and a review of the essential characteristics of their iconography and artistic execution. It is hoped that the particularly full descriptions furnished in the List of Chap. xxv, sec. ii, and the provision of numerous reproductions both in Vol. IV and in the portfolio of the Thousand Buddhas" will stimulate and assist detailed study by competent experts.
The same remarks apply to the analysis offered in Chap. XXIV, sec. i-iii, of the very numerous and interesting textile relics with reference to their technique and particularly their decorative
designs. As regards the thousands of texts and documents in a variety of languages brought away
from the walled-up chapel, Chap. xXly, sec. iv, v, merely records the arrangements made for their first examination and cataloguing, and passes in rapid review any indications of quasi-antiquarian
interest which the labours already accomplished by competent collaborators may furnish as to the sources of the old monastic library and the like. Here, as in all similar cases, the systematic analysis of the manuscript materials discovered falls beyond the scope of this Report and must be left to separate publications by qualified experts.
From the ` Thousand Buddhas' I proceeded in June, 1907, to the oasis of An-hsi, and, after tracing in its vicinity more remains of the ancient Limes, explored'the ruined site of Ch`iao-tzû and
a smaller group of cave-temples, known as the ` Myriad Buddhas ', in the outer hills of the westernmost Nan-shan (Chapter xxvI). Then in July I made my way along the high and barren mountains of this range to Chia-yii kuan, the well-known western Gate of the mediaeval ` Chinese Wall '. This, in spite of its late origin, proved to offer here points of distinct antiquarian interest. Extensive surveys in the high snowy ranges of the Central Nan-shan, rich in topographical results,11 and some antiquarian work along the ancient high road leading through Kan-chou and Su-chou completed our labours in Kan-su (Chapter xxvII). Then a long journey in the autumn from An-hsi allowed me to trace in detail Hsüan-tsang's adventurous crossing of the Pei-shan desert and subsequently to pay rapid visits to the old remains of Hami and Turfan (Chapter xxviii). Next ruined Buddhist sites of the Kara-shahr district offered opportunities for excavations particularly fruitful in fine relievos reflecting Graeco-Buddhist art (Chapter xxix).
My second winter campaign in the Tarim Basin included a successful crossing of the great ` Sea of Sand ' of the Taklamakan at its widest, accomplished under serious risks and ending with a fresh visit to the ruins of Kara-dong (Chapter xXX), and subsequently more excavations rewarded by interesting results at desert sites to the east and north of Khotan (Chapter XXxi). In the spring of 1908, travelling northward, I was able to reap a rich harvest of ancient records in Khotanese, Tibetan, and Chinese at the ruined fort of the Mazar-tagh, and subsequently, passing through Ak-su, UchTurfan, and unsurveyed hill ranges south of the Tien-shan, to visit ruined sites near the ancient Chinese high road leading towards Kashgar (Chapter XxxII). Finally, after returning to Khotan, I used the time still available in the summer and autumn of 1908 for fresh geographical work in the high and almost wholly unexplored K`un-lun mountains between the head-waters of the Khotan rivers and the barren plateaus of the extreme north-west of Tibet (Chapter XXxiii)."a A serious accident through frost-bite, suffered in my feet just when completing my last exploratory task on the ice-clad crest of the main K`un-lun range, caused me to return to India in a crippled state. But my collection of antiquities, filling close on a hundred cases, travelled safely, and by the close of January, 1909, it reached the British Museum uninjured.
The elaboration of the over-abundant results brought back from this expedition was bound to lay very heavy tasks on my shoulders. So I felt very grateful when the Government of India sanctioned my being placed on special duty in England for a period of two years and three months
10 Regarding this supplementary publication, see below, " Fully described in Desert Cathay, ii. pp. 297 333.