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1,800-year old painted coffin unearthed in N. China
2006-10-12 02:33:33 Xinhua English

HOHHOT, Oct. 12 (Xinhua) -- Chinese archaeologists have discovered an ancient coffin painted with colored drawings dating back to the Eastern Han Dynasty (A.D. 25-220) in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

The funeral objects had already been robbed when the coffin was discovered from a tomb in Siziwang Banner. The coffin, in delicate appearance, was well preserved during excavation of the tomb.

"The color drawings, painted at inner sides of the coffin, feature daily life and hunting activities," said Wang Dafang, an official with the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Regional Cultural Relic Bureau

The most valuable painting on the coffin is an episode on a horse pulling with five carriages. According to cultural experts, it might be one of ancient people's ideal imaginations of a train.

The hunting-related drawings consist of animals ranging from goats, deer, dogs as well as the hunters.

Although further research is still needed to identify the specific age about the coffin, archaeologists had concluded that the coffin belongs to the Eastern Han Dynasty.

It might be also related with south Hun, ancient nomadic people living in the northern part of china, according to experts' preliminary research.

"The style and methods of the color drawings on the coffin are close to the cliff carvings at the Yinshan Mountains in north China," said Shao Qinlong, curator of the Museum of Inner Mongolia, where the coffin is housed.

"The research on the coffin will provide important clues to identify the accurate age of cliff carvings at the Yinshan Mountains," Shao added.

In the summer of 1976, Chinese archaeologist Gai Shanlin found the first cliff carving in the western section of the Yinshan Mountains while doing fieldwork.

Since then, three "treasure-houses of ancient cliff carvings", consisting of over 30,000 pieces, have been found in the area.

The carvings on rock, spanning from New Stone Age to the Qin Dynasty (1644-1911), reflect the hunting and religious activities of the ancient nomadic tribes in northern China. Enditem.

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