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the bracketed numbers. The pegs are applied like rivets, that is, their ends are bent over and beaten down fast; but before doing so, they are passed through thin pieces of copper, as a protection to the leaves. Sometimes (as in No. VII of the First Set, No. III of the Fifth Set and No. V of the Seventh Set) these guards are round ornamental pieces, resembling coins, as shown in fig. 3 of Plate IV; or they are elliptical (as in No. VIII of the First Set) or oblong (as in No. VI of the Seventh Set); but many of them (as in Nos. I and VII of the First Set, Nos. I and III of the Fourth Set, No. III of the Fifth Set, and No. I of the Seventh Set) are evidently portions of a large ornamental circular plaque which had been cut into pieces ; and in this case the pieces are very large, as shown in Plate IV, fig. 1. In two cases (in No. I of the Second Set, and in the book of the Eighth Set) the guards consist of two long slips of copper, extending the whole length of the book. The twists of paper are applied, like pieces of string, to form loops. The stitching with thread only occurs in two books, in No. II of the Third Set and in the book of the Ninth Set. As a rule the fastening is made in three separate places, by three nails, or three twists of paper, or three loops of thread. Twice, however, in No. III of the Fourth Set and in the book of the Ninth Set, four pegs and four threads respectively are used; and once, in No. II (Pöthi) of the First Set, only one peg. A fastening in two places is more frequent; four times (in No. VIII of the First Set, Nos. V and VI of the Fifth Set, and No. IV of the Seventh Set) only two pegs are used ; and twice (in No. VII of the First and No. VIII of the Fifth Set) only two twists of paper. The three initial and the three fiual pages are as a rule left blank ; aud thus the first and the last leaves, being blank, serve as covers to the book. In one case (No. VIII of the Fifth Set) seven initial and seven final pages (i.e., three leaves on each side) are left blank. The probable object of this arrangement is disclosed by No. II of the Second Set and No. I of the Fifth Set, in which four and two leaves respectively have been pasted together to form pasteboard covers at either end. The single exception above referred to is a pūthi (No. II of the First Set), that is, a book
arranged in the Indian fashion. In this case, The Pothi.
the whole collection of “forms” is placed between two pieces of wood, and held in position by riveting it with one copper peg, passed through the middle of one of the narrow sides, as shown in Plate VIII. The arrangement is exactly the same as in the case of a set of Indian copper-plates of a landgrant. The peg takes the place of the seal-ring of the grant, or of the string of a manuscript. The two ends of the peg are split in two, and the two splits are turned over right and left, after having been passed through the thin copper guard ; thus the whole pothi is kept firmly fixed. The two wooden covers are thick rough pieces (8 x 41 xl") of a very light kind of wood, the outside surfaces of which are not planed. In size and shape the block-prints vary greatly.
Some are Size and shape.
narrow oblongs, measuring from 9 to 141 by
4 to 44 inches; but mostly they are broad oblongs, the largest measuring 231 x 13}", the smallest, 64 x 41". Their thickness, also, much varies, depending, of course, partly on the number of forms contained in them, partly on the thickness of their paper. The thickest is the pothī, its wooden covers alone measuring together two inches. Further details of measurements will be given with the following description of the several xylographs. In a few cases the corners are slightly rounded off: in one case this is done so much as to render the shape of the book eliptical ; see fig. VIII in Woodcut No. 12. The edges of the leaves are frayed, as if the sheets had been cut with a blunted or notched instrument. Very exceptionally I have found the edge of a pair of leaves uncut. In these cases, when fastening the book, a folded sheet had been put in wrongly with the fold outside instead of inside. On the other hand, in five cases (First Set, Nos. IV and V, Fourth Set, Nos. III and VII, Seventh Set, No. V) I have found all the folds cut through, so that practically the book consists of separate leaves, instead of forms. This is also the case in No. VII of the Fifth Set, where, however, the leaves appear to have become separated by the wear and tear of the folds. The xylographs are all printed on paper. The paper appears to in
clude, at least, three distinct classes. One class Paper
is a soft paper, thin, and of even texture, much like the white or whitish paper of the Weber and some of the Macartney Manuscripts, published by me in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, Vols. LXII and LXVI, which is believed to be made of the bark of the laurel (Daphne). This class of paper is found only in the one book which constitutes the Eighth Set. It has a deep yellow colour, which is probably a tint artificially imparted. Another class of paper is only found in the book and the roll, comprised in the Ninth Set. This is an exceedingly thin, almost transparent, tough paper, of even texture, with a light yellowish tint, probably natural. In its preseut condition it has become somewhat brittle, from age. Except in colour, it reminds one of what, in the trade, is kuown as “parchment overland paper;" in fact, at first sight I thought it was very fine vellum, though on closer examination and washing, it at once revealed itself to be paper. The most common is a third class of paper, of a more or less uneven texture and thickness, the prevailing colour of which is a more or less dirty yellowish-brown Four distinct varieties are observable. The first variety is a soft, thickish paper, to the touch resembling felt or cloth, of comparatively even texture and rather brighter yellowish-brown colour. It is found in nine books ; viz., Nos. I and II of the First Set, Nos. I, III, IV, V and VI of the Second Set, and Nos. II and III of the Third Set. The second and third varieties differ from the first variety only in being progressively thinner, of more uneven texture, and of darker colour. The third variety, indeed, is occasionally of an exceedingly flimsy make. The second variety is found in nineteen books ; viz., Nos. II, III, IV and V of the First Set, No. II of the Second Set, No. I of the Third Set, Nos. I, II, III, IV, VI