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0499 Ancient Khotan : vol.1
Ancient Khotan : vol.1 / Page 499 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000182
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represented, though the position of those in the corners suggests their having been intended as Lokapâlas or ` Guardians of the regions '. The drapery resembled that of the Dandân-U iliq figures of divinities, both relief and painted, and unmistakably showed derivation from Gandhâra models.

The images, which appear to have been approximately life-size, were modelled in a very coarse plaster, consisting of clay mixed with straw and other vegetable matter. To support this very friable material a wooden frame was used, built crosswise and supplemented by a packing of reed, as partly seen in the photograph of the south-west statue (Plate XII). The surface of the sculptures was coated with a very friable sort of stucco, red in colour, and consisting, as the analysis with which Professor A. H. Church has kindly supplied me (see Appendix F) shows, of loess which contains a considerable proportion of true clay. With this stucco was generally found mixed a very fine vegetable fibre, the exact nature of which has not yet been determined. The colour once laid over this coating had peeled off to a great extent, except where protected, as within the folds of drapery. White appears to have been the colour of the robes in the north-east and north-west corner statues, while the drapery of the south-west figure showed alternate stripes of reddish-brown and dark blue. Of the upper portions of the statues only very small fragments were found, which points to the friable material having completely crumbled away before the layers of drift-sand had reached a height sufficient to protect them. Many of the fragments, especially those which contained the coarse greyish clay of the interior plaster, were so soft as to break up at the slightest touch.

The pieces which were safely brought away will be found described in the list (E. i. 01-015). It is significant that the great majority of them are small ornaments modelled entirely of the fine red clay, mentioned above as a coating. These had undoubtedly been used in appliqué fashion, and having fallen off early after the abandonment of the shrine had found safe protection under the accumulating cover of sand. Most of them turned up on or near the base of the northwest and north-east images. Such are the jewelled ornaments (E. i. oi, 02, 014, 015) which, like the strings of Manis (E. i. o6, 09, oio), may be supposed to have formed part of necklaces, or else to have belonged to arm-bands or tiaras. Specimens are reproduced in Plate LXXVIII. A similar ornament appears still attached to the girdle of the south-west corner statue as seen in Plate XII. The Vajra-shaped ornaments, E. i. 07, o8 (see Plate LXXVIII), may possibly have belonged to the relief decoration of a nimbus similar to those seen behind some of the Rawak Vihâra statues (see Fig. 61, Plates LXXXIII, LXXXVII). E. i. 013. a shows a corner of the hanging robe of the south-west statue, which must have broken off early, and thus has preserved its colouring well ; see Plate LXXVIII. The same Plate shows the elongated ear-lobe (E. i. 013. b), which had evidently belonged to the north-west figure ; a poorly preserved portion of the head and right ear of the north-east statue (E. i. 05), as well as some life-size fingers (E. i. 04, of 1). In the latter, just as in the ornaments, a core of wood or cord was used to give strength to the plaster.

The centre of the cella was occupied by a massive octagonal base or platform, 92 ft. long and 72 ft. broad, which Fig. 49 shows in the foreground. It was built of sun-dried bricks with a thick coating of plaster. Each of its facets measured 4 ft. in width, six being slightly curving, while those facing east and west were straight, as seen in the detailed plan. The base proper rose to a height of 2 ft. 8 in. above the floor. On it four life-size relief statues in stucco must once have stood, the lotus-shaped pedestals of three being still more or less intact, while that of the fourth facing eastwards had disappeared owing to the damage done to the base by an excavation from that side. In the centre, and serving as a backing to the statues, there rose

Technique of stucco sculptures.

Specimens of stucco ornaments.

base for