An object thought to be a Qing Dynasty cultural artifact has been discovered in a Sichuan village, but not before it had been neglected for years and damaged from being used as a cutting board.
The 2.5 meter-long, o.8 meter-wide sign is believed to be a wedding gift from Zhang Bilu, the provincial commander-in-chief of three provinces during the reign of Emperor Daoguang (1821-1850). The four Chinese characters inscribed on the wood sign read, “Simple and kind; proper and honest.”
The cultural relic was discovered when Shiwo villager, Zhao Hongxian, went looking for a table in Luowen County. Zhao found the sign on top of a vat of water, being used as a cutting board. Over the years, the numerous chopping marks have defaced the front of the sign.
The resident of the home, also named Zhao, recalled the sign hanging over a house that once stood on the property. A reporter then discovered in a book of genealogy that the former house may have belonged to Zhao Weicai, who received the sign as a wedding gift from Zhang Bilu.
Zhang is considered to be an important figure in Chinese history. Originally a Wanyuan resident, Zhang was among the first to fight the British in Sichuan before becoming the governor of Sichuan, Yunan, and Guizhou.
If the artifact can be authenticated, the Wanyuan Cultural Management Bureau has said it will have it restored and ensure it is protected.