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Zhu Ran Lacquer Clogs: Friendly Exchanges between China and Japan

Jun 28, 2010

Zhu Ran lacquer clogs

Name: Zhu Ran lacquer clogs | 中文名: 朱然墓出土漆木屐
Dated to: Three Kingdoms Period, 220 – 280 A.D. | Culture: Eastern Wu
Unearthed: 06/1986, at Tomb of Zhu Ran, Ma’Anshan, Anhui | Current location: Ma’Anshan Museum

The most ancient lacquer clogs

This is the most ancient lacquer clogs discovered in China, about 1,700+ years old. On each clog, there is one hole in the front and two in the back for rope tying in order to make a functional clog. This pair of lacquer clogs almost resembles the style of modern ones. It has caused a sensation when exhibited in Japan.

Before Zhu Ran lacquer clogs were unearthed, the earliest lacquer clogs were generally believed to be invented by Japanese. The discovery of Zhu Ran lacquer clogs suggests that lacquer clogs might be invented in China, spread east to Japan through Tang culture, and gradually adapted by Japanese.

This also indicates that as early as Three Kingdoms Period (1,700+ years ago), there were already close economical and cultural exchanges between China and Japan.

Tomb of Zhu Ran


General Zhu Ran

General Zhu Ran

Zhu Ran was a famous military general for Eastern Wu during the Three Kingdoms era of China. He was praised for his skills as a general, and took part in many important military campaigns for the Kingdom of Wu. Before his death, he was given full command of the armies of Wu.

His tomb is located at AnMin Village, south suburb of Yushan District, City of Ma’anshan, Anhui Province. It was excavated in June, 1984.

A series of archaeological discoveries of the tombs of Zhu Ran and his clan help reproduce the mien of infamous General Zhu Ran of Wu and the charm of economical and social life at that time. The excavation of Zhu Ran tomb is considered an important archaeological discovery about the Three Kingdoms period, which had a strong response at home and abroad.


Japanese lacquered geta | by {link:http://www.flickr.com/photos/northampton_museum/4429218390/}Northampton Museum{/link}

Japanese lacquered geta

In particular, this pair of lacquer clogs unearthed in Zhu Ran Tomb, are China’s oldest lacquer clogs. The emergence of this pair of clogs created a great buzz in Japan. Lots of Japanese friends have written articles exploring the historical cultural connections between China and Japan.

Japan’s national television – Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK) came to Zhu Ran Tomb twice to make cultural heritage documentary series “A Thousand-Mile Trip on Three Kingtoms” and “Five Thousand Years of China”. Some of the relics were also invited to a Japan Tour Exhibition in 1987, which attracted strong interest from all sectors of Japan.

[Forbidden Treasure of China Series]
This is the 20th of 64 culture heritages that the government of China forbids to exhibit abroad. The complete list is here. In Chinese.

[Chinese Keywords]
国家一级文物 禁止出境

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