Leitai Tomb(Chinese name: 雷台汉墓) is a national key cultural relics protection units, located in Leitai Park, Wuwei City. It was discovered by local famers under an old locust tree in 1969. It is famous for the Bronze Horse unearthed in the tomb which is a cultural treasure and also the tourism logo of China. Leitai is a place of ancient ritual. As there is a Leizhu Temple built on the platform about 10 m high, hence the name.
History of Excavation
In 1969, the brick tomb of the late Eastern Han Dynasty was discovered by the local farmers when they dug war preparedness tunnel. According to inscription records on the chest of the horse figurine, it is the tomb of prefecture chief of Wuwei, General Zhang. According to the Wuwei County Records in Qing Dynasty, Leitai is also called Lingjuntai.
The Structure of the Tomb
Leitai is a 8.5 high, 106 m long and 60 m wide square earth rammer platform. There is a Leizhu Temple built on the platform built in the middle period of Ming Dynasty, hence the name. The existing architectures on the platform are Sanxing Hall, Leizhu Hall, Big Dipper Hall, Sagittarius Six Star Hall, Passing Hall, Halls at the west and east sides, bungalows and so on. The Tomb can be divided into the front, middle and rear room. The front room has two ear chambers at right and left. The middle room has one right ear chamber. The gate of the tomb faces east. The tunnel to the gate is 19.34 m long. Though the tomb has been robbed for several times, it till has many precious relics, and is a “rich underground museum”. It has unearthed 211 relics such as gold wares, silver wares, copper wares, iron wares, jade wares, stone wares, potteries. Among them the 99 samurai ceremonial figurines is very exquisite, especially the Bronze Horse.
Bronze Horse – China’s Tourism Logo, Symbol of Wuwei City
The Bronze Horse is 34.5 cm high, 45 cm long and weighs 7.15 kg. It is rising the head and screaming with three feet vacated, just the right hind foot step on a flying bird. Pugil of fairshaped mane on the head of the horse point tail which like the tail of a comet. It do not only shows the horse runs faster then the flying bird, but also use the bird expending the land area and keeping stability of the horse. The horse is strong and vigorous, and the design of it is artistic and elegant, conforming to mechanical balance principle. The unnamed artistic craftsmen in Eastern Han Dynasty created it with wisdom, rich imagination, profound life experience and skill intensive artistic skills, successfully created a from life than life, very romantic “fanciful” artistic masterpiece.
According to History of the Han Dynasty, Emperor Wu of Western Han Dynasty used to order General Li Guang to the Western Region. In 101 BC, the Dawang Horse imported from Dawan was very cherished by Emperor Wu, and was reputed as “the Heavenly Horse”. The sweat of the horses is red, so they also named Hanxue Horse (Red Sweat Horse). Wuwei became the trading and breeding base of the horses. The later generations said “Liangzhou Horse, running across the world”. So, the Bronze Horse found in the Tomb is not a accident.
Since 1973, China has exhibited its unearthed cultural relics in USA, England, France, Japan, Sweden, Austria, Italy and other countries and Hong Kong. The Bronze Horse has always been the representative of Chinese relics.
Now Bronze Horse is the tourism logo of China and also the symbol of Wuwei.