Chinese archaeologists have recently discovered five carved stone fragments in the Zhao Mausoleum ruins of the Tang Dynasty (618-907) in Liquan County, northwest China's Shaanxi Province.
The Zhao Mausoleum, which houses the remains of Li Shimin, the second emperor of China's most prosperous feudal dynasty, covers an area of more than 20,000 hectares and is comprised of more than180-plus tombs. It is the largest of Shaanxi's 18 Tang Dynasty royal mausoleums and is considered one of the world's top royal cemeteries.
The altar of the mausoleum features 14 carved stone portraits of the heads of the 14 neighboring states during the reign of Li Shimin. However, between 1644 (the early Qing Dynasty) and 1965, the portraits were missing. It was only in 1965 that scientists began to recover them, identifying seven of the original fourteen.
The discovery of what are believed to be the five fragments of the remaining seven carved stone portraits provides new evidence for further research on the politics, economy, culture, diplomacy and history of the period, as well as on the stone inscription arts of the Tang Dynasty.
(Xinhua News Agency March 7, 2003)