5o8 THE ANCIENT BUDDHIST SHRINES OF MÎRAN [Chap. XIII
now almost effaced, and washes of pale grey added for the shading of one side of the nose and neck, the hollow of the eye, and the under-lip. The outlines of the face and features were then freely drawn in with the brush in a reddish brown of varying tints. This red-brown was used also for the line dividing the lips, which is curved in most of the figures, but straight in viii and ix. The lips themselves were painted in subsequently in bright red, ` high lights' being cleverly left in the underlying buff or boldly applied in white. Finally, black was used to paint in the hair as well as the outlines of the wings, shoulders, and robes ; also to emphasize, over the brown contour lines, the eyebrows, the eyelashes, the nostrils, the corners of mouth, the hollow and base of the chin. Black served further to define the pupil of the eye and the outline of the iris. The iris itself was painted in the nut-brown of the flesh outlines and made vertically elliptical, instead of circular, to express the foreshortening of the iris as turned aside. For the eyeballs white was added thickly, sometimes in regular impasto, over grey. The painting throughout is rapid and bold, but Mr. Andrews rightly calls attention to distinctions in individual figures, such as the spirited work in i, ii, and ix, and the firmness and precision shown by viii, while signs of haste and carelessness are apparent in v.
But by the side of distinctions of this kind, resulting from quasi-unconscious change in the personal factor, it is easy to note far more marked differences in the pose and expression of the figures, which manifestly proceed from a desire to produce a pleasing variety. And in that desire itself, I think, we may well recognize an inheritance from Hellenistic art with its well-defined and constant tendency towards realistic individual treatment. The aim just mentioned finds its striking expression in the care which the artist has taken to make his figures turn their heads in varying directions. As we let the panels of angels pass before us from left to right, in accordance with the order in which they were meant to present themselves to a visitor of the shrine performing the firadaksind, we find that the heads are generally turned alternately to the right and the left. As the general direction of the eyes corresponds to that of the head, and there is present also an upward inclination of the gaze, more or less pronounced, the impression is cleverly created, for a beholder passing at the distance marked by the width of the circular passage, that each individual figure in the successive groups of angels is seeking to attract his attention. Thus the figures i-ii, iii-iv in the north-eastern arc, and viii-ix in the south-eastern, form pairs in which the gazes directed to the right and the left seem to be fixed on the person who stands in the middle before them. We may suppose that the same arrangement was observed for the heads in the panels vi and vii, no longer extant, which flanked the east window.
The artistic device here aimed at is of particular interest because we find it illustrated by exactly corresponding examples among the scanty remains of Hellenistic pictorial art which have survived in the Near East from approximately the same period. Thus, in the wall-paintings of the Palmyrene catacombs, dating from about A.D. 259, which Professor J. Strzygowski has discussed in a masterly fashion, the heads of the medallion portraits decorating each wall are all represented as turning towards the beholder, who is supposed to face it from the middle.2 A similar variation in the movement of the heads, he observes, is typical of the encaustic portrait panels recovered from the tombs of the Fayyûm ; there, too, the eyes are shown as fixed in a steady gaze upon the beholder.
4 Cf. J. Strzygowski, Orient oder Rom, p. 3o : ' Im Gegensatz zu den vielen palmyrenischen Porträtreliefs, die den Kopf in strenger Vorderansicht zeigen, ist hier ein Wechsel in der Art eingetreten, dass sich die Köpfe alle dem in der Mitte jeder Wand stehend gedachten Beschauer zuwenden. Dadurch
entsteht ein Wechsel in der Bewegung, ähnlich dem der enkaustischen Porträts aus dem Fayum, auf denen sich die Männer zumeist nach rechts, die Frauen nach links wenden, und den Blick, wie hier in Palmyra, forschend auf den Beschauer richten.'