- Museum number
Fragment of a clay figure. This is the head of the Buddha, shown with closed eyes and a serene facial expression. The figure is much damaged and the top-knot as well as the right ear have broken off. However, some of the curls are still visible. The figure was made using a mould and covered with a red slip before being fired. Traces of white and black paint also remain.
- Production date
Height: 23.50 centimetres
Width: 17.40 centimetres
- Curator's comments
From Whitfield 1985:
The great stupa at Rawak was one of the most important sites investigated by Stein on his first journey. Lying to the north of Khotan, high sand dunes helped to preserve it while subsoil water had destroyed the timbers that served to support its sculptures. The plan (see Ancient Khotan, Pl.XL) shows a vihāra court 161 feet (49.1 m)long by 141 feet (43.0m)wide, within which rose a stupa in three storeys, the lowest some 78 feet (23.8m)square. The stupa was approached by a staircase in the centre of each side; its summit, as measured by Stein, was some 23 1/2 feet (7.1m) above the floor of the court. The enclosing wall of this vihāra court was adorned, both inside and outside, with rows of colossal statues in clay stucco, supported on a wooden framework, which had completely disappeared.
Because of the friable nature of the material, it was not possible for Stein to recover any of the larger figures intact: “All that could be done in the case of these large sculptures was to bury them again safely in the sand after they had been photographed and described” (Ancient Khotan, Vol.Ⅰ, p.502). The stupa and some of the very numerous statues lining the inner and outer walls of the stupa court are shown in Ancient Khotan (Figs.59-69), and other photographs from Emil Trinkler’s investigation of the site in 1927-28 are published by Gerd Gropp (1974, Figs.93-111 and Pls.XIII-XVIII). All of these show the magnificent scale of the whole sculptural arrangement, with larger than life-size standing figures of the Buddha alternating with smaller Buddha and Bodhisattva figures, some of them seated. The relatively small areas of wall in between the large relief figures were plastered and bore wall paintings of smaller figures, some of these probably being later additions (see Ancient Khotan, Vol.Ⅰ, p.492).
The head shown here is from R. vi, one of the smaller Buddha figures on the inner south-west wall, standing between colossal Buddhas: the figure was broken by the fall of one of these(R. v, shown in Ancient Khotan, Fig.61) after it had been exposed for a day, but the head had been removed first and so survived. According to Stein, it was“in respect of pose, size and drapery a replica of the Buddha image R. ii. ”This figure, also visible in Fig.61 and, with its head in place, in Fig.69 of Ancient Khotan, was described by Stein in some detail (ibid., Vol. Ⅰ, pp.490-91). The form of the body is clearly visible, very narrow waisted and with swelling hips, beneath the drapery. As in the Gupta style, the drapery runs in raised lines over the smooth forms underneath, but here the lines are close-set and form stylised waves running down the figure from the neck-line. Behind the head, the nimbus was arranged in similar fashion to those reproduced by Gropp (1974, Figs.101, 103, 110) with a border of large overlapping spiral cloud scrolls, and a pointed flame extension at the top. Small seated appliqué figures of the Buddha, one at the top and two more on each side of the head, were set within the nimbus. The small appliqué seated Buddha in Pl.65 was intended for such a purpose, and is very similar, though it came from a different statue, R.lxxxiv.
Although small in size compared with the largest figures, this head displays their principal characteristics. The whole face below the hairline is modelled in smooth curves, with very slight transitions between planes: in profile the eyebrows mark such a shift with little more than an incised line, and the small chin protrudes only slightly from the surrounding area. The eyes are sharply defined and are additionally modelled by a thick white application of stucco along the edges of the upper and lower lids. Little evidence remains of the original whitewash which probably covered the figure. Stein was able to describe a pink tīkā in the centre of the forehead, now difficult to distinguish. At the back of the head, a rectangular hollow almost the full width of the head marks the size of the supporting member of the timber framework behind the figure.
From Whitfield 1985:
這些聖像質地脆弱易壞，斯坦因不可能完整地帶走較大的塑像。他說“我們拍照攝影和調查記錄工作結束後，只能把這些大塑像安全地埋回沙漠了”（《古代和闐》，卷1，502頁）。有關該塔和寺址圍牆內外側的塑像，除了《古代和闐》（圖59～69）外，Gerd Gropp出版的1927～1928年Emil Trinkler在此遺跡進行調查時所拍照片（《中國新疆•和闐考古發現》，1974，圖93～111及圖XIII-XVIII）中也有收錄。由此可瞭解造像規模之大，其中有比人高的立佛像，也有小一點的佛及菩薩塑像，有些是坐著的。在大佛像之間極狹窄的壁面上，塗上灰泥，繪有小的圖像，但其中有不少是後來加上的（見《古代和闐》，卷1，492頁）。
The great ‘stūpa’ at Rawak, north of Khotan, was surrounded by a large ‘vihāra’ court, 49.1 m by 43m. Considerable parts of the enclosing wall, adorned with images on both its faces, were preserved beneath the sand. These figures, many of them colossal, were of unfired clay supported on a timber framework, which had rotted away, so that some of the smaller heads alone could be removed. The present head is from one of the smaller Buddhas standing between colossal Buddhas on the inner south-east wall. The body of a similar figure visible in Stein's photographs is narrow-waisted, with thin drapery in narrow raised lines, as in Gupta sculptures.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- The 1907-11-11 group refers to objects from Stein's First Central Asian Expedition, 1900-01. According to Stein's Introduction to 'Ancient Khotan' (1907), the expedition was funded by the Governments of India, the Panjab (Punjab) and from provincial funds of Bengal. All the finds were shipped to London for sorting, research and publication. The Government of India then recommended that Dr Rudolf Hoernle, together with the British Museum, should determine the distribution of the finds (BM Archives, Stein Papers, CE32/23/5).
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: R.vi (Stein no.)