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0220 Serindia : vol.1
Serindia : vol.1 / Page 220 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000183
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[Chap. V

Decorative wood- carvings in Kha. ix.

Miscel- laneous finds in Kha. ix.

Rush walls
and fence
at Kha. xi.

walls survived, but some relievo fragments in stucco once belonging to vesica borders indicated that its decoration had closely resembled that of the larger shrines. Apart from the Pôthi: pieces, Kha. ix yielded half a dozen wooden tablets inscribed with Brâhmi characters ; a small four-faced stick showing the same script on each side ; two tally-like narrow pieces of tamarisk-wood notched

and bearing short Brâhmi legends in places. Of special interest was the discovery of a narrow

tablet, Kha. ix. 7, bearing Tibetan writing and showing on its left end the same raised seal-socket which appears on so many of the Tibetan wooden documents from Mirân and Mazâr-tâgh (see Plates CLXXI, CLXXII). According to Dr. Francke's decipherment the writing on the reverse shows the title and name of a minister. Together with two other fragmentary wooden records in Tibetan

from Kha. vi and Kha. viii this discovery supplied the first tangible proof that the presence of the Tibetan invaders, attested by the Chinese Annals for different periods of the eighth century, was in Khotan territory not confined to mere inroads.

Among the miscellaneous ` finds ' the remains of fine decorative wood-carving, Kha. ix. 14 (Plate XIV), 16 (Plate XLVII), deserve special mention on account of the clear impress they bear of Gandhâra style. Finials such as Kha. ix. 0027 (Plate XVII) and turned balusters are likely to have been brought here from the larger shrine south during the quarrying operations and left behind as useless. This had evidently been the fate also of the massive pillar, with bold lathe-turned mouldings, which was found to the south of Kha. ix, only a few inches above the ground, and which the photograph (Fig. 42) shows when set upright. Its close affinity in style to the massive wooden pillars subsequently unearthed in the Endere fort deserves notice.16 Among painted panels, Kha. ix. io (Plate xiv), showing on either side three female figures in varying attitudes, was the least defaced. Though its colours had suffered badly the bold and graceful outlines still remained and showed a pictorial skill equal to that of the best Dandan-oilik panels.

That the narrow apartment to the north of the cella of Kha. ix, with its timber and plaster walls still standing in parts to a height of about one and a half feet, had served for homely uses was proved by the large wooden trough and the roughly cut tripod for a jar found fixed in its floor, as well as by such objects as two wooden boot-lasts, Kha. ix. 0031, 0032, of the type first found at the Niya Site ; 17 a number of wooden keys and parts of locks, Kha. ix. 007, oo8, 001 I—oo13 ; a sandalwood comb, Kha. ix. ooi, etc. The wooden disc, Kha. ix. 0023, with intaglio design on each side (Plate XLVII), is curious on account of its close resemblance to Coptic cake-stamps and as the only object of this kind which my excavations have brought to light. The well-glazed piece of pottery in red and green, Kha. ix. 0018, and the edge of a cup of green glass, Kha. ix. 0022, also found here, may yet prove of value owing to the chronological accuracy with which the period of their use can be fixed.

The only structural remains at Khadalik which are left for mention consisted of a small group of detached rooms, Kha. xi, built with plastered rush walls and situated about /80 yards to the southeast of Kha. i. As the plan in Plate 5 and the photograph (Fig. 40) show, the fence enclosing the court-yard around them still partially survived. This fence, about one and a half feet thick, was constructed of layers of twigs and scrub set in mud, after a fashion still known about Khotan under the name of Chiian-tam. It was interesting to observe how well this fence and the rush walls of the small dwellings had withstood wind-erosion which had actually lowered the ground in the open court-yard by some three feet below the floor level of the rooms. The top of the fence still rose about five feet above the lowest portion of the court-yard. There was no reason to doubt that these modest quarters belonged to the same period as the shrines. Their survival illustrates the observa-

le See below, chap. vii, sec. ii.   17 See Ancient Kholan, ii. Pl. LXXIII, N. xx. 04.