Black Lacquer Coffin National Treasure


The famous "Black Lacquer Coffin" actually belongs to the empire of ancient China. And, it wasn't just an ordinary coffin because it belonged to the highest official of the empire. Today, it is now crowned as a "National Treasure".

Based from the historical book, each officials actually have their own corresponding type of coffin which was dependent to their Empire-Ranking position.

The highest of course is the emperor. His coffins would consists of five coffins and two other outer coffins. Next to the emperor is the feudal lord which was entitled to four coffins and one outer coffin or three coffins with two outer coffins. And lastly were the senior officials. Their coffins consists of two inner coffins and one outer coffin.

One of the most famous black lacquer coffin was that of the feudal lord Xin Zhui. His tomb occupied the "Mawangdui Tomb No. 1". Through his tomb, it provides a strong physical evidence of the Han Dynasty's funeral system.

Artistic Design of the Black Lacquer Coffin


The artistic design of the black lacquer coffin reflects the painting skills of the Western Han Dynasty. They often paint mystical and grotesque themes about their myth and legends. But through the technique which involve the use of embossing lacquer application, it simply shows that their artistic style have been influenced by the Chu-state culture.

Since the people of the Han Dynasty has been influenced by the Chu culture, they were believers of gods and immortals. Thus, common mythological designs of the coffins includes deities dancing with one another. There are also mythical gods that are hunting and doing some sort of other happy and joyous depictions about them.

Aside from their gods and immortal beings, there are also over one hundred different patterns of animals painted on the coffin. Later on, derived from this pattern comes the "flowing clouds with divine animals". This pattern signifies auspiciousness and exorcising demons. As a result, it was then adopted by the early Han Dynasty.

Moreover, the black lacquer coffin is now placed on exhibit at the Hunan Provincial Museum.