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Intact Chinese Murals Discovered In Ancient Tomb

Posted by on June 21, 2013
The dome ceiling of the tomb is painted dark gray to "signify the infinite space of the sky." A silver river, with waves, weaves across the sky representing the Milky Way galaxy. Stars can be seen and the sun is represented at center-right and the moon at center-left. Photo courtesy Chinese Archaeology

The dome ceiling of the tomb is painted dark gray to “signify the infinite space of the sky.” A silver river, with waves, weaves across the sky representing the Milky Way galaxy. Stars can be seen and the sun is represented at center-right and the moon at center-left. Photo courtesy Chinese Archaeology

A well-preserved and colorful tomb where a military commander and his wife were likely buried 1,500 years ago has been discovered in China. The domed tomb’s murals, whose original colors were preserved very well was discovered in Shuozhou City, about 200 miles southwest of Beijing. The researchers believe that the murals cover an area of about 860 square feet (80 square meters), almost the same area as a modern-day bowling lane. Most of the grave’s goods were looted along with the bodies gone. The murals, drawn on plaster were still there and in a passageway leading into the tomb, is a guard of honor, supported by men on horses, their red and blue uniforms vivid despite all the time that has passed.

There is a man and woman depicted enjoying a banquet while sitting under a canopy inside the tomb. Another image shows a man playing a tall harp while two other musicians hold windpipe instruments. Near the tomb’s entranceway, there is a mural showing four men blowing into long horns. The archaeologists noticed that there are a good number of females depicted in the tomb. The archaeologistsĀ noted that all the females, including the wife, are shown with their hair in the shape of a “flying bird.” There is a stunning dome depicting the how the ancient Chinese viewed the heavens.

The article mentions how the domed ceiling is painted uniformly in dark grey color to signify the infinite space of the sky. On either side of the Silver River, there are white dots representing the stars, alongside representations of the moon and sun, with the sun bearing a “gold crow” at the center. Supernatural beings and zodiac animals are depicted below this sky map. According to archaeologist Liu Yan, “The tomb had been robbed three times before he got to it and most of the grave goods, including the bodies, were gone. Tome robbers had already began making preparations for stealing the murals. I can imagine to type of treasures that must have been a place like this. According to the article, the tomb was home to a military commander and his wife and historians know that at the time this couple lived, three rival dynasties battled for control of China. The buried commander served the Northern Qi, a short lived dynasty that lasted between AD 550 and 577.

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