Diversity of form and meaning: A study of the evolution of the twelve zodiac signs between the Tang and Song dynasties


  • Haoran Yang




twelve zodiac signs, space, South, Song Tomb, Mingtang.


"Dafang et al. Collection of Sutras", the twelve zodiac animals are the representative artifacts in the tomb gods and evil spirits system, arrange, decorative theme of the Song Dynasty in the Sout. Discussing the function and belief connotation of the tomb gods and evil spirits system in the Song Dynasty. The twelve zodiac themes in Song tombs in the south serve as a concept of space tombs based on the concept of "Mingtang" in Tang and Song Dynasties.


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Internet, Shaanxi Huya [Twelve Zodiac Figurines (Part)] Tang Dynasty, unearthed in 1979 at Qinchuan Machinery Factory in Xi'an.

The bright hall in the tomb, Sohu constellation, view link; https://m.baidu.com/from

Stacked plastic bottles are very popular in Song and Yuan tombs in Fujian, Jiangxi, Zhejiang, Hunan and other places, and often appear in pairs. Scholars also have different names for them, including plastic bottles, standing bird bottles, capped bottles, dragon and tiger bottles, refuge bottles, soul bottles, barn jars and many other names. Ming ware with bottles and cans as the main body and various shapes and contents piled on the body has appeared in the lower reaches of the Yangtze River since the Han and Jin Dynasties. The plastic bottles of the Song and Yuan Dynasties can be traced back to the five-jointed jars of the Eastern Han Dynasty, the granary jars of Wu and Jin Dynasties, and the soul bottles of the Southern Dynasties. Although these utensils have different forms, their basic functions may be the same, reflecting the styles of different times. See Liu Yi's "A Brief Description of Ming Porcelain", "Southeast Culture" 1994 Supplement No. 1 ("Proceedings of the 1994 Annual Meeting and Academic Symposium of the Chinese Ancient Ceramics Research Association").

Jiangxi Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archeology "Song and Yuan Dynasty Tombs in Xinjian Wanggushan, Jiangxi", "Southern Cultural Relics" Issue 4, 2008.

Hunan Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archeology, "Brief Report on the Excavation of the Song Dynasty Mural Tomb in Liujialing, Guiyang", "Cultural Relics" Issue 2, 2012

Xue Yao, "Song Tombs in Nancheng, Qingjiang and Yongxiu, Jiangxi", "Archaeology" Issue 11, 1965

Yang Houli summarized the main decorative elements on the plastic bottles and compared them with the Ming ware and gods recorded in the tombs of ordinary people ranging from officials to common people in the Secret Burial Sutra, and pointed out that the two are basically consistent. Yang Hou

Li "Study on long plastic bottles unearthed from Song and Yuan Dynasty tombs in Jiangxi", "Southern Cultural Relics" Issue 1, 1992

Some scholars have conducted special studies on plastic bottles and cans, and sorted out the era characteristics, distribution and cultural connotations of this type of ancient artifacts from different angles. For example, Chen Dingrong's "On Duiling Plastic Bottles", "Southern Literature"

"Objects", Issue 3, 1986; Chen Dingrong, "Overview of Granary Jars", "Agricultural Archeology", Issue 2, 1987; Yang Houli, "Study on Long Plastic Bottles Unearthed from Song and Yuan Dynasty Tombs in Jiangxi", "Southern Cultural Relics", Issue 1, 1992

Issue; Huang Yijun, "Research on the Zoning of Pan-mouth Vase and Polygonal Altars Unearthed from Song Dynasty Tombs in the Southern Region", "Archaeology and Cultural Relics", Issue 4, 2008; Tang Suying, "A Preliminary Study on Zhejiang Song Dynasty Celadon Plastic Vase", collected in "Zhejiang

Jiang Provincial Museum Paper Special Collection (1999-2009)", Xiling Yinshe Publishing House, 2009, pp. 96-101; Zang Tianjie, "Research on the Functions of Plastic Bottles (Cans) and Ming Utensils Excavated from Tombs", "Southern Cultural Relics"

Issue 1, 2012; Peng Youqin, "Research on Soul Bottles in the Jiangnan Region during the Song, Yuan and Ming Dynasties", Master's thesis of Nanjing University, 2012.

Qin Dashu, "On the Hierarchy System of Imperial Tombs in the Northern Song Dynasty", "Archaeology and Cultural Relics" Issue 4, 2008.

Henan Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology "The Imperial Tombs of the Northern Song Dynasty", Zhongzhou Ancient Books Publishing House, 1997, pp. 408-409.

[Yuan] Tuotuo et al. "History of the Song Dynasty" Volume 122 "Rites 25", Zhonghua Book Company, 1977, pp. 2847-2848.

[Song Dynasty] Li You's "Facts of the Song Dynasty" Volume 13 "Yi Notes 3 Yingzong was buried in Yonghou Mausoleum", photocopy of Wenyuan Pavilion version of "Sikuquanshu", Taiwan Commercial Press, 1984, Volume 608, Page 158.

[Qing Dynasty] Xu Song compiled "Song Hui Yao Collection" Li 37-12, Zhonghua Book Company, 1957, p. 1325.

Regarding the impact of Kanyu studies on the construction of Song Dynasty mausoleums, see Feng Jiren's "On the Comprehensive Impact of Yin and Yang Kanyu Studies on the Imperial Tombs of the Northern Song Dynasty", "Cultural Relics" Issue 8, 1994.




How to Cite

Yang, H. (2024). Diversity of form and meaning: A study of the evolution of the twelve zodiac signs between the Tang and Song dynasties. Journal of Education, Humanities and Social Sciences, 34, 59-68. https://doi.org/10.54097/08gnq446