A lacquered "dragon bed" dating back some 2,500 years has been restored by archaeologists in southwest China after a 17-year effort, the Chengdu Cultural Relics and Archaeology Research Institute said on Monday.
The bed was unearthed in 2000 from an ancient king’ tomb complex discovered in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province.
It is “the oldest and the best-preserved lacquered bed ever unearthed in China,” said Yang Tao, an assistant researcher of the institute.
A member of the institute restoring the lacquered bed.
With cinnabar dragon patterns decorating its side, the bed, 2.55 meters long, 1.3 meters wide and 1.8 meters tall, is made up of 45 parts of which the largest is 3.2 meters long and the smallest 20 centimeters. All components are joined by a mortise-and-tenon structure.
Xiao Lin, head of restoration department of the institute, said, "Parts of the bed were scattered in a number of boat-shaped coffins at the time of the discovery, and it took archaeologists and their staff 17 years to restore the bed to its original form to the best of their ability, using various techniques."
A member of the institute working on the bed.
"Based on its structure and patterns, the bed is very likely to have been used by an ancient king of Shu State, who ruled the region in the early Warring States period 2,500 years ago," said Yan Jinsong, an archaeologist who headed the excavation of the tomb.
"The signs that makers left on the bed are highly related to the language used in the Shu State, offering new and valuable clues to archaeologists keen to decode the mysterious ancient language."
A member of the institute on the job.
The institute restored 290 artifacts in categories of bamboo, wood and lacquer in close to two decades.
(ASIA PACIFIC DAILY)
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