Three-Storied Watchtower With
Han Dynasty, China
Copyright Warren King
During the Han
Dynasty in China, about 2,000 years ago,
people spent much of their lives preparing for their death! Rich
people were buried with things from their daily lives, like horses,
pigs, fancy clothes, and even servants.
They weren't buried with their real animals and servants,
though -- they were buried with small-scale copies made of wood,
bronze, or clay, like this watchtower. The Chinese believed that when
you died, your spirit traveled to another world, but
your body stayed behind in the tomb where it needed these things for
comfort and support.
Real watchtowers that looked like this miniature copy were always
found on rich people's land. From the tower, the master of the estate
could keep guard over his property.
Find the man in the tower
and click on him.
This tower was made by rolling out flat pieces of clay for each wall
and cutting out openings for the windows and doors. Next, the tower
was baked in a special oven called a "kiln." After that, it was
painted with a special type of paint called a "glaze" and baked
again! The heat of the kiln made the glaze turn green.
How is the tower decorated -- what special details make it more
Watchtowers like this one were believed to keep a person safe in his
tomb by guarding him against evil spirits or ghosts. People believed
that evil spirits only traveled in straight lines. The two small
doors into the front yard (the keyhole-shaped opening in the fence is
a window, not a door) don't line up with the central door to the
tower. This is to prevent evil spirits from entering. The curly
decorations on the roof are there because people believed that they,
too, would keep evil sprits away.
The picture on the left is a sketch of a tomb
dating from the Han Dynasty. This tomb most certainly would have been
the burial place of a rich landowner.
If you could design a fancy
memorial or monument
for yourself, what would it be like?