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A team of archaeologists has made a rare and surprising discovery by analyzing the tomb of a noble woman from imperial China buried along with the remains of donkeys, as described in a study published this month in the journal Antiquity.
Historically humans and animals have lived together, even in many cultures they considered that this union should continue in the afterlife, however, in the case of Cui Shi, from the Tang dynasty, this seems to be a strange example of showing what his life was like.
The tomb, dated 878 AD., is the first in which a woman of high status from China of that time is found buried with donkeys, an animal characterized by its use in transportation and construction, something typical of the working and peasant classes.
«There was no reason for a woman like Cui Shi to use a donkey, and much less so that he would sacrifice it for his life after death ", says archaeologist Songmei Hu, assuring that it is" the first time that a burial of this type has been observed, "collects the Eurekalert portal.
Playing polo with donkeys in China
Donkeys have been an extremely useful animal in Europe and Asia, but not exactly a status symbol unlike horses.
The evidence collected by the researchers suggests that this elite woman could have used donkeys to play polo, a game that is currently played on horseback.
Archaeologists explain that the pole, probably originating in Persia, began to spread to China, where he became popular with the nobles of the tang dynasty, which lasted between 618 and 907 AD.
Becausethis game might not be very safe for some riders like women and elderly they have probably chosen to use donkeys instead of horses.
The analysis of the bones of these animals also indicates that they were not used in heavy duty.
This version of the game called Lvju, it had already been documented in historical records, but it had not been able to be confirmed archaeologically to date.
«Donkeys buried in the Tang Dynasty Noble Tomb in Xian provide a first, and very rare, opportunity tounderstand the role of donkeys in East Asian societies«Explains research co-author Fiona Marshall.