A study of lacquered head covers in Han burials

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According to archaeological discoveries to date, most of the lacquered head covers have been found in tombs dated between the late Western Han and the early Eastern Han in Jiangsu Province. In today’s archaeology reports, head covers are usually called mianzhao, literally face mask; their shape resembles an open-bottomed wooden box and was placed over the head of the deceased with an extending end on top to cover the upper chest. These head covers are generally associated with a kind of funerary object named wenming, granted by Emperor Xuan, recorded in the Hanshu and the long tradition of covering the head and face of a corpse. By studying excavated lacquered head covers, this paper seeks to further investigate the structure and the decoration, particularly the inlaid plaques and mirrors on the objects, and its connection with the afterlife belief in the Han burial context. Copyright © 2018 Society for East Asian Archaeology.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018


Lam, E. H.-L. (2018, June). A study of lacquered head covers in Han burials. Paper presented at the Eighth International Conference of the Society for East Asian Archaeology (SEAA), Nanjing University, Nanjing, China.


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