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Bezeklik (Bšzšklik), (near Turfan), Tarim Basin

Uighurian Princesses from Temple 9

A larger image of Uighurian Princesses, Temple 9, Bezeklik (Bšzšklik), (near Turfan), Tarim Basin.

109 Uighurian Princesses
Bezeklik, Temple 9, 9th century
Wall painting, 66.0 x 57.0 cm.
MIK III 6876b

Two Uighurian princesses with East Asian features walk solemnly toward the left over a wave-patterned carpet with borders on each side. They are wearing wide, sand-colored robes without a pronounced waistline. The V-shaped necklines edged by a collar embroidered with red spiral lines. The fastening in the middle and the seems on the upper sleeves and the knee-line of the garments are marked with red-and-white braid, which may—as von Gabain believes—indicate the width of the material, here 35 centimeters (Gabain 197b, p. 124). The red crosshatched material of the undergarment can be seen at the neck and wrists. The elaborate coiffure, which marks its owners as members of a privileged class, shows two wings of hair at each side fastened with ornamental pins; a magnificent crown is worn on top. From the hair at the back, a rust-red sash hangs nearly to the floor and is tied in a decorative bow at hip level. Like the princes of No. 108, each woman has been given a flower. According to von Le Coq, the inscription on the cartouche preserved next to the right-hand figure reads: "This is the picture of Her Highness Princess Joy."

Le Coq 1913, Pl. 30b and text. Bussagli 1963, pp. 101. 107 (ill., left figure). Indische Kunst 1971, 1976, no. 560.

Source: Along the Ancient Silk Routes. Central Asian Art from the West Berlin State Museums (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1982), no. 109, pp. 169 and 171.

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Tarim Basin Frescos

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