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lain about 100 miles East of Khotan, which would place it somewhere to the north or north-west, of the present town of Kiria. The latter would seem to have taken the place of Pima, when it was overwhelmed by the sand, just as, according to Hiuen Tsiang's account, Pima itself took the place of the still more ancient town of Ho-lo-lo-kia, which lay further north-west. Possibly Ho-lo-lo-kia may have occupied the site of the present Dandān Uiliq, which is said to lie 6 marches or about 80 miles north-east of Khotan. The description of that place, given above, would well enough suit a place such as Ho-lo-lo-kia might bave been. The physical conditions of the Takla Makan desert, with the
extreme dryness of its atmosphere and the Conservation
trifling amount of rainfall, above referred to, of Antiquities.
are very favourable to the conservation, for an indefinitely long period, of everything buried under its sands. This has been repeatedly observed by travellers ; see, e.g., the remarks of Dr. Bellew in the Report of a Mission to Yarkand in 1873, p 38, quoted by me in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, Vol. LXVI, p. 256. It has been amply confirmed by Dr. Sven Hedin's discoveries in Qarā Dung and elsewhere. That explorer more than once, in his book Through Asia, remarks on the fact that “the dry fine sand of the desert unquestionably possesses the property of preserving organic matter for a very long time; see pp. 540, 802, 816 ff. There is, therefore, nothing intrinsically improbable in the claim of the manuscripts and xylographs, contained in the British Collection, to be of a very great antiquity. One of the places were antiques have been found, Qarā Qöl Mazār,
near Guma, is described as “an immense Ancient graveyards
graveyard in ruins, possibly ten miles long," and stūpas.
and there is also a Mazār or Muhammadan slirine 22 there. It is possible that this place may be the site of one of those great Muhammadan defeats which took place at the end of the 11th and beginning of the 12th century A.D. At that time the fierce struggle for mastery took place between the Muhammadans of Kashghar and the Buddhists of Khotan, which finally established the Muhammadan Faith in Eastern Turkestan. Dr. Bellew, in the Report of a Mission to Yarkand, describes several “ vast cemeteries" in the sandy desert marking the sites of the slaughter of Muhammadan warriors. One is at Ordām Pādshāh, about 30 miles east of Yangi Hişār, where there is a shrine of ‘Ali Arslân Khān and the graves of his 300 fellow martyrs. Another is about three miles south-west of that town at Chuchām Pādshāh where there is a “ vast cemetery consecrated to the dust of 10,000 warrior martyrs." 23 Possibly Qarā Qöl Mazār may be a siunilar ancient Muhammadan cemetery; but all the available indications rather point to the sites of the finds being ancient Buddhist “graveyards.” Kök Gumbaz, where the skull with the pillow of manuscripts was dug out, is said to be “seemingly an old graveyard.” Qarā Yāntāq, clearly, is a similar place, where also a skull with a bag of manuscripts was dug out from the top of a circular mound. In Yābū Qūm, the manuscripts, M. 2, Set III, were found “mixed up with human bones, lying on some partially exposed boards of a wooden coffin.” Mr. Högberg says with reference to the “ books," purchased from him by Mr. Macartney and comprised in M. 6, that he believes “they were all discovered in the sands or buried in coffins with the dead, in ancient graveyards in the neighbourhood of Khotan, probably not more than a day or two's journey from the town." One of these places, Aq Sapil, Mr. Högberg visited himself; and the “two elevated circular stands," which he describes as having been seen by him, curiously suggest themselves as being the surviving bases of two stūpas erected in the closest propinquity : apparently twin-stūpas built on slightly differing levels. Buddhist stūpas, as is well-known, used to stand on a series of circular, concentric basements or terraces, decreasing upwards in diameter, the basements thus forming steps to the uppermost platform, on which the stūpa or cylindrical dome itself was erected. These stūpas were mostly relic-towers, and the relics used to be placed in a small chamber made in the top-most platform, immediately below the cylindrical dome This exactly agrees with Mr. Högberg's description of the “circular stands." The “slight Lollow" on the top-most platform would be the remains of the relic-chamber, from which, e.g., the skull with its bag of manuscripts was dug out at Kök Gumbaz. Occasionally a Buddhist stūpa contained several deposits of relics placed at different levels, one above the other. This would seem to have been the case at Qarā Yāntāq. There, it is said, “ the two images of horsemen (in M. 2, Set I) were dug up from the interior of the mound,” on the top of which the skull was discovered “partially buried.” The skull, clearly, had been placed in a chamber, near the surface of the top-most terrace, while the horsemen had been deposited at a lower level, perhaps near the surface of a lower terrace. It would seem that in all the cases reported, the stūpa proper or the cylindrical dome, has disappeared, the circular
22 A mazăr is a shrine and place of pilgrimage, consisting of the tomb of somo holy person with a kind of mosque built near it.
