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0261 Ancient Khotan : vol.1
Ancient Khotan : vol.1 / Page 261 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000182
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first place the detailed list of the objects, which has been prepared by Mr. Fred. H. Andrews, and which will be found reproduced below with few additions and alterations, contains not only an accurate and full description of every article, but also indications of such special points of interest as may deserve further study by experts. In the second place, the acquisitions made by me do not differ in general character from the large collection of Khotan antiques which have accumulated through successive purchases on behalf of the Indian Government, and which at the hands of Dr. Hoernle have undergone investigation as thorough as it is learned. For all questions which bear upon the relationship between the art of these antiques and that of India and Greece, and for many others raised by their technique, probable use, &c., I may therefore refer to Dr. Hoernle's analysis in the second part of his ` Report on the British collection of Central-Asian antiquities' 1. Even if sufficient leisure had been at my disposal for the purpose, I could not have hoped to supplement his observations on essential points without reference to collections and publications now far beyond my reach.

Fragments of ancient pottery, plain or decorated, form the commonest of the antiques found at Ybtkan. But complete vessels of a size meant for actual use are rare, and hence the almost intact specimens shown in Plate XLIII are of special interest. The small jug (Y. 0024), perfect and of simple but remarkably graceful design, resembles a Greek Oenochoê. Another small vessel (Y. 0028), complete but for the lip, is curious for the clever decoration of its handle showing a monkey playing the Sitar—a motive amply represented among the terra-cotta figurines of Plate XLV I. The fine jar, with almost spherical body (Y. 0027. a), is interesting for the spiral fluting which decorates the body. The small bifrons vessel (Y. 0030), showing on one side a male, on the other a female head, is remarkable for the close approach of its design to that of Greek Bifrons vases ; at the same time the peculiar features of the heads, the treatment of the hair, &c., unmistakably reproduce a local type which is found represented also in numerous terra-cotta miniatures. The portion of a coarse terra-cotta vessel (Y. 0022) shows in its simple incised ornaments and mouldings motives common to many of the small pottery fragments found in a more or less eroded condition on the Tatis near Gûma and around the Khotan oasis. The garland-holding female figures seen on the neck of the large jar (Y. 0023) were favourite decorative subjects with the Khotan artist. Specimens in terra-cotta recur on Plate XLV (B. ooi. d ; Kh. 003. b) and were frequently found among the stucco wall-decorations excavated at Dandan-Uiliq (Plate LV I). They are evidently meant for Gandharvis, and their treatment imitates similar figures frequent in the Graeco-Buddhist reliefs of Gandhara.

The moulded ornaments of the jars were invariably appliqué work, i. e., made separately and attached before firing. Plates XLIV and XLV show numerous pieces of this kind, most of them broken off. Grotesque heads, human or animal, are frequent among them. Particularly noteworthy is the satyr-like mask (Kh. 003. k) decorating a handle, for its clever naturalistic treatment and distinctly classic look. There is a suggestion of Neptune-like features also in the grotesque mask, Y. 0017 (Plate XLIII). Full figures or small groups in relief were similarly used for decoration, as seen in Y. 0019, B. oo1. c, Kh. 003. c, Kh. 003. m, and Mac. ooi. The latter piece, the richly ornamented neck of a jar, shows an unmistakably Indian motive in the two halo-crowned figures seated on lotus-pedestals with an elephant to support them as a vâhana, while the other appliqué decoration, with its two parrots kissing above a bunch of grapes, recalls the use of these elements of decorative art in Gandhâra sculptures, the Ajanta, frescoes and, in similar combination, in Coptic embroideries.

' See Report on C.-A. antiquities, ii. pp. 42-55.

Ancient terra-cotta vessels.

Appliqué pottery ornaments.