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Rare Spirit Bottles Spotted in Ancient Tomb
Archeologists have found two rare celadon porcelain bottles in an ancient tomb dating from the Song Dynasty (960-1279), at Liuzhou City in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

The "spirit bottles" were once popular funerary objects in which to "keep" the spirit of the dead person in southern China during the Southern and Northern Dynasties and the Song Dynasty, according to archeologists.

The single cell brick tomb is 2.8 meters long, 1.4 meters wide and 1.9 meters high. It is the longest tomb ever found in the 2,100-year-old city with other tombs between 2-2.4 meters long, local archeologist Jiang Yuanjin said.

One bottle is 44 cm high and topped with a pagoda-shaped lid. Decorated with six lines of lotus leaf patterns, the long-necked bottle is painted with portraits of people, flowers, grasses, frogs, butterflies, sea birds, fish and lotus flowers.

The other bottle is similarly shaped. Though the neck is broken, it shows much craftsmanship, and is decorated with a relief sculpture of a flying dragon and four figures of Buddha at the neck and upper part, as well as various patterns covering the whole bottle.

Both bottles were placed beside the feet of the corpse.

The tomb was spotted in a construction site. It also yielded seven copper coins.

Judging from words on the coins, the owner lived in the middle or late Song Dynasty, from 1036 to 1112, and the relics could help scholars studying the history and culture of the area in the Song Dynasty, Jiang said.

(People’s Daily January 20, 2003)

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