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Rare treasures unearthed from imperial Chinese tombs

A large number of rare treasures have been unearthed from the ancient imperial tombs discovered earlier this year in Yangzhou, Jiangsu Province, conveying the genius of ancient Chinese artisanship and the civilization of the time.

Rare treasures unearthed from imperial Chinese tombs
Archaeologists work in the tomb belonged to Yang Guang, or Emperor Yang of Sui, the second and last monarch of the short-lived Sui Dynasty (581-618), in Yangzhou, East China's Jiangsu Province, Nov. 16, 2013. The tombs which were unearthed at a construction site in Yangzhou earlier this year have been confirmed to be the final resting place of Emperor Yang of Sui, known for his tyrannous reign about 1,500 years ago, and Empress Xiao [Credit: Xinhua/Sun Can]
At a press conference jointly organized by the State Administration of Cultural Heritage and the Chinese Society of Archaeology on Nov. 16, archaeologists confirmed that the ancient tombs discovered in Yangzhou, Jiangsu Province, in April of this year, were the final resting place of Emperor Yang Guang and Empress Xiao of the Sui Dynasty (589-618).

Rare treasures unearthed from imperial Chinese tombs
Burial objects in the tomb of Empress Xiao, the wife of Emperor Yang Guang of Sui Dynasty (581-618), in Yangzhou, East China's Jiangsu Province. The tombs which were unearthed at a construction site in Yangzhou earlier this year have been confirmed to be the final resting place of Emperor Yang of Sui, known for his tyrannous reign about 1,500 years ago, and Empress Xiao [Credit: Xinhua/Sun Can]
In addition to the two male teeth and female skeletal remains, more than 100 burial objects were excavated. They included rare treasures made of jade, bronze and iron, pottery, lacquer ware as well as wooden objects.

Rare treasures unearthed from imperial Chinese tombs
The tomb of Empress Xiao, the wife of Emperor Yang Guang of Sui Dynasty (581-618), in Yangzhou, East China's Jiangsu Province. The tombs which were unearthed at a construction site in Yangzhou earlier this year have been confirmed to be the final resting place of Emperor Yang of Sui, known for his tyrannous reign about 1,500 years ago, and Empress Xiao [Credit: Xinhua]
The No. 1 Tomb (or M1) is a square-shaped, brick-built catacomb comprising five parts: the main hall, east and west rooms, a path leading up to the main hall and a corridor leading to the main entrance. The grave is 24.48 meters long, 8.22 meters wide and 2.76 meters high.

Rare treasures unearthed from imperial Chinese tombs
Remains and burial objects in the tomb of Empress Xiao, the wife of Emperor Yang Guang of Sui Dynasty (581-618), in Yangzhou, East China's Jiangsu Province. The tombs which were unearthed at a construction site in Yangzhou earlier this year have been confirmed to be the final resting place of Emperor Yang of Sui, known for his tyrannous reign about 1,500 years ago, and Empress Xiao [Credit: Xinhua/Sun Can]
Among the treasures retrieved, was a 13-ring gilt jade belt experts described as "the most complete unearthed high-level relic in Chinese archaeological history." In addition, four bronze doorknockers are also considered as eye-catching ancient imperial belongings.

Rare treasures unearthed from imperial Chinese tombs
Pottery figurines excavated from the tomb of Yang Guang, or Emperor Yang of Sui, the second and last monarch of the short-lived Sui Dynasty (581-618), in Yangzhou, East China's Jiangsu Province. The tombs which were unearthed at a construction site in Yangzhou earlier this year have been confirmed to be the final resting place of Emperor Yang of Sui, known for his tyrannous reign about 1,500 years ago, and Empress Xiao [Credit: Xinhua]
No. 2 Tomb (or M2) is a drum-shaped, brick-built catacomb featuring five segments, just like the No.1 Tomb. It is 12.64 meters long, 5.9 meters wide and 1.6 meters high.

