« السابقةمتابعة »
them. Little over the intrinsic value of the gold was, however, asked for the coin itself. The latter fact seemed to lend added interest to the scientific character of the find, since it was clear that if the coin had been a spurious one, manufactured for sale as an antiquity, a much higher price would have been demanded." According to Munshi Aḥmad Din, "two other gold coins, seemingly of a similar description, were presented by the Russian Consul-General at Kashghar to H. I. M. the Tsar." Captain Godfrey's gold coin is shown on Plate I, fig. 1. Being but imperfectly supplied with reference-books, I have not been able to fully identify it; but it appears to be a Byzantine coin, perhaps of the Emperor Constantinus V, Copronymous, who died in 795 A.D.
Localities and Circumstances of the Finds.
With the exception of the antiquities, composing the contribution G. 4, all the others were procured from Eastern (or Chinese) Turkestan. The antiquities G. 4 (coins and seals) come from Samarkand, Tashkand, and other places of Western Turkestan. The rest of the antiquities come from the neighbourhood of two places, Kuchar and Khotan, in Eastern Turkestan. Their find-spots are shown in red on the accompanying Map. The town of Kuchar lies to the North, and Khotan to the South of the Great Sandy Desert, which occupies nearly the whole of the space intervening between the Tian Shan Mountains in the North and Kuen Luen Range in the South. The southern portion of this great desert which lies immediately North of Khotan, bears the name of Takla Makan, and most of the find-places are situated within the limits of this portion of the sandy desert. In fact, there are only two places near Kuchar, from which, any antiquities in the British collection have been procured. These are a mound and a "tower" (i.e., a stūpa), situated 1 mile and 16 miles respectively to the west of that town. In the stupa the Bower and Weber Manuscripts were found. In the same place were also found some of the Macartney Manuscripts (viz., M. 1, Set I a and b). The fragments, composing the Godfrey Manuscripts (G. 1), as well as some fragments, included in M. 3 and T. 1, are also said to have been found near Kuchar, but the exact place of their discovery is not known. As all these fragments are strikingly alike with respect to paper, writing and general appearance, it is probable that they were all found at the same time and in the same place. On this point the only information available is that given by Captain Godfrey (in a private letter to myself; see my Report in the Journal of the Asiatic Society
2 Possibly the seals here mentioned are identical with the pieces of yellow crystal referred to in Mr. Macartney's Note quoted below (p. xxxii).
of Bengal, Vol. LXVI, pp. 225, 226), that he received his fragments (G. 1) in the autumn (September) of 1895, and that he was told that they were dug up "near some old buried city in the vicinity of Kuchar." This last statement would seem to show that they were not found on or near the old "tower" of the Bower Manuscript; for the latter locality was not the site of a sand-buried city. The fragmentary state of the manuscripts (specimens are shown on Plates ii-viii of my Report, above referred to) tends to prove that they were really the proceeds of indiscriminate digging on some ancient site, which was probably being explored with the hope of finding treasure. A good number of such fragments must have been carried off at that time by the diggers; for only a portion of them were given to Captain Godfrey in September, 1895. He received them through certain Afghan merchants trading to Yarkand. Another (very small) portion was included (so far as I can now recollect) in the consignment M. 3, the items of which were purchased by Mr. Macartney "from some treasure-seekers" in Khotan when he visited that town in the spring of 1897. A third (also small) portion is included in the consignment T. 1, the items of which were purchased in October, 1897, by Sir Adelbert Talbot from a certain. Muhammad Ghaus of Khotan through the Wazir Wazarat of Leh. The manner in which the treasure-seekers treated their find clearly illustrates their policy, of which more examples will be found further on. It is to divide their spoils into small portions which they dispose of to different purchasers at different times. On the whole I am rather disposed to believe that all these fragments (G. 1, M. 3 and T. 1) really come from the neighbourhood of Khotan, and were dug out (probably in the summer of 1895) from some sand-buried place in the Takla Makan. I suspect that in the statement made to Captain Godfrey about the "old buried city in the vicinity of Kuchar," there is some mistake, and that Khotan is really meant instead of Kuchar. There is, however, a third collection, also of fragments, which was really found near the latter town. They are the first consignment on my list, above given, and were dug out (apparently in September or October 1894) from a large mound, a little more than one mile west of Kuchar, by the orders of the Chinese Amban of that place. See my Report on these Fragments, printed in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, Vol. LXVI, pp. 213, 214. According to the Amban's account, that mound had already been dug into "several years" previously, and on that occasion "some manuscripts had been found of which no further information could be obtained. It is quite possible that some of the G. 1, M. 3 and T. 1 fragments, which in point of paper and script resemble the Weber MSS., may have come out of that find.
