This exhibition compares the spectacular tombs of two rival power factions: the Han imperial family in the northern ‘cradle’ of Chinese history, and the Kingdom of Nanyue in the south, whose capital in modern-day Guangzhou formed the gateway to the rich trade routes of the China Sea and Indian Ocean.
More than 300 treasures in jade, gold, silver, bronze and ceramics will be on display to the public, including two jade burial armour suits belonging to the rival rulers, made from thousands of plaques of jade, sewn together with gold or silk thread, and jade artefacts thought to ward off demons. Among the more unusual items on display are a toilet and an early ginger grater.
The Search for Immortality: Tomb Treasures of Han China is on display at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, from 5 May–11 November 2012 and admission is free. Find out more at the Fitzwilliam Museum website