Object of the Month – May

Gold rings inlaid with turquoise in the shape of toads, Liao dynasty (907–1125), gold, rock crystal and turquoise, unearthed from Tuerji Mountain Tomb, Inner Mongolia, 2003, collection of Inner Mongolia Archaeological Research Institute.

Gold rings inlaid with turquoise in the shape of toads, Liao dynasty (907–1125), gold, rock crystal and turquoise, unearthed from Tuerji Mountain Tomb, Inner Mongolia, 2003, collection of Inner Mongolia Archaeological Research Institute.

Turquoise Toads from the Afterlife: Discoveries from the Tuerji Mountain Tomb

Rings, such as this elaborate, gold, rock crystal and turquoise set, have been discovered in many Liao-dynasty tombs. From the plain and simple to the opulent and stone-encrusted, excavated tombs suggest that rings were a very popular form of jewellery for the Liao dynasty’s founding people, the Khitan. 

This set of two rings are decorated with two rather charismatic three dimensional toads. They were excavated from what is now known as the Tuerji Mountain Tomb, Inner Mongolia.

Discovered in 2003, the ancient Tuerji Mountain Tomb was filled with a remarkable collection of objects which have revealed fascinating new insights into the Liao dynasty. Based on DNA testing of the body laid within, it is thought that the tomb belonged to a woman who died aged between 30 and 35. The woman was buried within a spectacular black and red painted wooden coffin decorated with well-preserved images of human figures, flowers and phoenixes and embellished with gold leaf. Following its discovery, the coffin was opened live on Chinese national television.

The artefacts discovered within the Tuerji Mountain Tomb suggest that the female was a member of the aristocracy of the early Liao dynasty. Some specialists believe that she may have been a female shaman due to imagery and artefacts present in her tomb and the woman’s burial attire, however this is the subject of debate. 

DISCOVER A SELECTION OF EXTRAORDINARY TREASURES DISCOVERED IN THE TUERJI MOUNTAIN TOMB IN OUR EXHIBITION TOMBS OF THE LIAO DYNASTY: TREASURES FROM THE AFTERLIFE. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION ABOUT THIS TOURING EXHIBITION PLEASE CONTACT US AT INFO@NOMADEXHIBITIONS.COM.

 

David Roberts