J. 1. 2
Discovery of the Macartney MSS.
The Macartney MSS., as already stated, were dug out, together with the Bower and Weber MSS., from an ancient Buddhist stupa situated sixteen miles west of Kuchar, on some barren rocky hills, close to the left bank of the river Shahyar. These manuscripts have had a curious history of which I may give a brief account. It is mainly based on a Note by Munshi Aḥmad Din, kindly procured for me by Captain S. H. Godfrey. In a few particulars it corrects the accounts previously published by me in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, Vol. LXVI, pp. 238-240, and in the Proceedings for 1898, pp. 63, 64. It appears that some time in 1889 some people of Kuchar undertook to make an excavation in the stupa in question. Their object in digging into the stupa was to find treasure, as it was well known that in the time of Yaqub Beg much gold had been discovered in such ancient buildings. Whether or not they found any "treasure," is not known, but what they did find was a large number of manuscripts and detached papers together with the bodies of a cow and two foxes standing. The hole which they made into the stupa was excavated straight in, level with the ground, and the manuscripts, accordingly, would seem to have been found, in the centre of the stupa on the ground level, exactly in the spot, where the original deposit of relics is usually met with in such monuments. The manuscript books and papers were taken to the house of the chief Qazi of the town, where a couple of days afterwards they were seen by Haji Ghulam Qadir, heaped up in a corner, there being "a big sabad, or 'basket,' full of them. On enquiry having been told the whole story by the Qazi, he brought away a few of them, and later on, early in 1890, he gave one of them, now known as the Bower Manuscript, to Major (then Lieut.) Bower. The others he sent to his younger brother Dildar Khan in Yarkand. These the latter took with him to Leh in 1891. Here he gave one portion of it to Munshi Aḥmad Din, who in his turn presented his acquisition to Mr. Weber, a Moravian Missionary. The latter transmitted it to me in Calcutta, where, under the name of the Weber Manuscripts, specimens of it were published by me in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal (Volume LXII, for 1893). The remaining portion, Dildar Khan took with him to India, where he left it with a friend of his at Aligarh, a certain Faiz Muhammad Khan. On a subsequent visit to India in 1895, he re-took it from his friend, brought it back to Turkestan, and
3 Major Bower calls him a "Turki" merchant; but he is only such by reason of having married a Turki woman, and having been settled in Kuchar for nearly 30 years. Originally he is an Afghan from Ghazni, and elder brother of Dildar Khan.
