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0264 Ancient Khotan : vol.1
Ancient Khotan : vol.1 / Page 264 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000182
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Impressions from intaglios very closely related to the former in style and character (Eros, Pallas, Heracles) appear in the clay seals on some of the Kharosthi documents discovered by me at the Niya Site, which date from about the middle of the third century 10. Of the rest of these cut stones Professor Percy Gardner, to whom I am indebted for a close examination of them, holds that they belong to the second and third centuries A. D., and that most of them are rather oriental than Roman. The large intaglio (Y. 0o8. b) is interesting on account of its careful delineation of a warrior of Indo-Scythic type arrayed in an elaborate assortment of arms. Y. oo8. a shows an inscription of ` unknown ' characters above its device, two lions fighting over a prostrate bull. In this connexion it may be mentioned that the intaglio (I. ooi) also shows a legend hitherto undeciphered. Its characters closely resemble the corrupt Greek letters found on the so-called ` Scytho-Sassanian ' coins, and the features of the king's head surrounded by the legend point equally to origin in the Indo-Iranian border lands.

Of the seals from Yôtkan or Khotan shown in Plate L, all with one exception are in bronze, and either square or oblong. The best designed among them is, perhaps, Y. 009. k, showing a cow with figure milking. Seals of exactly similar make are numerous in the collection reported on by Dr. Hoernle 11, and it is thus probable that we have in them work of the local metalworkers whose skill the Chinese Annals specially mention. B. D. ooi. b, a bell-shaped seal in bone or ivory, shows a Tibetan inscription ; since the piece was purchased from a Khotan trader, its antiquity cannot be vouched for independently of such evidence as the design or writing may afford. Among the small miscellaneous objects in metal or stone which Yôtkan and Khotan have contributed to Plate LI, few call for special mention. The tiny figure of a monkey (Y. 004) in solid gold is interesting on account of its excellent workmanship, and as the only specimen of work in precious metal which can with certainty be traced to that site. The octagonal weight in bronze (Y. 003), likewise obtained at Yôtkan, may prove of value if we ever obtain definite indication as to the system of weights current in ancient Khotan. Its weight (425 grains) approaches, as Professor Percy Gardner points out, that of three staters. The miniature figures in bronze representing Buddha or a Bodhisattva (Y. 002. a, Kh. (303. j) are too much corroded to permit of any certain conclusion as to their age or origin.



Y. 002. a. Bronze seated Buddha figure showing distinct traces of having been gilt. Detail of figure much lost by wear. Behind the head a very elongated aureole. The general appearance of the miniature is Chinese.

,, x g". See Plate LI.

Y. 002. b. Three small charms.

  1. Miniature vase in terracotta. See Plate XLV.

  2. Duck carved in a greenish stone. See Plate LI.

  3. Tortoise or frog of glass. See Plate LI.

Y. 002. C. Bronze seal, g" square, with Svastika device ; shank with hole at back. See Plate L.

Y. oog. Octagonal piece of bronze, probably a weight, with edges of upper and lower octagonal faces chamfered. The upper and lower faces are stamped, each four times,

10 See Plate LXXI.

with a label containing four roundels or disks. Side facets also stamped with the same pattern placed so as to form a zigzag line round the object. Weight 425 grains (3 staters?). -" x •". See Plate LI.

  1.  Miniature monkey in solid gold. It is squatting on its haunches, its hands together and forearms resting on knees. It is well proportioned, has small ears, thin waist, no tail ; hairiness suggested by tiny dots indented all over it. A" high, 1A" broad. See Plate LI.

  2.  Small round intaglio, carnelion ; head of wolf or bear in profile. Diameter h". See Plate XLIX.

  3.  Elliptical intaglio, garnet, roughly cut, goat to R. proper, feeding from a tree ; on its back a bird (crow ?). " x A" x A". See Plate XLIX.

" See Report on C.A. ant., i. Pl. III.