Sec. v] THE 'KHÔRA SITE AND THE DEFILE OF THE IRON GATE 1225
To the south-east of the central structure and beyond a small open court lies a larger room, about 192 feet by 182, which decayed bricks and refuse filled to a height of over 4 feet. Here, too, only faint traces remained of the wall decoration, apparently a diaper of small Buddhas. All refuse showed the effects of plentiful moisture.
The second group, seen in Fig. 300 on the right, occupies a tiny ridge to the north and below the ruins just described. It consists of a row of three adjoining cellas, forming together a block 70 feet long and 27 feet deep. Apart from a few small appliqué relievo fragments in stucco their clearing brought to light only the much-decayed head of a statuette carved in wood (Khora. 1I. i. oox, Plate XIV). To the east of group II there rises on a low isolated terrace a platform about 3o yards long and 20 feet broad at its top, built up of uncut stones to a height of about 18 feet. A shapeless tower-like mass . of brickwork which stands at its eastern end was not recognizable in its character. A knoll of the steep rocky spur leading up to the main group of ruins (Fig. 299) bears an isolated cella, III, 9 feet square within, solidly built on a walled-up platform with sun-dried bricks measuring I5" x 8" x 4". It was cleared without any finds being made.
On a narrow shoulder of the spur just referred to, and at a height of about 150 feet above the level of the fields, is built the group of ruined shrines marked iv and shown in the inset plan of Plate 54. The small plateau has been enlarged by a stone-built terrace facing north and thus made to afford space for a series of shrines, all built against the rocky slope rising behind. Rain-water descending from the latter has badly effaced all the structures. The easternmost of them is the isolated cella iv. i, measuring II feet by Io2 within. In the débris of the small anteroom that gives access to it a number of interesting remains of carved and painted wood were unearthed, unfortunately all showing the destruction caused here by fire first and then by moisture. The small wooden block, Khora. iv. i. oor (Plate XLVII), shows in sunk carving a kneeling figure with hands clasped in adoration. The wooden base for a statuette, Khora. iv. i. 004, is adorned with elegant carving along its edges. The large fragment of a painted wooden beam, Khora. Iv. i. 003, though charred on the back and otherwise damaged, still displays the figures of three divinities within circular vesicas. But the damage suffered must be regretted most in the case of the carved and painted cornice, Khora. iv. i. 002. Its surviving portion, which measures i 9" by 1', shows two groups each containing a Buddha surrounded by divine worshippers, all painted in rich colours and gold. The whole work is very fine in design and delicately finished, but has too badly darkened to permit reproduction. Certain features suggest encaustic technique executed over gilt ground, but the injured condition of the surface makes determination of this difficult without chemical testing. The cornice was decorated along its bottom edge by a row of grotesque relief busts curiously reminiscent of Gothic monsters. Two of these appliqué carvings were recovered detached (Plate XLVII).
A larger shrine to the west of iv. i with a vaulted passage at the back of the cella had suffered much by water penetrating from the slope behind, and retained no recognizable remains of its original decoration. The same was the case with a cella adjoining it on the west. But in one of two small rooms at the end of the terrace which, judging from the remains of a fireplace, had evidently served as living quarters for monks, there were found the painted wooden panel, Khora. iv. ii. 002, showing a lotus floating on water between two water-fowls, and a cup-like object of turned wood, Khora. iv. ii. oo I .
With the clearing of group iv the series of ruins offering scope for excavation was completed. But brief notes have still to be added on some other remains of the site. At a distance of about boo yards to the north of group I a roughly hemispherical mound, rising on fairly level ground with traces of old irrigation terraces, attracted attention. It proved to be a ruined Stûpa measuring about 38 feet in diameter, and retaining in its much-injured state a height of about 17 feet above the field level. A cutting which had been made into it from the south, evidently long ago, had laid the
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Ruins of groups II,
Remains of carved and painted wood.
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