carvings, have been marked in such a way that the oldest lies above an almost horizontal line A—a, the middle stage between this line and a line B—b, and the youngest stage below the last-mentioned line. All carvings are on an almost vertical wall.

On the left part of the upper level there are small antelopes (or at least antelope-like animals) two ibexes, two men on horseback each followed by a dog? or colt?,