The lake’s water rose and fell 5 times, the expert dived and hit “12 dragons”

Kane Khanh | Archeaology
June 19, 2023

Seeing that the lake’s water kept rising and falling, experts ventured down to search and suddenly found “12 dragons” below.

Nước hồ 5 lần dâng lên hạ xuống, chuyên gia mạo hiểm lặn xuống thì đụng  trúng '12 con rồng'

The lake water rises and falls 5 times

In May 1977, Xichuan district in Nanyang town of Henan province, China suddenly encountered a severe drought. People in the district believe that this is a once-in-a-hundred-year drought. At that time, the land was dry and cracked, and all the trees were dead.

Until October, the drought became more and more severe, most of the rivers in Tich Xuyen district were dry. The water level of the Danjiangkou reservoir located in the two provinces of Henan and Hubei also decreased sharply. Even the slopes of Long Son mountain that have been submerged in water for many years are revealed in the water.

One day, more than 10 boys from Ha Tu village in Tich Xuyen district invited each other to the newly exposed Long Son mountainside to play. While playing, the children suddenly heard a very loud rumbling. After that noise, a large hole about 1m in diameter appeared on the ground . The children, both scared and curious, crept closer to the mouth of the hole and looked down, they vaguely saw that there were many bottles and bottles inside, but no one dared to come near to check.

After that, they decided to run back to the village to inform the adults about the incident. The villagers cheered to come to the hole and discovered that there were many ceramic pots and different types of antiques underneath . They carry bags and digging tools to search for artifacts.

Soon, the news reached the head of Luu village, who was conscious of protecting cultural relics, and Mr. Liu immediately sent someone to guard the scene. The village head quickly reported to the cultural center of Tich Xuyen district and asked them to send officials to inspect these cultural relics.

The lake water rose and fell 5 times, the expert dived in and hit 12 dragons - Photo 1.

Underneath the crater are many artifacts. (Photo: Sohu)

Upon learning of the news, Mr. Truong Tay Hien, director of the district cultural center, led a group of archaeologists to the slopes of Long Son mountain in Ha Tu village. After exploration and excavation, they discovered that there were many tombs with features of the Spring and Autumn period. Later, archaeologists named them the Long Thanh tomb complex .

However, when Truong Tay Hien and the archaeological team were excavating ancient tombs, an incident occurred. The water level of Danjiangkou Reservoir suddenly rose, hindering the progress of work. They had to go ashore and wait until the lake water receded, then hurriedly continue to excavate. Just like that, after 5 times the water rose and receded continuously , the archaeological team still couldn’t do much. If this continues, the excavation progress will be seriously affected, the team of experts discussed to adjust the plan.

The lake's water rose and fell 5 times, the expert dived and hit 12 dragons - Photo 2.

Archaeologists have found a cluster of graves after the lake water receded. (Photo: Sohu)

They decided to apply the guerrilla method of “shit-shit” to carry out major excavations. Specifically, they will conduct special excavations with large-sized tombs with rich cultural relics first. Only then did they continue on small graves. Sometimes, archaeologists even have to risk diving into the water so that the work is not delayed.

However, in such a dangerous working environment for a year, Truong Tay Hien’s team unearthed tens of thousands of cultural relics left over by the Zhou Dynasty of the Spring and Autumn period from this group of ancient tombs.

“12 dragons” under the lake

In particular, the tomb area with number A2 is where they found the most valuable cultural relics. The archaeological team found 6,908 pieces of jade, sacrificial items, weapons, musical instruments, chariots, lacquerware… Each item is crafted extremely delicately and with high quality, it can be considered as a masterpiece. National treasures.

However, what confused Truong Tay Hien’s group was that during a dive to search, they encountered “12 dragons” . In fact, they are dragons made of bronze. Not only “12 dragons”, experts also found many other broken pieces of copper. According to preliminary statistics, there are nearly a thousand pieces of copper scrap.

