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0615 Serindia : vol.1
Serindia : vol.1 / Page 615 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000183
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two ears two hundred thousand, on his back a rug worth a hundred thousand, the ornament on the

frontal globes worth a hundred thousand . . . those on the two tusks two hundred thousand, the

ornament on his trunk a hundred thousand'. The equally significant detail of the sacrificial jug

carried by the prince has already been referred to.

The almost complete destruction of the frieze on the wall of the north hemicycle must be all Remnants

the more regretted because it has prevented us from seeing how the artist had treated the later and N hemis on

particularly dramatic incidents of Vessantara's story. It would have been interesting to compare cycle.

his treatment of them with the description that Sung Yun has left us of the representations,

probably painted, which he saw at the sacred site near Shâhbâzgarhi, where Buddhist tradition of

Gandhdra had localized the legend, and which, he tells us, were so touching that even the barbarians

could not withhold their tears on contemplating them.° As it is, we must feel gratified that

M. Foucher's happy identification enables us to recognize and interpret certain characteristic figures,

even among the scanty and badly injured remnants of the lowest part of the frieze. Thus the lion

visible in Fig. 143, the yellow-skinned animal with black spots, and another crouching beast further

on are likely to represent the lion, the tiger, and the pard whose shapes three gods assumed in order

to delay Maddi's return to the hermitage and to protect her from the wild beasts of the forest while

the wicked Brahman carried off her children as a gift from the prince. The youth seen on the right

of Fig. 141, astride a galloping animal with the head of a horse and the body of a beast like those

confronting the lion in Fig. 143, may be meant for one of the princely children disporting himself

among the strange beasts of the jungle. The two men in scale armour seen in the same fragment

of the frieze, and appearing also in another, might possibly have been intended to symbolize as it

were the great armed host which, as the 7aztaka tells us, the king, Vessantara's father, took with

him when he proceeded into the forest to recall his saintly son and bestow the crown upon him.10


Leaving the interpretation of the short inscriptions which appeared on the well-preserved part Festoon

of the frieze to be discussed further on, we may now turn to the fascinating cycle of figures which decoration.

formed the dado at the foot of the painted cella wall. The undulating festoon connecting and

framing these figures was a feature plainly Hellenistic in origin and type. We have had occasion

to show above how frequent a motif it was in the decoration of Gandhdra relievo panels, and to

point out the general resemblance in the figurative personnel combined with it there and in our

dado. But before we proceed to review these figures in their striking variety, a few details about

the festoon itself may conveniently be recorded here.

The festoon, as clearly seen in Figs. 134-40, was formed of a wreath painted in black, about Arrange-

five and a half inches wide, and arranged in alternately rising and drooping curves. Including the ment of


width of the wreath, the maximum height of the festoon was about 1 foot 8 inches. The descending curves, which formed the lunettes filled by a succession of portraits, were slightly wider than the ascending curves borne on the shoulders of youthful supporting figures. This accounts for the latter being painted on a somewhat smaller scale than the portrait busts. The distance from the centre of one ascending curve to that of the next measured on the average 2 feet 7 inches. If we assume this dimension for the lunettes to have been observed throughout, and from the ascertained diameter of the cella, 26.5 feet, calculate that its circumference along the circular passage wall was approximately 83.26 feet, we are led to infer that, excluding the width of the entrance,

Cf. Foucher, L'art du Gandhdra, i. p. 285; Chavannes,   10 See Cowell and Rouse, Thejâtaka, vi. pp. 299 sqq.

Voyage de Song Yun, pp. 413 sq., 419 sq.

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