Silk Road treasures: “Five Stars out of the East for the Benefit of China” Brocade Armguard: Exquisite brocade in the original place After blowing yellow sand to gold

2022-05-01 0 By

Minfengniya site in Xinjiang, Ruoqiang Creek Cemetery and Astana ancient tombs in Turpan have been selected as one of China’s top 100 archaeological discoveries in a century.These selected archaeological discoveries in Xinjiang vividly illustrate that Xinjiang has been an inalienable part of China since ancient times, where many ethnic groups live together, cultures communicate and religions coexist, and demonstrate the gorgeous diversity of the Integrated Chinese culture.Among the Niya site, there is a national first-class cultural relic named “Five Stars from the East for the Benefit of China”, which is regarded as one of the greatest discoveries in Chinese archaeology in the 20th century.”Five stars out of the East for the benefit of China” brocade arm protection.Around the 2nd century BC, the Niya River, which originates in the Kunlun Mountains and flows into the Taklimakan Desert, created an oasis of prosperity and nurtured a city that played an important role on the Southern Silk Road during the Han Dynasty.About 2,000 years later, the Sino-Japanese Niya archaeological cooperative research team at the Niya site in Minfeng County, Hotan Prefecture, Xinjiang, finally identified this oasis city, which appeared in historical books but disappeared in the flames of war and buried in sand.The joint excavation, which began in 1988, is taking place at a site that was the site of rampant looting in the early 20th century.Since the arrival of The Englishman Marc Allaire Stein in Niya in 1901, groups of foreign looters have stolen numerous letters, documents, weapons, Musical Instruments, textiles and ornaments from niya, leaving behind a large number of destroyed ruins.The road to the ruins of Niya is a bumpy one.Archaeological team recalled, the desert can not walk by car, only by camel, sometimes 30 kilometers of road to walk for three days, the wind changes the appearance of the desert at any time, it is very difficult to mark the direction.But the rescue of niya site excavation is imminent, the team members to compete against time with the harsh natural environment, they rely on firm faith and the accumulation of the investigation data of the older generation of archaeological workers, finally walked into Niya.The joint team’s mission is not only archaeological excavation, but also the rescue and preservation of the many cultural remains here.In addition to the tombs, the team also carefully numbered and recorded the ruins of houses, buddhist temples, workshops, pottery kilns, orchards, canals, ancient Bridges, smelting and other relics.In nine excavations between 1988 and 1997, the team cleaned up a large number of architectural artifacts, Chinese and Khalu notebooks and Buddhist murals, coins, pottery, wood, textiles, accessories, and food remains such as wheat, mi valley, meat and melons.Carved doorposts in the ruins.Brocade armguard provided by Xinjiang Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology reflects the identity of Chinese culture in the Western Regions. “Five stars go to the East for the benefit of China” Brocade armguard appeared in the rescue excavation of no. 8 wooden coffin in the 95MN No. ⅰ graveyard of Niya Site.The cemetery appears to have been untouched, but sand erosion has left some of its wooden coffins exposed.When archaeological team members opened a semi-decayed wooden coffin, a piece of colorful brocade came into view, it is “five stars out of the East for China” brocade arm.After checking, the archaeological team preliminarily determined that the wooden coffin is a couple buried together, because the burial goods are rich, and they wear brocade clothes written with “prolong life long descendants”, “happiness, longevity and endless” and other auspicious words, so that the owner of the tomb is likely to be jingjidui noble leader.Pottery, wood, mirror bags, bows and arrows, quivers and dried food were also included in the burial items, which were better preserved because the site was in a very dry environment.The brocade armguard is worn on the man’s right arm in the wooden coffin. It is 18.5 centimeters long, 12.5 centimeters wide, and 21 centimeters long with a tie. The face brocade is woven with five colors of white, green, black, red, and yellow silk.In the framework of clouds and gas wrapped around the brocade, the team members could make out the words “Five stars from the East to Benefit China” woven in official script of the Han Dynasty. It was a traditional Chinese word for astrology. It was a term summed up by the ancients after observing the movements and changes of the five planets, namely metal, wood, water, fire and earth, and embodied the han Dynasty thought of Yin and Yang and the five elements.In ancient times, the astronomical stargazing was managed by the special agency of the central government to ensure the sanctity and legitimacy. The central government had the absolute right to speak on the five-star zhanciao, so this brocade armguard should have been woven by the special agency, and later given to the jingjidao nobles, proving the local jurisdiction of the Central government of the Han Dynasty.There are phoenix, luan bird, kylin, white tiger and other auspicious birds and animals on the brocade pattern, as well as moire, a symbol of the sun circular pattern, brocade arm protection as a funerary goods, clearly reflects the worship and recognition of The Chinese culture in the western regions.Along with this brocade armguard, there was also a piece of brocade woven with the words “Visiting Southern Qiang”, which was the same as the material used for the brocade armguard. According to historical analysis, if the two pieces of fabric are put together, it means “five times to go to the East to benefit China to visit Southern Qiang”.The war between the central government of the Han Dynasty and qiang was recorded in several historical books, such as The Biography of Zhao Chongguo in the History of the Han Dynasty.According to historical data and geographical location, archeological experts speculated that Jingjiu was also a place disturbed by The Southern Qiang. As the chief of jingjiu nobility, the male in Tomb No. 8 probably participated in the han dynasty’s campaign against The Southern Qiang and did his duty for the country.Because of its important value, according to the Implementation Regulations of the Protection Law of Cultural Relics of the People’s Republic of China, the “Five Star Out of the East for The Benefit of China” brocade armguard collected in Xinjiang Museum entered the Catalogue of Cultural Relics forbidden to Go abroad for Exhibition in 2002, and received special protection as a unique and vulnerable item in the national first-class cultural relics.Niya site is the treasure house of han dynasty brocade remains, in addition to this brocade protection arm, unearthed here wang He Hun Qianqiu long live Yizi Sun Brocade, Yuan he first year brocade, Jinchi Feng brocade, etc., are the high-level representative of brocade craft from Han to Wei and Jin dynasties.The relics unearthed at niya show the local society from the 2nd century BC to the early 5th century AD, with mature industries such as planting, animal husbandry, brewing, textiles and smelting.As the largest existing settlement site in the southern edge of Tarim Basin, Niya site demonstrates the historical reality of the central government’s governance of the Western regions in past dynasties, and shows that Xinjiang has been an area of diverse integrated cultures and coexistence of various religions since ancient times.The archaeological findings of niya, which have a history of nearly 100 years, ushered in a new stage of archaeological research on the Han and Jin Dynasties of the Silk Road, and strongly promoted the in-depth and expansion of research on the history of China’s frontier governance, the history of Xinjiang, and the history of cultural exchanges along the ancient Silk Road.Exterior view of the site.Courtesy of Xinjiang Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology