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Horsemen at the Siege of Kushinagara. 'City cave' Šōrčuq. Karashahr, 8th Century AD (?)


fig. 65 (G. 469a) 'City cave' Šōrčuq. Horseman.
Mural. 8th Century. (?).
Simple spangenhelm, dark-coloured coif. Longer armour plates, on the forearms military gloves (dästānä p.)? Shield on a belt worn on the back. Bow case of tiger skin, downward tapering quiver. Straight (or slightly curved?) sword with cross guard (as in fig. 69 and 70).
fig. 66 (G 469b) 'City cave' Šōrčuq.
Two riders. Mural. Armour as on fig. 65. Flag in the form of a circular segment, with attached streamers. Related to the form of the Bayeux Embroidery.



Source: figs. 65 & 66, p.58, Bilderatlas zur Kunst und Kulturgeschichte Mittel-Asiens : vol.1 by Albert von Le Coq



The mural after being moved to St. Petersburg:

A larger detail of the left of the Siege of KushinagaraA larger image of the right of the Siege of Kushinagara

Siege of Kushinagara

Karashahr, Shikshin. VIII century
Painting on dry plaster
Receipt: 1931, from the Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera), Russian Academy of Sciences; from materials of the First Russian Turkestan Expedition of S. F. Oldenburg, 19091910.
Hermitage Museum Inv. No. ШШ-779

The plot of the painting is associated with the events that took place after the death and cremation of the body of Buddha Shakyamuni near Kushinagara. When news of these events reached the cities in which Shakyamuni preached the Doctrine, the princes who ruled in them gathered troops and laid siege to Kushinagara, demanding that they give them a sharira - relics left after the cremation of the Buddha's body. The leaders of the besiegers belonged to the Shakya clan, from which Buddha Shakyamuni himself came. One of his disciples, a brahmana named Drona, recalled his vow not to harm living beings, thereby stopping the battle that was about to begin. He divided the Buddha's ashes into eight parts, and the Buddhist communities thus received their share. Memorial stupas were erected over each of these relics.
Photo by Oleg Belaychuk



fig. 65 is referenced as figure 454 in The military technology of classical Islam by D Nicolle
454. Fresco in City Cave, 8th century AD, east Turkistānī, in situ, Sorcuk (Stein S).

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