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Sunken Sichuan treasures on display in Beijing

From: NetWriter:Yu FengshengDate:2018-07-06

 

 

Hundreds of artifacts, which were recently retrieved from a section of the Minjiang River in Sichuan Province are now on display at the National Museum of China in the nation's capital, Beijing. Just how did they find their way to the bottom of the riverbed in Jiangkou.

 

Iron weapons on display at the National Museum of China. /CGTN Photo

More than 500 relics are on display at the museum, from coins and jewelry to ingots and iron weapons. And these are just a tiny fraction of the tens of thousands of pieces which have been discovered at the site. They're believed to have been owned by the leader of a peasant uprising during the late the Ming Dynasty, nearly 400 years ago.

Legend has it that Zhang Xianzhong's revolt was put down, and he attempted to flee his enemy's troops down the Minjiang River by boat.

Coins on display at the National Museum of China. /CGTN Photo

His escape wasn't successful, and his vessels and their cargo were sunk in battle.

The discovery suggests there may be some truth to the story, after all.

Xie Xiaoquan, the deputy director of the National Museum of China, said: "The unearthed relics indicate they belonged to Zhang Xianzhong. Our experts found that the items came from different parts of China, where Zhang's army went through. The discovery is regarded as one of China's top 10 archaeological finds of 2017."

A gold ingot on display at the National Museum of China. /CGTN Photo

The work to retrieve the relics began early last year, China's first ever underwater excavation.

Liu Zhiyun, the project leader, said it was quite a difficult task: "We had to do our job under extreme pressure. Nobody in our country had done this before; we didn't have any experience. It was really difficult and challenging to dig underwater. We gathered many experts and volunteers in this field to help us. Many new technologies and equipment were used in our work."

Gold accessories on display at the National Museum of China. /CGTN Photo

Photographs of the excavation work are also on display, allowing visitors to get a sense of the effort and patience that was required. The exhibition will run until the end of September.