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0439 Ancient Khotan : vol.1
Ancient Khotan : vol.1 / Page 439 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000182
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a style far less ornate is amply shown by the business-like and peremptory tone adopted in some of

the wedge-shaped tablets, ordering the submission of affidavits (savatha) according to a specified

list ; the production of certain witnesses ; the arrest of individuals, &c.

The antiquarian interest possessed by many of the details which the elucidation of petty Antiquarian

records may reveal is illustrated by a rectangular tablet dated in the ninth year of King J itro- interest

of petty

ghavarsman. It relates to a transaction by a certain Buddhagosa, apparently the slave of the records.

Sramana Anadasena, concerning some household goods, pawned, perhaps, or taken in pledge. The articles are enumerated in detail, and their value indicated in a currency that may yet be determined in the light of other documents. It is of interest to find that this list, besides sheep, vessels, wool-weaving (?) appliances and some other implements, enumerates also namadis. We may recognize here an early mention of the felt rugs or ` Numdahs (Persian-Turki namad) which to this day form a special product of Khotan home industry, large consignments being annually exported to Laddk and Kashmir. Small pieces of well-worked felt were plentifully mixed up with the other rubbish contents of N. xv.18 Numerous tablets seem to have reference to disputes about water ; and though the elucidation of details must here necessarily be attended with special difficulty, we may reasonably hope for interesting sidelights to be thrown by them upon the ancient system of irrigation.

For the old topography, too, of this and the adjoining regions the Kharosthi documents Mention

f ancient

are certain to furnish valuable materials. I have already had occasion to point out how jocat names.

important it is to find the antiquity of the name Khotan, practically in its present form, attested by the Khotamna (probably pronounced Kholana) and Khodana of these records 19. By their side we find the Sanskritized form Kustana or Kustanaka, a distinct indication of the antiquity of the learned adaptation of the local name and the legend about ` the Breast of the Earth ' as related by Hsüan-tsang and our Tibetan sources 20. The explanations given above as to Nina and Calmadana 21 show the possibility of arriving hereafter at the correct identification of other old localities mentioned in the documents. Unfortunately the specific name of the ancient site itself has not been traced as yet. As if to remind us of the position which the ruined settlement must have occupied on the border of the Khotan kingdom, we meet with frequent mention of ` frontier watch-stations ', designated by the Sanskrit term drastga, the true significance of which I was first able to establish in Kashmir 22. That Buddhism was widely spread, if not actually the prevailing religion in the territory, is amply proved by the frequent references to Sramanas, and by passages like the one in the above-quoted tablet N. xvi. 2, enumerating various sacred categories of the Buddhist heaven 23.

good name is far-famed,' belong to the regular stock of honorific addresses. Phrases like pracachadevala (Skr. pralyaksadevalii) 'a divinity incarnate ', atrptapriyadar.Fana ` of whose dear sight there is never enough,' &c., are attempts at special flights of epistolary politeness. For complimentary inquiries or wishes about the addressee's health comp. N. iv. 136 (divyasariraarogi sampreseti bahu aneka); N. xvi. 2, B (arogya preseti bahu aprameyam) ; ibid., C (divyasariraarogi pur:pruchamti.) The endeavour to use Sanskrit in the introductory parts of these epistles, and the thoroughgoing disregard for its grammar and spelling, are familiar features to any one acquainted with the correspondence of Hindus who have received a traditional education, but are able to express themselves only through the medium of their vernacular.

18 For specimens, coloured and plain, N. xv. 014, 015,

see Plate LXXVI.

" Khotamna and Khodana may alternate in the same document; see N. i. 104 +16 in Prof. Rapson's Specimens, p. 14. For the fashion prevailing in this script of announcing a coming nasal by an Anusvâra added to the preceding syllable, see Rapson, ` On the alphabet of the Kharosthi documents,' in Actes du X1 V ° Congrès des Orientalistes, i. p. 12.

20 See above, pp. 153 sq.

21 See above, p. 311.

22 Rajal., II. pp. 291 sq. I have since found the word surviving in various localities outside Kashmir where once a customs station or frontier post existed, e.g. at the well-known salt quarries of Drang in the Kohât District of the N. W. Frontier.

" See above, p. 365; Specimens, p. to.