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0336 Ancient Khotan : vol.1
Ancient Khotan : vol.1 / Page 336 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000182
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Mural paintings of cella passage.

Painted panels from D. vi.


and swimming geese is painted around the pedestal, while at the foot of the latter appear the small figures of two worshippers. On the R. proper is seen a male figure in the act of offering lotus-flowers ; his flowing garments seem to have a Chinese cut, while his hair is dressed in a fashion distinctly resembling that shown by certain of the Yotkan figurines. On the L. proper a female figure appears kneeling and with hands folded. Her gown is shown brown with a brocade pattern, while a wide mantle of dark green colour hangs from the shoulders. The design of the painted plinth which runs round the foot of the walls, and in front of which these figures, as well as a small group of male worshippers to the right, are shown, can still be made out in the photograph.

The walls of the passage were also covered with frescoes, but all these had suffered badly. Plate IV shows the decoration of the inner wall-face in the south passage with rows of small seated Buddha figures, each 6 inches high. Here, too, as in other mural paintings of this kind, only the colours of the dress, vesica, and nimbus varied in regular succession. On the outer wall of the west passage traces of the lotus pedestal of a large painted figure could be made out near the centre, flanked on either side by rows of small seated Buddhas. Below two of these in the lowest row on the left an inscription of eight cursive Brâhmi characters, about half an inch high . and painted in black, survived, but owing to its position close to the floor I could take only an eye copy of it. Judging from this the legend would appear to have run as follows : va di ra rmi (?) ga(gu ?) na ja ? ja. There had been a long legend also below a similar row of small figures on the right, but this had been almost completely effaced by a crack in the plaster, and only the first two characters remained legible, dvi p% agreeing with those at the commencement of the inscription below the fresco image, D. E. o8 (see Plate LVI I I).

In front of the cella pedestal were found two painted panels, evidently as originally deposited, but the colours had faded or peeled off in numerous places. The larger panel (D. vr. 3), reproduced in Plate LXVII without its colours, 27 inches long, with a width of nearly 5 inches, shows ten figures, perhaps Bodhisattvas, seated on a lotus or Padmäsana. The arrangement and colouring of the figures, with their aureoles, &c., resemble those of the mural decoration previously described, but each figure is shown here wearing a yellow hat of Tibetan shape. The other panel (D. vi. 4), measuring r 3â by 8 inches, and painted on both sides, shows in each six Buddha figures seated in the ` Dhyânamudrâ' attitude and arranged in three vertical rows. For a detailed description I must refer to the list. The fragmentary relief (D. vi. 5 ; see Plate LVI) in hard gypsum (plaster of Paris), and originally coloured, was found near the floor of the cella near the north-east corner, and must be supposed to have fallen there from some stucco decoration on the upper portion of the wall. It represents the head of a female figure, evidently a Gandharvi, judging from its resemblance to the corresponding figures from the relief decoration of shrines D. i and D. xi', as seen in Plate LVI.

The first among the manuscript finds consisted of the left-hand fragment of a leaf (D. vi. i) written in upright Gupta characters of the seventh or eighth century, which turned up in the south-west corner of the cella. It is numbered 70, and is shown by Dr. Hoernle's note iv. to have belonged to a long, narrow Pôthi containing a Buddhist canonical work in Sanskrit. In the same place was recovered the small fragment (D. vi. 2) of a document in cursive Brâhmi bearing traces of a Chinese monogram signature. The third was a narrow strip of paper (D. vi. 6) containing part of a document written in cursive Brâhmi and the Eastern Iranian language. This was found in the form of a small roll lying on the floor of the north passage.

At a distance of only 40 feet to the north of the latter a small dwelling-house (D. vii) could be made out under the sand by its posts rising well above the slope of the dune. In

MS. finds of D. vi.

Finds in ruined