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0409 Ancient Khotan : vol.1
Ancient Khotan : vol.1 / Page 409 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000182
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betokened a rich deposit ; the ruin holding it lay fully two miles to the north of the Stûpa, and in order to secure more time for its careful excavation I decided to move my camp to it.

While the men were occupied in effecting the shift on the morning of February 6 I found time to make a close examination of the little Stupa below which my first camp had stood. Its west side had been dug into and destroyed to a considerable extent ; also the south face as far as exposed showed damage. From the north the vicinity of the high sand cone rising above the Stûpa, as seen in Fig. 38, made excavation difficult. On the east, too, much drift-sand had accumulated against the Stupa, but the ground immediately southward sloped down, and thus a rapid clearing of that face became possible. This proved that the small cylindrical dome, about 7 ft. high and 6 ft. 6 in. in diameter, did not rest, as had appeared at first, on a single square base, but that this Stûpa, too, possessed its orthodox triple base, as shown by all sufficiently well-preserved Stupa ruins in the region explored by me (see ground-plan and elevation in Plate X X I X). The topmost base was formed by a small platform 8 ft. 6 in. square and only i ft. high, which everywhere, except towards the north-east, had become indistinguishable. Next below rose the middle base, 13 ft. 6 in. square and 6 ft. 6 in. high, which is visible with its much damaged western and southern faces in Fig. 38. The lowest base, measuring 19 ft. 6 in. square and 6 ft. in height, was brought to light only when the excavation on the east side had, under the Surveyor's supervision, been carried down to the original ground-level. As the top of the cylindrical dome was broken, and must originally have risen several feet higher, it is clear that the total height of the structure, now 20 ft. 6 in., when intact exceeded considerably the greatest dimension of the base. The same may have been the case with the Mauri-Tim Stûpa 1.

The masonry throughout consisted of sun-dried bricks, those used in the base portions measuring 22 by i 7 in., with a thickness of 4 in. In the dome bricks of the same thickness but of smaller width appear to have been used, as was indeed required by the shape and reduced dimensions of this part of the structure. Owing to erosion of the surface and the plaster filling the frequent interstices their exact size could not be ascertained. On the south face the middle base had fallen off bodily, and thus displayed the inner construction. It was seen here that the innermost part of the base, 8 ft. 6 in. square, corresponding to the top platform, had been built separately, with a finished outside surface, and the middle base constructed outside it by adding walls 2 ft. 6 in. thick to each face. This construction may, perhaps, have been used throughout, the three base portions being built one outside the other as concentrical squares, with the cylindrical portion corresponding to the Stupa dome as a circular core. Otherwise the fact mentioned might possibly be explained as an indication of subsequent reconstruction and enlargement.

In the centre of the Stûpa dome there was a shaft, just as observed in the Stupa of Maud-Tim and in the Stûpas of Endere and Rawak to be described later. It only measured I ft. square, and had been laid open by a cutting, which treasure-seekers had made from the west into the brickwork both of the dome and the two upper bases. From a large hole dug to the centre of the dome and below it a relic deposit may possibly have been abstracted at some earlier date. Ibrähim on his previous visit had continued this excavation towards the centre of the middle portion of the base, but evidently without securing thereby the hoped-for ` treasure '. Another large hole had been excavated sideways into the base. In none of these burrowings could I trace any indication of the extant masonry covering some earlier Stupa.

1 See above, p. 8x.

Survey of Stûpa ruin.

Construction of Stups.

Cuttings into Stupa.