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0407 Ancient Khotan : vol.1
Ancient Khotan : vol.1 / Page 407 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000182
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a horse. But the frequent representations of Tritons or, to use the more explicit technical term, of Ichthyo-centaurs, in Gandhâra sculpture, with human busts, wings, horses' legs, and serpentine fish tails', prove that even more complicated monstrosities directly borrowed from the classical West were well known to that form of Buddhist art in India which supplied the models for the art work of old Khotan.

In the same passage (N. xii.) were found several small pieces of a woollen carpet, with a carefully worked fret pattern in blue and light yellow as described in the list below, as well as a long stick-like tablet (N. xii. i) showing columns of Kharosthi writing. Were all these miscellaneous objects and fragments thrown into, or dropped in, the passage when the final clearing of the dwelling took place before its desertion ?

A curious feature of this ruined residence was the clearness with which the arrangement Ancient

of the adjoining garden and of two arbours could be traced. The smaller of the latter, situated arbours.

about 8o ft. to the north-east of N. x., has already been referred to, and is seen on the right of Fig. 4o. Its enclosing fence of rushes, forming a square of about 45 ft., had for the greater part survived, while the bleached trunks of the poplars once growing inside, splendid specimens most of them, from 4o to 5o ft. long, were lying in heaps as they had fallen. In the other arbour, just outside the ancient rush fence to the north-west of the building, as shown in the plan of Plate X X XI, the gaunt trunks of dead poplars still rose 8 to i o ft. from the original surface, being thus clearly visible above the drift-sand which lay here to an average depth of 4-5 ft. The trees were planted at regular intervals, which my plan accurately indicates, and grouped in a rectangular avenue and small square exactly after the fashion in which I found every well-kept ` Bostân' laid .out from Kâshgar to Keriya. Within the squares little tanks are usually formed, having a platform in the centre, which serves as a convenient place for festive parties or repose in summer-time. This may have been the arrangement here also, but there was no time for clearing the ground. The difference between these rows of trunks still rising in their original positions and the heaps of large fallen trees seen near N. III and other ruins was very striking. It suggested that there had been from the beginning considerable variations in the quantity of sand that covered different portions of the ground, the dead trees still standing having been kept erect by the early accumulation of high sand around them.

The area immediately to the west and south of the ruined house was found enclosed by Ancient

a rush fence, mostly intact, though completely covered in some parts by the sand. The shrivelled fenced

orchard and

trunks of fruit trees rising above the latter in small irregular groups showed that this had been lane. an orchard and garden. Here, as well as among the remains of other ancient orchards which could be traced near ruined structures of this site, my diggers had no difficulty in distinguishing various fruit-trees, such as the peach, apricot, mulberry, J igda (oleaster), with the wood of which they were familiar from their own homes. The small specimens of different woods which Plate C IV reproduces, were collected from the trees found around this ruin. To the south of the orchard two parallel fences of rushes could be made out for a short distance, marking a little country lane. At one or two places near the eastern entrance of this lane the wind had swept away the drift-sand, and here the ground displayed pottery fragments, bits of charcoal, and well preserved small twigs—the very soil on which the last inhabitants must have trodden. Searching in the sand at the bottom of the fences close by, my antique walking-stick (from N. viii.) disturbed rustling dead leaves of Terek and fruit-trees which had found a safe shelter there at .a time when the bleached trunks of the orchard were still living. It was with a strange feeling,

9 See Foucher, L'Art du Gandhcfra, i. pp. 241 sq.