2,000-year-old hairpiece unearthed in China

The Chinese might have learned to adorn themselves with periwigs more than 2,000 years ago, said archeologists who unearthed a skeleton wearing a hairpiece from an ancient tombs in southwest China's Sichuan Province.

The wig, found on the lower part of the skull, was made of hemprope, says Zhang Rong, a heritage repairs technician with a local museum in Liangshan prefecture, where the finding was reported.

Zhang said she had consulted several seasoned hemp knitters in the prefecture before she came to the conclusion.

The wig dates back to years between the Warring States Period (475 - 221 BC) and the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC - 24 AD), said Liu Hong, curator of the museum in Liangshan, a community of the Yi ethnic group.

He said a joint archeological team sent by the museum and Sichuan University excavated 11 tombs in Sikai district, Zhaojue county in the Daliangshan Mountain in the past two weeks.

The tombs, built of slates and rectangular in shape, are typical to Liangshan prefecture but rarely found elsewhere in China. According to the ancient burial tradition in the region, the corpses were buried only after they were air dried in the wilderness, said Liu.

The identity of these tomb owners remains a mystery, though some historians assume they were forefathers of the Yi nationals living in the area today. "The new finding might provide some clues to scientists who are working to unravel the mystery," said Liu.

Besides the skeleton and his wig, the tombs also produced many earthen pots, a few pieces of bronzeware and three wooden rings engraved with dainty patterns, said Tang Liang, head of the archeological team.

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