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0437 Ancient Khotan : vol.1
Ancient Khotan : vol.1 / Page 437 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000182
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for compensation arising from a journey on duty, while N. xv. 137 (the well-preserved document shown in Plate XCV 1 I I), urges the immediate arrest and transmission to the issuing officer of certain fugitives wanted for judicial proceedings s. The document is of special interest as it mentions two ` letters of injunction written at length ' 4 (livistarena anadilekha) which had vainly been issued previously for the same purpose, the document itself being designated as a kilamudra. To this term, used in several other documents of this class, I shall have occasion to recur presently. By the letters of injunction ' (anadilekha) probably full orders are meant, like our Kharosthi documents on leather, in which this expression repeatedly occurs b.

Private communications or records, too, are represented among the documents, some of the rectangular double tablets undoubtedly bearing this character 6. The likelihood of some of the latter being agreements, bonds, or formal records of a similar kind, has been indicated already'. Drafts of letters seem to be frequent among the contents of the large single tablets of varying shape which have been spoken of above under the general designation of ` oblong'. Of translated documents of this kind we have, besides the previously-mentioned tablet N. iv. 136, a very interesting specimen in the well-preserved ` Takhti ' N. xvi. 2 (reproduced in Plate CI). As proved beyond all doubt by Prof. Rapson's analysis, the text consists here of three entirely distinct parts, written in varying directions, yet by the same hand 8. As each of these parts contains a private letter from a different person (or persons) to a different address, it is quite clear that the tablet could not have been intended for transmission. As the subjects of the communications have no connexion whatever, while the elaborately polite wording of the introductory phrases, greetings, &c., show an unmistakable similarity, the conclusion seems justified that we have here the drafts of communications penned by one and the same scribe for different persons. This conclusion is supported by the appearance of the ink varying in the several communications, and thus showing that they were written down on separate occasions. Plentiful marks of scraping and traces of erased writing prove that the writing-board had served before, probably for similar purposes.

Of the mass of miscellaneous papers' written on single tablets' of irregular shape, such as Records of long wedges, lath or label-like pieces, &c., and usually in columns ending with numerical signs, fists, &cs,

Private letters and drafts.

8 For the text and tentative translations of N. xv. 12, 138, comp. Professor Rapson's Specimens, pp. 12 sqq., 15. N. xv. 137 has been translated and annotated by M. Boyer in Journal asial., Mai—Juin, 1905, pp. 463 sqq. The order is addressed to the ' Cojhbo Somjaka', the official residing, as we have seen, in N. v. It refers to the case as pending for the third year, and its wording plainly indicates dissatisfaction at the delay.

4 For the term livislarena anadilekha, i.e. Skr. lipivistare,ja a ji aplilekha, see below.

  • See, e.g., N. xv. 88 (Plate XCII), line 5, xv. 33 (ibid.), line 3.

  • Compare, e.g., the address on the covering-tablet, N. xv. 154, Plate XCVII.

7 See above, p. 354.

8 See Specimens, pp. 9 sqq. In piece A Ogu Cinaphara and Cojhbo Cinyasasa send information to their ' beloved brother Cojhbo Sammasena' about a certain unpleasant affair, not precisely specified, in which he is concerned, and which, if no agreement is arrived at, ` must be taken in hand and transferred to the King's Gate (rayadvara) here,' i.e. taken into court. B is a letter conveying an eagerly

expressed request from Kâla Kusanasena to the Great Cojhbo §itaka', for the early transmission of ula, for which Professor Rapson justly suggests the rendering ` news ', and which may, I think, represent Skr. vdrld. The quaint way in which the identical request is repeated over and over again with slight variations recalls to my mind the fashion of reiteration in which Indian correspondents of the present day indulge when they wish to emphasize the importance of any topic. The forms for Sanskrit correspondence contained in that curious Kashmirian manual, the Lokaprakdfa, with other evidence that cannot be detailed here, show that this fashion is of old date in India.

Perhaps the most curious of these letters is C, in which the ramanas Bangusena and Pocgayaesa ' inquire after the spiritual and bodily health again and again, many times and unceasingly ' of their ' dear friend, Cojhbo Nandasena and Cataroyae ', and then expatiate with pious unction upon the news of the death of a certain person. There is good reason to suppose that the ruined structure N. xvi., adjoining N. v, was a Buddhist shrine (see below, p. 375). Is it possible that one or other of these monks was the attendant of the shrine, as well as the scribe who penned the drafts?