Chinese archaeologists have unearthed a mysterious rectangular piece of wood associated with an ancient astronomical calendar. The artifacts were discovered in a well-preserved 2,000-year-old tomb in the southwestern part of the country.
The 23 wooden tablets, each 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide and 4 inches (10 cm) long, represent the traditional Chinese astronomical calendar, “Tian’an Dizhi,” or “Ten Heaven Stems and Twelve Di Zhis.” Kanji related to the kanji are drawn.Founded during the Shang Dynasty, which ruled from around 1600 BC to around 1045 BC
Archaeologists believe that one of the slips may have represented the current year, while the remaining 22 slips may have been used to identify specific years in the ancient calendar. Masu. china news article A website of an institution operated by the Chinese government.
Circular perforations at the edge of each slip suggest that they were once tied together.
But it’s still not clear how the set of wooden pieces carved with calendars worked, experts told Live Science.
Before the invention of paper, it was common in China to write on pieces of wood or bamboo, but this is the first time such an item has been found in an ancient tomb.
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Chongqing government archaeologists announced that the wooden tablets and a number of other artifacts were discovered earlier this year in a tomb in Wulong District, about 870 miles (1,400 kilometers) southwest of Beijing. told the Global Times — also run by the Chinese government.
The tomb contains a written list of all grave goods, and the list also states that it was built in 193 BC. This means that this tomb dates back to the time of the Western Han Dynasty, which ruled most of China from 206 BC to 9 AD. This was followed by the Eastern Han Dynasty, which ruled until 220 AD and is considered the “Golden Age” in which many Chinese traditions were established.
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Archaeologist Wang Meng said the tomb is the best-preserved wooden tomb ever discovered in southwestern China.
Project leader Huang Wei told the Global Times that the tomb also contains more than 600 cultural relics, including lacquer bowls, boxes, urns and plates. Also stored were bamboo tableware and sound tubes, copper spears and cooking tripods, wooden figurines, and ceramic and bronze items.
The mystery of the calendar
Astronomer Ed Kruppdirector of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles and author of “.Echoes of ancient skies: Astronomy of lost civilizations” (Dover, 2003), who was not involved in Wulong’s discovery, told Live Science that although the Ten’an Ji Shi calendar is mainstream, it is used in Chinese astrology, for example. The wooden tablets found in Wulong’s tomb are said to be rare.
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“The wooden tablet with the calendar inscription is important as it is the first and only known example of an inscription of its kind on an object,” he said in an email.
However, it is unlikely that the set of wooden tablets functioned as a calendar. Rather, it appears it could be used to refer to any year in a 60-year calendar cycle, he said.
“If so, they are not ‘books’ but objects used to emphasize a particular year,” he says. He drew similarities to the practice practiced at a Taoist temple in Suzhou, China. There, each year of the cycle is represented by a statue that is specially marked at the most recent period.
Krupp said the findings at the Wulong tomb indicate that a high-ranking person was buried there. “There are many artifacts that were buried with the deceased and they are very elaborate,” he said. “This is a luxurious and expensive material.”