Unearthed Xizang cultural relics reveal ancient ethnic exchanges
Published: Mar 01, 2023 11:45 PM
The Reshui Tombs in Dulan county, Northwest China's Qinghai Province Photo: VCG

The Reshui Tombs in Dulan county, Northwest China's Qinghai Province Photo: VCG

 The latest archaeological discoveries at ancient ruins in Quxu county, Southwest China's Xizang Autonomous Region, were recently published. The discoveries, such as an eaves tile with exquisite lotus designs, allowed the site to be named as one of the Top 10 Chinese Archaeological Discoveries of 2022.

The ruins were one of the most significant centers of politics and Buddhism during the ancient Tubo Empire, the first regime to have a clear historical record in Xizang. Since 2021, several Chinese archaeological institutes including Xizang's Institute of Heritage Conservation have been excavating and researching the ruins, according to the China National Cultural Heritage Administration.

During the excavation work, archaeologists unearthed more than 800 cultural relics made from materials such as pottery, mud, stone and iron. Among these relics, most were made from pottery, while the building materials contained eaves tiles as well as bricks.

One well-preserved eaves tile covered in green glaze and with lotus patterns stunned archaeologists. Eaves tiles like this one were a common part of traditional Chinese architecture. Archaeological excavations show that these tiles appeared in China during the middle and late periods of the Western Zhou Dynasty (1046BC-771BC).

The discovery of such a large amount of tiles, covered in a variety of color glazes, is rare in China, experts said. They noted that the glazed bricks and the shape of the tiles show the typical features of those used by the Han ethnic group, an indication of the close cultural exchanges that took place between the Tubo Empire and the Tang Dynasty (618-907).

Chinese archaeologists have made more progress on researching and excavating cultural relics recording the history and culture of the Tibetan people. Besides the ruins in Quxu county, the Wayan reservoir site in Dulan county, Qinghai Province, was also found with historical relics from the Tubo Empire. Eye-catching treasures such as "dragonfly eye beads" were found at the site, known for its 25 tombs.

Nearly 900 relics, including pottery and bronze wares, leather goods and intricately designed amber pendants and gold earrings, have been found at the site's tombs. The Wayan reservoir site is also a classic example showing how China embraced cultures from the West during the Tang Dynasty.