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0143 Serindia : vol.3
Serindia : vol.3 / Page 143 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000183
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portion is visible in Fig. 295, projected about 6 inches, and was moulded of stucco put over a framework of wood and reed wattle. Its height was about 2 feet. It had several rows of holes left by the wooden pegs which once fastened the individual small relievos of the frieze to the cornice. The evidence thus gained as to the technicalities of the frieze does not help us to reconstruct the relievo decoration as a whole from the disjecta membra recovered. But the number of interesting and relatively well-preserved pieces among them is great enough to justify a separate notice here. The value of the small relievos from xii is much increased by the preservation in most cases of their original bright colouring.

It is impossible to guess what scene or scenes, sacred or quasi-profane, the frieze as a whole may have represented. But certainly the proportion of pieces belonging to warrior figures is striking. Plate CXxxV shows one of these almost completely reconstructed from detached pieces (Mi. xii. oo8, 0010, 0015, 0017). We see there the warrior's head and body protected by scale armour

of a type closely resembling that actually illustrated by the lacquered leather scales excavated in the Tibetan fort of Mirân.3 A particularly interesting feature of the armour is the shield, which

is represented in several varieties. One, evidently meant for leather, is round and fitted with five

bosses (Mi. xii. 0018, Plate CxXXV). Another, plainly intended as of metal, has its centre occupied by an elaborate Gorgoneion relief (Mi. xii. 0020, Plate cxxxv). That this goes back to a classical

prototype is quite certain. What adds to the interest of this shield is that it definitely proves the corresponding grotesque head, which is found so frequently as an appliqué ornament on terra-cotta vases from Ybtkan and other Khotan sites, to be directly derived from the model of the classical Gorgon's head.4

Of other human figures may be mentioned a Bodhisattva, Mi. xii. o01 (Plate CXXxiv), modelled in pure Gandhâra style, and a cross-legged male excellently posed, Mi. xii. oo77(Plate Cxxxv).

The head Mi. xii. oo6 (Plate CXXXII) has an interest of its own because it well illustrates both the

method by which all this stucco statuary was produced from moulds and the clever way in which this method could be used for introducing variations. The face is undoubtedly produced from

a mould which served for one type of head in the warrior figures ; it still retains the bar of the

helmet passing down the forehead. But instead of the helmet the head bears a mass of hair brushed up straight in an almost grotesque fashion. A very clever piece of modelling is the head

Mi. xii. 005 (Plate CXXXII), which combines a grotesque weeping face of an unmistakably Mongolian'

type with wn elaborate Indian head-dress familiar from Gandhâra statues. The naturalistic skill with which animal figures could be handled by the artists who produced the moulds for this wealth

of relievo decorations is attested by pieces like the excellently observed camel's head, Mi. xii. 0025,

and the forelegs of a prancing horse, Mi. xii. 0023-4 (both in Plate cxxxvi). Fragments like Mi. xii. 0028, 0030, 0031 (Plate cxxxviI) show architectural details which are constantly met with

in Gandhâra relievos and are there plainly recognizable as borrowed or developed from classical art. In the wooden finial of a small model Stûpa, Mi. xii. 0027 (Plate cxxviii), we find reproduced with equal care all the details with which we are familiar in stone from miniature representations of Stûpas as they used to be built on the Indian North-West Frontier.

Were we to look at these relievo remains without any knowledge as to where they were found and as to the methods by, which they were reproduced, we might well feel inclined to

postulate for them an origin centuries nearer to the period that created their models in the GraecoBuddhist sculpture of Gandhâra. So it is well to lay stress on the conclusive numismatic evidence

   3 See above, pp. 463 sqq. For an analysis of all details   Their height, when complete, must have been 16 inches.

   concerning the armour displayed by these mail-clad warrior   4 See for specimens PI. I ; Ancient Khotan, ii. Pls. XLIII,

   figures of the Ming-oi' Site, cf. *Mi. xi. 00109 in List below.   XLIV.

1374   7 N

Warrior figures of frieze.

Shield with Gorgoneion.

Methods of production from moulds.

Naturalistic animal figures.

Date of relievos.