Centuries-old painted lacquer coffin unearthed in China

GUIYANG, March 11 (Xinhua) — Archaeologists have excavated a lacquer coffin with colored paintings in southwest China’s Guizhou Province, which is the best-ever preserved from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

The coffin was found in one of the three Ming tombs by the Feilian Lake in Weng’an County. According to experts with the provincial cultural relics and archeology research institute, the tomb was built in 1581, the ruling period of Emperor Wanli.

It bears exquisite designs of the “Four Mythical Creatures” in ancient China — the Azure Dragon, the White Tiger, the Vermillion Bird and the Black Turtle. Other paintings include phoenixes, bonsai and red-crowned cranes.

All three tombs are likely to belong to the same family, experts said.

Gold and silver hairpins, gold earrings and silver bracelets were found in the tomb, together with teeth and bone fragments.

The findings will provide rich evidence for future research on the burial customs and the funeral system of the Ming Dynasty, archaeologists said.