페이지 이미지
PDF

so graphically described by my friend Dr. Ross, and I feel the disappointment the more, as I have already been six years in this country without ever having had such an opportunity, my duties not permitting me to absent myself from the vessel for a length of time, such as would be required to perform the journey by land from Baghdad.

The failure of this attempt is not to be attributed to any severe obstacles met with in the navigation of the Upper Tigris, for to a vessel possessing the power of those now running on the Thames of an average speed of 10 knots per hour, such difficulties as the Nitocris experienced would be deemed of minor importance. The Nitocris indeed under the most favorable circumstances in still water, cannot exceed the speed of 8 knots per hour, having a wheel of 12 feet diameter only, and a short stroke of 30 inches, more cannot be expected of her. By some miscalculation of the designer of the vessel this diameter of 12 feet is further reduced to 11 feet 4 inches, from being obliged to reef the paddle floats; as when carried out to the full extent of the circumference of the wheels, experience has proved, that she is much less effective than in her present state. The engines are in fact either placed too low in the vessel, or when launched the hull must have drawn more water than was calculated upon.

It is true that the Euphrates, built under the superintendence of Col. Chesney; ascended to a much higher point when commanded by and I am informed has realized in his discoveries all that an ardent antiquarian can wish for; indeed Nimrud is represented as inexhaustible. It is probable that Mr. Layard's first cargo of “reliques” have ere this, reached Baghdad, thus far on its way to England, and it is hoped, if the Government do not undertake the further excavation of this interesting mound, that some public body will lend its endeavours to facilitate Mr. Layard in the objects he has in view, and thus secure to England a rich mine of antique specimens, unique of their kind, which will afford matter for enquiry and further research into the large field now opened to us in Mesopotamia, and without doubt tend to elucidate and finally brighten the few glimpses afforded us, into the hitherto dark pages of ancient history.

The untiring and ardent mind of Major Rawlinson, I think, first suggested the idea of excavating on this site, and the antiquarian community of Europe are not only indebted to him, but to Sir Stratford Canning, H. B. M. Ambassador at Constantinople, who in addition to opening the mound, undertook, with a munificence rarely met with, to advance from his private purse the necessary funds for commencing the operations on an extensive scale. His unceasing exertions too, with the ministers of Constantinople to secure by Firman, the right of exploration on Turkish soil, without which Mr. Layard's exertions would have proved fruitless, must claim for His Excellency the gratitude of the British Public. It only remains now for the Government to continue what has thus been so liberally begun.

Captain Lynch; but in all respects she was a superior vessel, though drawing a little more water than the Nitocris, and carried her paddle shaft at a considerable height above her deck, thus giving a diameter of wheel of nearly one-third more. To the above causes then must be imputed the inability of the Nitocris to perform the ascent of the Upper Tigris, as I have said before, that under the most favorable circumstances (without either fuel or provisions) her speed does not exceed 8 knots, it can hardly be deemed a matter of surprize that she should have failed to contend against a stream of 64 geographical miles per hour with occasional falls, when it is considered that she carried above one month’s provisions and 18 tons of fuel, besides the guns, material and men, on the present expedition. When I left Baghdad I hoped for, but did not anticipate success; I am therefore not disappointed. We have at all events to congratulate ourselves having ascended to the Hamrin, whereas our former journey, having the same objects in view, terminated at Dur from an insufficiency of water. The bearings throughout these notes are true, excepting where expressly mentioned by compass, and are reckoned from north to the right; east being 90°, south 180, west 270, and north 360°.

[merged small][ocr errors]

Often has it occurred to me that if those who could draw even tolerably, would make rough outlines and send them to our Society, very great benefit might be derived, not only would the fast mouldering and vanishing relics of byegone days be preserved to memory, but we should have the means of comparing graven records from all parts of India, and perhaps be thus able to set many disputed points of history at rest, particularly as regards the habits of the early races, their objects of worship, their costumes, implements of husbandry, and of warfare. The few opportunities I have enjoyed of examining a tithe of the curiosities in this presidency, convince me of the justice of a remark of James Prinsep's on the subject of the art of painting and sculpturing practised by the early Buddhists, (see Note, p. 687, Vol. VI. of the

