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0206 Archaeological Researches in Sinkiang : vol.1
Archaeological Researches in Sinkiang : vol.1 / Page 206 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000195
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The middle and lower levels jut into each other. On the left part for instance the lowest line of figures marked with white in Pl. XVI a belong to the middle level. They are well-made ibex and goat representations, and two curious scenes with a man holding a goat by the tail.

The lowest level, about the lower third of Pl. XVI a, is relatively recent work. This is attested both by content and technique. The two camels, two horses and two birds are drawn with a totally different conception of art than that manifested in the upper figures. The proportions are good, and even the narrow legs are marked with double contours. The lamaistic signs, two endless knots, a spoked wheel etc., are of a piece with the Mongol script engraved here. On the left lower part there are three lines, Pl. XVIII b (also visible on Pl. XVI a though they are not painted white) . I am indebted to Mr. W. A. UNKRIG, Frankfurt-am-Main, for his kindness in reading this inscription. It runs bucrxat cakgiin zuruk, i. e. `Pictures from the time of the Buddhas'.'

It is written with the script used by the Torgut Mongols of Sinkiang in our days, which was invented in 1648 by ZÄYA PANDITA, but it is not quite modern. Whether the author of the inscription or some of his fellow Mongols at the same time drew the well-designed animals and the Buddhistic symbols, or whether the occurrence of the latter inspired the writing of the three words is of no consequence, as they are equally modern as compared with the pictures higher up on the cliff. In any case the Torgut wanted to express his belief in the very venerable age of the existing engravings.

Above the three lines of writing a single line is visible on Pl. XVI a but it is apparently without meaning. There are also three more single lines of very uncertain writing, also of Mongol type but too poorly made to allow of any reading.

These modern figures are executed with dotted lines pocked into the rock with a pointed tool. The surface of the lines looks fresher than is the case with the upper figures.

On this main carving there are apparently to be found both the oldest and the youngest of the stages in the development of this Quruq-tagh rock engraving. It thus forms an excellent example of how the Inner Asiatic rock pictures were made successively during prolonged periods. The same observations can be made on the reproductions of certain Siberian and Mongolian petroglyphs.

The third group of engravings lies a few metres to the right of the preceding one. It, also, is quite large, about 9 m. long and 3.5 m. high. Here the rock is uneven and forms a rounded ledge; when standing on this one can easily reach the highest pictures. The lowest ones lie o.8 m. above the water-level. Here the "stratigraphy" is less evident, but four "styles" can be discerned : I ) highly stylized animals, highest up on the wall and corresponding to the upper level of the preceding group, 2) long-legged animals, corresponding to the middle stratum of the preceding group,