Computer Reconstruction of the Wu Family Cemetery

(New version coming this spring! Will include mobile and VR support)

morphhead copy


Welcome to the interactive, virtual reality tour of the “Wu Family Shrines” cemetery site. Developed by Professor Anthony Barbieri-Low while at the University of Pittsburgh, this tour is designed to give the viewer a sense of how this archaeological site in Shandong Province may have looked during the Han Dynasty, around 150-170 CE. The user can investigate each of the key monuments, read translations of the major inscriptions, and examine the pictorial carvings in the three reconstructed stone chambers at the site. Links to high-quality rubbings of the carvings and summaries of the stories and legends they allude to will help the user comprehend the visual world of a funerary complex from the second century in northeast China.

Project Methodology:

The project began in the summer of 2002 with a visit to the Wuzhai Shan site in Jiaxiang County, Shandong Province. Professor Barbieri-Low and Dr. Cary Liu, Curator of Asian Art at the Princeton University Art Museum, surveyed the site and made detailed measurements and sketches of the surviving carved stones. During a subsequent visit in 2004, Professor Barbieri-Low registered GPS readings of all the main features at the site, noting their position, elevation, and orientation.

Then, using 3D modeling software (Maya), Professor Barbieri-Low created wire-frame, computer models of each monument at the site, based on published measurements, photographs, and personal observations. The basic architectural reconstruction of each shrine was based on the published work of Jiang Yingju and Wu Wenqi. Professor Barbieri-Low then covered the surfaces of each model with scaled, partially-restored copies of the rubbings from the collection of the Princeton University Art Museum. A simulated stone texture was then created for the surface, using photographic samples of actual Shandong limestone. The monuments were then placed in a virtual landscape (Vue xStream), whose basic features were based on published satellite photos of the site. The reconstruction of the overall layout of the cemetery was based on the position of standing monuments and tombs at the site, textual descriptions of similar cemeteries from the Shuijingzhu (Commentary on the Classic of Waterways), and on analogous cemetery sites excavated in Anhui Province.

The project was funded by generous grants from Princeton University Art Museum with funds from the J. Paul Getty Trust, the Central Research Development Fund of the Office of Research at the University of Pittsburgh, and the Asian Studies Center at the University of Pittsburgh.

System Requirements:

The tour is cross-platform and runs equally well on Apple Macintosh (OS X) or Windows computers. The tour requires QuickTime Player 7 (not the more recent QuickTime X from Apple). Use with other versions of QuickTime may result in improper performance or system crash.

To download the QuickTime Player 7 for Mac, click here.

To download QuickTime Player 7.6 for Windows, click here.

Monitor resolution should be set at 1024×768 or larger, and the display color set to “millions of colors” or “32-bit color.”

A broadband connection is highly recommended to download the interactive tour, which is 40Mb in size. Estimated download times include:

T1-LAN: 10 sec.-2 min.
DSL 1.5 mbps: 4-6 min.
DSL 1.0 mbps: 7-8 min.
DSL 512 kbps: 13-15 min.
Cable modem: 5-8 min.
56k modem: 2-3 hours.

The Interactive Tour

To begin the tour, simply CLICK HERE.  Download the quicktime movie file to your hard drive. You must run it in QuickTime Player 7. Newer versions of QuickTime are no longer compatible.

Short Video Walkthrough of Interactive Tour



Slideshow of Stills


Invalid Displayed Gallery


The Movie that Played in the Princeton University Art Museum

Rotatable Model of Wu Liang Shrine

The Wu Liang Shrine
by barbierilow
on Sketchfab


The interactive tour is © 2005 Anthony Barbieri-Low. Unauthorized duplication is a violation of copyright law. All the images of rubbings presented in the shrines are the property of the Princeton University Art Museum. The translations of inscriptions in the “Wu Liang Shrine” (Stone Chamber 3) are taken from Wu Hung, The Wu Liang Shrine (Stanford Univ.Press, 1989), with minor modifications. Site photographs were taken by Dr. Cary Liu in the summer of 2004. Beta-testing performed by Sheri Lullo, Ph.D. candidate, University of Pittsburgh (now Assistant Professor, Union College).