Two beautiful over a 1,000 years old stone murals from the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127) had been unearthed in central China’s Henan Province.
The murals are the largest of their kind ever found in the country. At first, they seem unremarkable, but their beautiful form is clearly visible as taken together.
Amazing 1,000-year-old mural. Photo: Xinhua
These remarkable ancient pieces of work were discovered in the Zhouqiao relics site in Kaifeng City, along the northern and southern banks at the east side of the Zhouqiao Bridge.
The murals are 3.3 meters in height, and the excavated length of the south bank mural is 23.2 meters, while that of the northern one is 21.2 meters. It is worth noting that the total length of a single mural is presumed to be approximately 30 meters, writes Xinhua.
Part of a stone mural discovered in the Zhouqiao relics site in Kaifeng City, central China’s Henan Province. (Xinhua/Li An) -photo taken on Sept. 21, 2022.
Archaeologists continue their excavations and are busy with cleanup work in the area of the discovery, according to Zhou Runshan, head of the excavation project.
Thanks to impressive carving techniques used by ancient Chinese artisans, the murals are symmetrically distributed and engraved with patterns associated with traditional Chinese culture, such as clouds, seahorses, and flying cranes and clouds.
It is estimated that the total length of the stone murals is expected to reach about 100 meters, and the total carved area will have around 400 square meters upon complete excavation of the murals on both east and west sides of the bridge, Zhou added.
“In terms of scale, subject and style, the stone murals can represent the highest standards of the stonework system and the highest level of carving techniques during the Northern Song Dynasty,” said Zheng Yan, a professor at Peking University’s School of Arts.
“It is an important discovery that enriches and rewrites the art history of the Song Dynasty,” he added.
Zhouqiao Bridge was built between 780 and 783 in the Tang Dynasty (618-907) across the Grand Canal, a vast waterway connecting China’s northern and southern parts.
It was a landmark structure in the central axis of Kaifeng City and was buried in 1642 by mud and sand due to the flooding of the Yellow River. Archaeological excavation of the Zhouqiao site was launched in 2018.
So far, a total of 4,400 square meters of the site have been excavated, and 117 sites of remains and ruins have been found.