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0183 Ancient Khotan : vol.1
Ancient Khotan : vol.1 / Page 183 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000182
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which, as shown by the examination Professor J. Wiesner was kind enough to make of specimens transmitted to him, is the Broussonetia papyrifera or Paper mulberry-tree. This tree, which supplies the bark mainly used for paper in China, does not appear to grow to any extent in other parts of Chinese Turkestan, and its bark being particularly suited for the purpose, Khotan enjoys a practical monopoly in the local manufacture of paper. The pulp used is made up of thoroughly well-macerated fibres, and the paper itself possesses a good deal of strength and toughness.

The oldest datable paper MSS. which my . excavations in the Khotan region brought to light must be ascribed to the period from circa 719 to 791 A. D. But the exhaustive investigations which Prof. J. Wiesner has devoted to the analysis of the ancient paper materials represented in the collection of Central-Asian MSS. under Dr. Hoernle's care, as well as those excavated by me, prove beyond doubt that the manufacture of paper in Eastern Turkestan had been carried on for centuries before that period, and in the course of time had undergone some remarkable developments. We shall have occasion hereafter to refer to various interesting results of Prof. Wiesner's researches 19. In the present place only one point need be noted. Though the rough mechanical pounding to which the bark used for the earlier papers had been generally subjected made the determination of the fibres contained in them often very difficult, yet Prof. Wiesner has been able to identify in a number of cases fibres of the Broussonetia papyrifera. Some of the MSS., where such were found, belong to the site of Dandan-Uiliq, while others were obtained from Kucha, and probably belong to an earlier period (fifth to seventh century A. D.). The paper of those from Dandan-Uiliq (eighth century A.D.) is certainly of Khotan manufacture : and in view of what has been stated as to the restricted occurrence of that tree outside Khotan, the same assumption suggests itself as regards the MSS. from Kucha.

Ceramic art, which, judging from the finds of Ybtkan, must have reached a high degree of perfection in ancient Khotan, has greatly deteriorated, and the pottery now produced is inferior even when judged from the most utilitarian point of view. The manufacture of glass, which must be assumed to have flourished in old Khotan, is now wholly unknown". On the other hand, the metal-workers of Khotan, of whose skill in ancient days very few specimens have so far been recovered, produced in relatively modern times much excellent work, and enjoyed well-merited fame throughout Turkestan. I refer in particular to the Khotan workers in brass and copper, to whose hands may be traced most of the artistically wrought old metal ware, such as water jugs, basins, trays, &c., which I have had occasion to see and admire at Yarkand, Kashgar, and also in Western Turkestan 21.

That this art is of ancient date in Khotan is proved by a notice of the Liang Annals, which specially refers to the skill of the inhabitants of Yü-t`ien in the manufacture of copper vessels 22. The style of the rich ornamentation employed is throughout distinctly Persian. While this once highly developed art industry has sunk to a commonplace level during the last century, the gold and silver smiths of Khotan rctain to this day a good deal of skill ;

Antiquity of Khotan paper.

Industries in pottery, glass, metal.

19 The results of Prof. Wiesner's investigations, as far as based on MSS. in Dr. Hoernle's collection, were published in his Mikroskopische Untersuchungen alter oslturkestanischer Papiere, 4.c., Denkschriften der malhem.naturwiss. Classe of the Imperial Academy, Vienna, vol. lxxii. 1902. Those derived from the analysis of paper MSS. excavated by me are contained in his paper Ein neuer Beitrag zur Geschichte des Papiers', published in vol. cxlviii (1904) of the Sitzungsberichte der philos. histor.

Classe, Imperial Academy, Vienna.

20 Vases of glass are mentioned as presents from Khotan to the Chinese court in 518 A. n. ; see Rémusat, Ville de Kholan, p. 17.

R1 A good specimen of the old brass trays, with the curious open work which seems to have been peculiar to Khotan during the last few centuries, is reproduced in M. Grenard's plate, Mission D. de Rhins, ii. p. 188.

22 See Rémusat, Ville de Kholan, p. 16.