The study of history is one way of preserving human culture. In China, a country with thousands of years long history, a vast number of historical events have been recorded in different literary works, including history books, fictions, biographies, and so on. However, we still need evidence to support or verify those literatures.
One physical evidence are antiques excavated from tombs of different dynasties. The ancient tomb mirrors a micro society of a certain dynasty. This project presented in this study is a 3D environmental design, comprised of four 3D scenes in high quality rendering to show the architecture and interior environment of an ancient tomb. Due to the long history of China (more than 3000 years), it is impossible to cover all dynasties here. Hence in this study, the author focuses on the Western Han dynasty (206BC - 9AD) because it was one of the peaks of the development of Chinese culture, and the royal mausoleums from Han spread all over the city of Taiyuan where rich cultural relics were perfectly excavated.
This 3D design reproduced the ancient tomb’s architecture using softwares such as, Maya, Zbrush and Substance Painter. The author created 3 important rooms including the chariot room, the front room and the main room. In each room, specific lighting, different decoration and beautiful burial objects were created and carefully added to restore an incredibly lifelike 3D ancient tomb.
This 3D design can easily attract people’s attention and help audience understand this ancient cultural relics that were extensively destroyed by now.
Visual Communication Design (MFA)
Department, Program, or Center
School of Design (CIAS)
Zhang, Yaling, "Ancient Chinese Tombs: Western Han Dynasty Chapter" (2018). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
RIT – Main Campus