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Xinyang [Hsin-yang]locked

  • Alain Thote

Extract

[Hsin-yang]

City and district in southern Henan Province, China. Two large tombs, generally considered to date from the 4th century bc, were found at Changtaiguan, north of the city of Xinyang. Tomb 1 probably belonged to a dignitary of the southern state of Chu .

The two tombs, like those at Changsha in Hunan Province and at Shou xian in Anhui Province, display many features typical of Chu culture and are a testament to its widespread influence. They have wooden, compartmentalized ‘outer coffins’, like the tombs found in the Jiangling region. Although pillaged before they were discovered in 1956, the tombs contained a sizeable number of personal effects in a reasonably well-preserved state, those in Tomb 1 of a higher quality than those in Tomb 2. Notable are a peal of 13 bronze bells; some zither fragments painted with hybrid animals, dragons, hunters with bows and arrows, and musicians; and two wooden lacquered sculptures of guardian animals (h. 1.52 and 1.28 m) with protruding eyes, tongues hanging down on to their chests and heads crowned with antlers. The coffins were lacquered, as were many other items, such as earthenware and wooden objects (more than 200 pieces), the backs of bronze mirrors and carved figures. In addition to the commonly used black and vermilion, gold, silver and other colours were employed for some motifs. A large drum stand, typical of Chu design, is in the form of two birds with long necks, standing back-to-back and perched over two crouching tigers (1.62×1.40 m). Next to a group of bamboo strips, some of which recorded the personal effects in Tomb 1, was a collection of utensils used to shape the bamboo prior to writing....

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