Skip to content

The Development Achievement of Tomb Murals in Qin and Han Dynasty

Qin Shihuang unified the six kingdoms, took over the thoughts of Yin and Yang, and the Five Elements of the Warring States, and Taoist gods. “Geographical” underground palace. The Han Dynasty inherited the Qin system. Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty especially respected ghosts and gods, and was more enthusiastic about the words of immortals and alchemists, and the art of longevity, which further set off the trend of the times of “things die as things live”.

The Han dynasty integrated and created the concepts of soul and spirit, belief in immortals, yin and yang theory, and the induction of heaven and man since the pre-Qin Dynasty, forming a set of funeral and burial customs that integrate functions, customs, and ideas, as well as matching images. . The emperor’s tombs and noble tombs decorated with these images not only have the effect of palaces on the ground, but also have the special function of seeking advantages and avoiding disadvantages, prospering the gods, and sheltering children and grandchildren.

Two fresco tombs in the early Western Han Dynasty were excavated by archaeological excavations, namely, the Tomb of the Nanyue King in Xianggang Mountain, Guangzhou and the Tomb of the Liang King in Mangdang Mountain, Shangqiu Shiyuan, Henan. The owners of the tombs belonged to the princes of one party. The Nanyue King’s tomb dates from the end of Yuanshuo to the early years of Yuanshou, Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty (around 122 BC).

Although the tomb specifications are high, the murals are very simple. They are only found on the stone gate, the four walls of the front room and the capstone. There are no murals with thematic content in the moiré patterns painted in Zhu and ink. It belongs to the typical fresco tomb in the early Western Han Dynasty, and it is the Mausoleum of the Liangwang of Mangdang Mountain.

The Mausoleum of Emperor Liang of the Western Han Dynasty in Mangdang Mountain is located about 90 kilometers east of Shangqiu City, Henan Province. The tomb is a large multi-chamber cliff tomb that “cuts the mountain for the Guo, and wears the stone for the Tibetan”. On the top of the front area of ​​the main room is painted a huge dragon with a length of 5 meters, head from south to north, with heads, horns, body wings, dragon tongues and monsters, and the left and right painted suzaku, white tiger, or early forms of the four spirits. The murals in the tomb of King Liang are rich in color, exaggerated in image, and have a strong decorative meaning. The images of the murals obviously have traces of Chu painting style.

The representative mural tombs of the late Western Han Dynasty were concentrated in Luoyang and Xi’an. Luoyang is the hinterland of the Central Plains in history and the old capital of the Nine Dynasties, with rich historical and cultural relics. Archeologically excavated in Luoyang, there are Mural Tomb No. 61 in Shaogou, Bu Qianqiu Mural Tomb, Qianjingtou Mural Tomb and so on. The murals are distributed on the top of the main room, the front and back gables and the partition beams. There is a brick-by-picture form, and there are also a banner-like composition painted by multiple bricks, as well as a picture combining plastic and painting.

The themes of the mural paintings are common in expelling the exorcism and the epidemic, the auspicious rising to the immortals, and historical figures. The images truly reflect the funeral concepts and social customs of the Western Han Dynasty. Nuo ceremonies were used in funeral ceremonies in the Han Dynasty, and the custom of Fang Xiang clan expelling Nuo in the pre-Qin Dynasty was followed to protect the deceased from the intrusion of mountain and forest surprises.

The Han people emphasized Nuo ceremonies, and even painted the scene of exorcising Nuo in the tomb. This phenomenon is of great significance to the discussion of the change in the concept of death and life during the Han Dynasty.

Xi’an, west of Luoyang, was the capital of the Western Han Dynasty and Xinmang period, and was the political and cultural center at that time. There are high-quality tombs of this period in the Gyeonggi Tombs on both sides of the Weishui River. Mural tombs from the Western Han Dynasty have been discovered. Important ones include the late Western Han tombs attached to Xi’an Jiaotong University, the Mural Tombs of Xi’an University of Technology, and the No. 1 tomb of Qujiangchi in the southern suburbs of Xi’an.

The Twenty-Eight-Zhou celestial picture is constructed according to the inner and outer circles. The inner circle is painted with Liuyun, Golden Crow Sun, and Moon Jade Rabbit Toad, and the outer circle is painted with Blue Dragon, White Tiger, Vermillion Bird, Yellow Snake and its matching 28-Zhou, with figures and animal images attached to it. The name of each lodging. Outside the ring is painted colorful clouds and flying cranes. The painted feathers on the back wall lead the soul of the tomb owner to ascend to heaven with Ganoderma lucidum. The murals have full composition and bright colors. The two-line coloring method and the combination form of the hook-and-loop pattern can also show the successive style context.

Wang Mang tampered with the Yuan and implemented the New Deal, and the funeral system and customs changed slightly. Mural tombs belonging to this period are represented by the Han Tomb in Qianyang, Shaanxi, Gongjiawan Tomb No. 1 in Xianyang, Xinmang Mural Tomb in Jinguyuan, Luoyang, and Xincun Mural Tomb in Yanshi. On the basis of the images of the four spirits and auspiciousness of the Western Han Dynasty, the mural paintings have added new contents such as banquets, chariots and horses, music and dance, fairy idols, etc., and present a popular trend.

The funeral customs and tomb murals of the Western Han Dynasty were transformed by the Wang Mang dynasty. As the Eastern Han dynasty became more and more popular, the mural images that had the function of expressing funerals were further expanded, and the images of the deceased’s honors and the feast of the fairyland became the images. Decorating the burial chamber is a popular theme. Judging from the more than 30 Eastern Han Dynasty mural tombs that have been discovered, with Luoyang as the center, the Eastern Han Dynasty mural tombs in the northern part of the Central Plains are the most popular, and they spread as far as Liaodong and Hexi.

The Eastern Han Dynasty mural tombs in the northern part of the Central Plains are concentrated in Henan, Hebei and surrounding areas. Luoyang Beijiao Petroleum Station Mural Tomb, Luoyang Locomotive Factory Mural Tomb, Luoyang Xigong Mural Tomb, Luoyang Mural Tomb No. 3850, Luoyang Yanshi Xingyuan Village Mural Tomb, Xin’an Tietashan Mural Tomb, Luoyang Zhucun Hanwei Tomb Mural Tomb, Dahuting No. 2 Portrait Stone Mural Tomb, Mi County Houtuguo No. 1, 2 and 3 Portrait Stone Mural Tomb, Xingyang Changcun Mural Tomb;

Hebei Hope Capital No. 1 and 2 Mural Tomb, Anping Lujiazhuang Mural Tombs; the Eastern Han Dynasty mural tombs discovered in other areas include: Wangcun Mural Tomb in Xia County, Shanxi, Qinglongshan Mural Tomb in Jinan, Shandong, Huangshan Long Mural Tomb in Xuzhou, Jiangsu, and Dongyuan Village No. 1 and 2 in Bo County, Anhui.

The prosperous Central Plains culture spread to border areas such as Hexi and Liaoyang after the opening of the Silk Road, during the emigration trend of setting up counties and Tuntian and the autumn of the Han Dynasty. Therefore, the fresco tombs in the border areas of this period also showed a strong presence. The cultural characteristics of the Central Plains. Hexi Han and Wei fresco tombs are mainly distributed in Wuwei. In Inner Mongolia, which belongs to the same border area, there are mural tombs from the Eastern Han Dynasty in Tuoketuo and Helinger.

%d bloggers like this: