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ABSTRACT Beginning in the ninth century, a new genre of images appeared in Chinese tomb murals: bird and flowers. These new motifs conveyed wishes for the prosperity of the family and quickly became standard, continuing to be used in Chinese tombs as well as in tombs of other ethnic groups affected by Chinese funeral practices well into the thirteenth century. This article has four goals. The first is to describe the evolution of bird-and-flower compositions in later Chinese burials. The second is to document the geographical range of the depiction in tombs of these bird-and-flower motifs and to prove that their use was widely accepted, not an isolated, local phenomenon.

The earliest of these tombs is located in the Haidian suburb of Beijing. 21It is unknown whether the roughly octagonal tomb was repainted to receive the body of the husband. Fragments of human bones were found on the elevated coffin platform abutting the north wall. In a large mural on the north wall, a luxuriant peony shrub stretches across the center of the wall; two large swallowtail butterflies hover to the right, and farther to the right is a plant identified in the report as an autumn hibiscus (figs.

4~~~~~~~ 14 Nacsu Pln, deai of fi. 1. 2. 15 Rose Plant, detail of fig 13 After Hebeisheng wenwu yanjiusuo and Baodingshi wenwu guanlichu, Wudai Wang Chuzhi mu, color pl. 281. In ancientChina,coinswerecalledquan . -~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~. r 7. Quan is also the sound of the charactermeaning "complete"(i). "34 Suchsentimentsmust haveappliedequallyto the deceasedas well as to his descendants. The fishjust mentionedis an exampleof a rebus. 35 In the 16 Pigeon and Grasshopper, detail of fig. 13.

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Ars Orientalis 33 (2003) by Smithsonian Institution


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