The lake water rose and fell 5 times, the expert dived in and hit 12 dragons - Photo 3.

The “12 dragons” were found along with nearly a thousand pieces of debris. (Photo: Sohu)

These fragments have different sizes, many of which have been deformed, uneven cracks, possibly due to being intentionally destroyed by others. After careful examination, experts speculate that this vandal belongs to the Han Dynasty. This grave thief tried to get the other “12 dragons” of bronze out of the grave but couldn’t so he smashed them.

Then, the National Bureau of Cultural Heritage sent some leading experts to examine and study the bronze “dragons”. They eventually determined that they were decorations on a wine table made of green fields from the Spring and Autumn period. The “12 dragons” and their fragments were handed over to Vuong Truong Thanh, a famous bronze restoration expert from the Henan Provincial Museum, responsible for the restoration.

The lake's water rose and fell 5 times, the expert dived and hit 12 dragons - Photo 4.

After years of restoration, experts have “returned” the original beauty of the “12 dragons”. (Photo: Sohu)

At that time, Mr. Vuong Truong Thanh was over 60 years old. He and his assistant used traditional copper restoration methods to restore the antique. After 1095 days and nights of hard work and 26 complex restoration procedures, the bronze wine table gradually took shape. Until the beginning of 1984, Vuong Truong Thanh finally completed the restoration of this bronze wine table. As soon as it was released, the table immediately surprised the whole world because it was made from a long-lost copper casting technology. It is also named “Van Van Dong Ban” . Understandably, this technology is currently no one can implement. Thus, this bronze wine table is a one-of-a-kind treasure that cannot be faked .

Treasures that can’t be faked

Van Van Ban is about 28.8 cm high, 103 cm long, about 46 cm wide, weighs more than 90 kg and has a rectangular shape. In particular, the inside of the body of the table is completely hollow, consisting of 5 layers stacked on top of each other. This table is designed in the strong style of the Zhou Dynasty of the Spring and Autumn period.

The lake's water rose and fell 5 times, the expert dived in and hit 12 dragons - Photo 5.

Close-up of the bronze “dragon” attached to the forbidden bronze pattern. (Photo: Sohu)

12 dragons with different shapes are attached around the table. Each has a concave waist, a curled tail, and a protruding head and tongue. These 12 dragons symbolized the might of the dynasty at that time. The production process of this bronze wine table is complex and delicate. This artifact is cast by wax casting , which is an extremely complex three-dimensional casting and cannot be produced using ordinary molds.

The lake's water rose and fell 5 times, the expert dived down and hit 12 dragons - Photo 6.

The panorama of the forbidden bronze pattern was cast by a lost method. (Photo: Sohu)

According to the records in ” Tang Hoi Weak “, the method of wax casting dates back to the early years of the Tang Dynasty. Emperor Cao To used to cast a large number of bronze items by this method through the official kilns of the imperial court. Since this method was published at the time, it is assumed that it dates back to the Tang Dynasty. However, the appearance of the forbidden bronze pattern pushed the history of wax casting technology earlier than 1,100 years.

Treasures that are prohibited from being displayed abroad

According to historical documents, Van Van Ban Ban is a wine table made of green bronze that only kings, nobles or high-ranking mandarins used. Moreover, it was cast by a method of wax casting lost for thousands of years, so its historical significance and archaeological value are even greater.

The lake's water rose and fell 5 times, the expert dived in and hit 12 dragons - Photo 7.

According to valuation experts, this treasure is not less than VND 33,000 billion. (Photo: Sohu)

After studying the inscriptions on the forbidden bronze pattern, experts determined that it was a burial item in the tomb of Tu Canh, a vizier under Chu Kang Vuong.

In 2002, the National Administration of Cultural Heritage announced that the Van Van Dong Ban was one of 64 national treasures banned from being displayed abroad. According to many experts, its value is not less than 10 billion yuan .