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Give a brief introduction to the tomb and the objects (that we have covered in lecture) of Marquis of Dai and

Lady of Dai (Lady Xin)? Focus on the Feiyi (Funerary banner). What does an archeological discovery like this tells us?

The Mawangdui tombs provide a striking picture of early Chinese beliefs in the afterlife. The lacquerware, clothing, domestic objects and foods buried therein show that during the Han dynasty (202 BCE-220 CE) tomb furnishings and grave goods were thought to provide for the deceased a celestial palace with all the comforts of an idealized home (Beningson 2005: 1). These objects also reflect the luxurious material culture enjoyed by the ruling elite of south central China. Title: Tomb of Marquis of Dai & Lady of Dai Tomb Site: Mawangdui, Changsha, Hunan (the old Chu cultural area Period/Date: Western Han Dynasty/ca. 186-168 BC Mawangdu The site consists of two saddle-shaped hills and contained the tombs of three people from the western Han Dynasty (206 BCE 9 CE) 1) the first Marquis of Dai

2) his wife, Xin Zhui ( Lady Dai) 3) and a male who is believed to be their son.
The tombs were made of large cypress planks. The outside of the tombs were layered with white clay and charcoal; white clay layering was a practice that originated with Chu burials, while charcoal layering was a practice that was followed during the early western Han Dynasty in the Changsha area. The tombs contained nested lacquered coffins, a Chu burial custom. The tombs also followed the burial practices dictated by Emperor Wen of Han, containing no jade or precious metals. The Tombs 1) The eastern tomb, Tomb no. 1, Tomb of Lady Dai (Xin Zhui). Her mummified body was so well-preserved that researchers were able to perform an autopsy on her body, which showed that she probably died of a heart attack. Xinzhui's tomb was the best preserved tomb by far of the three tombs. A complete cosmetic set, lacquered pieces and finely woven silk garments with paintings found in the tomb are almost perfectly preserved. Her coffins were painted according to Chu customs and beliefs with whirling clouds interwoven with mystical animals and dragons. The corpse was bound tightly in layers of silk cloth and covered with a wonderfully painted T-shaped tapestry depicting the netherworld, earth and heavens with Chinese mythological characters as well as Xinzhui. 2) The western tomb, Tomb no. 2, burial site of the first Marquis of Dai, Li Cang ( ). He died in 186 BC. The Han Dynasty had appointed Li Cang as the chancellor of the Kingdom of Changsha. This tomb had been plundered several times by grave robbers.


Description Second The outer coffin is decorated with whirling cloud-like bands ridden by a host of human, animal, and animallike figures. While Lady Dais tomb and her preserved corpse point to an afterlife resembling the world of the living, the coffins decoration hints at liberation from the everyday world.

A figure is playing a plucked instrument called a gin. It has seven silk Coffin, strings and was favored by members Lacquered Wood with Motifs of Fantastic Animals of the upper classes. amid Clouds Another figure is an immortal (xian). Notice the wings and the plants he holds.. He might be drinking dew from them DEW was part of an immortals diet They believed that the afterworld have a hybrid of creatures. It gives us an insight into Han ideas about the afterlife. The banners depicted the Chinese abstraction of the cosmos and the afterlife at the time of the western Han Dynasty. The uppermost horizontal section of the T represents heaven. The bottom of the vertical section of the T represents the underworld. The middle (the top of the vertical) represents earth. In heaven we can see Chinese deities such as Nuwa and Chang'e, as well as Daoist symbols such as cranes (representing immortality). Between heaven and earth we can see heavenly messengers sent to bring Lady Dai to heaven. Underneath this are Lady Dai's family offering sacrifices to help her journey to heaven. Underneath them is the underworld two giant sea serpents intertwined.

3) Tomb no. 3 was directly south of Tomb no. 1, and contained the tomb of a man in his thirties who died in 168 BC. The occupant is believed to be a relative of Li Cang and his wife. This tomb contained a rich trove of military, medical, and astronomical manuscripts written on silk.

