World News‎ > ‎

China Finds Tomb Of 'Female Prime Minister'

posted 13 Sept 2013, 06:45 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 13 Sept 2013, 06:45 ]

China says it unearths the tomb of Shangguan Wan'er, a senior female politician from the Tang Dynasty often referred to as a 'prime minister,' in northwestern Shaanxi province, state media reports.

XIANYANG CITY, SHAANXI PROVINCE, CHINA (SEPTEMBER 11, 2013) (CCTV) -  China has found the tomb of a senior female politician from the Tang Dynasty often referred to as a 'prime minister,' state media reported.

The tomb of Shangguan Wan'er, who lived between the 7th and 8th centuries, was unearthed near an airport in Xianyang city in the northwestern province of Shaanxi, official broadcaster CCTV reported.

Xi'anShaanxi's provincial capital, was China's capital under the name Chang'an during the Tang, and is home to the infamous Terracotta Warriors.

The tomb was around 36 metres long and 10 metres deep and had five skylights, a corridor and vaults.

It was devoid of a coffin or any relics, a fact experts put down to coordinated, intentional 'tomb destroying,' CCTVsaid.

Archaeologists found a carved epitaph inside the tomb reading 'Shangguan Zhaorong of Tang,' which describes in detail her family background, biography and other information.

Shangguan Wan'er is celebrated in Chinese literature, poetry and television as a close aide to empress Wu Zetian.

"To sum up the person, Shangguan Wan'er's life had two key characteristics. One is that she was highly talented, her poetry and writings were widely respected. The other is that she was powerful. This woman was a confidential secretary of Empress Wu Zetian, and because of this, whatever the empress did had great influence upon her. After Empress Wu Zetian, there emerged in the Tang Dynasty a large number of women who greatly yearned for power, and Shangguan Wan'er was one of them," said Professor of History and Humanities atShaanxi Normal University, Yu Gengzhe.

After Empress Wu's death, Shangguang Wan'er was selected by Emperor Zhongzong to be 'Zhaorong', or 'second highest concubine,' a role in which she drafted imperial orders, CCTV said.

China's rapid urbanisation in recent decades has contributed to the unearthing of countless new artefacts and tombs as farmland is churned up for new developments.

Copyright CCTV <