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Grand "Zhuke" tripod showcases inclusive culture of China's ancient Chu state

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Grand "Zhuke" tripod showcases inclusive culture of China's ancient Chu state

2024-05-19 14:02 Last Updated At:14:37

The awe-inspiring Zhuke tripod, a 400 kilo bronze behemoth archived at east China's Anhui Province towering at nearly four feet high with an immense 87 centimeters wide, is a staggering feat of ancient metalwork.

The Wuwangdun tomb excavated in Anhui has been confirmed as the largest and highest-level tomb from ancient Chu state (704 BC - 223 BC) dating back to more than 2,200 years, the National Cultural Heritage Administration said on April 16.

Archaeologists focused on excavating the main vertical earth-pit tomb, confirming it as a large structure housing a wooden chambered burial area.

This collection of Anhui Museum is very similar to the large bronze "ding" (tripod) in size and structure, archeological experts said.

The ingenious "sectional casting" method was employed during its casting process more than 2,000 years ago.

Each component was cast separately before being joined, evidenced by the protruding "range lines" along the tripod's belly where the sections united.

Beyond its sheer scale, the Zhuke tripod captivates with its unique form. The curved shoulders give way to a rounded potbelly resting on three sturdy legs, with two handles adorning the sides.

"This type of ding (tripod) is a very distinctive instrument in Chu culture, and its main function is the same as the 'wok' cauldron in the Central Plains, which is a large ritual instrument used for cooking sacrifices in sacrificial activities," said Cheng Lu, associate research fellow at Anhui Museum.

There are 12 inscribed words at the edge of its mouth, beginning with "Zhu Ke," after which it is now named. On its front feet and bottom were inscribed two blessing words "An Bang," literally meaning "peaceful state."

It was unearthed in 1933 from the tomb of the King of You (about 237-228 BC) of the ancient state of Chu at Shou County of Anhui Province. The tripod is so precious and of such high historical value that it has been chosen as the prototype of the National Sacrificial Ding Tripod used at every memorial ceremony of the 1937 Nanjing Massacre since 2014.

For the Chu, who dominated the Yangtze regions for centuries during the Spring and Autumn Period (770 BC to 476 BC) and the Warring States Period (475 BC to 221 BC), bronze ritual wares were not mere objects but symbols of state power.

Their bronzes combined the solemn dignity of the Central Plains tradition with vivid, dynamic decorations - forging a distinct aesthetic.

This daring departure from convention, a bold innovation by the free-spirited Chu people, also marked their rise to assert a unique cultural identity as their dominion grew.

Grand "Zhuke" tripod showcases inclusive culture of China's ancient Chu state

Grand "Zhuke" tripod showcases inclusive culture of China's ancient Chu state

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Cargo throughput surges as China's ports streamline customs clearance

2024-07-20 07:14 Last Updated At:08:27

China's border ports have been implementing a range of cargo facilitation policies, leading to a surge in cargo throughput, with a nearly 57 percent year-on-year increase in the inspection of transportation vehicles in the first half of 2024.

According to the data recently released by the National Immigration Administration, China's ports inspected about 15.42 million vehicle, vessel, and train trips in the first six months of this year, a 56.9 percent jump from the same period last year.

The border ports have rolled out a series of measures to streamline customs clearance for cargo. At major land ports, fast lanes have been set up for the rapid release of critical supplies. At major seaports, online declaration has been enabled for border inspection boarding. In international shipping, arriving vessels can have much faster departures thanks to the efficient inspections.

The combined sea-rail transport model, utilizing maritime routes and the China-Europe freight train service, has made the port of Lianyungang in east China's Jiangsu Province one of the most convenient and economical gateways to the sea. It handles more than 80 percent of Kazakhstan's transit cargo to China.

At the port, containers carrying with auto parts, home appliances, and other products are offloaded, hoisted onto trucks, and then loaded onto China-Europe freight trains bound for destinations like Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

"From unloading to boarding the freight train, the entire process can now be completed in as little as eight minutes. These containers are expected to reach the border ports within six days, greatly reducing transportation time and cost," said a logistics company employee.

The Youyi Pass in the southern Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, also known as Friendship Pass, on the China-Vietnam border is an important cross-national trade channel. To enhance the clearance efficiency of imported fruits, the port has established "durian-only" channels and green channels for agricultural products, as well as an intelligent inspection assistance system. A Chinese cargo truck can now clear customs in just 15 seconds.

As the country's largest land port for fruit imports and exports, the Youyi Pass saw fruit imports worth 23.92 billion yuan (about 3.3 billion U.S. dollars) in 2023, a 262.9-percent surge year on year.

Pattama Narmwong, chairman of the Thai Mangosteen Association, noted that the greatly improved clearance efficiency has considerably cut down on transportation time and costs, supporting the burgeoning development of fruit trade between China and Southeast Asian nations.

Cargo throughput surges as China's ports streamline customs clearance

Cargo throughput surges as China's ports streamline customs clearance

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