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Cultural Heritage / Trip Ideas

Why are Marquis Haihun cultural relics worth visiting?

By Weiwei Guan

April 14

More than 400 artifacts unearthed from the tomb of Haihunhou (Marquis of Haihun) are now being exhibited at the Capital Museum in Beijing. The exhibition opened to the public on March 19, and will last until June 2. “The tomb is of great value for the study of burial systems and history of the Han […]

More than 400 artifacts unearthed from the tomb of Haihunhou (Marquis of Haihun) are now being exhibited at the Capital Museum in Beijing. The exhibition opened to the public on March 19, and will last until June 2. “The tomb is of great value for the study of burial systems and history of the Han […]

Photo taken on March 20, 2016 shows the chimes unearthed from the 2,000-year-old Haihunhou Tomb is displayed at the Capital Museum in Beijing. [Photo by Guan Weiwei/China.org.cn]
Photo taken on March 20, 2016 shows the chimes unearthed from the 2,000-year-old Haihunhou Tomb is displayed at the Capital Museum in Beijing. [Photo by Guan Weiwei/China.org.cn]
More than 400 artifacts unearthed from the tomb of Haihunhou (Marquis of Haihun) are now being exhibited at the Capital Museum in Beijing. The exhibition opened to the public on March 19, and will last until June 2.

“The tomb is of great value for the study of burial systems and history of the Han Dynasty,” said Xin Lixiang, an archaeological expert, and head of the excavation team.

Origin of ‘Haihun’

The Chinese character “hai” literally means “sea”. “Hun” in Chinese usually describes timing of the sunset. The kingdom of Haihun is located on the west bank of Poyang Lake, which ancient people called “Hai”. Haihun got its name from its geographical position.

Photo taken on March 20, 2016 shows hoof-shaped gold wares and gold cakes are displayed at the Capital Museum in Beijing. [Photo by Guan Weiwei/China.org.cn]
Photo taken on March 20, 2016 shows hoof-shaped gold wares and gold cakes are displayed at the Capital Museum in Beijing. [Photo by Guan Weiwei/China.org.cn]
Final resting place of a 27-day emperor

Liu He, grandson of Emperor Wu, the greatest ruler of ancient China’s Han Dynasty, was found to be the main tomb’s owner.

According to historical records, Liu He became Prince of Changyi when his father died. Thirteen years later when Liu was 19, he was established as emperor after his uncle Emperor Zhao died without heir. However, he was deposed for incompetence after only 27 days. It was about 10 years later that Emperor Xuan made Liu the Marquis of Haihun. He died at the age of 33 and was buried at today’s Nanchang, Jiangxi Province.

Photo taken on March 20, 2016 shows two bronze lamps are displayed at the Capital Museum in Beijing. [Photo by Guan Weiwei/China.org.cn]
Photo taken on March 20, 2016 shows two bronze lamps are displayed at the Capital Museum in Beijing. [Photo by Guan Weiwei/China.org.cn]
Best preserved, most complete

The 2000-year burial site is regarded as the best-preserved royal tomb of the western Han Dynasty ever discovered in China, with the most complete structure including a whole set of sacrifice and drainage systems, highlighting funeral traditions during the Han period. This entailed serving the departed as if they were alive.

Archeologists unearthed the main chamber, memorial temple, a burial site for chariot horses and three affiliated tombs. The team also found more than 10 tons of Wuzhu bronze coins, gold items, jade articles, bamboo slips, and musical instruments.

Archeological work at the Haihunhou tomb lasted for five years, including digital excavation at the site and technical protection of the relics. The main coffin, weighing 4 tons, has been lifted from the burial site for further research.

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