Sec. ii] THE MING-OI' SITE NORTH OF SHÔRCHUK 1191
without any finds. The ruin xxii, seen in Fig. 28o, had suffered least among the monuments representing the fifth type. With its top ornamented in open brickwork it still rose to a height of about i8 feet. A small square chamber within showed a double floor with an interval of about it 'feet. Its contents had evidently been rifled long ago. Within the enclosure surrounding the base, and placed against the latter, were found five cinerary jars, about a foot high, as seen in Fig. 28o, and of fairly coarse pottery, some black, some red. They were filled with ashes and fragments of charred bones. There were unearthed besides two small wooden boxes of rough make, measuring I5" x 4" x 4", also containing small pieces of bones, wrapped in remains of a thin gauze-like cloth. No trace of any writing could be found either on boxes or on jars.
SECTION III.—RELIEVOS AND FRESCOES FROM NORTH-WEST PORTION OF ` MING-OI' SITE
I now proceed to the description of the ruined shrines in the north-west portion of the site, where excavations proved far more fruitful. The top of the central terrace is there occupied by a group of large temples which face towards the transverse depression of the site and overlook a series of smaller shrines built on, and in part into, the slope to the south (see Figs. 281, 282 ; Plate 53). The westernmost of the central temples, which is seen in Fig. 291 from the front, after
clearing, and in Fig. 284 from its back, is built partly upon a high walled-up terrace. Its walls, 4 feet thick round the cella and over 5 feet thick outside, still rise to over 16 feet, and must have been once far higher to account for the heavy masses of débris which filled the interior to a height of nowhere less than 6 feet and in places much greater. The temple comprised a cella tot feet square, enclosed by passages close on 6 feet wide at the sides and widening to 10 feet at the back. Access to the cella lay through a hall which may have been open in front, fully 40 feet long and of a depth no longer determinable.
It was during the clearing of this hall, x, that numerous finds of relievo fragments from small figures in stucco first furnished an indication of the far richer harvest of sculptured remains awaiting recovery within the cella and the chamber behind. They do not differ in type from the latter, and will therefore be better discussed together further on. Here, however, may be noted the discovery of fourteen Chinese copper* coins which were found in the débris at heights varying from r to 4 feet above the floor. Ten among them were Tang issues, and the rest much-worn Wu-chu pieces. From the position in which they were found it may be concluded with much probability that they were originally deposited on the projecting ledges, which here, as in the other parts of this temple, carried relievo friezes. Close to the cella entrance were found four fragments of glass, Mi. x—xi. 001-4 (Plate Iv). They are of interest because they manifestly come from a bead-maker's workshop, and thus clearly prove the existence of glass-making as a local industry.
The cella xi proved a rich mine of stucco relievo remains of greatly varying types and sizes. They turned up here almost all in a burned condition, and obviously owed their preservation to the hardening consequent on a conflagration. On the other hand, as a result of this process, only a few out of hundreds retain traces of their original polychrome painting. The total absence of remains of large statues or of image bases makes it clear that the decoration of the temple must have consisted mainly of relievo friezes covering its walls. Their position was still marked by three rows of square holes in which the wooden supports of the friezes had once been fixed (Fig. 294 ). The holes were about 3 inches square and set at intervals of less than 2 feet from each other. The distance between the rows of holes was about 5 feet, and the lowest circ. 2 feet above the ground. While the relievo friezes must have extended along the whole length of the cella walls, the distribution of their remains was curiously unequal.
Cinerary jars and boxes.
Westernmost of central temples.
Stucco relievos found in Mi. x.
Stucco relievos from cella Mi. xi.
Position of relievo friezes.