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0119 Ancient Khotan : vol.1
Ancient Khotan : vol.1 / Page 119 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000182
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the original dome appears to have been as nearly as possible hemispherical, with its centre at some point of a horizontal line which may be projected into the interior of the mound from the approximate surface-point marked with the letter C in the photograph. Taking measurements from the photograph, which, however, can be accepted only as roughly approximate, the radius of the original hemispherical dome may be assumed to have been about 37 feet. Adding to this the thickness of the outer mantle, which on the north-east side is seen to have been at least 13 feet, we arrive at 5o feet as an approximate estimate for the radius of the enlarged dome. Supposing this also to have been hemispherical like the original one, its height could not have been less than 5o feet.

The uppermost portion of this enlarged dome has, no doubt, disappeared through dilapidation. But, even allowing for this loss in height, there remain in the extant ruin scarcely more than fifty feet of elevation for the base supporting the dome. This proportion between dome and base, if correctly estimated, seems to present a striking contrast to all other Sttipas surveyed in the course of my Turkestan explorations ; for in these the height of the domed portion ordinarily represents only about one-third of the total elevation 9. Unfortunately the Stttpa ruins still sufficiently well-preserved for accurate measurement are too few and their localities too widely scattered to permit of any safe conclusion being drawn in regard to architectural chronology. There remains then only the hemispherical shape of the original dome, which, if the parallel offered by the changes in the architectural forms of Indian Stapas can be relied upon for guidance, may be accepted as an indication of considerable antiquity r.

The approximate dimensions, as ascertained above, show that the Kurghan-Tim Stttpa, even in its original form, must have exceeded in size any of the Stûpas the remains of which I was able to trace between Kashgar in the west and Endere in the east 8. Like all these, it was constructed of sun-dried bricks laid in • regular horizontal layers. The bricks of the original dome, wherever they could be measured in situ with approximate accuracy, showed an average size of eighteen inches square with a thickness of five inches. The bricks of the outer mantle seem to be less uniform in size and on the whole smaller. The material used is the same loess soil which prevails over the greatest portion of the plains of Eastern Turkestan, and which, whether in the form of sun-dried bricks or solid mud-walls, serves to this day everywhere for the construction of buildings. The manner of fabricating these bricks, with a liberal admixture of straw and chaff, and from pits dug as close as convenient to the structure for which they are to serve, seems to have remained practically unchanged through the course of centuries. But the size of the bricks now used is generally much smaller than that displayed by structures of the pre-Muhammadan period.

The second ancient ruin in the immediate vicinity of Kashgar lies on the opposite side of the city, to the south, and just above the old left bank of the Kizil river, from which it probably has received its name of R'izil--Debe (` the Red Mound') 9. Its distance from the

s Compare, regarding the Stûpas of Mauri-Tim,Tbpa-Tim, Niya River Site, Endere and Rawak, below, pp. 81 sqq., I04 sq., chaps. xi., XII., xIv.

It may, however, be noted that in the Mauri-Tim Stûpa the height of the dome, together with that of the drum immediately below it, and of the same diameter, accounts almost exactly for one half of the total elevation.

T Compare M. A. Foucher's luminous observations on the evolution of the Stûpa forms, L'Art du Gandhâra, i. pp. 65 sqq.

s The largest of these Stûpas, that of Rawak near Khotan shows a diameter of 42i feet in its dome against one of about 74 feet in the original dome of Kurghan-Tim before its enlargement.

9 The Turkï word debe, also pronounced döbe, is used throughout Eastern Turkestan for any small hillock or mound, whether natural or artificial in origin. The same word, in the forms tepe, Idle, is common in local names of Western Turkestan, e. g. in Gök-tepe, famous in Turkoman memory.

Proportion between dome and base.

Materials of construction.

Ruined mounds of Kizil-Debe.