Sec. iii] ART RELICS OF SHRINE D. H 251
of the crust of sand and siliceous dust which adheres to the surface proved a very delicate task. The largest of these panels (D. 11. oio), reproduced in Plate LXVII, but without the much effaced colours, measures 192 by 58 in., and shows five seated figures, of which the third, bearded and holding in its four arms apparently a vajra (?), lotus (?), baton and hatchet, manifestly represents some Buddhist divinity. The two figures on either side shown as playing on various musical instruments, among them a rabâb or mandoline, and perhaps castanets, are meant probably for divine attendants, since each is shown with a nimbus 3a. A full description of this and the other panels will be found in the list. Another panel (D. n. 79) reproduced in Plate LXV I, 5â in. high and 42 in. wide, exhibits the figure of a dancing woman drawn in full movement and with much freedom. From the head, which is thrown back, there flows downwards a quantity of black hair, while the left hand holds the loop of a sash poised in graceful curve over the head. The clever execution of the visible details make the deleted state of the greater portion of the figure all the more regrettable. A seated figure. on the reverse has suffered even more, the outlines being barely traceable. D. 11. 16, a narrow and much deleted panel, shows Gane§a or Vinâyaka, whose popularity in the Khotan region is attested by a far better preserved painted tablet from the Endere ruins 4. In accordance with the Indian practice the figure of the elephant-headed god is shown nude except for a loin-cloth. On a fourth badly faded panel (D. 11. 2 I) two divine figures seated on lotuses, with a vesica and nimbus behind each, are just recognizable.
These painted tablets, like all the others subsequently discovered at the bases of sacred images in ruined shrines of Dandân-Uiliq, were undoubtedly still in the same position in which they had originally been deposited as votive offerings by pious worshippers. The last days of worship at this small shrine were vividly recalled by far humbler yet equally touching relics. On the floor near the principal base, and near the corners, I discovered several ancient brooms, which had manifestly been used by the last attendants to keep the sacred objects clear of the invading dust and sand. The sand against which these humble implements were once used to wage war had been the means of preserving them. But they had become extremely brittle, and only one could be brought away safely. This specimen (D. 11. °I I, seen in Plate LXXIII) is about 16 in. long and constructed in a very ingenious way from stalks of some hardy grass. At their bottom these stalks were plaited into a continuous strip, subsequently rolled up tightly and bound round with twisted grass, their feathery ends being thus gathered into a convenient birch-like broom. Another curious relic, found in the south-eastern corner close to the small seated image, was a small bag of cotton cloth (D. II. o 13) filled with human teeth and small fragments of bones. Were they ex-votos deposited with some superstitious object, or had they been brought here by some visitors as reputed relics ?
The east wall of the small cella, owing to the backing afforded by the adjoining passage wall of the larger shrine, still stood to a height of about four feet ; but of its fresco decoration only the lowest portions survived. In the south-east corner above the platform, only remains of the aureoles painted in a colour that now looked dark-brown, around the corner image and the one to be described presently, could be made out. The ground seemed to have been coloured a bright red brown. As the work of clearing proceeded along this wall it revealed an interesting relief statue in stucco immediately in front of the platform. As seen in Fig. 3o, and in the enlargement of Plate II, it is a male figure, complete but for the head and the left
8$ [Mr. Andrews has since recognized in this panel see below, pp. 259 sq.]
another representation of the legend illustrated by D. x. 4 ; 4 See below, chap. xii. sec. iii.
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