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Sichuan archeology confirms that Su Dongpo’s family tomb is indeed in the “Su Cemetery” in Meishan

Su Xi, his father Su Shun, and his younger brother Su Zhe, the “Three Sus” of the Northern Song Dynasty, are extremely famous writers in the history of Chinese literature. However, few people know where Su Xi’s family cemetery is. A Chinese archaeological team recently confirmed, based on inscriptions on tomb bricks and related records, that the “Su Cemetery” in Meishan City, Sichuan Province is the family tomb of Su Shi, where Su Shi’s grandson Su Fu and great-grandson Su Shan has been buried.

Red Star News reported that the most famous relic left by Sansu and his son in Sichuan is the Sansu Temple in Meishan, Sichuan, but few people know where Su Dongpo’s family cemetery is. In Shishika Village, Xiuwen Town, Dongpo District, Meishan, the village’s “Su Cemetery” has long been called “Su Cemetery”. This is the tomb of the Su Shi family which has been passed down from generation to generation among the villagers. Although it is listed as a Meishan Town Cultural Relic Protection Unit, there is no official confirmation.

From December 24, 2018 to April 5, 2019, an archaeological team formed by the Sichuan Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archeology conducted rescue archaeological excavations of tombs in the Xiaosu Cemetery. It was found that the construction of the Xiaosu Cemetery Tomb Garden was large-scale and had a rectangular structure. The rest of the buildings, including the walls, buildings on the mausoleum, ring walls, mausoleum chambers, buildings in front of the mausoleum, stairs, roads, etc., were destroyed. The buildings of the entire mausoleum garden are distributed in an orderly manner on the slope, with a height difference of 8.5 meters from top to bottom. The layout is distributed symmetrically along the central axis, with the main building facilities located on the central axis.

The report pointed out that based on the brick inscriptions of the tomb and relevant documentary records, it can be confirmed that the Da Su Cemetery in the “Su Cemetery” is the tomb of Su Fu, the grandson of Su Shi, and the Xiao Su Cemetery is the tomb of Su Shi. The tomb of Su Shan, Su Fu’s great-grandson and son of Su Fu.

According to dozens of blue bricks previously stored in the management office of “Dongpo Hometown” in Shishika Village, the inscriptions include “Bosu Cemetery, Dazong of Song Dynasty”, “Tomb of Sinong Shaoqing Su Gong”, “Dongpo Yuansun”, etc. , It is written on the tombstone as “Tomb of Su Gongfu Baihewen, Minister of Rites of the Song Dynasty”. More than 2,000 bricks from Su Fu’s tomb alone were found in Shishuika village, the largest and most important of the Su family remains in the country.

According to information released by the Sichuan Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archeology on the archaeological discoveries of the Song tomb in the Su cemetery in Meishan, Su Fu’s tomb and another nearby tomb were destroyed in 1974. Presently the remaining part of Su Fu’s tomb has been covered by modern buildings. Based on this official disclosure, another tomb is in the Xiasu Cemetery, that is, the tomb of Su Shan, Su Xi’s great-grandson.

Relevant people said that although the tomb has been destroyed, the entire structure of the cemetery has been exposed, which is of great importance for studying the funeral system of officials in the Song Dynasty. The confirmation of the tomb owner is also very important for the in-depth exploration of Sansu culture and the inheritance of Sansu cultural heritage.

The staff of the management office of the “Su Cemetery” said that Su Fu was the most distinguished official among the many descendants of Su Shi’s brothers (Shang Shu of the Ministry of Rites, second class). According to historical records, Su Fu became an official in his later years and never went out again after returning to Shu. He died in the 26th year of Shaoxing in the Southern Song Dynasty (1156), and the imperial court posthumously awarded him the title of “Meishan Founding Uncle”.

Behind the archway of Su’s ancestral mausoleum is what villagers call the Su Dongpo Family Cemetery. (Taken from Red Star News)

The brick of Su Fu's grave.  (Taken from Red Star News)
The brick of Su Fu’s grave. (Taken from Red Star News)



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