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Kumtura [Qumtura]locked

  • M. Yaldiz

Extract

[Qumtura]

Site of Buddhist monasteries c. 25 km south-west of Kucha in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China. The monasteries were built on both banks of the Muzart River, spread out over three gorges, and comprised both cave temples and free-standing buildings. The architecture is the same as that at Kizil. The wall paintings (some in situ; some Berlin, Mus. Ind. Kst) are in the first and second Indo-Iranian styles (5th–7th century ad). However, there are also caves with paintings in the style of the Chinese Tang period (ad 618–907) dating from the 8th to the 10th century, mainly in the eastern monastery site north of the Silk Route, such as the Kinnarī, Apsaras and Nirvāna caves. These paintings are similar to those at Shorchuk and Turfan further east. There are also a few paintings showing a gentle transition to a third style, such as a preaching scene (Berlin, Mus. Ind. Kst, MIK III 9024), where Indo-Iranian elements mix with Buddhist–Chinese ones, so that it is impossible to compare the drawing and colours with the work of the main schools. The facial traits of the Buddha, the flaming halo and the spotted garments are strong eastern characteristics, while the braid, lotus and clothes of the monk show influence from the west....

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