Archaeologists have discovered a paper painting, dating back about 1,600 years, possibly China's earliest known example of the medium, in northwest China's Gansu Province.
Bian Qiang, deputy head of Gansu Provincial Archaeological Research Institute, said the painting, 80 cm long and 40 cm wide, was discovered on a wooden coffin unearthed from a tomb built in the Wei Kingdom-Jin Dynasty period (220-420) in Yumen City.
Painted on the pure white paper is a fat woman dressed in bright colors and wearing a high peaked hat, ready to go on a journey. In front of the woman is a tall black horse led by a man and after her is a double-wheeled van pulled by oxen.
Bian said the painting vividly depicted the lives of people who lived in the area 1,600 years ago.
Many paintings of the same historical period had been excavated in other parts of Gansu and the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in the past, but they were painted either on silk, cloth, wood or walls of buildings.
Bian said the paper painting was immensely valuable in the study of Chinese figure painting as it provided materials for studying the lives, dress and customs of ethnic groups who lived in northwest China in the Wei and Jin periods.