Chinese scientists have discovered fragments of an ancient manuscript on silk

(ORDO NEWS) — Chinese scientists continue to study materials from the 2nd century BC, which were excavated in 1972-1974 in the Mawangdui burial ground.

They managed to find elegant hieroglyphs, images of phoenixes, as well as several fragments of text from the ancient work Xingde on silk fabrics, according to the Chinese news agency Xinhua (1, 2).

In the vicinity of the modern city of Changsha, located in the province of Hunan, in 1972-1974, archaeologists discovered and excavated the Mawangdui burial ground, which dates back to the early period of the Western Han Dynasty.

The researchers found three burials there, which belonged to the prince-hou, who owned the Dai inheritance in 185-165 BC, and also, probably, to his son and wife.

The most striking of them was the burial of a woman, whose remains were found in a mummified state (more on miraculous mummies can be found in our material “Well Preserved”). Scientists have found that she died at the age of approximately 54 from a heart attack.

Together with her, archaeologists found numerous sets of clothes, 158 lacquer items, such as furniture, cutlery and toiletries, as well as silk fabrics and wooden figurines.

In addition to things, the accompanying inventory included ancient texts on bamboo and wooden planks, as well as silk scrolls. Among them, in particular, were works devoted to ancient Chinese medicine and pharmaceuticals, contemplative, gymnastic and sexual practices.

Chinese scientists continue to study the rich collection of finds made in the Mawangdui burial ground. Thus, recent studies included more than 19,000 fragments of fabric and 1,700 lacquer and wooden items found in the burial of the wife of Prince Dai.

According to Yu Yandjiao of the Hunan Provincial Museum, this work made it possible for the first time to identify delicate Chinese characters on silk fabrics, which indicate a high level of weaving during the early Han Dynasty.

In addition, scientists have found images of phoenixes that were embedded in patterns symbolizing longevity.

Among other discoveries were dozens of found fragments of manuscripts on silk. Some of these texts, written in Chinese characters, have been identified as part of the third volume of the ancient literary work Xingde.

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