basements only remaining. This cannot surprise, seeing that these erections were made of unburnt bricks. As Dr. Sven Hedin remarks (p. 740 of his book Through Asia) “the natives themselves have observed that the erosive action of the wind is incomparably greater than that of water.” Buddhist stūpas used to be coated with a hard, brilliant plaster, to protect them against the erosive action of wind and weather. This was, no doubt, also the case in Khotan; but when outlying settlements were abandoned, and the plastering of the stūpas fell into disrepair, their more exposed domes naturally were corroded and gradually swept away by the periodical sandstorms, the less exposed and stronger basements only surviving. It is well-known that Buddhism was introduced into Khotan from
North-Western India (Kashmir), including Ancient Græco-Bud
Afghanistan and the countries immediately dhist Culture.
north of it. In connection with this circum. stance it is curious to observe numerous points of coincidence in the stūpas of Khotan and those of Afghanistan; and these coincidences themselves are a further argument to support the theory that the findplaces of antiquities around Khotan are the sites of groups of stūpas or tumuli, and, in that sense, of ancient places of sepulture. It was a common practice among the Buddhists to build a stūpa, or memorial tower, over the relics of a Saint, and to group round it minor stūpas or tumuli of lesser personages, whether religious or secular. Instances of this practice are repeatedly noted by Hiuen Tsiang in the account of his visit to India. 25 The existence of numerous such groups of stūpas and tumuli in Afghanistan is well-known. Many of them have been opened at different times. In Wilsou’s Ariana Antiqua, there is a long memoir by Masson on the “ Topes and Tumuli” opened by him, and the relics found in them. Among them are ornamented funeral jars of a globular form with bones, ashes, and fragments of charcoal ; further coins, beads, rings, seals and other trinkets, coloured stones, pieces of crystal, etc., -all being objects which we shall see represented in the Khotanese collection : some indeed having the very same form. More curious still, in one tumulus which Masson opened, belonging to the group at Passani, he found “in the centre a human
24 It would be interesting to know why Kök Gumbaz or the “blue or green dome” is called so. Could it be the dome of a stūpa still standing ? In the Swat conntry, as Dr. Stein informs us in his Report of an Archäological Tour with the Buner Field Force, pp. 11 and 66, the word gumbaz is uuiformly applied to ruined stūpas.
26 See Beal's Buddhist Records of the Western World, Vol. I, pp. 46, 175 et passim.
skull, and beneath it a large steatite vase," containing ashes, coloured stones, beads, etc., also a fragment of a birch-bark leaf inscribed with “Bactro-Pali” (i.e., Kharoşțhi) characters.26 The similarity of this find with that of the skull at Qarā Yāntāq is very striking. There is a passage in the account of the mission of the Chinese Buddhist Sungyun to India in 518 A.D., which seems to bear on the subject of such sepultures. Speaking of the customs of Khotan, the account says: " they burn their dead, and, collecting the ashes, erect towers over them. When the king dies, they do not burn his body, but enclose it in a coffin and carry it far off and bury it in the desert. They found a temple to his memory, and, at proper times, pay religious service to liis manes.”27 This would seem to suggest, that Kök Gumbaz, Qarā Yāntāq and similar spots are ancient sites of the sepulture of kings and chiefs of Khotan. The discovery of the two minature figures of horsemen, (M. 3, Set I) in the same grave with the skull tends to corroborate this conjecture.
