tiger-patterned axe-shaped stone relic
© XinhuaThis undated image combination shows file photos and sketches of a tiger-patterned axe-shaped stone relic unearthed at the Dinggeng Relics Site in Wuxi City, east China's Jiangsu Province.
Archaeologists found an extremely rare stone relic, an axe-shaped weapon used for rituals in ancient China, engraved with a tiger pattern, in Wuxi City in east China's Jiangsu Province. The relic dates back some 4,500 years, during the Liangzhu Culture period.

According to an expert consultation meeting held Saturday on the archaeological site of Dinggeng Relics Site, 16 archaeologists from home and abroad said it was the first time they had seen such a tiger-patterned stone relic, which they believed to be a symbol of power.

Experts observe the stone relics
© Xinhua/Zhu GuoliangExperts observe the stone relics unearthed at the Dinggeng Relics Site during a consultation meeting in Wuxi City, east China's Jiangsu Province, April 1, 2023.
Besides the tiger, there are also patterns of clouds and birds on both sides of the ritual weapon. Liu Baoshan, head of the Wuxi institute of cultural relics and archaeology, said these patterns had single, relatively smooth lines. It is inferred that the engraving tool was a hard-stone tool.

The stone relic was found on a sacrificial platform with signs of damage, indicating that it was used.

A total of 329 stone tools, 73 stone and bone arrowheads, and many pottery and jade tools were discovered at the relics site, said Liu.