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Horses, history, chariots and verses

By Deng Zhangyu | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2024-02-20 07:53

A chariot sculpture made by artists based on the chariot horses unearthed from the pit.CHINA DAILY

Twenty kings ruled Chu over the course of 800 years. The main occupant remains unknown because the king's tomb has yet to be excavated, but the large size of its chariot horse pits makes it the biggest Chu state tomb found to date.

Horses and chariots were strategically important, and represented a state's power. Officials were placed in charge of the ruler's horses, and records show that the Chu state boasted more than 10,000 horses and 1,000 chariots during its heyday.

"The horses were killed before being placed in the pits and we have found traces of their teeth," says the 57-year-old archaeologist.

The remnants offer a glimpse into a wealthy state and its culture of creativity, imagination and romance.

Over 3,000 artifacts, such as jade ware, lacquer ware and bronze ware, have been discovered at the site.

"The Chu people were very imaginative, and much of their art looks a little bit strange," Jia says.

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