Archaeological have found a mural unearthed from an ancient tomb in the northwestern Chinese province of Shaanxi, which depicts how traditional Chinese medication was practiced 1,000 years ago.
Song Dynasty murals are not rare in and around the ancient Chinese capital Xi'an, but researcher Sun Bingjun at Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology said this was the first found to depict traditional Chinese medication, prevalent in China for nearly 5,000 years.
The mural, about four meters square, had a man sitting on a chair, whom experts believed was the tomb owner.
"Jars and bottles were seen on a table nearby," said Sun.
Two other men were sitting at the table, one of whom was carrying two bags of herbs and the other consulting a huge collection of herbal formulas.
"The names of the herbs were still seen on the bags and the papers," said Sun. "We assume the master of the house was sick and two physicians were making prescriptions," he added.
Sun and his colleagues have finished a preliminary research on the mural, which was found in a Song Dynasty (960-1279) tomb in the suburbs of Hancheng City in February.
On the same mural were eight busy servants, some were waiting on the master while others were preparing his medicine, according to Sun.
"One of them had a bowl and cup in each hand, while others were busy at the stove, presumably brewing herbs," he said.
Two other murals were found in the same tomb chamber, one depicting a 17-member troupe staging an opera and the other, about nirvana, a divine state of peace and release from desire for Buddhists, he added.
"These seem to suggest the tomb owner was a Buddhist and loved performing arts," he said.
The tomb chamber, the murals and the coffin were elevated from the 10-meter deep pit and transported to a heritage base in the provincial capital Xi'an for better protection and further research.