Chu Tombs at Jiuliandun in Zaoyang, Hubei Province

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1 Chu Tombs at Jiuliandun in Zaoyang, Hubei Province Hubei Provincial Institute of Antiquity and Archaeology Keywords: Hubei Jiuliandun chariot and horse pit Warring States period I. Discovery and Excavation of the Tombs The Jiuliandun 九连墩 (nine mounds in a row) cemetery is located in the stretch of land to the west of Dongzhaohu 东赵湖 Village (a village belonging to Wudian 吴店 Town) and Wujin 乌金 Village (a village belonging to Xinglong 兴隆 Town), south of Zaoyang 枣阳 City. The cemetery is on a low hill of the Dahongshan 大洪山 Mountains. The hill itself has a north-south orientation, with the northern part higher than the southern. The cemetery is 3 km long, and 9 burial mounds are visible at present, all of large or medium size, mostly aligned north-south and arranged on the ridge of the hill. The Jiuliandun cemetery has protected site status: in 1984 it was listed as a protected site within Xiangfan 襄樊 City, and in 1992 as a protected site of Hubei 湖北 Province, by the municipal and provincial governments respectively. The 9 tombs are earth mounds, and are numbered 1 to 9 in sequence according to their position, with Tomb No.1 as the southernmost and Tomb No.9 as the northernmost. In September 2002, in a rescue operation prior to construction work, we excavated those tombs that would be damaged by the building of a main road. The archaeologists split into three groups: the first group was to survey and map the cemetery and Tomb No.1, as a total station in accord with the National Grade 3 Network. The second group was to probe the area around Tomb No.1, at 2 m intervals, to determine if there might be a horse-and-chariot pit, or any other type of pit or construction, associated with the burial, in order to understand the context and layout of Tomb No.1. The third group was to carry out a ground survey within a 10 km area, in order to determine if there might be any city remains or other important burials close by. This work was completed on schedule. The probing team discov- 88 ered another tomb (Tomb No.2) that had been levelled out in earlier times, as well as two horse-and-chariot pits (Nos. 1 and 2), and determined that these all bear close relation to Tomb No.1. They also found some coloured earth at the eastern part of the entrance ramp of Tomb No.1, suggesting that there might have been some construction or feature above the tomb. 4 km east of Jiuliandun, the ground survey team discovered a city site of the Eastern Zhou period, which the local people call Zhongyizhai 忠义寨. The city had a square layout, measuring c.300 m on each side. The relationship between the city and the Jiuliandun cemetery needs further investigation. II. Important Remains 1. Remains above ground Remains of earth walls were found on the southern and northern sides of the mound that is Tomb No.1, as well as on the southern side of the mound that is Tomb No.2. The remains of the walls of Tomb No.1 measure 28.7 m long and 3.5 m wide on the southern side, and 19 m long and 3.2 m wide on the northern side. The distance between them is about 40 m. The wall on the southern side of Tomb No.2 measures 18.6 m long and 2.7 m wide, and is about 7 m distant from the northern wall of Tomb No.1. The walls were made of a dark brown soil and were built by the stamped earth technique, so that there is a straight internal side and a sloping external side. Archaeologists also cleared the foundations of Tombs Nos.1 and 2, and found they were both made of coloured stamped earth. The stratification of both tombs shows that the foundations of Tomb No.2 were built on top of Tomb No.1. This is supported by the stratification of the test pit on the eastern side. A square-shaped pit was found to the east of Tomb No.1, about 28 m due east of the tomb entrance. Burnt earth and carbon ash were