Flying Banner (Feiyi) The overall theme generally agreed upon is that the scenes represent the conducting of the souls of the dead to the realm of the immortals. The search for immortality was of utmost concern during the Han and this is the first extant example which illustrated visually, and quite literally, the route of the soul (or souls). The painting is divided into three parts. The lower section represents the subterranean region (netherworld) The middle section, the largest, is the habitat of human beings on earth (earth) and the upper, represents the land of the immortals with the sun and moon bounding its description. (heaven) At the bottom is the land of the netherworld, of water creatures, darkness, and the place below the surface of the earth where souls undergo their first metamorphosis. This is the place that the Taoists call the cosmic womb, where the yin symbol of female creation dwells. It is a place of eternal darkness with water at its deepest section. The lower section of the banner shows the offerings and ceremonies devoted to her body soul (po). Sacrificial vessels are provided for her and attendants are standing next to her, ready to serve her soul that resides in the tomb. Beneath the tomb we get a glimpse of the creatures living in the underworld: A deity of the earth carries the foundation of the tomb, her netherworld dwelling. The upper scene describes another mourning rite, that of welcoming home the soul. The large figure standing in profile in the center is thought to be a portrait of the deceased and she is shown as if crossing to the "other" world. The two terrestrial scenes represent appropriate ritual activities performed after death. Below and above, the deceased proceeds toward immortality. The upper part of the banner is said to show the realms of the immortals. Two deities holding the records of the life span of Lady Dai guard the entrance. They are identified as deities of destiny. They also act as transitional images, standing between earth and heaven. In the top section, we see a standing woman. She is surrounded by a creature with a snake-like body and flanked by the depictions of the moon with a toad and a rabbit, which is said to pound the elixir of immortality and the sun with a raven. Five birds seem to keep he company which may represent the figures of the lower parts of the banner.

The center of this section is found the figure of Fu Xi, an ancient clan god thought of as the first in the line of legendary rulers; he was the progenitor of the race and the embodiment of everything under heaven. He was thought to be the point from which yin and yang, the sun and moon, and heaven and earth emerged. The path represented, then, proceeds from death and the separation of the souls in the underworld, through the rites provided in the earthly realm, to return to the first ancestor of the race, and to immortality. The charting of space in the banner is an extension of a carefully structured iconography. The registers are arranged to correspond to the structure of the cosmos. Upon death the path of the souls echoes the birth, life and rebirth as embodied in the nature of ancestor worship already well established in the Han period. This discovery tells us more of the Western Han Dynasty. As from the lacquered wear, we understand that the region was rich due to their ability to produce high quality lacquer wear. With over 3000 pieces of relics, it also reviews the artistic taste and culture that is present in those periods. The rich trove of military, medical and astronomical manuscripts also provides us with an idea of how they function as a society who was at the wake of the disbanding of the Qin Dynasty Apart from telling us the wealth of the family we can also read into the region through the relics that is present. For example, they are more intuned to the astethics over the usability of the object in question. From the Flying Banner, we learn that the society is still relatively Shamanistic in nature with dwarfs appearing all over the banner. The banner itself also reveals details of the funeral procession that was present in that time. ( For example, the use to the manner to bring back the (HUN) that traveled to the afterlife paradise. Only through rituals can the person be reunited with the spirit. Although the tomb contends obviously reflects the wealthy status of the tomb occupant, the burial did not include jade or objects made of precious metals. This was the sure signs of the confucianism that is present in the society. Where by frugality is emphasised as long as proper rituals are presented. This is a start contrast to the opulent burials in both prior and subsequent periods in whih the deceased were dressed in jade suits <

Tomb of Prince Liu Sheng and Wife Dou Wan >

On a side note, the burial patterns and the way they buried the dead was also a reflection to their believes in the soul residing in the body that is preserved. This is seem especially in Lady Gui who was so well preserved that she was still fleshy upon excavations.