- Index - Exhibition
- The Exhibition OF Mawangdui Han Tombs
- 1.A Great Archaeological Discovery
- 2.Walking into the Family of the Marquis of Dai
- --Li Cang’s Family
- --An Extravagant Life
- --The Beauty of Lacquerware
- --The Brilliance of the Silk Country
- --The Treasure on Silk and Inscribed Slips
- 3.Set of Painted Coffins with a Big Outer Coffin
- 4.Everlasting Remains
- The Exhibition of Shang and Zhou Bronzes Found in Hunan
- The Exhibition of Ceramics from Famous Kilns in Hunan
- Exhibition of Calligraphies in the Ming and Qing Dynasty
- Exhibition of Paintings Created in the Ming and Qing Dynasties
- Exhibition of Ten New Major Archaeological Discoveries in Hunan
Walking into the Family of the Marquis of Dai
Mawangdui, the family graveyard of the Marquis of Dai of the Western Han dynasty, includes the tombs of Li Cang, the Marquis of Dai of the first generation, Li Cang’s wife, and their son. The tremendous amount of cultural relics reveals to us the extravagance and prosperity of the family of the Marquis of Dai as well as the remarkable achievements in agriculture, handicraft industry, science and technology, culture and art of the early Han period.
In the second year of the reign of Emperor Huidi(193 B.C.) of the Han dynasty, Li Cang, the prime minister of the Changsha State was conferred the rank of Marquis of Dai. Since then, the title was inherited through four generations, until the first year of Yuanfeng reign of Emperor Wudi (110 B.C.),when Li Zhi, the last Marquis of Dai and procurator of Donghai, was relieved of the title because of some wrongdoing.
Lacquerware was one of ancient China’s great inventions. The industry of lacquerware reached its pinnacle in the period from the Warring States to the Western Han. Owing to the complicated procedures and high cost of production, only the wealthy could afford lacquerware. From Tombs No.1 and No.3, over 500 pieces of lacquerware were recovered. They are varied in shape and decoration, and well preserved. Most of them are made of wood, while a few of them are of hemp cloth or bamboo. Of various shapes and sizes and with innovative decorations and exquisite patterns, these pieces are representative of the lacquerware production of the early Western Han period.
China was the first country to engage in sericulture, silk reeling and silk weaving. During the Han dynasty, silk was continuously exported to West Asia and Europe, thus earning China the right to be called the “Silk Country”. The more than 100 pieces of textiles and clothing unearthed from Tombs No.1 and No.3 are mostly silk fabrics, with the exception of only a few pieces of hemp cloth. A variety of silk textiles were found, including thin silk, fine silk, gauze, damask, brocade and so on. The varied techniques involved dyeing, embroidery, printing, and colour painting. These pieces clearly attest to the accomplishments in textile technology of the early Han dynasty. In particular, the four-season clothing unearthed from Tomb No.1 demonstrates well both the clothing of the noble ladies and the dress of the early Han dynasty.
The manuscripts and paintings on silk, and the inscriptions on bamboo and wooden slips, were among the most prominent treasures recovered from the Han tombs at Mawangdui. Unearthed from Tomb No. 3, there were around 40 manuscripts on silk, written in about 100,000 words. Most of the manuscripts are valuable documents which had been lost for a long time. The contents cover various subjects in politics, economics, philosophy, history, astronomy, geography, medical science, military affairs, physical training, literature, art and so on. In addition, 11 pieces of paintings on silk, 722 slips of the “Inventory of Burial Objects” and 200 slips with inscriptions of medical treatises were unearthed from Tombs No.1 and No.3. The contents of these silk pieces and slips reveal many scientific and technological achievements and provide rare and significant materials for the study of ancient science, culture and medicine, as well as the art of painting.