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0575 Ancient Khotan : vol.1
Ancient Khotan : vol.1 / Page 575 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000182
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in atmospheric conditions trying alike to eyes, throat, and lungs. Though Surveyor Ram Singh and Turdi rendered, each in his own way, very intelligent assistance, I had myself to remain in the trenches practically from sunrise until nightfall, feeling all the time permeated, as it were, by the clouds of fine sand which the wind and the digging raised around us.

The photographs taken by me have proved more successful than I could reasonably hope for under such adverse influences. The reproduction from among them of a series showing practically the whole of the cleared wall-faces has appeared to me the best means of illustrating the wealth of interesting materials which these excavations yielded for the study of the ancient sculptural art of Khotan 1. To the views of the reliefs thus presented I propose here to add such details of archaeological or artistic interest as were recorded by me on the spot, together with any comments which the study of these reliefs as a whole and their comparison with the sculptural remains brought to light at other Khotan sites has suggested to me. We may conveniently commence this survey from the inner south-east wall where my excavations started, and further on follow the numerical order in which the position of the individual sculptures has been shown in the plan of Plate XL.

The first statue which the high sand rising towards the west corner permitted to be cleared was that of the colossal standing Buddha, R. i. (see Figs. 6r, 69). It was intact up to the shoulders, except for the missing right hand ; but as the weight of the extant upper portion caused imminent risk of collapse I did not think it safe to remove entirely the supporting sand layers to the left proper, and thus the left hand does not appear in the photographs. There can be no doubt that it was shown hanging down and resting on the edge of the drapery as seen in the statues, R. v, ix, x (Figs. 61, 62), which are exact replicas of the same image. The right forearm supporting rich folds of drapery is shown in a pose that unmistakably indicates the ` Abhayapanimudra,' with which the Dandan-Uiliq and Kighillik reliefs have already rendered us familiar. The same reappears at Rawak in the numerous small Buddha figures filling the large aureoles of R. xii and R. xiii (see Figs. 63, 64). It is likely to have been the pose also of the numerous over life-size figures of the inner south-east face, all apparently replicas of one type, though only a few of them (R. xxxvi, xxxviii—xli), have retained enough of the right forearm to show its characteristic position. Among the colossal statues of the outer south-east face, most of those preserving the right

Survey of sculptured remains.

Colossal statue R. i, on inner south-west wall.

' The limitations of the photographic instruments at my disposal, and still more the varying levels and distances from which the photographs had to be taken (as determined by the space available within or near the trenches), rendered it quite impossible to attempt anything so ambitious as the production of photographs that would join into a continuous and exactly fitting band or quasi-panoramic view. Hence the angle of view and scale of reduction will be found to vary considerably in the series of photographs reproduced by the plates, while the views presented usually overlap on the sides.

The series comprises: (a) four photographs (Figs. 61-64), taken with a half-plate camera showing the sculptures of the inner south-west wall (R. i—v, viii—xii in plan) up to the south corner, also the large relief with vesica (R. xiii) nearest to the latter on the south-east wall ; (b) nineteen photographs (Pl. XIV. a—d, XV. a—d, XVI. a—d, XVII. a—d, XVIII. a—c, with PI. XIII. b) taken in continuous succession with the Bridges-Lee photo-theodolite camera and showing the reliefs


R. xix—xli on the inner south-east face, R. xlii—lxxi on the outer south-east face, and R. lxxii—lxxviii on the outer southwest face.

The camera serving for the photographs enumerated under (b) had the advantage of a superior lens, but on the other hand was not provided with means for raising or lowering its front, being designed only for topographical survey work. As the photographs had to be taken often from the top of the sand cleared from the trenches, this want of a rising front necessitated tilting the camera tripod with consequent foreshortening, appreciable in some instances. I was obliged to use this instrument, since several of the dark slides of my half-plate camera had, probably under the severe climatic changes, developed cracks.

In addition to the above series the photographs in Figs. 65-69 have been reproduced, in order better to illustrate reliefs of special interest or for the sake of giving general views of the sculptural adornment of certain sections of the wall-faces.

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