Friday, July 14, 2006

Frescoed Liao Dynasty Tomb discovered

Xinhua - English: "Chinese archeologists have uncovered a frescoed tomb of a man and his wife who must have lived in today's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region about 1,000 years ago.

The tomb, found in Horinger county, 45 km south of the regional capital Hohhot, has more than 20 square meters of frescoes on the walls of its chamber, said Chen Yongzhi, vice director of the Inner Mongolia Cultural Heritage Institute.

Chen said most of the frescoes depicted the tomb owners' life with scenes of hunting and cattle herding, while the rest included the 12 animals of the Chinese birth sign system, namely: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.

He said the couple must have been born in the years of pig and snake respectively, as there is a picture showing the two animals embracing each other.

archaeologists have also uncovered valuable sacrificial offerings in the tomb, including 18 sets of dainty chinaware and a miniature pagoda.

From the high standards of the tomb and the outfit of the man on the frescoes, Chen assumed the tomb owner must have been someone of high status. 'The man must have been a top official of the county.'

He said the couple lived in the Liao Dynasty (916-1125 AD), a state founded by the Khitan ethnic group."