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Ancient marquis seal uncovered in Chinese village


A private seal believed to have belonged to a marquis in the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-25 AD) was recently unearthed in southwest China's Sichuan Province.

Ancient marquis seal uncovered in Chinese village
Aerial photo of the Han Tombs in Fankuai Village [Credit: Zhong Xin]
From July last year to June this year, archaeologists in Chengdu Cultural Relics and Archaeology Research Institute excavated an area which will soon become an industrial park for new energy vehicle batteries in Qionglai City, near provincial capital Chengdu.

The team uncovered a total of 30 ancient tombs, mainly built in the Han dynasty, and four kilns, said Gong Yangmin, who led the excavation efforts.

Ancient marquis seal uncovered in Chinese village
The Han Dynasty seal belonging to the Marquis Dingfu discovered in Fankuai Village [Credit: Zhong Xin]
"The most precious discovery was a private seal, shaped like a unicorn, about three centimeters tall. It was found in the Fankuai Village," said Gong.

The black and white seal is made from silver and is believed to have belonged to Liu Yue, or Marquis Dingfu, the great grandson of Liu Bang, Emperor Gaozu of the Han dynasty. Gong said the tomb area where the seal was found may belong to the descendants of Liu Yue, whose own tomb is yet to be discovered.

Ancient marquis seal uncovered in Chinese village
The Han Dynasty seal belonging to the Marquis Dingfu discovered in Fankuai Village [Credit: Zhong Xin]
"The seal may have been passed down to his descendants who escaped to Qionglai City when Wang Mang, a powerful minister at the end of the Western Han Dynasty, usurped the throne," Gong said.

The tombs also contained fifteen bricks inscribed with scenes of carriage tours, banquets, harvests and buildings from the Han dynasty.

Ancient marquis seal uncovered in Chinese village
Excavated objects from Han Dynasty tomb at Fankuai Village [Credit: Zhong Xin]
"Findings from the tomb help us understand the burial customs and culture of the Han dynasty," he said.

A total of 200 artifacts made from pottery, iron, copper and silver were found.

Source: Xinhua [June 29, 2018]

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