Western Zhou Chariot Burial Pit Xian
Capital of the Shaanxi Province, Xian offers a great number of tourist attractions like mausoleums, temples, palaces, towers and tombs. The Western Zhou Chariot Burial Pit, Xian is one of the popular tourist sites in Xian.
Xian was earlier known as Chang'an and was the capital of several dynasties of which Qin, Han, Sui, Tang and Western Zhou were the major and notable ones. All of these dynasties added extra charm and beauty to this site. Some noteworthy structures built then are, the three Han palaces of Weiyang, Jianzhang and Changle. The Terracotta Warriors and the Tomb of Emeperor Qin Shihuang are other prominent places to visit in Xian.
The excavation of the Western Zhou Chariot Burial Pit, Xian took place at Zhangjiapo in the Chang'an County in the year 1955. The remains of the slaves of the Western Zhou Dynasty after they were buried as sacrificial offerings, were collected and stored in Chariot and horse pits. Each pit is rectangular-shaped with a depth of about 2 meters and a length of about 5.6 meters. Every pit contains two chariots, one slave and six horses. One wooden chariot decorated with bronze and comprising of a single shaft is drawn by four horses and was used in the battlefield. The other chariot adorned with seashells is drawn by two horses and was used for transport or amusement purposes.
Western Zhou Chariot Burial Pit, Xian indicates that the ruins of such decorated chariots along with their horses reveal the art and crafts of several thousand years back. This included wood works, metals, especially bronze works and leather works. The emergence of such smaller industries led to the development of many other industries like agriculture and iron. In the markets, garments and animals were exchanged. However, gold items are found very rare in a burial of the Zhou Dynasty. At times some marvelous and interesting musical instruments that were played during the battle of the Zhou Dynasty were also found while excavating the burial.
One chariot decorated in bronze was used in battle and hauled by four horses. The other chariot hauled by two horses and adorned in seashells was used mainly for transport. Six dead horses crouch directly opposite the chariots. They were obviously killed prior to the burial and arranged in this position. Heads of the horses are covered with silver beast-face ornaments. Under the chariot lies a skeleton, supposedly the wheeler of the tomb owner.
This burial pit was unearthed in 1955. Research work undertaken in the area has provided valuable information regarding the study of economic life in the Western Zhou Dynasty (11th century BC - 771 BC). Excavated chariots and horses confirm that the metal industry, woodworking and leather production were highly developed during this period.
From the Western Zhou Chariot Burial Pit, Xian , silver gilded horse gears and a jade 'bi'(an jade article used for sacrifice) disc were also found by the archaeologists.
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