Discovery of large number of Sui and Tang tombs in Xi'an, including a Sogdian woman named Kang Bibi

In Xi'an Jiaolianhu district 郊莲湖区, authorities have unearthed over 1,200 tombs, which date from the Wei-Jin, Sixteen Kingdoms, Northern Dynasties, Sui-Tang, Song-Jin, and Ming-Qing periods.

Many of the tombs are from the Sui-Tang period.  Most of the Sui-Tang tombs are mid to small in size and are earthen chamber pits that have one to two atriums (天井).  Only a few have more than three atriums.  The mid to small size tombs are thought to belong to commoners.  There are three special cemeteries, though, one for palace people, one for eunuchs, and one for Non-Han people.  One of these cemeteries is 陳家賽, which has 581 mid to small tombs of people who lived in the Northern Dynasties and the Sui-Tang period. The 三民墓地 has more than 280 tombs, which date from the Western Jin to the Sui-Tang.  The northern part of this cemetery is in the best shape and has the tombs of 57 palace people whose grave are arranged in nine rows. The tombs are all in a straight line and are earthen chamber tombs, which are composed of a tomb corridor and chamber, which are three to seven meters in length. The tomb chambers are only wide enough to hold a coffin.  Grave goods of these tombs usually are just a pottery pot and pitcher.  A few of the tombs have female decorative goods, such as shells, bronze mirrors, and jade accessories. These tombs date to the beginning of the Tang; their occupants were women who were in their twenties and thirties.  The burials seem to strictly adhere to prevailing rules for palace women burials.


At the Hejia cemetery 贺家墓地, a mural tomb with two atriums has been discovered. This tomb has a stone gate; both its corridor and chamber have murals.  According to the entombed tomb inscription, it belongs to a woman named 康比比 who perhaps was Sogdian.  She died in 716. This is the earliest Tang mural tomb found in the western area of Xi'an. The tomb has a mural of a woman at ease watching a northerner dancing. The tomb has 43 grave goods, including a Heavenly King trampling five small demons.
For a video of this tomb and its contents, see this link.

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