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0501 Ancient Khotan : vol.1
Ancient Khotan : vol.1 / Page 501 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000182
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and from the indications furnished by the pagination figures, I concluded at the time that we

possessed in these leaves the greatest portion of the MS. Dr. Hoernle's exact analysis 2 has

fully confirmed this conclusion, and has made it probable that all the 46 leaves of which the

MS. when entire appears to have consisted are represented among the recovered pieces. Three

of the folia are complete, their right and left halves having been pieced together with certainty

(for a specimen see PI. CI X). The full size of the leaves must have been about 14 by 3 in.,

the text being written in five lines on each side in clear upright Gupta characters, which

Dr. Hoernle assigns to the seventh or eighth century. The text is a Buddhist canonical work

of the Dhârani class. From the uniformly faded and perished state of the lowest leaves in

E. i. 5 (left halves) and E. i. 40 (right halves) it appears very probable that the Pôthi in its

entire state must have lain for a long time before the left and right portions got separated.

Possibly the break occurred in course of the excavation made into the central base ; but there

can be no doubt that this burrowing had caused the dispersion.

The experience gained at the Dandan-Uiliq ruins suggested from the first that the MS. Detached

leaves found had originally served as votive offerings. Proof for this surmise was soon forth- as votive leaves

coming in plenty. Close to the north foot of the central base there turned up two closely- offerings.

packed rolls of paper, which might have fallen from the pedestal of the image above. One

contained the fragmentary leaf E. i. 6, about 9 by 3 in., written in slanting Central-Asian Brâhmi

and a non-Sanskritic language, which P1. CIX reproduces. The other roll (E. i. 7), which was

secured with a paper strip still closely wound round the centre, and which could be opened

only in the British Museum, resolved itself into four large folia measuring i 8 by 3â in., written

in bold upright Gupta characters (see Plate CXI). As Dr. Hoernle's examination has shown s,

they must have been taken from an extensive work composed in the non-Sanskritic language

which he tentatively distinguishes as proto-Tibetan' 4. The frequent occurrence of the Sanskrit

term hkaisajya suggests that its subject was medical or magical. Among the remaining finds

in Brähmi there were three small pieces of leaves (E. i. 9, 33), which lay on different parts of

the projecting moulding at the foot of the central base facing to the north, west, and south-

west, respectively. As two of these pieces must have belonged to the same leaf, their position

made it at once clear that it was torn up purposely in order to furnish fragments for deposition

before different images.

This conclusion forced itself upon me in a still more striking way when all round the foot Finds of

of the central base, as well as on the floor near the pedestals of the images in the north-west, Tibetan


south-west, and south-east corners, there turned up besides a large and well-preserved sheet of

Tibetan writing (E. i. i t ; see PI. CXVIII) and a number of miscellaneous Tibetan fragments

(E. i. 15, 19, 20, 25, 31 ; see Pl. CXVIII), which, by the uniformity of the clear, well-formed writing

and of the paper, I could easily recognize on the spot as portions of an identical Pôthi. The

widely different positions in which these fragmentary pieces were recovered will be found noted

in the list. Some picked up underneath the walls or on the floor might have been blown away

from their original place of deposition ; but most of them had evidently been retained by the

accumulation of drift-sand in the place where the last owner of the MS. had intended to pro-

pitiate with them the various divinities. The fragments recovered, 27 in all, have been proved Tibetan

by Dr. Barnett to have originally formed part of a large Pôthi, about 171 in. long and 2; in.1i °Q~~~ba-

broad, containing the canonical text of the S'dlistamba-siclra embodied in the collection of the sùlra.

2 See his note xxiii. below, p. 439.   ' Comp. regarding this language, represented also among

s See Dr. Hoernle's note xxvi. below, p. 440.   the Dandan-Uiliq finds, above, pp. 271 sq.