Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Guangzhou: Museum of the Tomb of the King of Southern Yue in Western Han Dynasty (西汉南越王博物馆)

The title of this post sound very long...and yes...I got the chance to visit this incredible discovery in guangzhou.

The tomb of King Wen was discovered in 1983, 20 meters under Elephant Hill in Guangzhou on a construction site for a hotel. The small hill was actually meant to be flatten but upon clearing about 20m of it, the tomb was discovered.

I recommend this to be a MUST visit in Guangzhou for the following reasons:
1) This tomb is built about 2000 years ago in about 100BC
2) In China, out of the 40+ emperors' tombs discovered, only 3 are not raided by Tomb Robbers and totally untouch upon discovery and this is one of the 3. This is 100% untouched for 2000 years.
3) The most valuable item found is the jade suit consisted of 1000 pieces of jade that are joined by silk threads that was wore by the Emperor for his burial and this is the oldest of its kind found
4) The tomb yielded more than 100+ burial artifacts from vessels used for drinking, cooking wares, writing instruments, musical instruments, fishing and hunting tools, jewelleries, jades, weapons.
5) Human remains of 15 courtiers were buried alive with him to serve him in death including his 4 concubines
6) The oldest imperial seal discovered in a Chinese tomb. In fact, this Emperor has about 9 seals buried with him. The imperial seal being the most impressive which is made of Gold and has a Dragon sculpture in it. Actually is not very big, it is very small....as big as five 20 cents coins tiled together.
7) Tten iron swords were found buried with the Emperor, each inlaid with gold and jade. The biggest is 1.46 m long, making it the longest iron sword dating from the time of the Han Dynasty
8) This is the only tomb of the early Western Han Dynasty that has murals on its walls

I took >2 hrs to finish visiting the whole museums.......

The location map. It is just across YueXiu Park where the 5 rams are:

The main entrance from the main road:

The wall mural explaining about the tomb:

The actual tomb is in this building

The layout of the actual tomb

The tomb from the Top

The main entrance to the tomb:

The main door

In every chamber, there is a explanation board. All the artetifacts found are displayed in the museum building just beside.
This is the Entrance tunnel to the tomb:

This is the front chamber

This is the west chamber which store all the objects and treasures owned by the emperor

This is the Eastern Chamber which contains ritual items, musical instruments, tablewares and wine containers. A remain of a musician was found:

The western side room contains remains of animals and also remains of possibly the chefs and cooks


This is the eastern side room where the remains of the 4 concubines are found together with their seals

The main chamber contains the remains of the Emperor in his Jade suit and 10 swords by his side and also his 9 seals

The last rear chamber is the storeroom for the food and vessels and the remain of an official in charge of the food and drink is found here:

After visiting the tomb, the next stop is the museum just behind he tomb buildings to see the artifacts.
This is the entrance tot he museum:

OK, this pyramid looks familiar:

Upon entering is the wall that contains the prologue to the museum:

I respect the rules of the museum so I did not take any photos of the display and also the vast number of artifacts in there, I may take the whole day to take photo and see and read the explanations.

This is an eye opening visit.........

More details and photos of the museum can be found at
1) The official website
3) And HERE
4) And also HERE

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