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0097 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 97 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000189
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belonged to the outer ornamentation of the temple walls, reproducing on a smaller scale the main architectural elements of the structure in the fashion common to the Hindu style of buildings from an early period.

After the character of the structure marked by the mound had been definitely determined, the whole of the ground around was carefully searched down to the natural soil. Here, among the heaps of debris thrown aside during former quarrying operations, a great mass of sculptural fragments was recovered. Apart from plentiful remains of delicately executed relievo decoration belonging to architectural features, there came to light in the course of this thorough clearing numerous fragments from well-modelled figures executed mainly in high relief and of varying proportions. The specimens reproduced in Figs. 20, 21, represent but a small typical selection from the hundreds of sculptured pieces, most of them small but all executed with the same remarkable care for true modelling and neat carving, which were recovered around the shrine and subsequently deposited in the Lahore Museum.12 Unfortunately all this wealth of decorative remains, by its sadly injured state, affords only too clear evidence of the vandal destruction inflicted upon the ruin of an exquisitely adorned small shrine by ruthless quarrying operations.13

The style of the sculptures and decorative motifs is clearly that of the Gupta period, thus proving beyond doubt that the ruined temple dated from a time considerably older than Hsüan-tsang's visit to this region. As far as my knowledge of the Indian iconography of that period goes, there is among the recovered sculptural fragments none which could definitely prove whether the shrine was meant to serve as a place for Jaina or Brahmanical worship. Of actual cult figures which might perhaps have furnished some clue in this respect, the badly injured life-size fragments of a hand and a leg were the only remains recovered. I must leave it to others to decide whether the seated haloed figure of a god shown in a sunk panel ( Fig. 20.6) can possibly be taken for a Jina represented after the Svetàmbara tradition. The object held in the figure's left hand, indistinct as it is, seems to speak against it.

With regard to particular pieces of sculpture it remains to be mentioned that

12 For the supply in 1933 of the photographs reproducing these specimens, I am indebted to the instructions kindly issued by R. B. Daya Ram Sahni, C.I.E., Director-General of Archaeology.

13 The way in which the beautiful small seated figure of a male divinity, Fig. 21.6, has been cut through in the middle before it was left behind is characteristic of the manner in which sculptured pieces were treated for more convenient handling as building material. It seems to support the state

ment, heard by me at Chôa Saidân Shah, that numerous stones from Mùrti bearing relievo figures were walled into the pillars of the bridge with their sculptured faces turned inside or chiselled off. Here it may be mentioned that among the fragments of ancient pottery collected by me in 1931 on the Mûrti hillock, all of rich red ware, there were numerous pieces with moulded or incised decoration, also ribbing. Of the rare painted ware Mur. i (Pl. I) is a specimen.