China News Service, Beijing, September 24 (Xu Jing) Recently, a water beast was unearthed at the Zhengyang Bridge site in Dongcheng District, Beijing.

It is speculated that the water beasts in this town should be the remains of the Ming Dynasty.

This discovery plays an important role in the study of Beijing's moat and defense, water conservancy, and transportation systems.

  The reporter learned from the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Cultural Relics today that the remains unearthed in this excavation should be the Zhenshui beast on the southeast side of Zhengyang Bridge, which is presumed to be the remains of the Ming Dynasty.

This discovery helps to understand the geographical position of Zhengyang Bridge and is a material demonstration of the outstanding Chinese traditional culture on the central axis of Beijing.

The whole picture of the water beast.

Photo courtesy of Beijing Municipal Bureau of Cultural Relics

  From August 27 to September 17, 2021, in order to understand the location and shape of Zhengyang Bridge, the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Cultural Relics carried out archaeological excavations on the Zhengyang Bridge site. The site of this archaeological excavation is located at Zhengyang Gate, Dongcheng District, Beijing The southeast of Arrow Tower, the east of the north end of Qianmen Pedestrian Street, and the north of Dabei Photo Studio.

  The water-saving beasts unearthed in this excavation are carved from granite, lying prone on the goose wing stone strips, with a thick and majestic shape and lifelike shape.

The head faces southeast and leans to the side of the water; the tail faces northwest, slightly curved, and the body is covered with scales, partially decorated with auspicious clouds.

It is 2.5 meters deep, 3 meters long, 1.4 meters wide and 48 cm high from the current surface.

The head of the water-suppressing beast.

Photo courtesy of Beijing Municipal Bureau of Cultural Relics

  The water-suppressing beast is one of the nine sons of the dragon. It has good water properties, so it is often placed by the bridge. People hope that it can observe the water regime, prevent the river from flooding, and eliminate the flood.

Generally, important ancient bridges are equipped with a water-suppressing animal on the wings of the four directions.

  Zhengyang Bridge is located in front of the Zhengyang Gate Arrow Tower, under the bridge is a moat.

When the city of Beijing was built during the Yongle reign of the Ming Dynasty, the capital of the Yuan Dynasty was shrunk from the north to the south.

The city wall after the south extension is located on the east-west line of the present Zhengyangmen, and brick walls have been used to replace the original earth walls. The south gate is still along the main gate of Chengli.

It was renamed Zhengyang Gate during the Zhengtong period of the Ming Dynasty, and the Wengcheng, Arrow Tower, Left and Right Gates were added, dredging the city trenches, and building stone bridges.