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Huge haul of artefacts unearthed at Tang Dynasty tomb in northwest China


The excavation of a tomb in Northwest China's Qinghai Province, known as the "Nine-floor Demon Tower," has discovered thousands of cultural relics from the Tang Dynasty (618-907). The excavation followed looting of the tomb two years ago.


Huge haul of artefacts unearthed at Tang Dynasty tomb in northwest China
Layout of Xuewei Tomb No. 1 [Credit: The Qinghai Provincial Cultural Relics Bureau]



The archaeological team discovered different kinds of cultural relics including gold and silver items, glassware and textiles. The tomb is located in the Haixi Mongolian and Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, according to a report from China News Service.


Huge haul of artefacts unearthed at Tang Dynasty tomb in northwest China
Cemetery building [Credit: The Qinghai Provincial Cultural Relics Bureau]

The tomb belonged to a noble ethnic minority group in the Tang Dynasty and many cultural relics were stolen from it in 2018. 


Huge haul of artefacts unearthed at Tang Dynasty tomb in northwest China
Gold artefacts unearthed from the Qinghai Dulan Rehui 2018 Xuewei No. 1 Tomb 
[Credit: The Qinghai Provincial Cultural Relics Bureau]



The tomb was discovered by accident and the excavation aims to avoid further damage and loss of cultural relics. The relics are of great significance for the study of culture and history and should not be lost, Liu Zheng, a member of the China Cultural Relics Academy, told the Global Times on Wednesday.


Huge haul of artefacts unearthed at Tang Dynasty tomb in northwest China
Gold artefacts unearthed from the Qinghai Dulan Rehui 2018 Xuewei No. 1 Tomb 
[Credit: The Qinghai Provincial Cultural Relics Bureau]

Tomb layout structure: The tomb was built with wood and stone, with parts above and below ground. Besides a long sacrificial pit that was found in the tomb passage, in which six male horses aged 4 to 6 years old were buried, some pits had the skeletons of humans who were buried alive with the dead and skeletons of other animals such as blue sheep and yaks that mainly live in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.


Huge haul of artefacts unearthed at Tang Dynasty tomb in northwest China
Gold artefacts unearthed from the Qinghai Dulan Rehui 2018 Xuewei No. 1 Tomb 
[Credit: The Qinghai Provincial Cultural Relics Bureau]



Liu said the practice of burying the living with the dead has a long history, and was only officially abolished in the middle of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). From primitive society to the Shang Dynasty (1600 BC-1046 BC), the tradition flourished. 


Huge haul of artefacts unearthed at Tang Dynasty tomb in northwest China
Sacrificial pit [Credit: The Qinghai Provincial Cultural Relics Bureau]

The China News Service report noted that the excavation of the tomb will help with the research into the funeral customs of the region and the history of relations in the Tang Dynasty between the central government and ethnic minority groups.


Source: ECNS [November 06, 2020]



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