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Fresco Tombs of Wei and Jin Dynasty

Fresco Tombs of Wei and Jin Dynasty

The Fresco Tombs of Wei and Jin Dynasty definitely refer to a big fresco brick tomb group with over 1400 tombs dating from the Wei (220-65 B.C.) and Jin (A.D. 265-420). These tombs are rather famous for their fresco painting bricks in China. Thus, they are entitled as "the largest subterranean art gallery in the world".

Located in the northwestern Gobi desert 20 kilometers away from Jiayuguan City, these fresco tombs were first discovered in 1972, most of which are family tombs where the dead family members were buried together. They are made of bricks and usually have 2 or 3 chambers connected by arched slope passages. When entering these tombs, you will immediately be fascinated by these exquisite and delicate frescoes which are viewed as "an encyclopedia on the silk road", since they vividly demonstrate ancient people's various activities, like farming, hunting, stockbreeding, banqueting, playing chess and riding, etc. That is to say, they fully reflect politics, economy, military, culture, diplomacy and climate in Wei and Jin Dynasty. Mainly painted realistically and earlier than Mogao Grottoes, the Fresco Tombs of Wei and Jin Dynasty provide an example of unmixed Chinese realism art - filling in gaps in the fields of painting between the Wei and Jin periods, and are also valued highly of for historic research.

Since 1972 when it was excavated, this “art gallery” has attracted tourists from all over the world. Among these tombs, the No. 6 tomb is the representative one housing the most frescoes which you’d better not miss. Nowadays, only No.6 and No.7 are public to tourists.