1,200-yr-old tombstone excavated with epitaph written by renowned Chinese calligrapher

XI’AN, Nov. 13 (Xinhua) — A tombstone dating back more than 1,200 years has been unearthed in northwest China’s Shaanxi Province, on which the epitaph was confirmed to be inscribed by a renowned calligrapher in the Tang Dynasty (618-907).

The tombstone was among three tablets of a 35.8-meter-long and 9.5-meter-deep tomb excavated in Gongdong Village of Qinhan New City, part of the Xixian New Area, according to the provincial research institute of archaeology.

The owners of the tomb are believed to be Yuan Daqian and his wife Luo Wanshun. Yuan is a descendant of the imperial family of the Northern Wei Dynasty (386-557), said Xu Weihong, a researcher with the institute who led the excavation.

The epitaph of Luo was inscribed by Yan Zhenqing, one of the most renowned calligraphers in Chinese history who was a county official back then, Xu said.

Luo died in 746 and during the same year, 38-year-old Yan wrote the words onto the tombstone, Xu added.

According to Xu, this is the only authentic piece written by Yan at a young age that has been unearthed so far in China.

The archaeological discovery will be significant for the study of calligraphy arts in Chinese history, she added.

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