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Murals Saved in 1,500-Year-Old Tomb

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


SHUOZHOU CITY, CHINA—The 1,500-year-old domed tomb of a military commander of the Northern Qi dynasty and his wife has been rescued in northern China. The tomb was looted before archaeologists arrived on the scene, so most of the grave goods and the two bodies are gone. Its plastered walls are covered with murals, including images of guards with swords, horses, musicians, and the couple enjoying a banquet. “The domed ceiling is painted uniformly in dark gray color to signify the infinite space of the sky. The Silver River (representing the Milky Way) flows across the sky from the southwest to the northeast, and inside the river a fine fish-scale patterns representing waves in the water,” according to archaeologist Liu Yan, who reported the discovery in Chinese Archaeology. Archaeologists also found painted blue lines and gauze fabric placed by looters who were preparing to detach the paintings from the surface of the walls.