not what I expected, but…

November 13th, 2007

When I read the headline, 290 ancient tombs found in Beijing, I wasn’t expecting much more than the usual shallow, meaningless rubbish from China’s state-owned English-language press. But then I saw the word “Yanqing”. And then I saw the article was what I expected, the only point of interest being that the tombs were discovered in Yanqing.

The tombs in question have been dated to the Han, Tang, Jin, Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties… but doesn’t that leave some rather large historical gaps? Gaps of dynastic size?

And the article is very short on details, offering not much more than this:

The archaeologists also unearthed 870 historical artifacts, including pottery utensils, china objects, bronze basins, iron items, stone articles, and jade ornaments, said Zhang Shiqun, an expert with the institute.

The unearthed funeral objects will be sent to museums and the tombs will be circled in a protection zone outside the construction project, Zhang said.

The most valuable discovery is that chamber walls of the Tang tombs were decorated with carved bricks that pattern windows, doors, pillars, lanterns, and even a colored fresco representing a beautiful woman, according to Zhang.

The delicate brick carving shows that the Tang tomb owners were members of noble families, he said.

Well, I suppose they’re still in the early stages of the research and don’t really have too much to offer, and journalists, well… journalists.

Anyway, it’s good to know somebody is doing the research, even if it’s not all being translated into English. And yes, I could go and try to find the Chinese articles and see if I can get any more details, but, well, I’m tired and all I want to do is add this to my little record for future reference. I can get back to it again later, when hopefully there are more details available.

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