Monday, 31 August 2009

Vintage Altar of Heaven

The oldest-known altar used in Chinese state religious practice was unearthed, then reburied, this past summer in the city of Xian by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Uncontrolled development around a mysterious circular mound prompted a 30-day salvage excavation. Constructed as early as the Sui Dynasty (A.D. 581-618), the so-called Altar of Heaven is more than 1,000 years older than a similar altar in Beijing, and is the only one found so far pre-dating the Qing Dynasty (A.D. 1644-1912). It is estimated that 17 Chinese emperors conducted religious rites here.

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