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0263 Ancient Khotan : vol.1
Ancient Khotan : vol.1 / Page 263 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000182
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Of the pottery and terra-cotta illustrated by Plates XLI I I—XLV I I, it cannot reasonably be doubted that they are all typical products of the local art of ancient Khotan. It is very different in regard to the small objects in stone, metal, and bone which are shown in Plates XLVIII—LI. On some of the miniature stone carvings in the first-named Plate the style of work as well as the material makes it highly probable that they were made in distant Gandhara and brought to Khotan through the link of common Buddhist worship. Among the intaglios of Plate XLIX there are at least two (Kh. 002, Kh. ooi. a) which are unmistakably the work of engravers in the classical West, while others point to Iran or India as their places of origin. Considering how easily small objects of value make their way by trade or otherwise over vast areas, it is impossible to feel sure that the rest of these cut stones, or the metal seals and miniatures in the other Plates, were all produced at Khotan. But this doubt in no way detracts from their antiquarian interest ; for it is evident that, if originally brought from elsewhere, these small antiques found at Yôtkan must be tangible evidence of the varied art influences which were at work in ancient Khotan.

This is particularly true of the small but remarkably well-carved reliefs (Kh. 003. g, Kh. 005, B. D. ooi. a) in a slatey stone which Plate XLVIII shows. They are characteristic specimens of that Graeco-Buddhist art of Gandhara which, as we shall see, contributed more than any other influence to shape the development of Buddhist art in Khotan. The detailed description contained in the list renders it unnecessary to account here for the peculiar shape of these reliefs. They undoubtedly formed part of the decoration of miniature shrines or Stûpas, such as we must suppose to have been in use for purposes of private worship or else as votive offerings'. The most interesting of these pieces is Kh. oo3. g, which shows on its obverse a scene famous in Buddhist legend, but not hitherto found among the reliefs from the ruined sites of Gandhara. The Bodhisattva, having forsaken his princely abode to take up the life of a mendicant, is cutting with the sword in his right hand his long lock (cû1ä), the end of which is grasped by his left. M. Foucher, who at once recognized the scene on being shown its reproduction in the Plate, has since discussed the legend of the texts and its extremely rare representation in Buddhist iconography with his usual lucidity and acumen 8.

The other two small reliefs represent scenes familiar in Gandhara sculpture, the birth of Buddha (Kh. 005) and Buddha's temptation by Mara (B. D. ooi. a). In the former the clever adaptation of the relief on the obverse to the contour furnished by the larger scale carving of the reverse is deserving of notice. For the remaining small sculptures shown in Plate XLVIII, four of them seated Buddhas or Bodhisattvas, Indian origin is less clearly indicated ; but the influence of Gandhara style is recognizable in all of them, and the materials (soapstone and slate) are such as we commonly meet with in the sculptures of the Peshawar valley. The small ivory group in the round (Kh. oo8), on the other hand, might well be Khotan work ; the treatment of its subject, a male figure embracing a female, seems closely allied to that observed in certain tcrra-cottas, and the fashion of hair and dress similarly shows points of contacts.

Among the intaglios from Ybtkan reproduced in Plate XLIX the standing Eros (Kh. 002), Intaglios. - and the quadriga with charioteer (Kh. ooi. a) are manifestly Roman work of the early centuries X. D.

Objects of foreign origin.

Miniature reliefs.

T Miniature Stûpas and fragments of panels which once adorned miniature chapels abound among the collections of Graeco-Buddhist sculpture at Lahore and elsewhere, though I am unable at present to refer to pieces on an equally small scale.

$ See L' Art du Gandhdra, pp. 363 sqq. I owe it to


Mr. F. H. Andrews to mention that his description of the little relief, with the identification of the scene represented in it, was written long before I had an opportunity of submitting the Plate for M. Foucher's friendly scrutiny.

9 See, e. g., Hoernle, Report on C.A. antiquities, ii. Pl. XI, fig. 23.

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