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Rare Relics Unearthed in Ancient Mausoleums
More than 300 rare, priceless cultural relics have been excavated in an ancient mausoleum site in northwestern China's Gansu Province.

As one of the major mausoleum sites of ancestors of Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China during the Qin Dynasty (221BC-206BC), the Qinxi mausoleum site, located in Lixian county in Gansu, consists of two sub-sites, one used for Emperor Qin Shi Huang's unidentified ancestors, and the other for aristocrats.

The cultural relics are currently being stored in a simple and indigenous county museum, and the majority of them have been unearthed from the mausoleums in the sub-site for aristocrats.

Many of these relics, very special and delicate, display excellent craftsmanship for the period, archaeologists said.

For instance, a bronze chime made up of nine bells has drawn the attention of many visitors. The bells, ranging from 10 to 30 centimeters in height with their surface covered with exquisite convex patterns, indicate that the casting technology in that period was quite sophisticated.

"It is the first bronze chime consisting of nine bells ever unearthed in China," said Wang Gang, director of the Lixian County Museum. "The chime could only have been owned by high-ranking officials or aristocrats," he added.

With specially-designed animals and mechanic devices, a bronze mini-carriage, approximately 15 centimeters in length, is also taken as an artistic treasure.

In addition, several other bronze pieces, including a set of bronze pots, are of great research value, archaeologists said.

A wealth of relics have been stolen from the mausoleums of Emperor Qin Shi Huang's unidentified ancestors and smuggled to foreign countries, according to Zhang Kuijie, an associate researcher with the museum.

(Xinhua News Agency August 28, 2002)

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