China News Agency, Shijiazhuang, February 3rd, title: What is the "black technology" of the "China's first lamp" Changxin Palace Lantern in the Western Han Dynasty?

  ——Interview with Fan Dewei, research librarian of Hebei Museum

  China News Agency reporter Niu Lin

  Changxin Palace Lantern, a millennium at a glance.

As the "treasure of the town hall" of the Hebei Museum and one of the first batch of cultural relics prohibited from going abroad (territory) in China, what "black technology" is hidden in the "China's first lamp" Changxin Palace Lantern?

Why did it become the evidence that China started to control indoor air pollution more than 2,000 years ago?

What kind of design concept and wisdom of the ancients are contained in it?

Fan Dewei, research librarian of the Academic Research Department of Hebei Museum and secretary-general of the Hebei Provincial Museum Society, recently accepted an exclusive interview with China News Agency "East and West Questions" to interpret the mystery of the "black technology" of Changxin Palace Lanterns and its unique value in the history of world lamps.

The interview transcript is summarized as follows:

China News Agency reporter: Why is the Changxin palace lantern of the Western Han Dynasty known as "the first lantern in China" with a history of more than 2,000 years?

Fan Dewei:

The Changxin Palace Lantern was probably made in the early Western Han Dynasty, more than 2,000 years ago.

This lamp was unearthed in 1968 in Mancheng Han Tomb in Baoding City, Hebei Province. It was a burial object in the tomb of Dou Wan, wife of Liu Sheng, King Jing of Zhongshan in the Western Han Dynasty.

Because of the inscription "Changxin" on the lamp body, it was named "Changxin Palace Lantern".

  The overall shape of the Changxin Palace Lantern is a young court lady of the Han Dynasty who is kneeling and holding a lamp, holding a copper lamp with a cover between her arms, and the whole body is gilded.

Its shape has changed from the mysterious and heavy bronze vessels in the past, and it looks light and gorgeous, which is really rare.

This court lady combs her hair in a bun, covers her scarf, wears a long gown with wide sleeves, and sits on her knees. She freezes a daily posture of a court lady in the Han Dynasty on the lamp. The shape is graceful, simple and simple, and has outstanding aesthetic value.

The Changxin Palace Lantern of the Western Han Dynasty is now in the Hebei Museum.

Photo courtesy of Hebei Museum

  The most basic function of a lamp is to illuminate.

The height of this lamp is 48 centimeters. It is placed on the table at the same height as the line of sight of the ancients when they sat down, which is in line with the living habits of people sitting on the ground at that time.

Surprisingly, it can also adjust the lighting effects.

The lampshade of the Changxin Palace Lantern is composed of two arc-shaped screen panels, which are circular when closed, and embedded in the groove of the lamp panel. One of the screen panels can be opened and closed left and right to adjust the direction and brightness of the light, similar to Lamps used today.

  From a scientific point of view, the Changxin Palace Lantern has a smoke guide tube and a lampshade. When in use, the oil fume enters the hollow lamp body, which solves the problem of smoke from the oil lamp.

In addition, the Changxin Palace Lantern is separately cast and socketed, and the head, body, right arm, lamp holder, lamp panel, and lampshade of the maid's body are cast separately.

All parts fit tightly and can be installed and inserted freely, so it is very convenient to clean the soot and dirt.

Its high level of production technology is second to none among the palace lanterns of the Han Dynasty.

  The Changxin Palace Lantern, which carries the unique creation aesthetics of bronze lamps and lanterns in the Han Dynasty, perfectly combines figures, lamps and smoke exhaust functions. The pinnacle of ancient Chinese bronze lamps, so it is known as "the first lamp in China".

China News Agency reporter: Why did former US Secretary of State Kissinger say after visiting the Changxin Palace Lantern that "China was conscious of environmental protection in the Han Dynasty more than 2,000 years ago"?

What kind of design concept and wisdom does it contain in ancient China?

Fan Dewei:

In the design of Changxin Palace Lantern, the most prominent thing is the concept of environmental protection contained in it.

Since there were no candles at that time, they were all lit candles, and the main ingredients were animal and vegetable oils.

As a lighting fuel, although the lighting function has been realized, the smoke and dust are relatively large during combustion, which often makes the indoor air dirty, smoky, and accompanied by a pungent smell.

  The Changxin Palace Lantern hides the mystery in the smoke exhaust channel formed by the wide cuff of the maid's right arm - the smoke guide.

The palace lady holds the lamp in one hand, and the sleeve of the other hand seems to block the wind. It is actually a smoke guide tube. One end of it is connected to the lamp panel, and the other end is connected to the hollow body of the palace lady. Enter and store in the lamp body until it falls into the bottom of the maid's body, so as to achieve the purpose of storing dirty smoke and cleaning the air.

  This design is similar to today's flue, but more than 2,000 years ago, it can be regarded as the most advanced invention and creation, which shows that China has started to control the air pollution in the living environment as early as the Western Han Dynasty.

Western Han Changxin Palace Lantern (partial).

Photo by Zhai Yujia

  Moreover, the lampshade of Changxin Palace Lantern can be opened and closed, which can not only block the wind, but also adjust the illumination and direction of the light. Closing it can prevent the leakage of smoke, dust and peculiar smell.

  Changxin Palace Lantern hides smoke in the abdomen, takes light in different directions, gilt lamp body, and segmented design. design concept.