2 found in the pit, confirming its role as a burning pit. With this evidence, we can reconstruct the process of the construction of Tomb No.1. First, an area of land on the virgin hill was cleared, then the foundations were prepared, and finally the pit was dug. The foundation remains are more or less round, with a diameter of 95 m. From the even width and the straightness of the walls on both sides, we can surmise that the walls may have surrounded a rectangular courtyard. The burning pit in front of the entrance to Tomb No.1 was dug into the prepared foundations of the tomb, suggesting that it represents the remains of a ritual performed after the construction of the tomb. 2. Remains of Tomb No.1 The western section of the earth mound is damaged. The remains measure 33.3 m east-west and 43.3 m northsouth, and rise 5 m in height. The mound was made from piled up earth; there is no indication of the stamped earth technique. A tomb robber s hole was found at the centre of the mound, which had enabled the robber to access the burial chamber at the eastern end of the southern side compartment, and to remove some of the burial goods. The tomb pit is rectangular, with an orientation of 105 degrees. The opening of the pit measures 38.1 m eastwest and 34.8 m north-south, and the depth of the pit is 12.8 m. There are fourteen steps leading towards the pit. The sloping entrance ramp is on the eastern side of the tomb. The tomb is m long; the slope measures 36.1 m and was built at an angle of 13 degrees. The entrance itself is about 4 m wide, and there is an opening about 15 m wide higher up on the western side. Inside, the tomb was prepared using the stamped earth technique. Marks of the stamping remain, and show that the stamping tool was round, with a diameter of 5 6 cm (Fig. 1). Inside the tomb were two inner coffins and two outer coffin chambers. The first outer coffin chamber measured 8 m long and 6.82 m wide, with boards partitioning them into five compartments: north, south, east, west and centre. Burial goods were placed in the north, south, east and west compartments, and each compartment had its own wooden board covering it. At the base of each outer coffin chambers was a wooden frame, with tenon and mortise construction. The second chamber was placed in the central room of the outer chamber, and boards were piled in on each side to make up the box. Between the partition boards and the side boards was a shallow trough measuring 3.25 m by 2.2 m. The outer coffin was a rectangular box, measuring 2.86 m by 1.7 m. The inner coffin had a curved base, measuring 2.48 m by 1.06 m. Volume 5 The exterior and interior of the two coffins were painted with red lacquer. The body inside the coffin was placed to one side, with the head to the east. There were remains of silk on top of the body. The burial goods found in Tomb No.1 were mainly placed in the compartments to the north, south, east and west. In the eastern compartment were a comparatively large number of bronze ritual vessels, in a fairly complete assemblage: ding-, yan-, li-cooking vessels, gui-, fu-, dun-food vessels and jian-, pan-basins, fanghusquare-shaped wine vessels and bi-ladles (Figs. 2 and 3). Lacquer wares included an-, jin-small serving tables and trays, ji-water vessels, he-boxes, bi-ladles, dou-stemmed plates, erbei-two-eared bowls, and other wine vessels and boxes. The southern compartment contained weapons, horse and chariot equipments, ge-dagger axes, spears, swords, ji-halberds, arrowheads, chariot axle caps and awnings, horse-bits and armour, and bronze beads, bone cowries and leather armour. The western compartment contained toiletry and washing utensils, musical instruments and decorative pieces: tangdingwashing vessel, water pot with handle, he-water pourer, pan-basin, yi-ewer, shao-spoon, ji-basket, se-, qinstringed musical instruments, sheng-mouth organ, drum with tiger and bird frame, small carved wooden screen, painted cross-bow, bronze cup with openwork, bronze lamp with a human-figure stand (Fig. 4). The northern compartment mainly contained musical instruments: bells, drum, stringed instruments and mouth organ. Inside the coffin was a bronze sword, and jade pieces: guitablet, bi-disk, jue-slit ring, huang-pendant, guan-tube and die-flat-pieces. 3. The chariot and horse pit associated with Tomb No.1 This pit lies about 25.2 m to the west of the Tomb No.1. It is rectangular, measuring 52.7 m north-south, and 9.5 m east-west, and with a depth of 2.3 m. Cut into the western wall are three slopes leading into the pit. Thirty-three chariots were found within the pit, arranged in pairs aligned north-south. Chariot No.13 was found in the central part of the pit, and had six horses. On either side of Chariot No.13 were Chariots Nos.12 and 15, each with four horses. Of the other thirty chariots, one had four horses, two had no horses, and twenty-seven had two horses. A total of 72 horses were found in the pit (Fig. 5). 4. Tomb No.2 The earth mound covering this tomb had been flattened in earlier times; it measures 38.4 m east-west, 34 m north-south, and the highest remaining part is 1.4 m. The tomb pit is rectangular, with an orientation of 89

