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0322 Ancient Khotan : vol.1
Ancient Khotan : vol.1 / Page 322 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000182
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as a separate little packet close above that marked with ß, had formed part of a third manuscript.

These observations prove that before use as offerings detached folia of different manuscripts had here been purposely broken up so as to make several small heaps convenient for deposition. Under exactly similar conditions portions of one relatively large Tibetan Pôthi, containing the Sâlistamba-Sûtra, and of a Sanskrit text were subsequently discovered by me in the Endere temple cut up into little packets, or even separate bits, which the offering worshipper had thought fit to distribute before a number of different sacred images 11. The facts here observed provide a satisfactory explanation for the small detached fragments of manuscripts which turned up at several other shrines of Dandân-Uiliq, though no longer in their original place of deposition. Of the leaves recovered from D. x two had belonged to manuscripts written in upright Gupta characters and in the non-Sanskritic language which Dr. Hoernle tentatively designates as Proto-Tibetan, while the third manuscript, remains of which are contained in D. x. io. c. a, was in Sanskrit and similar to the large-leaved manuscript of a Prajiaâ Pâramitâ text found in D. III. Dr. Hoernle ascribes its upright Gupta writing to the seventh or eighth century.

The manuscript fragments just referred to were not the only written remains of this small temple. In the sand filling the western passage outside the cella there was found at a height of about 2 feet above the original floor a fairly well preserved wooden beam, 5 ft. t i in. long, 4 in. wide, and 5 in. thick, which must have originally been fixed in the passage wall, probably for the purpose of joining the posts as described in the case of D. E. Over a portion of the carefully-smoothed face of this beam, which I was able to remove safely (D. x. 6), there are written at intervals of â to â in. thirty-seven characters of the same very cursive Brâhmi which is shown in the inscriptions painted below the frescoes. Though the wood is in perfectly sound condition inside the surface has become very dark, and consequently no mechanical reproduction of the inscription could be obtained. Dr. Hoernle, who has studied it in an eye-copy prepared by Dr. Barnett, and whose transcription is given below in the descriptive list, has been able to determine that it is in the same ` unknown ' language of Eastern-Ïrânian type which appears in the Brâhmi documents and fresco inscriptions of Dandân-U iliq. The special interest of this inscription lies in the fact that it contains, as pointed out by Dr. Hoernle, ` a few recognizable Sanskrit words, " done " after the fashion of the " unknown language " ', viz. ku.tala-mûla and Bodhisattva (spelt bo-dhyau satvyau).

A ruined structure situated about 15 yards to the north-east of D. x. was cleared without any finds being made. The apartment excavated measured 29 by 19 feet, and probably formed the lower story of a dwelling-house. As the floor lay covered by only about 4 feet of sand the ruin is likely to have been searched previously by ` treasure-seekers '. This had certainly been the case with a smaller ruined dwelling close to D. III. on the north, which Turdi remembered having opened.

Another structure, D. xII, situated about 70 feet to the south of D. x, proved on excavation to consist of a small cella of the construction usual at this site, measuring outside 13 by io feet. It had its entrance on the north, and was originally surrounded by a passage 4 feet wide. Though overlain now by 7 feet of sand the ruin showed far advanced decay, the result, no doubt, of long exposure. In consequence, the cella walls, as seen in Plate V, stood nowhere higher than 3 ft. 6 in., while those enclosing the passage had crumbled away almost to the ground. Within the cella, towards the south wall, were found the remains of an octagonal pedestal in stucco, 4 feet in diameter, resembling in shape that of D. x, but of better design

11 See below, chap. XII. sec. ii.


Inscription on wooden beam.


Clearing of structure D. xr.

Excavation of shrine D. xrr.