1,400-Year-Old Tomb with Bizarre Images of a Blue Monster Found in China
Scientists have discovered a 1,400-year-old tomb in China which includes some of the most fascinating images ever found. Among others, a blue monster, a winged horse and a nude deity known as the master of wind, are just a few of the impressive images the tomb included.
Impressive and Unique Images
The archaeologists that made the discovery couldn’t hide their excitement and admiration for the newly found murals in the tomb. The meaning of some of the imagery has not been fully understood but the archaeologists are not rushing to come to any conclusions. They won’t speculate yet why the master of wind is depicted almost naked while running in the general direction of a burial chamber, or what the blue monster represents. For now, they are solely focusing on the archaeological importance and historical uniqueness of the their new find, "The murals of this tomb had diversified motifs and rich connotations, many of which cannot be found in other tombs of the same period," they wrote in an article recently published in the journal Chinese Archaeology as Live Science reported .
This image shows a deity that archaeologists identify as being the "Master of Wind," who is depicted wearing almost no clothes. Credit: Chinese Archaeology.
The Tomb Had Been Plundered
The team of archaeologists first heard about this tomb four years ago, when in 2013 they learned that the tomb had been invaded and looted. A team from Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology excavated the tomb, which is located in modern-day Xinzhou city, in 2013 and 2014.
The archaeologists found that the tomb's burial chamber had been severely damaged from looting, with the corpses of the tomb owners missing and only a few coffin fragments remaining. There was good news too, though; the archaeologists discovered that parts of a passageway and corridor had not been looted, while several artifacts and many murals in every good condition, remained intact.
The murals included impressive mythical imagery, as well as images of everyday people trading horses, hunting and working in a gatehouse. "Themes on ascending to heaven, horse trading, hunting, [a] grand gatehouse and the rich styles of costumes all provide valuable information for the [research] on the social life, history, culture and military practices," the archaeologists wrote as Live Science reports .
Numerous Murals Have been Found in China
While these murals are particularly unique, this is not the first discovery of ancient murals of stunning beauty in China. In 2013, archaeologists excavating in Shuozhou City, China, made an incredible discovery : an extremely well-preserved tomb where a military commander and his wife were buried approximately 1,500 years ago in the Northern Qi Dynasty. The truly striking thing about this discovery were the colorful murals covering 80 square meters of the tomb.
Four men blow into long horns at the entranceway into a 1,500-year-old tomb chamber, located on the south wall. The mural tomb likely held a military commander and his wife in what is now Shuozhou City, China. Credit: Chinese Archaeology
While most of the tomb’s treasures had been looted, and the bodies were missing, the murals, drawn on plaster, were found remarkably well-preserved depicting a man and a woman (most likely are the occupants of the tomb) in various scenes. In one scene, for example, a man and woman are shown enjoying a banquet and in another, a man plays a harp while other musicians hold instruments. In addition to the commander’s wife, a number of other females are depicted in the murals, some of them musicians and some of them attendants.
In another interesting case, an elaborate, beautifully painted tomb was found in January of 2015, when rains washed away soil and revealed a capstone on a hillside in China. The tomb dates to the Yuan dynasty, about 700 years ago.
Paintings in a Yuan Dynasty tomb had beautifully painted scenes from stories of Filial Piety.
Scholars claimed that the man entombed was Mongolian, though the clothes, furniture and murals show influences of Han culture.
Later in 2015, archaeologists working in the ruins of the Neolithic Shimao Ruins identified mural fragments that showed brush strokes, which could imply the basic process of mural-making in China dates back about 4,000 years. Historians have attributed the invention of the brush much later, to a Chinese general, Meng Tian, during the Qin Dynasty of 221 to 207 BC, so that discovery was incredibly significant from a historical point of view.
A close-up shows part of one of the murals that may date back 4,600 years—well before the brush-stroke process of painting was known previously in China. (Photo: chinadaily.com.cn)