New discovery revives ancient China’s ‘blood-sweating’ horse legend

Thursday, February 24, 2011

NEW DELHI - The bones of 80 horses recently unearthed from the tomb of a Chinese emperor who lived more than 2,000 years ago may rekindle a legend about ‘blood-sweating’ horses in ancient China.

According to Xinhua, the skeletons were found in two subordinate tomb pits of Emperor Wudi of the Han Dynasty, reports People’s Daily Online.

Yang Wuzhan, an archaeologist who took part in the excavation of the mausoleum of Emperor Wudi, said they started excavating the two pits in September 2009 and unearthed 40 bones of horses from each pit.

Each of the two pits has a huge cavern containing 20 caves and two stallions and a terracotta warrior guarded each, he said.

Wuzhan said archaeologists have conducted lab work on the skeletons and confirmed all were adult male horses.

“Scientists will soon carry out DNA tests hoping to determine the genus of the horses,” he said.

The finding was likely to rekindle a centuries-old Chinese legend about the mysterious blood-sweating horse from Central Asia, he added.

“The legend goes that Emperor Wudi offered a hefty reward for anyone who could find him a mysterious ‘blood-sweating’ purebred horse that was said to have roamed Central Asia, but was rarely seen in China,” he said.

Today, the horse, identified as the Akhal-Teke, is one of the world’s oldest and most unique breeds.

The horse is known for its speed, endurance and perspiration of a blood-like fluid as it gallops along. It was also believed to be the horse ridden by Genghis Khan (1167-1227). (ANI)

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