384 THE LOU-LAN SITE [Chap. XI
brought home to me the petty realities of the life led at this modest Chinese station. But a brief summary of the more instructive classes of objects must suffice here.
The special value of all specimens found in L.A. vi. ii lies in the fact that, owing to the presence in the same layer of written records ranging over a somewhat brief period, they can be accurately dated. The importance of this fact is particularly obvious in the case of such remains as pottery and small objects in metal which, owing to their hard substance, could also be picked up in great numbers from the surface of wind-eroded ground, but which, found in this way, necessarily lack chronological determination. Thus fragments of pottery, simply ornamented, such as L.A. v1. ii. 1. 001. b, 002, which Plate XXXVI illustrates, acquire an archaeological value beyond their intrinsic interest. Pieces of pottery in hard black or dark-grey clay, covered with close parallel ribbing, i.e. ` mat-marked ', like L.A. vi. ii. 004 (Plate XXXVI), 0024, closely resemble the type of pottery most common at the ruined watch-stations of Han times along the ancient Limes west and north of Tun-huang, and may, together with fragments like L.A. 00146, L.B. iv. ii—v. 006 (Plate XXXVI), have belonged to pots actually brought from there. Among small objects in bronze, the terminal ending in a lioness' head, L. A. v1. oo I (Plate XXXVI), and the fragment of an open-work moulded ornament, L.A. v1. ii. 0012 (Plate xxIx), may be specially mentioned. The prevalence of bronze loops and strap rings,.probably from harness, over iron ones (L.A. vi. ii. oo8) is significant.
Among objects in wood, the leg of a piece of furniture, L.A. vi. 002 (Plate xxxv), the spoons, L.A. vi. ii. 0017, 0018, 0058, spatulas, L.A. vi. ii. 0040 (Plate xxxv), oo52, 0057, and seal cases, L.A. v1. ii. 0019, 0020, closely resembling those found at the Niya Site, may be singled out for mention. Lacquered work is represented by a fragment from the rim of a vessel, L.A. v1. ii. 001. a, painted dark red inside and, no doubt, brought from China. It is also possible that the much-worn string-sandal, L.A. vI. ii. oo25 (Plate XXxVIi), the curious technique of which has been fully explained in the descriptive list, had come to its final rest in this refuse-heap on a foot which had tramped the long desert marches from Tun-huang ; for its make agrees closely with that of numerous cast sandals of hemp string which turned up at ruined watch-stations of the Tun-huang Limes, and which seem to represent the usual foot-gear of Chinese soldiers of Han times. llut I must point out that I found a sandal of similar type at one of the ruined dwellings of Dandan-oilik, and that in this case date and place make local origin more probable.14 In the leather shoes, L.A. vi. ii. 0030. a, b, 0031, we may safely recognize indigenous products. In the last specimen the purple colouring of the leather is curious to note as this is still the favourite colour for the modern châruk or boots in most oases of the Tarim Basin."
Among the abundant remains of fabrics (L.A. v1. ii. 0027, 0028, 0035-38) woollen and silk materials of varied colouring prevail, but hemp and felt are also represented. The small fragment of a fine figured silk, L.A. vi. ii. 0045. b (Plate CXI), shows remarkably rich design and very delicate weaving. Another interesting piece is the well-preserved fragment of a woollen pile carpet, L.A. vi. ii. oo46 (Plate xxxvII), showing peculiar details of weaving (see descriptive list) which make it resemble in technique the modern Japanese rug, just like the previously noticed carpet fragment L.A. I. ii. 001. A material peculiar to the Lou-lan region is the carefully woven horsehair gauze, L.A. v1. ii. 0043 (Plate xxxvIi), oo6o, of which the latter fragments seem to have belonged to a sieve. The net of hemp string, L.A. vi. ii. 0034, with its wide meshes cannot have served for fishing (as one might have expected if the ancient station had really been situated close to a lake according to Dr. Hedin's supposition), but was evidently intended for netting game. Fish