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0288 Ancient Khotan : vol.1
Ancient Khotan : vol.1 / Page 288 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000182
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Coins from Chalmakazcm.

Identification of site.

The name Chalmakazân.


first a bed of fine loess about 3 ft. 10 in. high and above a solid layer of stones. Of this a height of close on 3 feet could be measured in the centre, but further out, towards the periphery, it seemed to curve down towards the base like a circular vaulted wall. From the kind of well or chamber thus formed in the centre, and now filled with loess soil, some deposit had apparently been extracted ; but how long ago nobody seemed to know.

I could not ascertain any traditions or legends about Chalma-kazân, since the site is ordinarily visited only by the jade-diggers, whose pits commence to line the river-bank a short distance from the southern edge of the débris area which extends here to about half a mile from the mound. At the time of my visit working at the jade pits, for a description of which I must refer to my Personal Narrative 44, had mostly ceased for the winter. Neither coins nor other objects that could furnish approximate chronological indications were picked up during my visit. But among the Chinese copper coins presented to me by Wang-Daloi as coming from Chalmakazân is a small but representative series of Tang pieces, comprising issues of the period K`ai-yüan (713-741 A. D.), Chien-yüan (758-759), Ta-li (766-779), Chien-chung (78o-783), as well as a single coin of the Sung dynasty bearing the `nien hao ' of Tstung-ning (1102-11o6 A. D.) 45. It thus appears that the site of Chalma-kazân continued to be occupied approximately as long as that of the old capital. The only pieces of ornamented pottery I could obtain from Chalma-kazân, also presented by Wang-Daloi, and described with a few other articles in the list at the end of this section, show the same type of work as noticed at Yôtkan, and thus agree with the evidence of the coins.

The distance from Chalma-kazan to Yatkan is approximately 13 miles, and the bearing south-south-east. Comparing with this position the topographical indications above detailed, it has occurred to me whether we might not reasonably look at Chalma-kazân for the site of the Stûpa of the turned-up pdtra and Vairocana's convent. Neither distance nor bearing would differ very much from the 50 li to the south which the notice of the Pd shih and Chou shu records ; the latter estimate is in all probability meant only to indicate half a day's march, such as the easy journey from Khotan town or Yotkan to Chalma-kazan would be reckoned nowadays. The mention made in that notice of the footprints of a Pratyekabuddha which were shown at that site on a rock seems to point distinctly to the valley of one or the other great rivers ; for only in the beds of large rubble deposited there and not in the unbroken loess area of the oasis could be found a stone block large enough to show markings, natural or artificial, in which the eyes of the pious would recognize sacred footprints. We know from India, where the worship of such padukds has always been popular among all sects, that these supposed impressions of the feet of holy personages were ordinarily of a considerable size 46. Since the Kara-kâsh Valley immediately above its débouchement takes a distinctly westerly direction, only the Yurungkâsh Valley remains in which to look for a site that could show a ` rock ' of the requisite size and that at the same time might be described as to the south of the old capital.

Finally, attention may be called to the curious resemblance which the name Chalma-kazan shows to the designation of the locality of Vairocana's shrine and to that of its Stûpa. The second part of the modern local name is manifestly the Turki word kazan, meaning ` pot', while Chalma might be regarded as the barely changed equivalent of the name *Charma, which the

" See Ruins of Khotan, pp. 253 sq.

'B See reproductions in Plate LXXXIX, 26 ; Plate XC,

33, 34, 40.

46 Compare, e.g., the reproduction of the stone on the Upper Swat river showing Buddha's pâdukâs as described

by Hsüan-tsang, Mémoires, i. p. 135, published by Bühler in the Proceed. of the Imp. Academy of Vienna, 1898, histor.philol. Classe, from an impression which Col. H. A. Deane had secured for me.