Chimes with history of over 2,000 years unearthed
Published: Mar 13, 2023 12:04 AM
Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Three sets of bronze chimes were unearthed on Wednesday in Sanmenxia, Central China's Henan Province, during excavations of 570 ancient tombs. It marks the first time that bronze chimes dating from the Warring States Period (475BC-221BC) have been found in the city, according to the Sanmen­xia City Institute of Cultural Heritage and Archaeology. 

The discovery of the burial site provides rich archaeological data for the study of the cemetery layout and socio-political changes that occurred during the Eastern Zhou Dynasty (770BC-256BC), as well as study of the transitional stages of the Spring and Autumn (770BC-476BC) and Warring States periods, said Yan Fei, the curator of the Sanmenxia Institute of Cultural Heritage and Archaeology. 

A total of 570 tombs excavated were dating from the Spring and Autumn Period through to the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). More than 3,000 funerary objects were unearthed during the excavation as well as 228 Spring and Autumn/Warring States tombs.

Yan explained that the relics excavated from the site were similar to those from the Eastern Zhou Sanjin culture or those found in the public ­cemeteries of the Wei State during the early Warring States Period. 

Among them, site M379, a four-tripod tomb for a noble and the largest burial site, held 96 funerary objects, including a set of nine Warring States bronze chimes and one set of 10 stone chimes.  

A kind of relatively old percussion instrument in China, chimes emerged during the Western Zhou Dynasty (1046BC-771BC) and flourished in Spring and Autumn period through to the Qin and Han dynasties (221BC-AD220).

In addition, tombs of the Rong people, whose funerary artifacts showed elements introduced from the Central Plains, were also found at another cemetery, which reflects that the Sanmenxia area was not only an artery connecting the East and West, but also an important channel of communication between the northern regions and the central plains region.