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Mawangdui Han Dynasty Tombs

From 1972 to early 1974, Chinese archaeological workers excavated three tombs of the Western Han Dynasty at Mawangdui, Changsha, unearthing tremendous finds which attracted attention at home and abroad. The more than 3,000 cultural relics and a well-preserved remains of a woman unearthed from the tombs are of great value in studying the politics, economy, military, affairs, culture, science and technology of the early Western Han period.

The fascinating 2,000 year old Mawangdui mummy is not the only amazing thing on display at this special exhibit at the Hunan Provincial Museum. From the leftovers of an ancient meal to revealing silk texts and even a story-high coffin, Mawangdui wows the visitor from beginning to end.

The silk paintings discovered on  location are the earliest extant works in large sizes depicting everyday life at the time. Treasures including painted tomb figures, musical instruments, weapons, seals and silk manuscripts are also found there. Large volumes of silk manuscripts discovered in Tomb No. 3 feature rich contents related to  ancient philosophy, history and technologies totaling 28 volumes with over 120 thousand characters. Lost atlases were also found among the books. Relief maps from Tomb No. 2 feature strikingly accurate drawing techniques and geographical positionining compared with modern maps.