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Beautifully painted Yuan dynasty murals discovered inside tomb

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Elaborately depicted murals created during the Yuan dynasty, some 700 years ago, have been found in a tomb in Hengshan county, north Shanxi province.

Beautifully painted Yuan dynasty murals discovered inside tomb 

The tomb was discovered last year when a heavy downpour washed away the top stone. After excavation work by archaeologists, the remarkable appearance of the murals are now revealed for the public's pleasure.

The tomb is located along a mountain slope in Luo Ge Tai village of Hengshan County. It is composed of a pathway with a dome-shaped chamber. Pictures are painted on the walls of the chamber. A mural depicts the tomb-owner seated with his five wives, the background being a check-patterned screen. Their outfits and the vessels on the table in front of them shed light on the ethnicity of the tomb-owner.

"He is most likely a Mongolian, but from their clothes, furniture, and all the things painted on the mural, we can still see the influences of the Han culture. So the tomb-owner might also be Han, but wearing Mongolian clothes," excavation team leader Miao Yifei said.

Beautifully painted Yuan dynasty murals discovered inside tomb 

Seven of the 24 Stories of Filial Piety, which are popular legends, especially in northern China, were painted in the surrounding areas of the main picture.

Filial Piety stories were widely portrayed in Yuan dynasty tombs in north Shanxi province and the central area of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. It indicates an active cultural exchange between these three provinces during that time, and similar customs that brought it about.

"The murals are both beautifully painted and in very good condition, just thinking that they've been there for some 700 years," Miao said.

The discovery of the tomb and murals reveals much about Yuan dynasty archaeology in the provinces of Shanxi and Shanxi, and the Inner Mongolian Autonomous region.


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