Large-scale and High-class Cemetery of Southern Song Dynasty Discovered in Zhejiang

2018-7-18 10:12| Editor: 武子| view: 111| comment: 0|Author: NetWriter|Source: IA CASS

Summaryuuuuuu: Lanruosi Cemetery was located in the east part of Pingshui Town, Keqiao District, Shaoxing City, Zhejiang Province, since November to December 2016,Zhejiang Provincial Institute of cultural relics and Archaeology together with Archaeological Department of

Lanruosi Cemetery was located in the east part of Pingshui Town, Keqiao District, Shaoxing City, Zhejiang Province, since November to December 2016,Zhejiang Provincial Institute of cultural relics and Archaeology together with Archaeological Department of Keqiao District Cultural Development Center, discovered a large-scale and high-class cemetery of Southern Song Dynasty—Lanruosi Cemetery. From February to December, 2017, the archaeological team officially starts excavation, which figured out the age and distribution of the cemetery. Lanruosi Cemetery was built during the late Southern Song Dynasty, and lasted no later than the early age of Yuan Dynasty, the cemetery covered 12000 square meters.

Lanruosi Cemetery’s location selection was according to Fengshui Concept (known as Chinese geomancy) of Southern Song Dynasty, which was facing south, built with at least 4 large platform steps. Large area was rammed on the platform. The cemetery was based on the terrain, east was wide while west was narrow, and some subsidiary buildings located the wide east part. According to the building characteristics of the cemetery, it could be divided into up and down two parts, the first-step platform was “Upper Zone”; and the second to the fourth steps platforms were “Lower Zone”.

Distant view of the site

The first step platform was composed of subsidiary building which was around with stone walls, tomb passage and gate path. The south-north orientated tomb passage was walled up, which was formed a closed region. The base of the stone wall was well preserved, while the inside buildings were almost ruined, only found two gate paths in the southeast corner and south end, as well as well preserved paved stones on the comer of the south-north orientated tomb passage. This area probably was the yard area sharing the similar significance of “Low Palace” which was used for the daily worship ceremony and living place for tomb keepers of Emperor’s Mausoleum of Southern Song Dynasty.


Palace hall (in the shape of character “凸”)

The second to the third steps platform of “Upper Zone” was the building’s core zone, which were all?axial symmetry, and multiple-step stone, stone wall, palace gate, side building, main palace hall, court yard, etc.

The second to third platform were the core zone. In this area, the south-north orientated tomb passage, multi-step stone, stone wall, side building, palace hall (in the shape of character “凸”), courtyard, sacrifice altar, drainage system had been found. The gate of palace on the second platform and the palace hall on the third platform were the 7-room wide large building, which was the largest single building during Southern Song Dynasty, and the width were all about 30 meters.

The preservation of the tomb

The terrain was steep between the third and fourth platform, the cemetery yard was designed as five small platform with the same gap between each other, which formed the altar with tomb passage in the middle, channeled the worshipping alter.

Bronze mirror found in the west chamber

The fourth platform was the main part of the yard, which was consisted of worshipping altar, four watchtower, main tomb chamber and drainage system, the layout was coincide with the high class royal cemetery without round grave mound. Square brick paved the top or stone paved slope instead. The main chamber was same burial but different coffin pits, consisting of two east-west parallel rectangle chambers, the wall of which were built with bricks and stones, large stone plate on the top constructed. The tomb chamber was severely robbed, during Song and Yuan Dynasties the cemetery experienced several times robbery and repairing.

Clay mould for building found in Lanruosi

In the investigation, there left a Temple ruin 150 meter away from the east side of the cemetery, which is called Temple Lanruosi. Based on the collected items from ground and location, Lanruosi Temple probably was granted the cemetery temple.

Lanruosi cemetery building consumed large quantity of stone with exquisite carving, especially the high relief part. Meanwhile, a large amount of wood Imitation building components found in the courtyard, which was similar with the collected items from the Six Mausoleums of Song Dynasty, suggested that it should be strictly shrunk according to constructing method of Song Dynasty. Besides, some clay mould for building components were excavated from the paved earth of third platform, as well as some bar brick with mark, which provided important materials for the study of Southern Song Dynasty’s construction history and high class cemetery building principles, etc.

Building components found in Lanruosi 

Building components found in Lanruosi  

Lanruosi Cemetery was built during the later period of South Song Dynasty, which was the largest Song Dynasty cemetery with the highest class and whole layout, which was significant for the study of high class cemetery’s location selecting, scale, and layout, etc. Meanwhile, Lanruosi Cemetery was 6 kilometers away from Six Mausoleums of Song Dynasty, suggesting that it had intimate relation with the royal cemeteries. The Six Mausoleums of Song Dynasty were ruined with unclear layout, while Lanruosi Cemetery was the important reference for the study of Southern Song Dynasty’s Emperor Mausoleums. (Translator: Lang Langtian)


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