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2.The Ruins and Relics of Khara-Khoto-Khara-Khoto and Western Xia Characters
来源:净心之旅 更新日期: 2016-4-6 浏览次数: 475 字号选择:  




The Ruins and Relics of Khara-Khoto

(4)

During the period of the Western Xia Dynasty, Khara-Khoto was known as “Heishuicheng,” which literally means, “Black Water Town.” The remaining town walls are 421 meters from north to west and 374 meters from north to south (Sketch Plan of Ruined Town of Khara-Khoto(4).


 Gates, about 5.5 meters wide, lead through the western and eastern wall faces, each protected by a rectangular outwork. 


The town walls were defended by big circular bastions at the four corners and by rectangular bastions (馬面, literally “horse-face”) along the side at regular intervals; four on the western and eastern faces, six on the north, and five on the south.


(5) (6)

Although it was Kozlov who made the most contributions to uncovering and studying the ruins, the British archaeologist Marc Aurel Stein also visited Khara-Khoto during his third Central Asian expedition in 1917, six years after Kozlov. 


Stein surveyed the area for eight days and compiled his research results in chapter 13 of his first volume of Innermost Asia, which included his sketch plan of site of Khara-Khoto(5) and pictures of the excavated antiquities.


(7)

Stein made some remarkable discoveries at Khara-Khoto, though he could only see those items left behind by Kozlov. Most of the documents Stein gathered were fragments. For example, among the Chinese manuscripts, he found nine documents dated between 1290 and 1366.


 These records proved that Khara-Khoto had long been inhabited until the period of the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) even after the fall of Western Xia Dynasty. 


This fact was verified again by the survey proceeded by Inner Mongolia Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology (内蒙古文物考古研究所) and Cultural Relics Station of Alashan (阿拉善盟文物工作站) in 1983 and 1984. 


Through these surveys, it was found that the small square town of 238 meters long had been built in Western Xia period and had been expanded to the west and south, as we see today, during the Yuan period.


(8) (9)

The western and eastern parts of the town were very different from each other. Judging from the roof tiles scattered in the western half of the area, many temples with tiled roofs and government offices must have stood in that part of the town. 


In the eastern part, however, no roof tiles were found. Roofs were made of stamped clay, covering the timber ceilings. Buildings inside the town were built of bricks, but the remains of their structures were mostly gone, with decomposed clay and small debris mostly found spread over the town.


(10) (11) (12)

Countless fragments of pottery and porcelain were found scattered on the ground Fragments of Glazed Pottery, Porcelain, etc.(7). This showed the wide spread of the custom of tea drinking after the Song period, as well as the expanse of the market of Chinese ceramics to the north and west via Khara-Khoto. 


Various kinds of ceramics were found in Khara-Khoto; Cizhou Ware (Cizhou district in Hebei Province) decorated with scratch incised patterns, white Ding ware (Quyang district in Hebei Province), Yaozhou Ware (Tongchuan district in Shanxi Province), Jun Ware (Yu district in Henan Province), Longquan Ware (Longquan city in Zhejiang Province), Qinghua Ware decorated with cobalt on a white porcelain body (Jindezhen in Jiangxi Province) in Yuan Dynasty, and so forth.


(13) (14)

A group of Tibetan-style stūpas stood outside the town’s fortress walls (Photo(8)Plans and Sections of Stūpas and Shrines(9)). 


Stucco images and paintings discovered there show no real Western Xia-influence; instead being strongly influenced by Tibetan Lamaism (Blockprints on Paper(10)) or by the art of the Song Dynasty Standing Figures of Bodhisattvas(11)Standing Guardians of the Temple(12)). 


Kozlov discovered a number of documents and paintings from inside the stupas, and Stein also collected many fragments of stucco reliefs and Buddhist figures (Heads of Buddha(13)Portions of Stucco Armour(14)).







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