Tomb Entrance from Han Dynasty China
Until about the 2nd century BCE, Chinese tombs featured chambers made of heavy wooden logs. Thereafter, tombs were made of stone and brick. This stone-made example from the
Han Dynasty (206 BCE-220 CE) makes clear that the tombs of the wealthy were also seen as subterranean residences. Adorned with beautifully decorated walls, they were furnished with everything that the occupant might need in the hereafter. Although criticized by social reformers, lavish burial customs persisted. Tombs in ancient China were meant to last and to be visited by relatives over time with offerings. Stone tablets bearing the occupant's name, dates, and a short biography were also deposited in the tomb. These would survive beyond the family lineage. (Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto)
About the Author
James is a writer and former Professor of History. He holds an MA in World History with a particular interest in cross-cultural exchange and world history. He is a co-founder of Ancient History Encyclopedia and its Communications Director.