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A staff member cleans a stone mural discovered in the Zhouqiao relics site in Kaifeng City, central China's Henan Province, Sept. 21, 2022. (Xinhua/Li An)

Archaeologists unearthed two stone murals of the Northern Song Dynasty in China

Two stone murals from the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127) have been unearthed in central China’s Henan Province. Archaeologists said the stone murals found were the largest ever found in China.

The mural remains were found in the Zhouqiao ruins area in Kaifeng city. The remains were found symmetrically scattered along the north and south banks on the east side of the Zhouqiao Bridge.

The height of the murals is 3.3 meters. The paintings date back to the south shore wall. The length of the paintings is 23.2 meters, and the length of the north wall is 21.2 meters.

The stone murals found feature patterns of traditional Chinese culture, such as seahorses, flying cranes and clouds.

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Zhou Runshan (head of the excavation project) stated that the work in the area is ongoing, and they expect the total length of a single mural to reach an estimated 30 meters.

Zhou also said that they expect the total length of the murals on both the east and west sides of the bridge to reach approximately 100 meters, and the total carving area to reach 400 square meters.

Zheng Yan (Professor of Peking University Art School), “Stone murals; very similar to the stonework standards of the Northern Song Dynasty in scale, subject matter, and style.

“It is an important discovery that enriches and rewrites the art history of the Song Dynasty,” he said.

Stone found around Zhouqiao Bridge

The Zhouqiao Bridge was built between 780 and 783 during the Tang Dynasty along the Grand Canal connecting the northern and southern parts of China. Zhouqiao Bridge was a very important structure for Kaifeng City. In 1642, due to the flooding of the Yellow River, mud and sand covered the area. Archaeological work at the site began in 2018. Since the excavations began, 4.400 square meters have been excavated in the area and 117 remains have been unearthed.

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