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In ancient times, some emperors and generals expected to live forever, even after death, they were pursuing the dream of immortality.
In the ancient imperial palace, when going to court or retreating from court, they would shout “Long live my emperor, long live, long live” three times when they saw the emperor. It can be seen how much the emperor longed for immortality. However, the average life expectancy of Chinese emperors is only 39.2 years.
Looking at the emperors of all dynasties, no matter whether Qin Huang, Han Wu, Wei Jin, Southern and Northern Dynasties, Tang Zong, Song Zu, etc., there is no emperor who does not want to live forever. There have been 83 dynasties and 559 emperors in Chinese history. Among the Chinese emperors of all dynasties, there were many short-lived emperors due to early death, tiredness in political affairs, or indulging in sexual pleasure.
Among the many emperors, it is said that the longest-lived one was Zhao Tuo, Emperor Wu of South Vietnam, who died at the age of 103. The emperors who lived more than 80 years old are: Qing Emperor Qianlong (89 years old), Liang Wudi Xiao Yan (86 years old), Wu Zetian Wu Zhao (82 years old), Song Gaozong Zhao Gou (81 years old), Yuan Shizu Kublai Khan (80 years old) . Eleven were over 70, and 30 were 60 and over.
In 1983, a thousand-year-old tomb from the Western Han Dynasty was discovered in Xianggang Mountain, Guangzhou. What impressed the archaeologists deeply was that an exquisite and mysterious silver box was unearthed in the ancient tomb, and the “elixir of life” was actually hidden inside. What’s going on here?
Let’s talk about the past. It was June 9, 1983. At that time, infrastructure construction was underway at Xianggang Mountain, Jiefang North Road, Guangzhou. Excavators were digging all day long, and a small hillside was about to be dug up. Well, a 50-meter mountain was dug to only 17 meters in a few days, and on this day, the workers suddenly discovered that there were many huge stone slabs under the feet of the excavator, and the gaps between the slabs were very large. It’s very small. At first, everyone was just curious, and didn’t feel that they should stop immediately.
Then the excavation work continued, but not long after the stone slab was pried open, a deep black hole was exposed, which surprised all the workers on site. It is said that the inside is likely to be an air defense fortification built by the People’s Liberation Army decades ago. Some people say that a large number of treasures are buried inside. Of course, some people say that it must not be an ancient tomb!
Afterwards, knowledgeable people immediately reported to the General Office of the Guangdong Provincial Government that an ancient tomb might be found at the construction site. Soon, the ancient team of the Guangdong Provincial Bureau of Cultural Relics rushed to the scene. So a thousand-year-old tomb of the Western Han Dynasty was discovered by accident.
On August 25, 1983, the archaeological team came to Xianggang Mountain and began a rescue excavation of the ancient tomb. After the crane lifted away the collapsed boulders one by one in the tomb passage, it was measured that this is a rectangular slope tomb passage with a length of 10.46 meters, a width of 2.50 meters, and a depth of 3.22 meters from the surface. With the deepening of archaeology, more and more cultural relics were unearthed, and experts realized that the identity of the owner of the ancient tomb is extraordinary, but who it is is still a mystery.
Until the afternoon of September 22, 1983, the archaeological team found a jade seal on the body of the tomb owner, and then found another “Emperor Seal” jade seal carved from green and white jade. Surprises followed one after another, and the climax was a golden dragon button seal with four strong and powerful small seal characters “Wendi Xingxi”. According to expert appraisal, this ancient tomb is the tomb of Zhao Hu (also known as Zhao Zhen), the second king of Nanyue Wen who shocked the archaeological world. This tomb is also the largest and only Han Dynasty painted stone chamber tomb discovered in the Lingnan area.
It turns out that the owner of this tomb is Emperor Wen of Nanyue, who was recorded in “Historical Records”, King Wen of Nanyue who was bestowed posthumous title by the Han Dynasty, and Zhao Hu, the grandson of Zhao Tuo, the first king of Nanyue. The “Wendi Xingxi” gold seal is the first “emperor” seal discovered by archaeological excavations in China, which is of great significance.
So far, the mysterious king’s tomb has uncovered the dusty history – with the excavation of the tomb of the second king of the Nanyue Kingdom, Zhao Xuan (Hu), the ancient Nanyue Kingdom more than 2,000 years ago finally broke through the ground and faced the world with a clearer face. The discovery of the Nanyue king’s tomb not only shocked the land of South of the Five Ridges, but also shocked the whole country and became famous all over the world. The treasures in the tomb are described as rare treasures in south of the Five Ridges.
Zhao Xuan’s tomb has not been stolen for more than 2,000 years, and it is well preserved. Many funerary objects in the tomb are exquisite. A total of 10,434 cultural relics including gold and silver wares, bronze wares, iron wares, pottery wares, jade wares, glazed wares, lacquered wood wares, and bamboo wares were unearthed from the tombs.
To say that the most beautiful cultural relic in the Nanyue king’s tomb is this gold inscription Tiger Festival, which has long been famous for its mighty tiger.
