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Archaeological Finds Table of Contents

"Three Eastern Han Tombs with Wall Paintings at Otog"


Wang Dafang and Yang Zemeng
Zhongguo wenwu bao 1999.12.19


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In August 1999, the staff of the Archaeology Unit of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region Cultural Office achieved significant results while unearthing a group of Han tombs in the Ordos grasslands of Western Inner Mongolia. Located in the vicinity of Ulan Township, Otog, the tomb complex comprises 6 graves, three of which contain wall painting dating from the early Eastern Han (25-220), over 1900 years ago. The murals are preserved intact, with vivid colors. Inside these three tombs a total of over 200 square meters of painting remains extant. The south wall of Tomb No. 1 contains a large composition of a hunting scene, within which six mounted soldiers wearing close-fitting garments ride astride galloping russet horses, caught in the motion of pulling their bows. The riders surround a large enclosure occupied by big-horned deer, foxes, and tailed deer � a thrilling spectacle and a masterpiece of the genre of hunting pictures. Other scenes include putting out to pasture, oxen plowing, going on journeys, stars and clouds, mending clothes, etc. The discovery of these painted tombs at Otog offers direct and substantial visual evidence towards studying the amicable relations between the Han peoples and other ethnic groups in North China. Like the 1971 discovery of Han wall paintings at Horinger, this too is a momentous discovery. The Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region Cultural Office has already begun conservation of the paintings, organize experts to make faithful copies for further research. HT




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