In China, archaeologists have discovered an important royal tomb, dating back over 2,500 years in Yi Shui county, Shantung province.
In China, archaeologists have discovered an important royal tomb, dating back over 2,500 years in Yi Shui county, Shantung province. Inside the tomb, excavators found more than 200 bronze objects, including ceremonial urns and musical instruments.
SYNOPSIS: The bronze age in China lasted from the 16th to the 11th centuries B.C. This tomb is thought to have been built for one of the kings of the Shang and Chou dynasties during the period known as the Spring and Autumn era. It is typical of the important archaeological discoveries being made in the area.
Near by in Chu Fu, which was once the capital of one of the dukedoms of the Chou dynasty, excavations have revealed another royal tomb. Both sites date back to the transitional period of Chinese history, when the system of slave ownership changed to a feudal society.
The tomb have three chambers. In one the body of the King was buried. The unfortunate slaves who built the tomb were not allowed to live after the royal funeral and so they were sacrificed and buried alive in one of the ante-chambers. The variety of objects found include ceremonial bronze funeral offerings and also pottery domestic bowls used by the slaves while building the tomb.
Excavators uncovered a royal chariot, covered in bronze and the skeletons of a team of eight horses. It was customary to inter everything from servants and household belongings to Royal pets and favourite horses along with the dead king.
The Chinese developed bronze, an alloy of tin and copper, somewhat later than Europeans. Bronze containers like these were being made in Greece over a thousand years before they appeared in China. The metal was particularly popular for musical instruments, like this bell. The tin content of bronze results in its sonorous quality, making it ring when struck. Jade was always valued in china for its translucent appearance. This miniature of a horse was typical of the ornaments found in Chu Fu.