presented it to Mr. Macartney. The latter forwarded it in 1896 to the Foreign Office in Simla, whence it was transmitted to me, in Calcutta. It was named by me the Macartney MSS. and specimens of it were published by me in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal (Volume LXVI, for 1897). What became of the rest of the manuscripts in the Qazi's house is not exactly known. It is probable that Andijani merchants in Kuchar, who are Russian subjects, must have got hold of some of them and transmitted them to Mr. Petrovsky, the Russian Consul-General in Kashghar. The latter forwarded them to St. Petersburg, where specimens of them were published in 1892 by Dr. S. von Oldenburg in the Journal of the Imperial Russian Archæological Society, Vol. VIII. As late as 1894, "ten manuscripts" were reported by Dildar Khan, on the information of his brother in Kuchar, to be in the possession of a certain Yusuf Beg. Unfortunately the negotiations, set on foot by Mr. Marcartney for the purchase of these manuscripts, fell through, owing to the Beg's denial of possession, from fear of the Chinese authorities. It is believed that subsequently Mr. Petrovsky succeeded in purchasing them. If this is correct, they should now be in St. Petersburg. The exact details of the find are so curious that it may be best to quote Dildār Khān's account, kindly procured for me by Mr. Macartney in January 1898. I translate from the original Urdā: "I heard from my brother Ghulām Qadir Khan that there was a dome-like tower near Kuchar at the foot of a mountain. Some people said that there was a treasure in it; it must be searched out. Accordingly some people making a hole in the tower, began to excavate it, when they found inside a spacious room (ghar khānadār), and in it a cow and two foxes standing. On touching them with the hand, the cow and foxes fell to the ground as if they were dust. In that place those two books were found packed in wooden boards. Also there is in that place a wall made as if of stone (dīwār sang-ke mūāfiq), and upon it something is written in characters not known. It is said that a few years ago an English gentleman (that is, Major Bower) went there, and having visited the place came away. Nothing more is known." With regard to the cow and the foxes mentioned in the above-account Mr. Macartney remarks in his covering letter: "As far as I can make out, they must have been found in the tower in a mummified condition. The art of stuffing animals would not appear to have been unknown in ancient times. M. Petrovski, the Russian Consul in Kashghar, informs me of having,
This appears to be the incident, referred to in the Chinese Amban's letter, published by me in the Journal, Asiatic Society of Bengal, Vol. LXVII (for 1897), 213. The owner of the MSS. is there called Timur Beg.
some years ago, received from Kuchar a fish contained in a box, found buried in the ground." Dildar Khān's remark about the inscribed stone-wall (a stone slab let into the wall?) is curious. It is, as I learn from Munshi Aḥmad Din, based on a statement by Qadir Hakim Beg of Kuchar, who, passing through Yarkand in 1895 on a pilgrimage to Mecca, was questioned on the subject of the discovery of the manuscripts. He was requested at the time by Mr. Macartney to procure a copy of the inscription; but owing to his death in Mecca, nothing more was heard of the slab. The truth of the report is well worth further enquiry: if true, the inscription might prove to be a most valuable record. At the same time, considering that the room must have been in almost complete darkness and that the explorers probably had no means of lighting it, it is not quite easy to understand, how, with the exception of the manuscripts which they brought away with them, they could identify the exact nature of what they found inside. I may note, however, that also in the stūpas of Afghanistan occasionally similar curious deposits have been found. Thus Masson relates (in the Ariana Antiqua, p. 110) that in "Tope No. 11 of Hidda" there were found in " an interior cupola " 66 some human bones and two or three animal teeth," which were afterwards identified as those "of the ass, the goat and a species of deer." Also with reference to the spacious room I may note that similar large chambers, in the form of "cupolas" or cubical "apartments" have been found in many of the "Topes and Tumuli" of Afghanistan. Thus, in "Tope No. 2 of Kotpur there was discovered a large cupola with a diameter of 12 feet."5 In Buner, Dr. Stein found in the Takhtaband stupa a cubical chamber, of 7 feet dimensions, which was lined with large and carefully cut slabs." This may illustrate the presence of an inscribed slab in the Kuchar stūpa.
Ancient sites near
Most of the antiquities, including all the pottery, coins and other miscellaneous objects, as well as many manuscripts and all block-print books, have come from Khotan, from various sand-buried sites in the Takla Makan desert. Fifteen of these sites, situated at various distances, from 5 to 150 miles distant from Khotan, are now known, though, only two of them, Borazān and Aq Safil, have been verified by European visitors. For the remainder we have only the information given by native treasure-seekers, principal among whom appears to be a certain Islām Ākhūn of Khotan. These fifteen sites are:
(1) BORAZAN (!). This place was visited by Messrs. Högberg and Bäcklund, Swedish Missionaries in Kashghar, in 1897. It was
5 See Ariana Antiqua, pp. 65, 69 et passim.