Archaeologists in Guiyang county of Hunan province have found a batch of rarely seen brick carvings from the Song Dynasty (960-1279). The bricks from local collector Li Shaoyu's collection, are covered in dust, but experts believe they are of high value.
An animal carved into a brick collected by Li Shaoyu. [Photo/Chinanews.com]
The bricks are about 30 centimeters long, 28 cm wide and 6 cm high, featuring carvings of various patterns and pictures, including flowers, animals and decorative patterns.
A Song Dynasty brick with an elephant collected by Li Shaoyu. [Photo/Chinanews.com]
Ouyang Xiangying, head of the Guiyang cultural relics administration office, said that the earliest and best preserved brick tomb in Guiyang is Liujialing Song Dynasty tomb in the northern part of the county. It's known for its murals while the bricks are plain with no carvings.
A Song Dynasty brick carving. [Photo/Chinanews.com]
Ouyang Shuying thinks the carved bricks found recently are extremely precious. "These valuable Song Dynasty bricks have witnessed the superb architectural decoration art in ancient China. They provide materials for the study of funeral customs and architectural culture in ancient Guiyang county."
A flower carved into a Song Dynasty brick. [Photo/Chinanews.com]
During the Qin (221-206 BC) and Han (206 BC-220) dynasties, houses in China were mainly built out of bricks and wood. In the Song Dynasty, bricks were not only widely used in buildings, but also in tombs. Usually, bricks with carvings were laid inside the tomb, along with murals on the tomb walls, reflecting the scenes from the life of the tomb owner.