The exceptional tomb of Song Shaozu (pronounced “Sung SHAO-zu”) was discovered in 2000 during construction outside the city of Datong in Shanxi province. It was part of a cemetery containing six cave-style burials for commoners and five brick-chambered tombs for aristocrats. Configured in the standard ramp, corridor, and burial room format, Song’s tomb contained great numbers of mingqi and a monumental house-shaped sarcophagus that was largely intact, despite having been robbed through a hole in the chamber roof. The mingqi included men and women in nomadic dress, cavalry, animals, carts, well heads, stoves, and jars. The decorated sarcophagus, although not unique in form, clearly reflected the status of the deceased and the devotion of his living relatives. The tomb’s construction is estimated by Chinese archaeologists to have taken sixty days of work by fifty artisans.
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