The existence of early Buddhist culture in Khotan is thus amply borne out. Much more evidence on this point is afforded by the pottery and terracotta figures, and will be found noticed in that portion of the report which will deal with these objects. Here I will only note that the occurrence of the numerous figures of monkeys and elephants clearly points to an intimate connection of the culture of Khotan with that of India ; for these animals are not found in Khotan, while they are indigenous in India. A very early connection of Khotan with India and China is also established by the discovery of Indo-Chinese and Indo-Scythian coins on the one hand, and coins of the Han Dynasty on the other. But further there are distinct traces of Grecian and Parthian influence. For the latter, it is true, there is only one piece of pottery (in M. 2), which bears ornamentation of a distinctly Parthian character. For Grecian influence such as prevailed on the western borders of India, in the earliest centuries A.D. and B.C., there is much more evidence. The style of Graeco-Buddhist ornamentation and sculpture is well marked on many pieces of pottery and sculptured stones. The syrinx, or musical instrument made of a series of graduated reeds, on which monkeys are represented as playing, is distinctly Greek or Grecian: that kind of instrument was not known in India or the Orient. Altogether the treatment of the monkeys, in their varicd festive or amorous postures, curiously reminding one of Satyrs and Fauns, is instinct with the ideas of Greek or Roman culture. The Pegasus and Centaur, which are found represented on some seals, are also distinctly Grecian. Mr. Macartney in his Note on the find-places (see p. xxii) says: “Some of the relics which have been found near Khotan are undoubtedly of Greek origin. In May, 1897, I was shown by a Russian merchant in that town a coin with an inscription in Greek, and three pieces of yellow crystals of an oval shape in which there were beautiful carvings of the classical type.”
26 See Ariana Antiqua, p. 94. 37 See Beal's Buddhist Records of the Western World, vol. I, p. lxxxvii.
Local tradition with regard to the makers of the habitations and sepultures around Khotan is very uncertain, and possibly not altogether spoutaneous. With reference to Qarā Yāntāq, in Islām Ākhūn's itinerary, already quoted above, Mr. Macartney was informed, that it was once inhabited by “ Hindis,” a name by which Buddhists are said to be generally called in Eastern Turkestan, and wbich clearly points to the direct Indian origin of the Buddhism of that country. With regard to Kök Gumbaz Captain Godfrey reports in his demi-official letter, No. 5208, dated 15th September, 1897) that “ local opinion seems to incline to the belief that the cemetery was either Jew, Kalmuk or Greek. The people to whom these graveyards are attributed are called in the Turki language Ujāt which I believe now means “strangers." This word is, however, I am informed, now obsolete. Dr. Bellew, in his History of Kashghar, says that Ujāt means Native Christians, and refers I think, to Native Christians having lived near Khotan."28 With reference to the last observation of Captain Godfrey's I may note that at Aq Sapil some sheets and leaves of manuscript were found (in M. 2, Set II) inscribed with characters in white ink, which seem to be Uighur writing such as was once used by the Nestorian Christians. Considering how much we are at present dependent on native infor
mation with regard to every thing connected Need of further ex
with these sand buried sites near Khotan, and ploration.
how cautiously such information must be received, it is very desirable that the localities should be visited, examined and reported on by some European explorer with archæological experience. This is an undertaking well worth the support of the Indian Government and of Learned. Societies.
28 See the Report of a Mission to Yarkand, p. 127. Mr. Shaw in his Grammar of the Language of Eastern Turkistan (in the Journal, As. Soo. Bengal, Vol XLVI for 1877), pp. 336 and 345, disputes this and says that Ujāt is the name of a village near Khotan, the inhabitants of which were “bad Musalmans." But the passage from the Taskirata.l.Bughra, which he quotes, really only proves that the people of Ujāt were considered insincere Muhammadans at the time of its composition. At the time to which Dr. Bellew refers Khotan had not yet been converted to Islām. It was still Buddhist ; and the people of Ujāt, if they were not Buddhists, must have been Nestorian Christians. Probably they were the latter, and being forced to adopt Islam, did so only in outward appearance.