Shangye Street Boat-coffins

ual discoveries oc­cur, the ex­is­tence of an in­de­pen­dent script will be con­firmed, and the sym­bols will even­tu­ally be de­ci­pher­able. It may be that the se­crets be­hind the boat-coffins and the Kaim­ing Dy­nasty are con­cealed within th­ese petite seals.

China Scenic - - ARCHAEOLOGY -

The coffins and burial items un­earthed at the Yan­jing­gou site have reg­u­larly been trans­ported to the Chengdu Cul­tural Relics Con­ser­va­tion Cen­ter for re­pair and pro­tec­tion. In the cen­ter’s ware­house are also some huge boat-coffins that were dis­cov­ered in Shangye Street, a site lo­cated in mod­ern- day Chengdu’s com­mer­cial dis­trict. Each cof­fin un­der­goes de­sali­na­tion, de­hy­dra­tion, dry­ing, re­pair and other pro­cesses, and even­tu­ally is dis­played in the mu­seum. Each step re­quires one to two years. Dur­ing the dry­ing process, Bai Yu­long and his col­leagues em­ploy hot air-flow con­vec­tion in or­der to main­tain sta­ble tem­per­a­ture and hu­mid­ity lev­els. This pe­riod also re­quires that th­ese mas­sive crea­tures be weighed reg­u­larly, out of con­cern they will ex­ces­sively “slim down” or “fat­ten up.”

The dis­cov­ery of Shangye Street’s boat-coffins oc­curred on July 29, 2000. Late that night, while dig­ging the can­teen site of the Sichuan Pro­vin­cial Party Com­mit­tee’s com­pound, work­ers un­cov­ered sev­eral mas­sive sec­tions of ebony. They in­tended to use axes to sever it and con­tinue their dig, but they dis­cov­ered that it was hol­low, and some shiny items of lac­quer­ware were barely vis­i­ble. Hear­ing the news, ar­chaeol-

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