3 Fig. 1 Panoramic view of Chu tombs at Jiuliandun Fig. 2 Bronze ritual vessels from Tomb No.1 (photo from southwest to northeast) 90

4 Fig. 3 Bronze fanghu-vessel from Tomb No.1 Fig. 4 Bronze lamp with a human-figure stand from Tomb No.1 Fig. 5 The chariot-and-horse pit No.1 (photo from southwest to northeast) Volume 5 91

5 Fig. 7 Lacquer bixie from Tomb No.2 Fig. 6 Bronze and wooden ritual vessels from Tomb No.2 (photo from north to south) 107 degrees. The southern wall of Tomb No.2 is 18 m distant from the northern wall of Tomb No.1. Tomb No.2 is m long, and the entrance slope is m long, at an angle of 14 degrees. The entrance to the tomb is about 3.4 m wide, and there is an opening about 15 m wide higher up on the western side. The tomb pit was made using the stamped earth technique, with a round stamping tool about 5 cm in diameter. A square-shaped trough had been dug in the centre of the base of the pit, and a sheep had been placed in it (see Fig. 1). There were two outer coffin chambers and two inner coffins. The outer chamber measured 7.45 m by 5.8 m, and each was partitioned into five compartments: north, south, east, west and centre. The burial goods were placed in the compartments at the north, south, east and west. The second chamber was made of piled up wood, and between the partition boards and side boards was a shallow trough measuring 3.25 m long and 2.2 m wide. The outer coffin was a rectangular box, measuring 2.76 m by 1.72 m. The inner coffin had a curved base, 92 Fig. 8 Bronze horse from Tomb No.2 measuring 2.36 m by 1.26 m. The inside and outside of the two inner coffins were painted with red lacquer. The decoration of the inner coffin was already somewhat decayed and loose, but it was still possible to see that bronze bi-disks had been placed on the cover, and jade bi-disks had been hung at the head of the coffin. The clothes and wrappings were already decayed, and the human bones were all in place, with the head to the east. The eastern compartment of Tomb No.2 contained a large number of bronze ritual vessels as well as wooden ones, such as ding, gui, fu, dun, fou, li, fanghu, dou, shao, jian, zun, jin, zu, and wooden figurines (Fig. 6). The southern compartment contained a large quantity of lacquer ware, including stemmed serving vessel, twoeared cups, wine vessel, drinking vessel and boxes, serving table and trays, small screen, and wooden figurines and bixie-tomb guardians (Fig. 7). Over a thousand bamboo slips were found in the western part of the

