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0583 Ancient Khotan : vol.1
Ancient Khotan : vol.1 / Page 583 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000182
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by the hand of one of the pious who last visited the Vihâra. In the same way a small broken Buddha figure, a replica of the reliefs filling the large aureoles of R. xii and R. xiii, was found placed against the right arm. Sculptured pieces which had fallen off from the haloes of some other images had thus served for pious adornment, an observation made elsewhere in the ruined Vihâra, and clearly showing that the decay of its relief decorations in friable clay must have begun long before the shrine was completely abandoned. More important was the finding of three Chinese coins on the floor just below the base of R. xi. They were all wu-chu pieces ; and their position, when viewed in the light of subsequent discoveries of the same kind, leaves no doubt that they had been deposited as votive offerings.

The adjoining south corner of the Vihara court was occupied by two colossal statues (R. xii and R. xiii), surrounded by very large ornamental vesicas and both exactly alike. The statues themselves had suffered much damage, and the portions from the waist downwards which the excavation brought to light collapsed to about the knees, as seen in Figs. 63, 64. The carefully treated folds of the robes showed remains of a dark-red paint. The elliptical vesicas, measuring fully 72 ft. across at their widest and enclosed by a relief border showing a lozenge diaper 10, were decorated with slanting rows, overlapping each other, of small Buddha figures. These were alike in pose, scale, and execution, but, as seen in the photographs, shown to different lengths, according to the exigencies of space. Those displayed down to the thighs measured about 14 in., the rest being shorter. The arrangement of individual figures in the rows on either side of the vesica does not seem to have been everywhere quite symmetrical. The figures actually found adhering to the wall were all exact replicas and evidently from the same mould. The same was the case with most of the small reliefs of this kind, of which many were found in the sand filling the corner, and which manifestly had broken off previously from the higher vesica segments 11.

The specimen (R. xii. i) reproduced in Plate LXXXVI, shows the figure of a Buddha standing with the right hand raised in the ` Abhayapânimudra' attitude, as seen from other specimens, and the left on the chest, grasping loose drapery. A round nimbus appears behind the head, the latter showing the hair in simple curls with a top-knob. Traces of whitewash over a red wash appear on all these figures. Besides the latter, there turned up among the débris of the south corner some small stucco heads evidently also representing Buddhas, but differing in expression and modelling from R. xii. t and its replicas. Two types could be distinguished, and one of these was represented also among the small detached reliefs which

I found placed near R. lxx 12.   It is difficult now to decide whether the stucco figures to
which these heads belonged had formed part of no longer extant portions of the vesicas, or had only been placed there after removal from some other group of sculptures. The corner would have formed a likely place for collecting such disjecta membra of sacred images from other parts of the Vihara, and it is, perhaps, significant that a number of such detached pieces were found near the statues of the outside south corner (R. lxx—lxxiv).

The sculptural decoration of the inner south-east wall-face, to the south of the gate, showed great uniformity. It consisted mainly of a series of colossal statues (R. xiv, xv, xvi, xvii, xviii, xix, xx, xxi, xxii, xxiii, xxv, xxvi), which appear to have been of identical type, if not exact replicas. They had all suffered much decay, evidently owing to the inadequacy of the

10 For the description of a specimen piece, see R. o6 in   12 One type is represented by R. or, 02, 014, 015, o16

list.   (for a reproduction see Ruins of Khotan, p. 464); another

11 See for such replica fragments, mostly damaged, R. r,   by R. 2, 03, which are replicas of R. lxx. r. b, c (see

04, 05, 07, or I, or3, 017, 019.   Pl. LXXXIV).

Votive coin deposits.

Reliefs of large vesicas,

R. xii, xiii.

Small Buddhas of vesicas.

Colossal statues of inner south-east face.