Across China: Retrieved treasure offers glimpses into Chinese society over 300 years ago

2022-November-17 13:38 By: Xinhua

CHENGDU, Nov. 16 (Xinhua) -- Chinese archaeologists announced Wednesday they have excavated from a riverbed more than 10,000 pieces of relics with high historical and cultural value.

The relics, believed to be treasures owned by Zhang Xianzhong, the leader of an uprising in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), were retrieved over the past years from the Jiangkou stretch of the Minjiang River in Meishan City, Sichuan Province.

The new finds, which include the gold seal of a vassal prince and a large number of silver ingots from Zhang's regime, contain rich historical information and offer glimpses into the social landscape of the late Ming Dynasty, according to experts with the Sichuan Provincial Cultural Relics and Archaeology Research Institute.

The gold seal is a key piece of evidence of the investiture system in the Ming Dynasty, while the silver ingots reflect the economic situation at that time, said Liu Zhiyan, an expert with the institute and the leader of on-site excavations.

"The historical information of the newly retrieved relics is extremely rich, covering politics, economy, culture, education, military, and other aspects of the late Ming Dynasty," said Liu.

Legend had it that in 1646, Zhang was defeated by Ming soldiers while attempting to transfer his large haul of treasure southward. About 1,000 boats loaded with money and assorted valuables were said to have sunk in the skirmish.

The relics site was first excavated in 2017, and the rich findings over the years confirmed there is some truth to the legend.

In addition, a large number of bronze weapons and tools dating back over 2,000 years have also been retrieved at the relics site at Jiangkou.

"It shows that the ancient Jiangkou was a hub of strategic significance and a trade center for a long time," Liu said.

Editor: WJH
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