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Unravelling a mystery in an ancient grave site (2)


18:18, July 24, 2013

The metal embellishments, such as patterns of tigers and bighorn sheep, are emblematic of the northern prairie culture. It has also been confirmed that the materials for the carts came from what is now known as the Altai region in Russia, and the tradition of burying glasses, as well as bowls, pitchers and other vessels made of gold and silver, in graves also came from the West, according to Wang.

Cultural elements from the northern prairie, the West, the Xirong and the Qin, a power that defeated other powers during the Warring States Period and later established Qin Dynasty in 221 BC, can be found among the buried items, Wang said.

He said they also found gem-mounted items in the graves, a technique that spread from the southern prairie region of Russia.

Grains unearthed, such as barley and wheat, also indicate that the Xirong had connections with nomads from the West and the north.

Based on these discoveries, it is believed that the Xirong tribe was a major intermediary between Eastern and Western cultures. During the Warring States Period, Xirong people exchanged not only goods with the outside world, but had also integrated some of foreign customs into their lives.

"The graves have helped us learn the history of the Xirong that had been lost for nearly 1,000 years, and also provided new information for getting a better understanding of the culture in the southeastern part of Gansu, as well as the cultural connections between the Xirong and the Qin," Wang said.

The tomb cluster was a stop on a ten-day journey that started on July 15. The campaign, launched by Xinhua News Agency, is intended to raise public awareness of the importance of preserving cultural heritage on the ancient Silk Road, a 7,000-km-long pathway created by camel-driving merchants who carried silk and porcelain to Western Europe and spices to the Far East 2,000 years ago.

Supported by UNESCO, the "Cherish Dunhuang" campaign will take professional journalists, researchers and citizen journalists on an exploratory journey to major natural and culture heritage sites along the Silk Road, including the Maijishan Grottos (Wheat Stack Hill), Jiayuguan Pass and the Mogao Caves at Dunhuang.

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Email|Print|Comments(Editor:LiQian、Gao Yinan)

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