A large group of terracotta figurines were recently uncovered by archaeologists from the Datong Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology in Datong, Shanxi province, according to the state-run publication China Daily.
Found in a tomb, the figurines provide greater context for the continued study of funeral culture, ethnic costumes, and social life in the Northern Wei Dynasty (386 C.E.–534 C.E.).
Wei was an imperial dynasty of China founded by the Tuoba clan of the Xianbei, which ruled northern China from 386 to 535 C.E. During a time of intense political turbulence and social upheaval the Northern Wei dynasty unified northern China in 439 C.E. and, through reforms, strengthened imperial control in rural areas.
The figurines depict people in many different roles, such as dancers, musicians, servants, and laborers; there are also figurines depicting animals and vessels among the group.
Archaeologists think that the tomb owners, as evidenced by the findings, would have been members of the upper class. Additionally, they believe that the female musician figurines can be studied for the connections between their costumes and national culture at the time.