Ancient China's lore of sticky rice

Ancient Chinese craftsmen used a secret ingredient to keep their structures standing through the centuries - sticky rice.

    Ancient buildings like these in Xi'an have stood the test of time

    The legend that rice porridge was used in mortar to make robust ramparts has been verified by archaeological research in the northwestern province of Shaanxi, the state news agency Xinhua reported on Sunday. 

    For centuries, rumours have circulated that even the Great Wall of China used sticky rice in their walls, to fend of hoarding invaders such as Genghis Khan.
      
    Walls hard substance

    During recent maintenance work on the city wall of the provincial capital Xi'an, workers found that plaster remnants on ancient bricks were quite hard to remove, said preservationist Qin Jianming.
      
    A chemical test showed that the mortar reacted the same as glutinous rice to a reagent. Infra-red spectral analysis also showed that the mortar displayed a similar molecular structure to glutinous rice.
      
    "Thus we can conclude that the sticky material was in the mortar," Qin was quoted as saying.
      
    The use of this sticky material, Qin said, helps explain why many ancient Chinese brick structures are still standing.
      
    The walls of Xi'an were built in the early years of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). 

    SOURCE: AFP


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    'We scoured for days without sleeping, just clothes on our backs'

    'We scoured for days without sleeping, just clothes on our backs'

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Daughters of al-Shabab

    Daughters of al-Shabab

    What draws Kenyan women to join al-Shabab and what challenges are they facing when they return to their communities?