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0114 Ancient Khotan : vol.1
Ancient Khotan : vol.1 / Page 114 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000182
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river, and opposite to the north-western face of the city, and a smaller and much more decayed mound called Kizil-Debe, situated on the left bank of the Kizil river, about two miles to the south of the city. The true character of these mounds as remains of ancient Stupas appears to have been first recognized by M. N. Petrovsky, late Russian Consul-General at Kashgar. The notice he gave of them, in an article published in the Journal of the Imperial Russian Archaeological Society, has not been accessible to me either during or after my visit to Kashgar, and I owe my first introduction to those interesting remains to the scholarly interest shown in them by Mr. G. Macartney.

Mound of   The first-named ruin, which shares with all ancient mounds of this character the general

T:u g n   Turk! designation of Tim ` mound', but is, owing to its vicinity to the suburb of Kurghan,

specifically known as Kurghan-Tim, forms by its height and situation a very conspicuous object. It rises at a short distance above the steep loess banks which line the bed of the Tümen river to the north, and, owing to the breadth of the latter and the lower level of the southern bank, is visible from a considerable distance. The position of the mound is almost due north of Chini-Bagh, Mr. Macartney's residence, outside the north-western wall of the city, and its distance from the latter is approximately one mile. The top of the mound stands seventy feet above the ground level of the neighbouring fields, but as an examination of the eroded ground at the southern foot of the mound showed, it rises in reality to fully eighty-five feet above the lowest course of masonry at present traceable.

Viewed from a distance the mound presents a roughly hemispherical appearance, while closer approach shows its present condition as that of a shapeless mass of much-decayed masonry. Its surface has in most parts suffered greatly by the disintegrating action of rain and wind. In the plan presented in Plate XX an attempt has been made to distinguish those parts of the mound where the masonry of sun-dried bricks can still be traced from those which, owing to external decay, present a surface scarcely different from that of a natural loess bank. The northern face of the mound, as seen in the photograph reproduced in Fig. 14, shows an almost vertical cleavage through the whole of the upper portion, which looks as if due to artificial cutting or else to an earthquake. The surface thus laid bare makes it easy to ascertain that the whole mound consisted originally of sun-dried bricks of large size, laid in regular courses with thin layers of mud plaster to act as binding material. The southern face has apparently undergone more gradual decay, and consequently displays on its surface less of the original masonry.

Original   The far advanced ruin of the whole structure makes it impossible to ascertain its original

shape of   dimensions and constructive features. There can be no doubt as to the remains being those

Stnpa.   g

of a Stûpa, built with a remarkably large dome, possibly of hemispherical shape. But as to the shape and size of the base on which this dome must be assumed to have risen, or as to the centre of the dome, the survey of the mound did not furnish any distinct indication. Judging from the evidence of all other Stûpa ruins subsequently examined by me in Eastern Turkestan, it seems probable that the base was square and arranged in three stories. Yet the plan shows a notable variation in the extent of the area over which masonry remains can now be traced above ground, its greatest length measuring about i 6o feet from east to west, compared with about 13o feet from north to south.

The difficulty of tracing any indications of the original shape and dimensions of the Stûpa base is due mainly to the complete decay of the outer faces of the whole structure, and the impossibility of distinguishing, in the crumbling mass of soft bricks, between masonry retaining its original position and other that has manifestly slid down to its present low level through