The Yellow River Iron Bull cast during the Tang Xuanzong period has a history of thousands of years. Why is it still intact?

The Yellow River Iron Bull cast during the Tang Xuanzong period has a history of thousands of years. Why is it still intact?


  During the Kaiyuan period of the Tang Dynasty, in order to solve the problem of crossing the Yellow River, Emperor Xuanzong of the Tang Dynasty ordered eight iron oxen to be cast on both sides of the Yellow River, four on each side of the East and West.

  Using iron oxen as the load-bearing structure, iron cables are used to cross the banks of the Yellow River, and wooden boards are laid on the iron cables, so that pedestrians and vehicles can pass.

  The Tieniu Floating Bridge in the Tang Dynasty was the throat of traffic between the Qin and Jin Dynasties. The Pujin Iron Cable Bridge turned the Yellow River natural moat into a thoroughfare for the first time. The Tieniu Floating Bridge in the Tang Dynasty was destroyed in the early Yuan Dynasty, but the Tieniu has always been there.

  In the Ming Dynasty, iron cattle were used to continue to build the bridge. In the Qing Dynasty, because the Yellow River gradually diverted to the west, Pujin Ferry was completely abandoned.

  The flood storage of the Sanmenxia Reservoir caused the riverbed to silt up, and finally the iron ox was buried in the river sand.

  Each iron ox is about 1.9 meters high, about 3 meters long, and about 1.3 meters wide. There is a horizontal shaft behind the ox tail, about 0.4 meters in diameter, and about 2.3 meters in length.

  According to estimates, each iron ox weighs about 30 tons, with a chassis and iron pillars under it, each weighing about 40 tons, and there are iron mountains between the two rows.

  The iron bull has its head on the west and its tail on the east, facing the river in two rows horizontally; the bull is lying down, with its eyes wide open, and it looks like it is carrying a weight, and its image is lifelike.

  The shape of the iron ox is vivid, with its front legs in the shape of a pedal and its hind legs in a crouching shape. Its angles are corrected and its head raised.

  In addition to being the anchor of the bridge, the iron ox also acts as a water-suppressing beast. The cow is like Kun, and Kun is earth, and soil is better than water. Therefore, in traditional Chinese culture, cattle are the treasure of water towns.


  So far, the four iron oxen on the east bank have been found, but the one on the west bank has not yet been found.

  Due to the proximity to the Yellow River, the air is humid and the ground seeps continuously, resulting in serious corrosion and rusty spots on the unearthed iron cattle.

  Adopting modern advanced anti-corrosion technology, the iron ox is no longer rusted. Applying a corrosion inhibitor to the unearthed iron ox every two years can effectively prevent the iron ox from rusting.

  The most scientific anti-corrosion technology is to apply corrosion inhibitors to the cultural relics on the ground and protect the underground parts by electrochemical methods. It is a plan developed through the joint efforts of scientific and technological personnel from the National Museum of China, Beijing University of Science and Technology, and Shanxi Provincial Institute of Archeology.

  It is worth mentioning that people often touch the iron bull to have a certain antiseptic effect.

  So how did the ancient people embalm the iron ox?

  There are three main mechanisms of iron corrosion, one is atmospheric corrosion, that is, the chemical reaction between iron and oxygen; the other is soil corrosion, that is, the chemical reaction between iron and water and oxygen; Aerobic bacteria can corrode ironware.

  There are two main ways for ancient people to protect iron pieces. One is to coat the surface of iron pieces with a protective substance, and the other is to often smear edible oil on iron pieces.

  Research on the King Yue sword shows that the body of the sword is plated with a layer of chromium-containing metal, which makes it stainless for thousands of years.

  Copper sulfide can prevent rust, so the pattern of Yuewang sword contains a lot of copper sulfide.

  The smelting technology in the Tang Dynasty was high, so a layer of protective material was also plated on the surface of the iron bull.


  In addition, Tieniu has a special management organization. There have been management stations by the bridge in the past dynasties, and the staff there will carry out routine protection for the Tieniu, that is, often oil it.

  Original Author: The Song of Daqin is Here

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