An Outing on Horse Chariots: Mural of Eastern Han Tomb in Horinger, Inner Mongolia


China Modern Contemporary Art Document

China Modern Contemporary Art Document
Beijing, China

Located in Xindianzi Town, Horinger County, Inner Mongolia, Horinger Tomb is 20 meters long, with more than 50 murals in almost all the chambers. Lucky for those researchers on the murals, there are also engraved titles(Bangti榜題) to these paintings, which explain the contents of these images.

The occupant’s convoy of horse chariots is the main part of the mural. As opposed to the murals of previous dynasties themed of auspicious animals carrying the occupant to the Land of Immortality, this mural displays the occupant’s rising life trajectory. The convoy becomes larger and grander with, according to the mural titles, the promotion of the occupant. These galloping horses and chariots of various styles are indicators of the occupant’s life trajectory and his illustrious career as a government official.

What is interesting is that the images of the Gods of Four Cardinal Directions and various auspicious animals for example, favored by people of the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-9 BC), were placed in a subordinate position compared with those reflecting the occupant’s real life experience. Such a shift in the focus of tomb murals indicates the change of people’s views about life and death. As opposed to the unfathomable Land of Immortality, people of that time preferred to bring the luxurious lifestyle and high positions to the netherworld.

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  • Title: An Outing on Horse Chariots: Mural of Eastern Han Tomb in Horinger, Inner Mongolia
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date: 220
  • Provenance: Horinger, Inner Mongolia
  • Medium: mural
  • Dynastic period: Eastern Han Dynasty