May 17, 2015

Gold Treasures Discovered in Ming Dynasty Tomb


Archaeologists have discovered a Ming Dynasty tomb at a construction site in Nanjing, in China, revealing the skeleton of a woman named Lady Mei, along with brilliant gold treasures. Here's a look at the gold treasures and Lady Mei's tomb. [Read the full story on Lady Mei's tomb]
Archaeologists in Nanjing, in China, have unearthed a Ming Dynasty tomb that belonged to Lady Mei. Inscribed stone epitaphs found in the tomb say that she died in the year 1474 at the age of 45. Within the tomb archaeologists found fantastic gold artifacts inlaid with gemstones. This image shows a gold hairpin with a flame design. The diameter of the hairpin is 11.2 centimeters (4.4 inches). It still has six sapphires and six rubies on its outer layer while there is a large ruby at center.


A pair of gold bracelets found in the tomb. Both of them are about 7 centimeters (2.8 inches) in diameter. The bracelets have flower designs and the gemstones are a mix of sapphires, rubies and turquoise

This gold hairpin is decorated with a mix of sapphires and rubies. The hairpin is 14.2 centimeters (5.6 inches) in width and its weight is 148.7 grams (more than 5 ounces).


A fragrance box with gold chain. It is decorated with lotus petal decorations and seven characters written in Sanskrit. The remaining gems include four sapphires, five rubies and one turquoise. 


A gold hairpin in the shape of a chrysanthemum (flowering plant). It has a large ruby at center and a mix of smaller sapphires and rubies on its petals. The diameter at the largest point is 11.7 centimeters (4.6 inches). The total weight of the artifact is 218.2 grams (more than 7.5 ounces). 

Two gold hairpins with branches and tendril patterns. The hairpin at left has three sapphires, three rubies, one crystal and one turquoise. The one at right has two sapphires, four rubies and one cat’s eye stone.

A gold hairpin with a seven petal lotus design. A large ruby gemstone is still preserved at center.

The brick tomb was excavated in 2008 by archaeologists from Nanjing Municipal Museum and the Jiangning District Museum of Nanjing City. Their report was initially published, in Chinese, in the journal Wenwu and was translated into English and published in the most recent edition of the journal Chinese Cultural Relics. This image shows a black and white image of the tomb’s exterior. The tomb has a vaulted roof. 

By Owen Jaris.

With many thanks to Live Science
All Photo Credits: Courtesy of Chinese Cultural Relics.

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