(View exact match)cometCATEGORY: term
DEFINITION: A celestial body moving around the Sun in an elliptical orbit and often seen as a starlike nucleus with a train of light or 'tail' following it. Comets were often mentioned in ancient records, as in the Bayeux Tapestry. Their occurrences can be calculated by astronomers, as can eclipses, and ancient reports can thus be exactly dated, a useful check on the recorded chronology.
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MawangduiSYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Ma-wang-tui
DEFINITION: Site in Hunan province, China, near Chang-Sha (Changsha City), of three Early Han-dynasty tombs with features of both shaft and mounded tombs. Tomb No. 2 belonged to the first marquis of Dai (d. 186 BC), a high official of the Han administration. Nos. 3 and 1 are apparently the tombs of his son (d. 168 BC) and wife (d. shortly after 168 BC). In construction and contents the three tombs are far different from Han princely burials in the north and reflect the lingering traditions and material culture of the Chu kingdom, which had fallen to Qin less than a century earlier. Each tomb takes the form of a massive compartmented timber box at the bottom of a deep stepped shaft; the shaft was filled in with rammed earth and a mound was raised over it. The contents of Tomb No. 1 were very well preserved: the body of the wife of the marquis, wrapped in silk and laid inside four richly decorated nested coffins. The 180 dishes, toilet boxes, and other lacquer articles, silk clothing, offerings of food, musical instruments, small wooden figures of servants and musicians, and a complete inventory of the grave goods written on bamboo slips depict extreme wealth. Tomb 3 was furnished in the same fashion as Tomb 1, but contained more silk paintings, three rare musical instruments, and an extraordinary collection of manuscripts, some on silk and some on bamboo slips, including some of the earliest known maps from China, treatises on medicine and astronomy, comet charts, and important literary texts (the Daoist/Taoist classic "Dao De jing" ("Tao te ching") the "Yi jing" ("Book of Changes")) The contents of Tomb 2 are comparable to those of Tomb 1 but poorly preserved.