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Manichaean Silk Painting from Chotscho {Khocho}


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a. This fragment of a large silk painting was found, along with many other remains of fabric, in the long and narrow room or corridor next to the “library” in the ruin K in Chotscho. As no similar painting has been found in good condition, nothing can be said about the way in which it was exhibited; but if one may refer to other, even worse preserved pictures for comparison, it seems reasonable to assume that such pictures were usually attached to coarser material and bordered with a border of coloured, patterned silk; they can be thought of as closely related to the familiar Japanese images of a similar nature.
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behind a wall made of red and white stones, two armed men appear, of which only the head and chest are visible. They wear breast armour composed of blue, vertical plates; the neck is protected by a wide yellow metal collar. The head is covered by a blue, shell-shaped, low helmet cap with a very short nose protector and a yellow top. The cap appears to be made of iron or steel; apparently it is riveted together from a number of metal strips tapering towards the top and meeting at the summit. The sides of the face and the neck are protected by a kind of helmet well made of horizontally lying plates.

Each of the two armed men wields a straight sword with a blue blade and a yellow handle positioned forward at a slight angle. The broad quillons are also yellow and form a simple cross with the blade and handle. The arms of the two warriors are destroyed, but you can see that they are swinging their weapons against a demon who appears to the left of the masonry. Only the green hair, the yellow-white ear and part of the blue-gray-coloured face are preserved of this very large figure; it seems to have been depicted en face. We are unable to explain the objects indistinctly drawn above its left shoulder; they may be part of the demon's equipment. In the space above its head there are heavily damaged structures that can be stylized flowers or clouds.

The faces of the warriors stand out due to the very large, straight eyes. The nose and mouth are drawn in with red lines.
Source: Plate 4a, A. von Le Coq, Chotscho, Berlin, 1913



Referenced as fig. 59, p 56, Bilderatlas zur Kunst und Kulturgeschichte Mittel-Asiens : vol.1 by Albert von Le Coq
fig. 59. Manichaean Silk Painting from Chotscho. Helmets with nasal and armour plates, 8th-9th Centuries.
Helmets blue. Helmet (pine)cone yellow. Coif: yellowish, as hauberk. Armour: blue plates. Sword: straight. Blade: blue. Handle: bent slightly forward and yellow as is the guard. Museum for Ethnology.

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