Journal,) “it explains the practice equally, and teaches as how we may

successfully analyse the events depicted in the drawings of Adjunta, perchance, or the sculptures of Bhilsa.”—What would not our talented and ever-to-be-lamented friend have given to see the clumsy though interesting objects, the subject of this paper ? In these we find the worship of the Dagop and the Chuttur, of the Sun and of Fire, of deities hitherto unknown to us, but which appear to have reference to bramanical creed, and point to Egyptian origin. As the best way to induce and encourage an undertaking is to set a good example, I now lay before the Society a portfolio of rough sketches of some of the curious sculptures of unquestionable antiquity found scattered here and there at the former parental seat of Buddhism –Bodh Gyah. It will be seen that these bassreliefs are in medallion, they form the ornament of posts or pillars which, from the elliptical sockets remaining, show them to have supported a railing similar to that still existing around the Tope or Chaitya at Bhilsa, and represented in the very sculptures themselves, not only around the Topes, but forming enclosures for the sacred Trees and “Chutturs” (Umbrellas), &c. This Pattern, which I shall call the “rail or bar pattern,” I had years since remarked as a peculiarity; it is to be found in the present sculptures, in the caves of Western India, Mahabullipore and Amaravatti, in the caves of Kundgirri and the Tope of Bhilsa, in fact it may be considered as the certain and indisputable mark of early Buddhist works. We have a square pillar with similar sockets in our museum, on one face of which is the figure of a priestess holding a bird cage, and on the other probably the elephant and Maya Davee, illustrative of her dream related in the Pali annals; it is in Agra red sandstone, and I believe was found at Muttra and deposited in the museum by Col. Stacy; I invite the attention of my Calcutta brother-members to this curiosity, which has no doubt originally formed part of a similar work to those described. By the foregoing it will be seen that from these sculptures we learn the peculiar style of architecture prevalent in the country two thousand five hundred years ago, at least of religious buildings, and from the Bhilsa sculptures we find that of fortifications. We next see that the leading objects of worship were the Chaitya * the B6 tree, of which so much mention is made in the early Budhist works.

Again we find that the implements of warfare were bows and arrows, spears, double-edged swords, precisely the shape of those still common in the Curjats or petty states of Orissa, called “Khandas,” and that stomes were hurled from the walls of their strongholds. From the Bödh Gyah sculptures we find that all the scenes are laid amongst the rocks; that such were the most favorite localities we have ample proof from most of the known sites in Behar, and of Western India, Cuttack and Ceylon, and the very remote antiquity of the practice is again confirmed by Herodotus and by holy scripture itself, as relates to Western Asia and Egypt, from which it may possibly have been borrowed. The sculptures of Cuttack and Gyah represent the same style of dress and of coiffure, the men wearing a short, the women a long Dhotee, the upper part of the body remaining bare in both, with few exceptions; the hair of the men wound up in a knot on the crown, and that of the women both on, and behind, the head. The ears of either sex having extended lobes from the apparent weight of the great rings and knobs in them similar to those worn by the Kämphutta sects of monks (votaries of Siva) in the present day, and I should observe that the costumes above described closely resemble those still worn by the Kunds and Boomiahs of the Orissa mountains, the Chotya Nagpore districts, the head-dress in particular; the broad necklaces and anklets are an equally prominent feature. In the description of preparations for the great convocation in Magda after the death of Sakya, mention is made of the nature of the ornaments, amongst which were representations of festoons of flowers, &c.; now this ornament is of repeated occurrence in the sculptures I am treating of; garlands are represented as suspended from the Chutturs and the B6 tree, and from poles both on and beside the Topes or Chaityás; angels are seen flying with them over the object of worship; and from the fragments at Gyah and Barabar, it would seem that this was always a favorite ornament; here then again we have the correctness of a description contained in one of the most ancient writings extant, couñrmed. Of all the subjects, that of the hand issuing from a rock or a cloud, and holding apparently a flame of fire, which is again surrounded by other flames, with a concourse of people in the act of worship, is the most curious and interesting; it will, I think, explain the allusion."

“Aguni,” in the pillar inscriptions which Prinsep could not account for, therefore considered the passage doubtful.

The next which occurs on the same stone is a young male figure in a chariot drawn by four horses and attended by two amazons with bows and arrows, which I take to be meant for “Surya” or “Mythra,” the Sun, whose emblem is oft repeated in the shape of the chakra or wheel. This again explains another doubt in the same reading, as well as the emblems on the early coins.

A third sculpture exhibits a temple with the Monogram (on an altar) so common in the coins, likewise surmounting the standards represented

in the Bhilsa sculptures, § which I think may be considered to repre

sent both the Budhist and Hindu Triad, as the trissil and the mystic syllable “aum” combined; taking the figure as it stands, it forms the trissil, if separately, we have the H 4, and 8, of which I consider it to be a combination, but if the second letter is objected to and u be required, the verticle line below the circle at once supplies it; if again the y J, is preferred, we have it in the upper half thus U, and I think that I shall not be taxed with too great a stretch of imagination in offering this solution of the problem. "Assuming the foregoing to be correct, I must beg permission to digress a little and offer a few words on this curious emblem to show its connection with the present idol and worship of Jugannath, and the once famous Somnath; first then let me invite the perusal of Patterson's able paper on the Hindu religion, to be found in the 8th volume of the Asiatic Researches, under the head J uggannath ; he attempts to show, and I think successfully, the origin of the idols and worship of Juggannath; he considers those wooden idols to be an ingenious personification of the triliteral and mystic word “aum” itself, held in reverence not only by the three great sects of Hindus, but (as I have shown) by the Buddhist likewise. Mr. Patterson imagines that the device was to render the temple an object of worship for all sects, the surest method to draw a large revenue from pilgrims, he was led to this supposition from the similitude betwixt the written syllable Ś and the shape of the logs or idols which (it will be observed) still more closely resemble the symbol of these sculptures; supposing then these inferences to be correct, we come to the conclusion that the object of

« 이전계속 »