6 southern compartment, with obvious traces of where they had once been tied together, and the inscriptions written in lacquer. These are currently being studied. In the western compartment the following burial goods were found: bronze vessels including ding, fou, pan, yi and horses (Fig. 8); wooden objects such as small serving tables and trays, water vessels, stemmed serving vessels, ewers, two-eared cups, as well as figurines, bamboo mats, baskets and fans. The northern compartment mainly contained musical instruments: bells, chimes, drum with tiger and bird frame (Fig. 9), stringed instruments, mouth organ and bamboo flute. Inside the coffin was an assemblage of 41 pieces of jade and stone (Fig. 10). 5. The chariot and horse pit associated with Tomb No.2 This pit lies 26.8 m west of Tomb No.2. The southern wall of this pit is 19.5 m distant from the northern wall of the horse-and-chariot pit associated with Tomb No.1. The pit is rectangular, measures 22.2 m northsouth and 6.2 m east-west, and is 1.7 m deep. Cut into the western wall is one slope leading into the pit. Seven chariots were found in the pit, as well as a rectangular chariot base. One chariot had four horses; all the others had 2 horses. A total of 16 horses were found in the pit. Many of the chariots had been painted black (Fig. 11). Fig. 9 Drum with tiger and bird frame from Tomb No.2 (photo from east to west) Fig. 10 Human bones and jade objects from Tomb No.2 III. The Most Important Results The Chu tombs at Jiuliandun, near Zaoyang are large tombs, probably belonging to people of high status of the mid- to late-warring States period (5th to 3rd century BCE). The burial of husband and wife in separate tombs side by side is often seen Fig. 11 The chariot-and-horse pit No.2 (photo from southwest to northeast) Volume 5 93

7 in Chu tombs, and Tomb Nos.1 and 2 would appear to follow this pattern. 1. We can confirm that is a rather important burial ground for people of high status, and that there must be a significant city site close by. Judging from the positioning of the tombs on a north-south line, and the tomb entrances that face east, it would seem that the arrangement of the cemetery was to prepare pits prior to burial. For this reason, we can confirm that the complete assemblage which has Tomb No.1 at its centre (Tomb Nos.1 and 2, and chariot and horse pit Nos.1 and 2). In addition to excavating the tombs and horse-and-chariot pits, we also paid attention to the tomb foundations, surrounding walls, sacrificial burning pits and other remains associated with the burials. These discoveries fill in a number of gaps in our knowledge of tombs and burials of the Chu State. Furthermore, as we were clearing the tombs, we took particular care when noting the position of the burial objects to consider not only the physical placing of the objects, but also the internal significance of the objects in relation to one another. 2. The horse-and-chariot pit associated with Tomb No.1 is the largest of its kind ever discovered of the Chu State. From the horses in the two pits we have been able to confirm that only male horses were used. The chariots in the pit fall into four categories. The positioning of the chariots in the pits was deliberate and shows a certain formation. The size of the two pits and the good condition in which they were found has provided substantial first hand material for studying chariots of the Chu State: the different types of chariot, how the higher status elite used chariots, how the chariots were constructed, and how the horses and chariots were prepared together. 3. The excavations at Jiuliandun have raised several new areas for research. Tomb No.1, with its fourteen steps, its two inner and outer coffins, the five compartments in the outer coffin, would seem, according to our traditional understanding, to be typical of a high-ranking man. However, the important bronze ritual vessels, comprise the following: 5 displaying ding-vessels (shengding), 2 cooking ding-vessels (huoding), 12 ding with lids, and 8 bronze gui-tureens. The composition and positioning of these vessels is not appropriate for the usual rituals. The horse-and-chariot pit associated with tomb contained 33 chariots, one of which was drawn by six horses. This was not part of our previous understanding of Chu horse-and-chariot assemblages. Previously we thought that in Chu burials the husband and wife were of different status, and that the wife was of lower status than the husband. Yet Tomb Nos.1 and 2 at Jiuliandun both have fourteen steps leading to the tomb entrance, and both have two inner coffins and two outer coffins, with five compartments in the outer coffins. These similarities show that we need to research further into the relative status of husband and wife in the Chu State. We also need to reconsider our understanding of Chu music. Only a few of the bells found in Tomb No.1 are in tune, indicating that they were not used as musical bells. No chimes were found in Tomb No.1. But Tomb No.2 contained both a set of bells and a set of chimes. The bamboo slips found in Tomb No.2, with traces of tying and lacquer writing are also unprecedented in a Chu tomb. Note: The original report, published in Kaogu 考古 : 10 14, with 4 pages of plate, is written by Wang Hongxing 王红星. The summary is prepared by the author himself and English-translated by Wang Tao 汪涛. 94

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