Monday, February 17, 2020
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Jiayuguan Wei-Jin Art Gallery

wei-jin-gallery 20km northeast of Jiayuguan, in a barren section on the outer limits of the Gobi desert, lies the Xincheng prefecture, within which is contained the Xincheng Wei-Jin Art Gallery (Xincheng weijin mu).

wei-jin-gallery01The Gallery is actually two tombs that, although known about for quite a while, were not infiltrated until 1972. Within this area, the large stretch between Jiayuguan and Jiuquan, there are over 1,400 tombs built between 220 AD and 419 AD, during the Wei and Jin Dynasties. This area is not overly tourist-filled and as such, makes for one of the nicer trips from town.

Jiayuguan Wei-Jin Art Gallery is known as the largest subterranean art gallery in the world, housing numerous, colourful murals on its cold, stone walls. Most of the tombs are familial ones, housing bodies of three or four generations, although currently only tomb numbers 6 and 7 are open to the public.

The corridors and caves of the tombs are filled with interesting sights: the walls are lined with delicate patterns and lines symbolising cloud, water, fire, gods and weird animals. The corridors are paved with tiles in diverse flower patterns. Most of the inner chamber walls depict, in colourful murals, the contemporary routine life of the master and mistress, and their various entourages. Others, however, also reflect the political, cultural, military, and scientific development of the Wei and Jin Dynasty insight into this ancient Chinese feudal society.