Preservation of the Buddhist Monastery of Ajina Tepa, Tajikistan

Potsherd with seal impressions bearing the image of a seated figure

 The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation has been participating in the UNESCO/Japanese Funds-in-Trust project, “Preservation of the Buddhist Monastery of Ajina Tepa, Tajikistan” since 2006. As this is the last year of the project, the excavated objects were sorted and the acquired data were analyzed in view of the publication of a report at the National Museum of Antiquities of Tajikistan from October 2 to 23, 2008. Most of the excavated objects are fragments of pottery and mud bricks from the 7th to 8th centuries when people inhabited the Ajina Tepa site. In this mission, a piece of the rim of a large jar on which stamp seals had been impressed was found among these objects. There are two seal impressions, one large and the other small. At the center of the large round seal is an image of a seated figure; to its right, as viewed from the image, is a water pot, while to its left is an object that looks like a staff. Although many fragments of large jars have been discovered from the Ajina Tepa site, this is the only piece with such seal impressions. Had the seals been impressed on large jars used for a special purpose? This was a fascinating finding.

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