The Nanyue king’s tomb splits the mountain into a mausoleum, and the plan is in the shape of “convex”. The tomb faces south from the north, with a total of 7 rooms in the front three and the back four. The four walls and the top of the front room are painted with patterns of cloud and satin in two colors of red and ink; the east ear room is used for drinking and banquets, with bronze chime bells, stone chime bells and handles, wine vessels such as francium and berkelium, and Liubo chessboards; The west ear room is a repository for weapons, chariots, horses, armor, bows and arrows, five-color medicine stones, daily necessities, and treasures.
In the tomb, a goblet with a bearing plate was also found, which is to use a dew-holding plate to receive dew, and then take it with jade powder to achieve the purpose of immortality.
Compared with the tombs of ancient emperors, although Zhao Hu’s tomb is not very large, there are many cultural relics unearthed. Just to mention briefly, there are more than 500 bronze wares, including wine vessels, musical instruments, kitchen utensils, chariots and horses, etc.; there are also more than 700 iron wares, such as agricultural tools, tools and weapons; 56 jade wares, with openwork dragon and phoenix scroll patterns , Lushou Jade Bi, and Shuanglian Jade Bi; and the treasures listed by experts as extremely precious include silk jade clothes, copper incense stoves, and silver boxes. This is also the first imperial seal unearthed in archaeological history.
However, our focus today is not the gold seal of “Emperor Wen Xingxi”, but this mysterious silver box found in the west ear room. The first feeling when seeing this silver box is that it must be something for women. It may be the jewelry boxes of the concubines of the Nanyue King, and experts at the time proved that this object is definitely not a cultural relic of the Central Plains, but an item from Persia. Why do you say this way?
It turns out that this silver box itself is very precious, with a height of 12.1 cm, a belly diameter of 14.9 cm, and a weight of 572.6 grams. , the upper and lower edges where the lid meets the box body are each decorated with a fringe-shaped band, and the surface is decorated with a very thin layer of gilt. It is this spike-shaped belt that subtly divides the silver box into upper and lower parts.
Through various comparisons, experts found that this silver box is significantly different from contemporary Chinese silverware in terms of shape, texture, and manufacturing process. This silver box is like a garlic bone, with cloves of garlic hammered out around a circle. There is no silver box like this in the Han Dynasty of our country. Experts identified the silver box as a possible treasure from Persia. Zhao Hu, the owner of the tomb, loves this silver box very much and regards it as a life-saving medicine box. Not only do they take the medicine in it during their lifetime, but they also have to be buried in the coffin after death. It can be seen how important this silver box is to the owner of the tomb.
The ancient emperors not only hoped to live forever, but also hoped to be reborn after death. In the tomb of the Nanyue King, the expectation of the owner of the tomb was placed in this silver box, which was used to hold the medicine for the hope of ascension to heaven after death. It shows how unique and precious this box is!
However, the style and shape of this silver box are very different from the metal utensils of the Han Dynasty and even before the Han Dynasty. So where did this silver box come from? And who made it?
Experts searched a large amount of information and found that this kind of garlic-shaped ornamentation pressed by hammering method is rare in China, but it can still be seen in cultural relics unearthed in the ancient Persian Empire. This garlic-shaped ornamentation It is also a unique ornamentation of the Persian Empire, so experts identified it as an imported product from Persia.
In the end, what the experts found in the silver box was really unbelievable. It turned out to be a medicine similar to the “elixir of life”. So what is the result of the appraisal?
The so-called “elixir of life” in ancient times is actually Wushi powder. The name of Wushi San is based on the raw materials of the medicine. The ingredients include: cinnabar, realgar, alum, Zengqing, and Cishi. There is also a combination method: stalactite, sulfur, white quartz, amethyst, red stone. Wushi powder is made by mixing these jade fragments. The ancients believed that taking this medicine can prolong life and live forever, but in actual history, there are many kings who died of paralysis caused by taking this medicine. For example: Emperor Ai of Jin Dynasty Sima Pi, Emperor Daowu of Northern Wei Dynasty Tuoba Gui, Emperor Xianwen of Northern Wei Dynasty Tuoba Hong, etc. Its style has never been interrupted for five or six hundred years from Wei, Jin to Tang. After the Tang Dynasty, people may realize that this medicine is harmful, and then gradually less people take it.
Wushi powder is dry and hot in nature, and after taking it, it will make the whole body fever, and produce a short-term effect of ecstasy and confusion, which is actually a kind of chronic poisoning. Like smoking marijuana.
In fact, Wushi powder is a kind of highly poisonous drug. After taking it, it will produce a huge internal heat with the onset of toxicity. Therefore, a whole set of extremely subtle and cumbersome procedures are needed to dissipate the poison and heat in the medicine, that is, dissipate. If disseminated properly, diseases in the body will be emitted along with the poisonous heat. If it is not distributed properly, it will produce various side effects, and the consequences are very dire. Long-term use of the drug can cause chronic poisoning.
The longest-lived Nanyue King Zhao Tuo lived to be 103 years old. I don’t know if he took the elixir of life. However, the exquisite silver box containing the elixir unearthed in the tomb of his grandson Zhao Hu still shocked experts.