30. Headstones Used as Paving Blocks, Quanzhou
Yuan dynasty (1272—1368)
South Gate, Quanzhou
Ricci 30 KP Mixed 020
When the xenophobic Ming dynasty replaced the Mongol Yuan dynasty in 1368, the diverse Christian community of foreign merchants in Quanzhou largely collapsed. Their presence gone, the remaining tombstones were later used as fill-in to rebuild the city walls. When the old walls were demolished during the Second World War, many Christian tombstones with inscriptions came to light, having been hidden for more than five hundred years.
Today much unrecovered material still awaits excavation. This photo shows stone blocks unearthed around the south gate of the medieval city walls at Quanzhou, several of which clearly have carved crosses on lotus flowers carved at the end. These paving stones are in fact the upper sections of Christian sarcophagi turned upside down and used to form a pavement.