Zhang JieResearch Associate
Department of Archaeology
I am very interested in Mural Tombs during Liao Dynasty. Compared with my previous master's thesis, I have greatly expanded the research scope, population and time. Now I pay more attention to the identity of the owner of the tomb. The biggest difficulty and innovation of this topic is to study the significance and characteristics of mural images from the perspective of people and nationality. For me, such research projects can make better use of my academic background in art history. At the same time, in order to better understand the existing Liao Dynasty tomb materials, I will also use a lot of Liao Dynasty stone tablets, which involves a lot of research on Khitan language and culture.
Zhang Jie received his MA in Archaeology from Minzu University of China and now he is a Doctoral candidate at Sun Yat-sen University.
Zhang, J. "On the Cultural Ecology of the Folk Art Heritage of Northeast Ethnic Groups" , Literature Review, No.6, 2016
Under the interdisciplinary advantage of Eurasia3angle research group, my one-year research will mainly focus on the graves of aristocrats and royal families in Liao Dynasty. A large number of murals were painted on the walls of these graves. Some were the reproduction of life scenarios at that time, and some were their imagination about things after their death. Rich ethnic factors are contained in these murals, which are important clues for analyzing the national identity and social class of the grave owner. Meanwhile, I will also reorganize the kinship between grave owners by the unearthed Khitan stone tablets, and classify these graves according to the mural information in the grave.
Because not only were the graves of royal families in Liao Dynasty contained but also the graves of wealthy landlords and officials at that time in the Unearthed grave frescos of Liao Dynasty in Northern China. Their national identities included Khitan, Han Chinese, and even immigrants from Balhae. However, under the condition that their burial customs are alike, and it's impossible to determine their identities by DNA samples, it is of great importance to judge the national identities of grave owners by the unearthed language and characters, as well as the style and content of grave frescos. Under the influence of Khitan culture, people from Northern or Western Regions of China would also paint murals on their graves, but with totally different styles from those of Khitan people and Han Chinese. What I will do is to uncover the national identity and social class of the grave owner based on archaeological materials by the methods of linguistics and iconography.