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Ancient Glass, Jade Ornaments Unearthed in Ningxia

A tiny vase-shaped glass and a jade dragon-shaped pendant, dating back to the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD), have been excavated in northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.

This was the first time that such kinds of relics had ever been found in the Han tombs in Ningxia and they were rarely found in other places of China, said archaeologists with the regional archaeological research institute.

Local archaeologists have been excavating a New Stone Age site, two tombs of the Han Dynasty and 12 medium and small-sized tombs of the Tang Dynasty (618-907) since early November this year. They have unearthed large quantities of pottery, bronze and lacquer items, terra-cotta warriors and other relics.

The glass vase and the jade pendant were excavated from one of the Han tombs, located on Jiulong Mountain in the southern suburbs of Guyuan City.

The light blue glass vase is only one centimeter high, with a one centimeter diameter at its center. The grayish white jade dragon is almost round in shape, with the "dragon tail" turning up.

Archaeologists guessed that the items could be trappings or ornaments used to decorate utensils.

Many tombs of the Han Dynasty have been excavated in Ningxia in recent years, but funeral objects unearthed from the tombs were mostly bronze mirrors, pans, washbasins, censers, and lacquer ware.

Yu Jun, a research fellow with the regional archaeological research institute, said the glass and jade ware showed the tomb owner enjoyed a higher social status.

The glass and jade relics are not only of significant archaeological value, but also of high artistic value, Yu said.

From the tomb where they were found, archaeologists also discovered a special hair clasp made with six thin bones, the first such hair clasp unearthed from Han tombs in Ningxia.

Hair clasps were ornaments ancient Chinese women used to tie up their hair and were often discovered in ancient tombs. But most hair clasps are U-shaped or small and straight.
(Xinhua News Agency November 24, 2003)

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