and VII of the Fourth Set, Nos. I, II and VIII of the Fifth Set, and Nos. I, II, III and V of the Seventh Set. The third variety is found in five books; viz., Nos. VII and VIII of the First Set, No. V of the Fourth Set, No. III of the Fifth Set, and No. VI of the Sixth Set. All these three varieties are comparatively soft papers, and in this respect differ from the fourth variety, which is a hard and stiffish paper, of middling thickness, and of very uneven make. This fourth variety much resembles, except in point of colour and age, the kind of paper which is still made in Khotan at the present day. It is found in nine books ; viz., No. VIII of the Fourth Set, Nos. IV, V, VI, VII of the Fifth Set, and Nos. I, II, III and IV of the Seventh Set. With the exception of one book, they all belong to M. 8; and the single exception belongs to M. 9. The three other varieties do not resomble the modern Khotanese paper, though it is probablo that they all are of Khotanese manufacture, being probably made of the same material, and by the same or a similar system of preparation. I am disposed to believe that the four varieties of this class of paper represent four different periods and four successive degradations of Khotanese paper manufacture. The texture of the modern Khotanese paper is exceedingly course and uneven, its pulp having been prepared very rougbly and spread very unevenly. When fresh, the paper has a creamy or greyish colour: the much darker colour of the corresponding paper of the block-prints is the effect of age. Regarding its material I have received two different statements. The Rev. Magnus Bäcklund, Swedish Missionary in Kashghar, who has visited Khotan, informs me in a letter, dated the 29th June, 1898, that “it is made of the bark of the willow, softened in lye, and then taken up and beaten between flat stones, which of course, cannot be made so well as to prevent small pieces of bark remaining here and there.” According to Munshi Ahmad Din, of the Kashghar Agency, in a note written for me on the 19th December, 1898, “the Khotan paper is a very coarse stuff, chiefly composed of silk waste.” In the sequel these classes and varieties of paper are referred to as I, II, IIIa, IIIb, IIIc, and IIId respectively. The paper of the Pothi (No. II of the First Set) I am doubtful in classifying, but it probably belongs to Class IIIb.
That these books were printed from blocks of type is apparent Block-printing.
from the fact that the text is repeated over and over again, from page to page,
repetitions being facsimiles, as shown by measurements made by me (see below under the First Set). The type, cut on the block, was enclosed in a square of raised straight lines, and occasionally these inclosing lines are printed off along with the inclosed type; but as a rule they do not seem to have been inked, and only a few traces of them, here and there, are seen (as, e.g., on Plates IX and X). The printing was not always carefully done ; occasionally the blocks were inked too much, and the impressions are smudgy: at other times they were inked too little, and the impression is almost illegible. When the print is repeated on the same page, the impressions, for the sake of economy, were sometimes placed so close together as to cause the margins of the prints to run into one another and obliterate the letters. From the fact that sometimes one has to remove the rivets, in order to be able to read the whole of the impression, it is evident, that, as a rule, the sheets or pages were printed first before they were stitched or riveted into books. In some books, especially of the Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Sets, the paper appears to have been more or less strongly greased, before printing, possibly with the object of sizing it; but the process has sometimes had the effect of rendering the impressions almost illegible.
A regular system appears to have been observed in printing the System of Printing. xylographs. As already explained, the first
and the last leaves of a book were always left blank, for the purpose of serving as a cover. For the same reason, the exterior pages of the second and penultimate leaves were also left blank. The printing almost invariably commences on the interior of the second leaf (i.e., the 4th page of the whole book), and stops on the interior of the penultimate leaf (i.e., the ante-ante-penultimate page of the whole book). There are a few exceptions, which will be noted in the detailed description ; see, e.g., No. VI of the First Set. Thus supposing a book had six leaves or twelve pages, the imprints would commence on the fourth page and stop on the 9th page; pages 1, 2, 3 and 10, 11, 12 being blank. With regard to the arrangement of the imprints on the pages, the principle (to which there are only a very few exceptions) was that they were placed alternately in an upright and reversed position. Whence it follows that, in reading a book, one would at first, read consecutively, throughout the book, all the upright impressions ;
J. 1, 11
next, turning the book right round, one would commence at the back of the book, and read consecutively, right through the book, all the reversed impressions, which, however, would now of course, stand upright towards the reader. The subjoined Woodcut No. 11 illustrates this system, and the various modifications in which it is applied. The dotted lines in the diagrams signify the lines of type, and the letters a and b indicate the beginnings and endings respectively of the impressions of the text. In No. I, there are two impressions in each column, standing foot to foot; those in the upper halves of the pages standing upright, while those in the lower halves are reversed. In this book one would read, first, consecutively all the impressions in the upper halves of the pages, in regular order (4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, etc.), up to the end of the book. Next turning the book right round, in the direction of the arrows, and thus bringing the reversed impressions into an upright position, one
would read consecutively all the impressions (of the formerly lower half-pages) from the back to the beginning of the book, in regular order (etc., 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4). The same system, in another, slightly modified form,
3 The Roman numbers in this and the following Woodcuts refer to the books of the First Set. The diagrams are drawn to the scale of 1 inch in the woodcut to 12 inches of the original,