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"One half the civilized world," it has been said, "is an enigma to the other half." Asia, until very recently, has been part myth, part unknown, and a very small part fact to the majority of Europe. With all its riches of philosophy and art, the Far East is only beginning to be opened to the West.
Two men, one Langdon Warner '03, and the other Professor Paul Pelliot, Professor at the College de France, who recently visited the University, have been instrumental in bringing to light the art and history of this great continent.
Mr. Warner has taken part in a number of expeditions in China as Fellow of the Fogg Museum for Research in Asia. In the summer of 1923 he left for China and prepared there for a year's trip into the interior.
"The seeker for archaeological information in China," says the account of Mr. Warner's recent trip, "follows any clues that come his way, and generally finds that they lead, not to the promised Tang masterpiece, but to some modern atrocity. The expedition went up many of these blind alleys, but one morning it stopped to look at some caves said to contain ancient carvings. The cave turned out to be one of the most important finds of the expedition."
Chapel of Sixth Century
"From stylistic evidence, since no inscription was in sight, it was obvious that the cave chapel dated from the first half of the sixth century. Although many of the carvings were wrecked, there remained enough to show that they belonged to the same period as the great caves at Lung Men and Tatung Fu. The cave was important for two reasons; first, because of the great carven elephants that stood at each corner of the central core pillar, and the Jataka tales sculptured on the walls, features unique, it is believed, in the sculpture of the period; and secondly, because of its situation on the trade route from India and the West.
"The trade routes are one of the most picturesque of archaeological problems. The road from India to China led west of Tibet, since the country of Burma was difficult to travel. It passed through the ancient province of Gandhara, where it touched the western culture left haphazard by Alexander's armies and the traders who followed. It then bent eastward through what is now Chinese Turkestan, and finally, constricted by the Himalayan Mountains and the Gobi desert, debouched into what is now Kansu province.
Kara Khoto Objective
"Kara Khoto in the Gobi desert was one of the expedition's objectives. But progress was very slow. In many places the roads were mere gullies worn 20 to 30 feet below the surface of the surrounding country by the countless years of travel over them. In the rains these roads became mud sloughs. The expedition actually considered itself fortunate if it was able to cover 20 miles a day in the carts in which it went as far as Suchow in Kansu. Here it changed the carts for camels and turned northward.
"Kara Khoto is a ruined desert city, uninhabited now for some 400 years. It is mentioned by Marco Polo under the name of Edzina. In modern times it has been visited by very few Europeans, prominent among whom has been Colonel Kozlov of Petrograd who recently made such startling discoveries in Manchuria.
"The expedition made a map of the city and was most fortunate in bringing back from there a number of small frescos, a superb Chinese mirror of the T'ang period, some interesting fragments of colored clay sculpture, and many bits of broken pottery which will be of interest for the purpose of study, and perhaps for analysis of clays and glazes.
Chinese Roads Bad
"The roads in China," continued the account of Mr. Warner's journey, in reply discussing the external nature of the country, are, as has been said before, the last word in bad construction. In fact little or no construction is evident. When it rains, the sunken tracks become actual rivers of mud. Across the desert roads are practically negligible. The Gobi desert is itself an immense expanse of sand and rocks stretching over what seem almost illimitable distances. Out of the more or less even plain of the desert, huge, weather-worn cliffs that tower up perpendicularly as for instance the magnificent organ rocks which rise for hundreds of feet above the desert floor and have been fluted by the action of the elements until they resemble great organ tubes.
"Another highly interesting and striking thing which is characteristic of China is the walled village, a number of which were encountered by the expedition. The towns are entirely surrounded by high and massive parapeted walls, the level line of which is broken particularly at the corners and over the gates by rather tall and heavily fortified towers."
After spending a year in exploration discovering a large number of important Chinese antiquities, and meeting with many interesting adventures, the Fogg Museum. Expedition returned to America.
Pelliot a "Chinologist"
"The more we study the history of the ancient Far East, the more we see that Chinese civilization, in spite of the fact that it has developed along its own lines and has an entirely distinct character, has, nevertheless, not been secluded and entirely cut off from the rest of the ancient world," declared Professor Paul Pelliot, who recently gave a series of lectures on Neolithic Art in Northern China at the Fogg Museum, in a special interview with the CRIMSON.
"I am what one might call a chinologist," said Professor Pelliot after he had welcomed his interviewer with the greatest kindness and bienseance, "that is to say, I make a study of Chinese antiquities, and I have come to this country at the request of Columbia University to give a course on Chinese scholarship. My reception in this country has been very gratifying.
"I came here to Harvard to speak on some very important discoveries made recently in China which give an insight into the early stage of the evolution of the arts and culture of that region, and also the ancient connections, to some extent economic, existing between the Far East and other portions of the then civilized world.
Neolithic Settlements Found
"Some time ago, about 30 neolithic settlements were found in China which prove rather conclusively that even in those very early times there was a cultural connection, shown by a comparison and study of the painted ceramics which have been discovered, between China, Southern Russia and the Messopotamian countries. Therefore, although it may be difficult to trace these connections later, we must admit that they existed many centuries before the beginning of the Christian era, possibly as early as 3,000 B. C. The painted ceramics of Northern China are, by the way, about the best which have been found anywhere.
"Some recent discoveries," continued the archaeologist, "in fact, the ones on which I lectured at the Fogg Museum, have been made in Northern China by a Russian, Colonel Kozlov. These discoveries consist of a number of early tombs all dating from about the first century before our era which contained an enormous number of textiles in a truly remarkable state of preservation." Professor Pelliot then went on to describe the tombs more in detail.
Tombs Were Made of Wood
The tombs which Colonel Kozlov discovered were made of wood and consisted in a typical instance of one chamber, measuring about seven by ten yards, placed inside another so as to leave a rather large corridor around the outside. Within the inmost chamber, a heavy, lacquered and decorated coffin lay upon a thick woolen carpet. In the second chamber were found the valuable textiles and other objects. No golden or silver pieces were found in any of the tombs due to the fact that they had already been broken into by robbers at a much earlier date. Human remains were also not to be discovered, although as many as 17 queues of human hair wrapped up in silk were found hanging in a single tomb probably as a sign of mourning.
"One of the most marvelous things about the whole discovery," said Professor Pelliot, "is the remarkable way in which the large numbers of very perishable materials such as woolen and silk textiles, and even furs have been preserved. It is particularly extraordinary when we realize that they are in this state of preservation in spite of the
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