Jin Dynasty tomb murals discovered in rural Yangquan


Archaeologists recently discovered seven complete murals on the walls of an ancient tomb in Nihe village, Yuxian county – administered by Yangquan city in North China's Shanxi province – while carrying out the excavation of relics.

The tomb from the Jin Dynasty (1115-1234) was found by local villagers when they were building roads and in March the Shanxi Institute of Archaeology, the Yangquan Cultural Relics Management Center and Yuxian county's cultural relics management office started excavations.

The tomb is a wood-like structure, comprising a passage, door, chamber and other sections. The two sides of the tomb door are decorated with patterns of wings and flowers. 

There are seven murals painted on the main wall of the tomb, drawn with black strokes and filled with gray and black hues. They depict a sitting couple, playing boys, a deer with mushrooms, a lion playing with a ball made of rolled silk and an old man amid wormwoods. 

Pictures of a guardian and companion dog found on both sides of the tomb gate are some of the best-preserved images of such murals in Shanxi, expressing the intention of protecting the dead and the living. 

The image of a boy riding a crane and the other images of the deer and lion have never been found in Jin Dynasty tomb murals in Yangquan before – and so have increased the understanding of archaeologists about folk beliefs in the mountainous areas of eastern Shanxi during the period.