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0306 Ancient Khotan : vol.1
Ancient Khotan : vol.1 / Page 306 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000182
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Painted panels.


illustrations of the best preserved fragments. D. n. 34 and 74 show how the small figures of Buddhas standing in the ` Abhaya-mudra' attitude, 6, inches high from below the lotus pedestal to the top of the nimbus, had been arranged in ascending rows corresponding to the curve of the border, as well as their colouring. The modelling, in regard to both pose and drapery, is better than that of the corresponding relief figures from D. i. The dark grey background was decorated besides with rosettes and painted devices resembling lotuses. The border of the aureole is formed by rows of overlapping lotus-petals, each row being coloured alternately red and green (or blue). From D. ir. 55 (Platte LV) it is seen how rows of flame-tongues coloured in a similar way adjoined the outside edges of these borders ; for the arrangement of the flame-tongues D. it. 89, in the same plate, and the description of D. it. 24 may be referred to 2. The small relief of a seated Buddha or Bodhisattva, D. ii. io (Plate LIV) nearly 5 inches high, shows careful modelling, the drapery, like that of the standing figures, unmistakably recalling its distant Grecian origin through Gandhâra models 3.

The fact of these small stucco reliefs being found in the south-east corner of the cella in loose sand, and several feet above the platform previously referred to, is a clear indication that the interior of the little shrine had been invaded by drift-sand while its walls were still intact to a considerable height. Comparatively well protected as this south-eastern portion of the cella was, the image of friable stucco (clay) which once occupied the corner had decayed, just as in the case of the other three corners, down to the feet. These, however, as well as the elegantly moulded lotus-pedestal of circular shape, can still be made out in Fig. 3o. Luckily this corner had afforded better protection for some other adornments of the shrine. On clearing the platform between the corner pedestal and the base of the principal statue I found a small detached statue in stucco (D. ii. 09), originally about i ft. 4 in. high, and well preserved but for the head and arms. Fig. 31 shows it placed subsequently on the main base, and in Plate LIII it has been reproduced after its transport to the British Museum. The figure which it represents, seated on a rectangular seat with its feet resting on a flat footstool, must, by evidence of the carefully indicated dress, have been intended for a Buddha. The colours of the robe, or Uttarâsatiga, in red, of the under-garment, or Samghâti, in a brownish purple, and of a second garment—probably the Samkaksika—in green, together with those of the respective linings or borders, have survived well. For a description of the seat and the background, perhaps part of an aureole, I must refer to the list below. The small wooden board on which the image had been set up, evidently for the purpose of convenient transport, was still intact ; and as the stucco, too, though merely clayey loess mixed with straw, grass, and fine fibre, had kept comparatively hard, I was able to risk its removal. Carefully packed away in one of my mule-trunks the little statue accomplished its long journey to London far better than I had expected, the cracks now visible in the coloured reproduction being mainly the result of subsequent atmospheric influences.

At the foot of the main base, and leaning against it, were found four painted panels of wood, all oblong, but of varying sizes. Owing to their position near the ground the wood of these panels has much decayed, evidently through damp, and the thin layer of water-colour with which they are painted has also suffered considerably. For the same reason the removal

Stucco images.

2 For flames surrounding the nimbus and aureole of a Buddha, comp. the modern Japanese representation, in Grünwedel-Burgess, Buddhist ari, p. 172.

  • 8 For the tenacity with which this treatment of the drapery has survived in Buddhist sculpture of China and

Japan, comp. Grünwedel-Burgess, Buddhist art, pp. I7o sqq.; for specimens of drapery in Gandhâra sculptures of Buddha, comp., e.g., ibid., Figs. II o, I I 2, 117 (Abhaya-mudrâ), I I 8, I19.