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0222 Serindia : vol.1
Serindia : vol.1 / Page 222 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000183
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[Chap. V

MSS. in Brâhmi script and `Khotanese' language.

Style of art finds resembles that of Dandânoilik.

Appliqué relievos in stucco.

Finds of moulds used for decorative relievos.

(Kha. i, 183) and a Gunaparyantastotra (Kha. i. 199. b) which Prof. de la Vallée Poussin has published already in extenso.3

Of the very numerous leaves written in Brâhmi: script, whether of the ` upright or cursive Gupta ' type, and in the so-called North-Aryan' language, 'Iranian in character, the inventory F, kindly promised by Dr. A. F. Rudolf Hoernle, the pioneer student of this language, will furnish adequate details. Meanwhile I must limit myself to the statement that one of the texts in cursive Gupta characters is written on the back of a paper roll, about ten inches high, which was found in two separate and well-preserved pieces, about three feet and one and a half feet long respectively. This contains on its obverse a neatly written Chinese text which has been identified by M. Chavannes as part of a Prajnâ-pâramitâ version. This procedure of using the good paper of a Chinese manuscript roll for a subsequently copied text in the local language has found ample illustration from manuscripts preserved at the ` Thousand Buddhas '. As if to illustrate further the polyglot character of Khotan Buddhism, a line in Tibetan, too, appears at the bottom of the smaller of the two roll pieces, Kha. i. 221. The find of a Tibetan record on wood has been mentioned already. All the written remains from the site acquire additional interest from the fact that the terminus ad quern for their origin can be fixed with certainty at the close of the eighth century A. D.

This chronological fact also helps us to appreciate fully the close affinity which the artistic remains of Khâdalik show to those I recovered from the ruined Buddhist shrines of Dandânoilik ; for we know by equally certain evidence that the latter were abandoned at the same period .4 The uniformity of style is striking both in the sculptural decoration and in what has survived of the wall paintings. Taking the former first, we find all elements of the stucco relievo ornamentation of the walls, familiar from Dandân-oilik, here duly represented. From the vesicas of large images come those abundant fragments of lotus-petal wreaths and flame-pattern borders attached to them on the outside, of which Plates xv, XVI offer typical specimens (Kha. vii. ooi004 ; Kha. ix. 004 ; Kha. ii. oo46 ; cf. also Kha. ii. o01, 002 in List). These as well as other ornamental details, like the bead and lotus-petal border, Kha. ii. C. oo4 ; ii. 0074 (Plate Xvi), look almost like replicas of the specimens from Dandân-oilik reproduced in Plates LV–LVII of Ancient Khotan.

When we turn to the small appliqué relievos representing divine figures, once disposed within the vesicas, the resemblance is quite as strong. Thus exact counterparts of familiar Dandân-oilik relievos may be recognized in the Buddha standing with the hand raised in the Abhayamudra (Kha. i. 001, with Kha. i. C. oo8 in Plate xv) ; the seated Buddha, as seen in Kha. i. S.W. ooio, Plate xv, and those graceful figures of garland-holding Gandharvis in flight, of which Plate XV shows specimens (Kha. i. E. 0039 ; ii. N.W. cos ; ii. W. ooi). To judge by their frequency—they occur also often in the pose of adoration, as in Kha. ii. N.W. 003, 004, Plate xv (see Kha. i. N. oo2)—the latter figures must have been quite as great favourites here as with sculptor-decorators of Dandân-oilik. It need cause no surprise that by the side of figures so closely allied in style there appears also an occasional plaque which, like the seated Buddha, Kha. os (Pl. xv), seems to reproduce an earlier type already seen in the appliqué relievos of Rawak or Ak-terek (see A.T. iii. 0089 in Plate VIII ; Ancient Khotan, Plate LXXXVII).

A simple explanation is supplied by the continued use of moulds which in certain cases may have dated back far beyond the erection of the particular shrine. Hence it is of particular interest to note that the ruins of Khâdalik have yielded a number of moulds in plaster of Paris (Kha. i. 0015 ; ii. 0074, 0075 ; Plate XVI) which must have been actually used for the original

3 J.R.A.S., 1911, pp. gpo sqq., I064 sqq.   ' Cf. Ancient Khotan, i. pp. 275 sqq.