Rare treasures unearthed from imperial Chinese tombs
A pottery figurine excavated from the tomb of Yang Guang, or Emperor Yang of Sui, the second and last monarch of the short-lived Sui Dynasty (581-618), in Yangzhou, East China's Jiangsu Province. The tombs which were unearthed at a construction site in Yangzhou earlier this year have been confirmed to be the final resting place of Emperor Yang of Sui, known for his tyrannous reign about 1,500 years ago, and Empress Xiao [Credit: Xinhua]
It contains more than 200 rare treasures, the most precious of which include a jade tablet, a 16-chime set of bells and 20 series of L-shaped jade plates -- a kind of ancient Chinese percussion instrument. A set of women's headgear shows particularly excellent workmanship.

Rare treasures unearthed from imperial Chinese tombs
A gold-jade belt excavated from the tomb of Yang Guang, or Emperor Yang of Sui, the second and last monarch of the short-lived Sui Dynasty (581-618), in Yangzhou, East China's Jiangsu Province. The tombs which were unearthed at a construction site in Yangzhou earlier this year have been confirmed to be the final resting place of Emperor Yang of Sui, known for his tyrannous reign about 1,500 years ago, and Empress Xiao [Credit: Xinhua]
No. 1 Tomb is located in the center of the mound and No. 2 Tomb on its southeastern edge. Archaeologists believe No. 2 was built later than No. 1, according to its location and internal structure. Identification of two male teeth and a female's skeletal remains also show that Emperor Yang was about 50 years old at the time of his death. Empress Xiao is thought to have been around 56 years of age and 1.5 meters tall.

Rare treasures unearthed from imperial Chinese tombs
A porcelain inkslab excavated from the tomb of Empress Xiao, the wife of Emperor Yang Guang of Sui Dynasty (581-618), in Yangzhou, East China's Jiangsu Province. The tombs which were unearthed at a construction site in Yangzhou earlier this year have been confirmed to be the final resting place of Emperor Yang of Sui, known for his tyrannous reign about 1,500 years ago, and Empress Xiao [Credit: Xinhua]
Tong Mingkang, vice-director of the State Administration of Cultural Heritage, spoke highly of the archaeological achievement at the press conference. Continued exploration and further study of the ancient tomb and its history are needed, he said.

Rare treasures unearthed from imperial Chinese tombs
A knocker-holder excavated from the tomb of Yang Guang, or Emperor Yang of Sui, the second and last monarch of the short-lived Sui Dynasty (581-618), in Yangzhou, East China's Jiangsu Province. The tombs which were unearthed at a construction site in Yangzhou earlier this year have been confirmed to be the final resting place of Emperor Yang of Sui, known for his tyrannous reign about 1,500 years ago, and Empress Xiao [Credit: Xinhua]
Since its discovery in April, the tomb has drawn nationwide attention. The administration immediately sent archaeologists and historians to the site to carry out intensive research.

Rare treasures unearthed from imperial Chinese tombs
A bronze percussion instrument called "Qing" excavated from the tomb of Empress Xiao, the wife of Emperor Yang Guang of Sui Dynasty (581-618), in Yangzhou, East China's Jiangsu Province. The tombs which were unearthed at a construction site in Yangzhou earlier this year have been confirmed to be the final resting place of Emperor Yang of Sui, known for his tyrannous reign about 1,500 years ago, and Empress Xiao [Credit: Xinhua]
Meanwhile, archeologists said that the latest discovery formed proof that yet another mausoleum some six kilometers away, regarded as Yang's burial site since the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), was in fact a fake.

Rare treasures unearthed from imperial Chinese tombs
A bronze bell excavated from the tomb of Empress Xiao, the wife of Emperor Yang Guang of Sui Dynasty (581-618), in Yangzhou, East China's Jiangsu Province. The tombs which were unearthed at a construction site in Yangzhou earlier this year have been confirmed to be the final resting place of Emperor Yang of Sui, known for his tyrannous reign about 1,500 years ago, and Empress Xiao [Credit: Xinhua]
According to Chinese historians, Yang's tyrannical behavior brought on the demise of the Sui Dynasty, but the emperor did also complete several great construction projects during his reign, including the Grand Canal and the reconstruction of several parts of the Great Wall.

Author: Li Jingrong | Source: China Org [November 21, 2013]
TANN

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