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0507 Ancient Khotan : vol.1
Ancient Khotan : vol.1 / Page 507 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000182
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alike in red robes on blue ground, each surrounded by a light green halo about 4 in. in diameter. In the triangular space left on each side at the foot of the vesica there appeared nearest to the latter a figure kneeling or seated, more or less effaced, and behind it a figure standing with uplifted sword. The foot of the wall was decorated with a frieze-like painting about i ft. ro in. high, divided into two broad bands by an angular fret. In the upper one there appeared, where the surface had not peeled off, representations of swimming geese and of fleur-de-lys-like leaves, all in blue over a vivid green ground. The lower band, which can be made out in the photograph (Plate X), consisted of triangular imbrications alternately blue and green painted over a rich red ground. A similar style of decoration, but less carefully executed, can be seen in the photograph showing the remains of frescoes on a wall of the Dandan-Uiliq shrine D. vi (Plate IV).

In the east wall of the little apartment, where it adjoined the frescoed south wall, a row of elaborately turned balusters of wood (see Plate X) was found inserted, with their back set into the plaster. The object served by this arrangement is not clear, but the top of the balustrade thus formed may possibly have served as a place of deposit for votive offerings. Within the south-east corner, and lying in loose sand about 4 in. above the floor, I discovered the well-preserved small painted panel (E. ii. i) reproduced in Plate LXXVIII. ' It shows a seated Gane§a or Vinayaka, four-armed, all details in the representation of the elephant-headed god being thoroughly Indian. It is well-known that he has remained a favourite in all Buddhist churches of Northern Asia which have been influenced by the Mahayana system 1. A fragment of a planed beam or post, about 3 ft. long with a width of 6 in. and much decayed by exposure, was found lying along the foot of the west wall. It showed faint outlines of part of a Buddha-head drawn in dark brown colour, with a small nimbus behind, and might have formed part of a decorated door jamb. The character of all these painted remains leaves no doubt that this small room served as a chapel.

The remaining rooms westwards, which showed a floor raised 3 ft. above that of E. ii., yielded no finds. Also the detached and in part badly decayed small structures (E. iv) to the north west of the temple were found completely empty but for a well-finished fireplace in plaster.

Apart from the ramparts enclosing the fort, the ruins of the large brick-walled building occupying the eastern portion of the circumvallated area were certainly the most striking feature of the site. The photograph (Fig. 48) taken from the west, shows them as they appeared before any excavation began. The massive walls of sun-dried bricks were in the southern part of the main building almost clear of sand, and still rose in places to heights up to io ft. The northern portion, including the half-open hall (E. iii.) and the large apartment forming the north-east corner, was, however, filled with drift-sand, rising from about 6 ft. in the latter to fully 9 ft. in the former. The walls, shown to scale in the plan (Plate XXXVI), had a thickness varying from 4 ft. in the main outside walls to 2 ft. 3 in. in others. The bricks, which contained much straw, with the occasional addition of bits of bone, wood, pottery, and similar refuse, were of two sizes. The usual make measured about 17 in. square with a thickness of 5 in., while another size, about 12 in. square and 3 in. thick, was used in some of the thinner walls. The horizontal rows of bricks were set in layers of mud, about 2 in. thick, and mixed with much straw. In the larger rooms massive posts of wood, about 5 in. square at their foot, but rounded where they projected pilaster-like beyond the wall facing, had been set into the walls at regular intervals, evidently to serve as supports for the roof beams. These posts were more or less intact in the rooms filled by sand (see Fig. 48 on left ; also Plate XI), while in the rest cavities left by them

panel of

Ruins of large building E. in.

' Comp., e. g., Grünwedel-Burgess, Buddhist art, p. 183.