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0205 Archaeological Researches in Sinkiang : vol.1
Archaeological Researches in Sinkiang : vol.1 / Page 205 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000195
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a bird, a hand with slender fingers, a small foot, a swastika, a sword?, a t a m g h a sign?' and some indeterminable figures. Most of the animals are turning right.

The central part of the upper level has three similar hands close together, and two hands separately just on the border to the next level, a pair of small feet, four horsemen riding to the right, a snake-like band, and some unclear figures, the largest of which resembles a pair of scissors with dentated blades.

The right part of the upper stratum is dominated by two stylized trees with straight parallel branches having hooked ends. They are possibly meant to represent the tree of life. Immediately below them are pairs of vertical lines with a hook at the lower end and the upper ends joined by a horizontal line to form three groups of one, three and five pairs respectively. They rather suggest the shape of human legs, as the hooks are turned left and right alternatingly.2 Above and on both sides of the three hands there may have been similar "legs". There is also a curved line with hooks to the right of the trees. A row of three horses, the last with a rider, may represent an equestrian figure in pursuit of two horses. They have a well defined broad body, whereas two other horses quite near are much thinner. There are also one "thin" and one "fat" camel beside several fragmentary figures. In all, there are about eighty-five figures on this upper stratum.

The figures of this level are executed in profile and are quite naturalistic, i. e. f rom a primitive point of view. There are no marked exaggerations in the shapes of the animals. They seem to have been made with a metal chisel as the lines are narrow and well defined. Both style and technique are rather homogeneous, which points to a limited period for the genesis of the figures. This part of the rock is covered with lichen. Some of the figures are fragmentary, as small parts of the surface have peeled off as a result of long exposure to the weather.

Practically the whole surface of the middle stratum is crowded with figures, and there is no need to make any vertical divisions. The animals are predominant. There are about twenty camels with more or less tower-like humps (one may have a rider), thirteen dog-like beasts, ten "horses" with long legs and tails, seven ibexes and one deer (the latter probably belonging to the lowest stratum). Four men are mounted on horses and three are on foot, one of these may be an archer. There are several unclear animal representations as well as other figures, for instance a ring and a highly stylized hand. In all, the number of figures on this middle stratum is about ninety. They are less distinct and more shallowly made than those on the upper level, probably made by pocking with a stone. Only on the figures bordering the upper stratum is there any lichen, otherwise the whole surface is clean. Not all of the indistinct figures have been filled in with white colour, cf. p. 188.

1 In using this term I follow the precedent set by those who have published rock pictures from N. Mongolia and S. Siberia, even though the signs on our petroglyph may have another meaning than the proper t am g h a signs, which are owner's marks.

2 OTTO MXNCHEN-HELFEN (1931, p. 123) mentions the occurrence of freely walking legs, the body never having been executed, on a rock painting in Uryangkhai (Tanu-tuwa).