Editor's note:

Look up at the vastness of the universe and look down at the prosperity of categories. On the occasion of International Museum Day, the "Taste of China" column of China News Service launched the "Wenbo" series, starting a journey of searching for the past and the present, exploring the stories of time and civilization condensed in the artifacts.

Nanchang, 5 May (ZXS) -- A glimpse of the Western Han "food" Shang from the tomb of Haiduhou

China News Agency reporter Li Yunhan

More than 2000,<> years ago, on the table of Liu He, the Marquis of Haidu, "hot pot" and "sauce" appeared.

Liu He, who lived only 33 years, was the grandson of Emperor Wudi of Han, and experienced ups and downs in his life as King Changyi, "Emperor of Han", and Marquis of Haidu. After his death, the Marquis of Haidu was abolished, and all wealth bearing the princely symbol was buried in the tomb.

Located in Jiangxi, the site of the Haidu Marquis of the Han Dynasty in Nanchang is the largest, best-preserved and richest settlement site of the capital city of the Han Dynasty princes found in China, and more than 1,<> pieces (sets) of cultural relics have been unearthed. The great Han is brilliant, and you can see it.

"Among the cultural relics unearthed in the Haiduhou Tomb, the number of food-related utensils is very large, more than 1500,<>, accounting for more than one-tenth of all the cultural relics unearthed." Yang Jun, researcher of the Jiangxi Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology and leader of the archaeological team of the West Han Haihou Tomb in Nanchang, told reporters that a large number of food and wine vessels unearthed in the Haiduhou Tomb can witness the elegance and delicacy of the Western Han aristocracy in terms of food.

Among the more than 10,000 cultural relics unearthed, in addition to precious cultural relics such as jade seals, horseshoe gold, Lintoe gold, bamboo simple, and wooden stalks engraved with Liu He's name, modern eating utensils such as "bronze hot pot", "dipping saucer" and "oven" "stand out".

A bronze Wending on display in the Nanchang Han Dynasty Haidu Marquis Archaeological Site Park. Photo by China News Agency reporter Liu Lixin

"There are traces of charcoal fire on this bronze Wending charcoal plate, and chestnut residues have been found inside the vessel, which shows that there was already a habit of eating hot pot among the nobles of the Han Dynasty." Yang Jun said that during the excavation of the Haiduhou tomb, a bronze Wending with a three-legged support, a large belly and a charcoal plate attracted the attention of many archaeologists, and it was accompanied by a bronze dyeing oven for dipping - the upper ear cup contained the meat sauce, and the hollow charcoal fire in the middle was heated, and the meat was dyed and eaten.

The bronze dyeing furnace matching the bronze Wen Ding is a set for one person during the banquet, and it is "dyed" as you eat. Photo by China News Agency reporter Liu Lixin

Preserved sauce is a food favored by Liu He, and an ear cup unearthed in the tomb of Haiduhou also has the word "preserved sauce".

According to Yang Jun, in addition to the hot pot, the archaeological team of the Haiduhou Tomb also cleaned and restored a "baking oven", four-legged support, charcoal at the bottom, and a grid of partitions, which is very similar to modern barbecue utensils, and it can be speculated that "barbecue" has also become popular among the Western Han aristocracy.

The bronze dyeing oven for one person also confirms the Han Dynasty's food culture of "sitting on the ground and eating separately". The "Lile Banquet" exhibition area in the Haidu Houguo Archaeological Site Park of the Han Dynasty in Nanchang can be seen that the seats at the banquet are placed separately, there are bamboo mats under the seats, bamboo mats are placed in the four corners of the bamboo mats, various food and wine vessels are placed on the table, and there are bronze chimes and other musical instruments on the opposite side to complement each other, and the elegant pomp and circumstance of the Western Han aristocracy during the banquet can be seen.

The "Lile Banquet" exhibition area in the Haidu Houguo Archaeological Site Park of the Han Dynasty in Nanchang. Photo by China News Agency reporter Liu Lixin

"Due to the rapid development of agriculture in the Han Dynasty, coupled with a large number of high-quality crop varieties transmitted from the Western Regions to the Central Plains, all kinds of vegetables, fruits, grains, and meat greatly enriched the tables of the Han Dynasty, especially the Han Dynasty aristocracy." Zhao Yibo, director of the archaeology department of the Haidu Marquis Site Museum in the Han Dynasty in Nanchang, said that rice, millet, marijuana, melon, plum and other crops were unearthed in the grain storage of Liu He's tomb, and chestnuts, taro and other ingredients were also found in the unearthed utensils, indicating that the main food species in the Western Han Dynasty were relatively rich.

According to Zhao Yibo, the Han Dynasty people were already skilled in growing more than 20 kinds of vegetables, and after Zhang Qian sent to the Western Regions, he introduced coriander (coriander), garlic (garlic), grapes, pomegranates, courgettes (cucumbers) and other vegetables and fruits.

"Hanshu Food Goods Record" has a cloud, "The meeting of a hundred rites, you can't do it without wine." According to Yang Jun, many ear cups for drinking were unearthed in the tomb of Haiduhou, including very precious jade ear cups, lacquered ear cups and bronze ear cups. Interestingly, Liu He's collection of "antique" wine utensils - Western Zhou bronze Ti Liang Wei and Eastern Zhou bronze silk were also found in the tomb.

In addition, the archaeological team also found a bronze "still" in the wine ware, which resembled wine-making supplies, and there was taro residue inside.

"Some people think it's alchemy, others think it's for juice or flower water, but its shape already has the structure to make distilled spirits, and its condensation system may be more advanced than we think." Yang Jun said that the role of this large bronze "still" is still inconclusive, but the archaeological team has begun relevant experiments, and if it can finally prove to be a tool for making distilled spirit, it can advance the history of making distilled liquor in China to the Western Han Dynasty.

Hot pot, dipping in sauce, eating barbecue, drinking wine, eating meals separately....... From the tomb of Haiduhou, it can be seen that the food culture of the Western Han Dynasty is rich and developed, but thousands of years ago, the bells of the court aristocracy sounded and eaten, and now it has long been "commonplace". (End)