Millennia-old lacquerware on display at Jiangxi exhibition

(Xinhua) 15:10, November 20, 2022

NANCHANG, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- A lacquered plate decorated with dragon patterns, unearthed from the tomb of the Marquis of Haihun, has been put on display at an exhibition in the Jiangxi Provincial Museum.

The Western Han Dynasty (206 B.C.- 25 A.D.) tomb near Nanchang, capital of east China's Jiangxi Province, is one of the few imperial tombs that have never been looted.

In addition to the plate, seven pieces of lacquered woodware from the tomb are also on display at the museum in Nanchang. This is the first batch of lacquered woodware unearthed from the marquis tomb that has been restored and is now ready for display.

Yang Jun, a researcher who led the excavation work at the tomb, said the Western Han Dynasty was the "golden age" in the history of China's lacquerware craft, and the items on display are a testimony to the glory of Chinese lacquer art.

"The lacquerware produced in the Western Han Dynasty is very exquisite in terms of decorative pattern and manufacturing technique," Yang said.

He added that more than 3,000 pieces of lacquered woodware were found in the tomb, of which over 1,100 are relatively well preserved. "They filled in the gap in the archeological history of lacquerware discovery in large tombs in the middle and late Western Han Dynasty."

"The lacquerware decoration of the Western Han Dynasty is rich in content, including patterns featuring animals, geometry, natural landscapes, plants and story characters," said Hong Shi, an associate researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

As lacquered woodware is usually fragile, experts have been carrying out restoration work on the unearthed woodware since 2015 when the lacquered items were unearthed for the first time, said Li Wenhuan, who is in charge of archaeometry and antique preservation of the marquis tomb.

A total of 960 pieces or units of lacquerware, mainly lacquered plates and lacquered ear cups, were included in the first batch of items for restoration and over 100 items have been fully restored so far. The second list of items for restoration includes lacquered boxes, lacquered cosmetic boxes and other exquisite lacquerware.

"As our restoration progresses, more antiques will be exhibited for the audience," Li said.

The excavation of the tomb began in 2011. The remains of Liu He, known as the Marquis of Haihun, were found in a coffin in an interior chamber and removed in January 2016 for further research.

(Web editor: Cai Hairuo, Sheng Chuyi)


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