Archaeologists have discovered a cluster of 12 rare carved brick tombs dating to the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) in Jinan, capital of Eastern China’s Shandong province. Inscriptions found in the tomb indicate they all belong to one elite family, the Guo, who lived in the late Yuan Dynasty. Eleven of the 12 are elaborately frescoed and carved brick mural tombs. One is a stone chamber tomb.
“The tombs were arranged in an orderly and apparently planned way, and some of the owners were related by blood, providing new material for the study of the arrangement of family cemeteries in the Yuan Dynasty,” Li [Ming, director of Jinan’s archeology institute] said.
The 12 Yuan tombs were part of a group of 35 tombs of different ages unearthed at the site since excavations began in April. It’s the largest group of Yuan brick mural tombs discovered in Shandong.
Yuan Dynasty carved brick tombs feature designs carved into the brick with chisels and wooden hammers. The carving creates patterns enhanced by brick placement to convey a three-dimensional relief effect.
Over 60 pieces of pottery and porcelain wares, bronze mirrors, copper coins and other cultural relics were unearthed during the excavation, which will help with the study of porcelain during the Yuan Dynasty reign in the region and the surrounding areas.