I beg to present my warmest
thanks to Mr. William Simpson, F.R.G.S., the distinguished artist and antiquary,
who last year extended his researches to Peshawur valley and elsewhere,
and thereby so enriched the Lahore Museum, for kindly presenting me with
a copy of his very valuable paper, "Buddhist Architecture: Jellalabad,"
enriched with seven illustrations. Our thanks are none the less due to Mr.
Simpson, that in one point, and a very important one too, it is impossible
for either our Society or myself, to agree with his conclusions. The feature
of Mr. Simpsons interesting and learned paper is, to quote the words
of Mr. James Fergusson, F.R.G.S., Past Vice-President, that every "form
of art was imported into India, and nothing ever came out of it"
(the italics are mine). Mr. Simpson builds his hasty conclusions upon the
fact that most of the capitals of the pillars and pilasters in the ruins
of the valley of the Kabul river, are Corinthian, and "the bases and
mouldings generally are such as are most unmistakably derived from the far
west," and finally that a "number of bell-shaped capitals, surmounted
by double animals which look like a reminiscence of the pillars of Persepolis,"
are also found in the caves of Karli, and other caves of India, as well
as in the valley of Peshawur.
I will not limit my protest in this case to merely pointing to the words
of Mr. Fergusson, who cautiously remarks that "the similarity is, however,
so remote that it is hardly sufficient to sustain Mr. Simpsons assertion
that every form of art was imported into India, and nothing ever came out
of it." But I will humbly suggest that in a country like India, whose
past history is a total blank, every attempt to decide the age of the monuments,
or whether their style was original or borrowed, is now pretty much as open
a question as it was a century ago. A new discovery may any day annihilate
the theory of the day before. Lack of space forbids me to enter upon the
discussion more elaborately. Therefore, I will permit myself only to say
that Mr. Simpsons present "assertion" remains as hypothetical
as before. Otherwise, we would have to decide á priori, whether
India or Greece borrowed from the other in other important cases now pending.
Besides "Corinthian pillars" and "double animals," once
so dear to the Persepolitans, we have, here, the solar race of the Hari-Kula
(Sun family) whose deeds must have been a copy of, or the model for, the
labours and very name of the Grecian Sun-God Hercules. No less is it a matter
for the consideration of philologists and archæologists which of the
two the Egyptian Sphinx, called by them Harimukh, or Har-M-Kho (the
Sun in his resting-place) or the lofty Himâlaya peak, also called
Harimukh (the mouth of the Sun) in the range to the north of Cashmir, owes
its name to the other.