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0076 Archaeological Reconnaissances in North-Western India and South-Eastern Īrān : vol.1
Archaeological Reconnaissances in North-Western India and South-Eastern Īrān : vol.1 / Page 76 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000189
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7 inches wide and 10 feet high, passes through solid masonry of small tufa blocks set in mortar. It was probably made in search of treasure, as was commonly done at almost all ruined Buddhist stûpas on the North-West Frontier and in Central Asia. The south-eastern side of the pile has decayed too much to permit the original facing to survive in more than patches. Here and there it was possible to recognize faint traces of low relief decoration showing trefoiled niches.

Fortunately the large and massive base on which this structure rested has survived in much better condition on the south-east. Owing to a later wall built against its eastern end, as will presently be mentioned, the eastern corner of the base could be exactly determined. At the western end of this side of the base not much appears to have been lost. Hence its length could be determined as approximately 63 feet. The base is faced here throughout with large carefully dressed slabs of tufa set in regular courses with mortar, and rises 8 feet 5 inches above the ground level. Careful examination of the facing showed that the base was decorated with short pilasters about 18 inches wide placed at intervals of about 6 feet 9 inches and projecting 4 inches.

Five of these pilasters could actually be seen; one has disappeared owing to a break in the facing, and two more are likely to be hidden behind the added wall. Above the last exposed pilaster on the east it was possible to recognize the right half of a voluted double bracket, and on a bold moulding above it a double string formed by broad lotus petals. Higher up, the decoration of the base appears to have finished with a square moulding surmounted by an incised Greek fret. The continuation of this decoration on the top of the base could be followed through to the eastern corner by clearing the slight fissure that had opened between the base and the added wall. The whole of this decoration appears to have been covered with thin hard stucco.

The decorative scheme of this base with its pilasters distinctly reminded me of that seen on the bases of large stûpas examined by me in Swat,4 and also on the base of a Buddhist shrine at Minn in the far-off Lop region of Chinese Turkistân.5 This resemblance, and still more the curious fact of the ruined superstructure having contained a solid masonry core, have suggested to me the possibility that this strange massive pile had originally consisted of the drum and dome of a stûpa which much later additions had transformed into a kind of tower crowned by some Hindu shrine, or else into a takht, an ornamental platform built for occupation by a great personage, such as may be seen on the

4 See Stein, An Archaeological Tour in Upper Shankardàr.

Swat, pp. 7, 19, 31, regarding such pilasters on   b Cf. Serindia, i. p. 486. Fig. 120 shows there
the bases of the Stapas of Top-tiara, Amlûk-dara, the voluted double brackets.