Maoling Museum
The Maoling Museum was built in front of Huo Qubing's tomb. On exhibition here are 16 pieces of large stone sculptures originally placed before the tomb and other valuable historical relics excavated from the Maoling Mausoleum. Large stone carvings were started from the Qin Dynasty, but the earliest works left in history belongs to the Western Han Dy- nasty. The stone carvings before Huo Qubing's tomb are the most representative works, which are the earliest and world-famous mas- terpieces of ancient stone carvings preserved in groups under state protection. In this group of large stone sculptures, there are the Hun Un- der Horse Hoofs, a Galloping Horse and a Crouching Ox. There are also other sculptures such as a Tiger Lying in Wait, a Crouching Elephant, a Wild Man, a Stone Frog and a Stone Fish, which were made with the technique of line carving and circular engraving. Some carvings were originally installed in front of the tomb, while most of them placed on the tomb resembled the Qilian Mountain. The stone carvings were made according to the texture of huge nat- ural stones. Only some key parts were engraved with care and pre- cision so as to lay stress on the momentous manners and an romantic style of carving. The Hun Under Horse Hoofs:As the main statue of this group of stone carvings, it is 168 cm high, 190 cm long, 48 em wide, and almost as big as life size. It was originally erected before the tomb. Applying the technique of romantic art, the artist carved out a man and a horse, highly describing the brilliant military success of Huo
Qubing. The stone horse is muscular, holding its head high, drag-ging its tail down to the ground. A Hun soldier is lying face up un-der its hoofs, whiskered, looking ferocious and struggling desper-ately with a weapon in hand, Folklorists believe that the intention of the moulding is to keep the evil under control and to get rid of the ghost. During the 2,000 years after the Eastern Han Dynasty, all kinds of tomb guardians erected before tombs to exorcise evil spirits probably originated here, and gradually developed into pattern like, symbolic and mysterious forms.A Galloping Horse: Its hind legs are kneeling down, and its forelegs are galloping. The technique of straight—line carving along with its shape is used to show a strong sense of movement. A Crouching Horse:The horse is healthy and strong in natural and vivid posture. Its head inclines to the left side. The right fore-leg is a little bent. The eyes are gazing forward, which reminds us of the brave and bright cavalrymen in the Western Hah Dynasty. A Tiger Lying in Wait:The scupltor selected natural stone ma-terial with undulations and made a ferocious tiger with the technique of straight engraving. The custom of placing stone tigers before tombs in ancient times first appeared before Huo Qubing's tomb. A Crouching Elephant: The carving style is realistic. The trunk is hanging over its left foreleg, and the whole body is crawl-ing. The consummate skill made a docile and lovely elephant. A Stone Pig:It is in a squatting position, with small ears and triangular eyes. The head was engraved with great care and preci-sion. According to its appearance, it is possibly a wild pig (hoar), or a sort of domestic pig not completely tamed in ancient times. Two Stone Fish:The sculptor worked at the selected stone ma-I terial and made a rough shape of fish. The bold engraving line on its head shows an outline of its mouth and eyes, which looks like a fish in water now visible, now invisible.A Man Struggling with Bear: The stone man bares his teeth, his head leans forward, shrugging his shoulders, tightening his muscles, bending his left leg, kneeling down his right leg, wearing a waist belt, holding a bear to eat. The bear is not to be outdone, opening its mouth to bite the man. This carving was mainly made with the techniques of straight engraving, twisting lines and exag-geration to demonstrate a life-and-death struggle between the man and the beast.A Stone Ox:The strong ox is kneeling down as if it is resting and ruminating. The statue is life-like and natural. Beast Eating a Lamb: It is mainly made with high relief. The beast has a square head, a big mouth, a short body and long legs. Its two forepaws are clawing the lamb that is struggling. The use of a kind of stone material heavily weathering which has a rough and undulating surface produces strong artistic effect.


The stone figure is larger than a real man. His eyes and eye-brows stand upright; its body remains legless. His left arm is not complete but the right one is with palms on the stomach and facing foreward. The stone carving basically keeps the original shape of the rock. It looks like a piece of vivid cartoon work, and its emo-tions are expressed conspicuously.
The two inscriptions on the stone carvings prove that this series of carvings was made by stonemasons of royal court in the Western Han Dyanasty.
Except in front to the tombs of Huo Qubing and Zhang Qian who went on a diplomatic mission to the Western Regions, no stone carvings were available in front of any emperors' mausoleums in the Western Han Dynasty. Perhaps it was because Huo applied for it from Emperor Wudi before his death. To the Han people, they had no custom of laying stone carvings in front of tombs. The earliest ones were found before tombs of Huo and Zhang. This was proba-bly because they had been fighting and living in the Western Re-gions for such a long time that they were influenced by their cul-tures. Therefore, they accepted the customary idea that erecting carved stones in front of tombs could keep the evil spirits away. From the Eastern Han Dynasty onwards, the idea was accepted by the people in central China. Hence, erecting stone carvings in front of tombs became a common practice.
Besides these carved stones, there displayed in Maoling Muse-um various cultural relics unearthed around Maoling, for example, the green jade door-knocker, stone reliefs, eave tiles with inscrip-ti0ns,bronze kvares unearthed from the tomb of Princess Yang Xin. The most striking one on exibition is the gold-gilded bronze horse which is honored as "the treasure of the nation".
The gilded bronze horse is 62 cm high,and 76 cm long. It's gilded all over the body. It even lusters today. The bronze horse is well-proportioned, and the carving of bones and muscles accords with dissection theories. Neck long and thin, shoulers narrow, legs slim and the length almost the same as the height, the bronze horse is of desert-type which is fit for riding. Its shape is quite similiar to the Aha Horse of the southern Turkmenistan in the Middle East. The Fergana Basin that is located in Turkmenistan is exactly the Dawan State of the Han Dynasty.
Emperor Wu Di of the Western Han Dynasty ardently loved line horses. As he heard that Dawan had steeds, he racked his brains in scheming of sending expeditionay force to get such a horse and named it "Heavenly Horse". The gilded bronze horse is a typi, cal example of it. On its forehead between the two ears, there wasa "flesh horn" carved intentionally which tallies with the descripti0~ in historical books—"Dawan horse has a several-inch-long flest horn".