Archaeologists Unearthing Relics From China's First Feudal Dynasty

Chinese archaeologists have unearthed 13 pieces of valuable relics from China's first feudal society in northwestern city of Xi'an, once the ancient capital of 13 feudal dynasties which is known to the world for its Terra Cotta Warriors.

The 13 bird-like bronze crafts, unearthed near the site of Terra Cotta Warriors in Western Shaanxi Province in late September, were said to be cranes, an auspicious bird in Chinese traditional ideas.

According to expert from the Xi'an-based Museum of Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses, the bronze pedal under crane's feet could be linked to the cloudy above which the immortal go to heaven with their cranes in ancient Chinese myths. It could prove the theory that the first emperor of Qin Dynasty (221 BC -- 206 BC) hoped to go to heaven after death, the official People's Daily website reported on Wednesday.

One of the bronze cranes, which is the largest of all, is of 1.08 meter high. All the 13 bronze cranes are believed to be made 2,200 years ago in Qin Dynasty, with the smallest at 0.48 meters high.

The site, in which the cranes were unearthed, was first excavated in July last year. Three kilometers away from the center of the Mausoleum of Qin Shihuang, this tomb is said be the 108th and also the farthest accompanying tomb.

Located in east suburb of tourism city of Xi'an, the site covers an area of 925 square kilometers. So far, only two per cent of the tomb was evacuated.

Xi'an, once the ancient capital of 13 dynasties in Chinese history, is home to tombs of emperors in various periods. However, many tombs were not appropriately protected, due to lack of efficient administrative means and historical awareness.

Meanwhile, a Xi'an-based Sanqin Urban Daily reported on December 20 that at least 60 tombs of Qing and Han dynasties were completely destroyed in a construction site right near Xi'an.

The Shaaxi Normal University launched the construction last November in the area, which is also thought to be the burying place of an emperor of Zhou Dynasty (1046 BC --256 BC), according to experts.

The Provincial Bureau of Cultural Heritage made a decision on December 4 to stop the construction at Chang'an County under Xi'an immediately, but the university failed to listen, the Sanqing Urban Daily reported.

(China Daily December 21, 2001)

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