  Compared with the Changxin Palace Lantern in the Western Han Dynasty, it was not until the 15th century in the West that the Italian scientist Leonardo Da Vinci invented the iron smoke guide lampshade, which was more than 1,500 years later than the Changxin Palace Lantern.

Therefore, China is the first country to invent the use of smoke guide pipes and lampshades to solve lamp smoke pollution, and it occupies a leading position in the world in the practice of environmental protection.

So much so that former U.S. Secretary of State Kissinger praised after visiting the Changxin Palace Lantern: "China was conscious of environmental protection in the Han Dynasty more than 2,000 years ago."

Reporter from China News Agency: This Han Dynasty lamp, which is called a "national treasure", has the precious inscriptions engraved on it revealing its legendary experience and the mystery of its life experience?

Fan Dewei:

The Changxin Palace Lantern is engraved with 9 inscriptions of 65 characters including "Yangxin Family" and "Changxin Shangyu". Judging from the content, handwriting and engraving work, it was not engraved at one time, which shows that it took several twists and turns to finally reach Queen Zhongshan Dou Wan's hands.

But there are different opinions about who the original owner of this lamp was and what kind of circulation experience it had.

The Changxin Palace Lantern is engraved with inscriptions such as "Yangxin Family".

Photo courtesy of Hebei Museum

  The "Mancheng Han Tomb Excavation Report" believes that the original owner of the copper lamp should be the family of Liu Jie, the Marquis of Yangxinyi. Liu Jie's son was "removed from the country for his guilt", and this gorgeous lamp was also confiscated and returned to the Queen Mother Dou. It is owned by Changxin Palace where he lives.

Empress Dowager Dou is the grandmother of Liu Che, Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty, and Liu Sheng, King Jing of Zhongshan. Empress Dowager Dou’s natal family was in Guanjin, Qinghe (now Wuyi County, Hebei Province), about 14 counties away from Zhongshan Kingdom (Du Lunu, now Dingzhou City, Hebei Province), and the area under her jurisdiction It is roughly located in the northern part of Shijiazhuang City, Hebei Province and the central and southern part of Baoding City), so it is speculated that Dou Wan is related to Queen Mother Dou, and the lamp was given to Dou Wan by Queen Mother Dou.

  Another expert speculates that the original holder of the Changxin Palace Lantern "Yangxinjia" refers to Princess Yangxin, the sister of Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty Liu Che. She dedicated this lamp to Empress Dou, who then donated it to Dou Wan.

  Recently, some scholars have combed the details of the inscriptions and proposed that the original owner of the Changxin Palace Lantern was the Empress Dowager Dou who was "Changxin Shangyu". Dou Wan.

Western Han Changxin Palace Lantern (partial).

Photo courtesy of Hebei Museum

  The empress dowager, the princes, the eldest princess, and the queen Dou Wan, what kind of twists and turns or thrilling stories are there among them?

With the deepening of research and the continuous release of new archaeological data, the truth will be getting closer and closer to us.

China News Agency reporter: Why do you say that environmentally friendly lamps such as Changxin Palace Lanterns were popular in the Han Dynasty?

How does the historical "inspiration" it brings inspire today?

Fan Dewei:

The Han Dynasty was one of the periods of prosperity and development in ancient Chinese history. The level of social productivity was greatly restored and improved, presenting a prosperous situation.

  Chi lamp is an innovative type of lamp developed in the Han Dynasty. This kind of lamp realizes the environmental protection idea of ​​reducing smoke and dust pollution through unique lamp shape and structure, and achieves the perfect combination of science, technology, beauty and applicability.

The lanterns of the Han Dynasty can be called green and environmentally friendly lamps in ancient China, and the Changxin Palace Lantern is one of the representative products.

  Interestingly, Han Dynasty lamps with environmental protection functions such as Changxin Palace Lanterns are not alone.

For example, the silver-staggered copper bull lamp unearthed from Ganquan Han Tomb in Yangzhou City, Jiangsu Province, the lamp on the back of the cow is also equipped with a lampshade, and the smoke and dust after ignition enters the bull's head and hollow belly through the lampshade and smoke guide pipe; In the Western Han Dynasty goose fish bronze lamp unearthed from the Shuohan Tomb, smoke and dust can also enter the hollow goose belly through the fish and goose neck, etc.

This shows that environmental protection lamps were already popular in the Han Dynasty in China.

Visitors take pictures of silver and copper bull lanterns.

Photo by Su Yang

  Today, more than 2,000 years later, the Changxin Palace Lantern is once again popular: the idea of ​​the torch relay for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics is derived from the "China's first light" - the Western Han Dynasty Changxin Palace Lantern. It expresses people's pursuit and yearning for light and hope.

  The Changxin Palace Lantern represents the highest level of bronze lamp design in the Han Dynasty in China, and is a model of Han Dynasty design. Its skills and concepts inspire the present.


Respondent profile:

  Fan Dewei, research librarian of the Academic Research Department of Hebei Museum, secretary-general of Hebei Museum Society.

A member of the main creative team of the exhibition "The Great Han Dynasty - Mancheng Han Tombs", has been invited to do expert interviews on CCTV's "National Treasure Archives" and other columns, and the CCTV "Hundreds of Lectures - Mancheng Han Tombs" special speaker.

Hosted or participated in "Mountain Walking-Contemporary Shaping of Chinese Traditional Culture" and other exhibition items won awards in the selection of national exhibitions and exhibitions.