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Sticky porridge used to cement ancient walls
www.chinaview.cn 2005-02-27 20:56:07

    XI'AN, Feb. 27 (Xinhuanet)-- The legend that ancient Chinese craftsmen used glutinous rice porridge in the mortar while building ramparts has been verified by archaeological research in northwest China's Shaanxi Province.

    In a recent maintenance to the ancient city wall of Xi'an, the provincial capital, workers discovered that the plaster remnants on the ancient bricks were quite hard to remove, said Qin Jianming,a researcher with the Xi'an Preservation and Restoration Center ofCultural Relics.

    A chemical test showed that the mortar reacted the same as glutinous rice to the reagent. And infrared spectral analysis alsoshowed that the mortar displayed similar molecule structure to glutinous rice.

    "Thus we can conclude that the sticky material was in the mortar," Qin said.

    The use of this sticky material, Qin said, helps explain why many ancient Chinese brick structures are still standing.

    The walls of Xi'an, the capital of China during several kingdoms and dynasties, were built in the early years of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). The construction was based on wall relics of the Sui and Tang dynasties (581-907).

    The 13.74-kilometer, 12-meter high ancient wall, which still encircles central Xi'an, is well preserved today.

    It is said that ancient construction workers used glutinous rice porridge when building the Great Wall more than 2,000 years ago.

    Qin said that the new finding is useful in further study of ancient Chinese brick constructions. Enditem

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