Archaeological Discovery: The Northern Wei Tomb of Xue Huaiji in Wanrong Shanxi

In Shanxi's Wanrong County 万荣县, a Northern Wei tomb has been excavated that belonged to the Regional Inspector of Fenzhou, Xue Huaiji 汾州刺史薛怀吉. 

The tomb is a single, brick-chambered long-slope grave. The tomb shape follows the conventions of the Central Plains Han ethnicity. The chamber contains a trapezoid-shaped stone coffin, which has a wide top section and a narrow bottom section.  The coffin has engravings in low relief.  The sculptures include depictions of the Four Spirits of the Cardinal Directions, immortals, and numinous animals.  The tomb has the bones of two people, a man and a woman, which were probably the tomb lord and his wife. There are over 300 grave goods, which include human figurines, animals figurines, architectural models, pottery vessels, and bronzes, etc.  Most of the human figurines are honor guards for a traveling inspection.  There is also an entombed inscription (墓志銘) that has 662 characters.  It tells us that the entombed lord is Xue Huaiji who was buried in 526 at the age of 53.  He served in office under Emperors Xiaowen 孝文, Xuanwu 宣武 , and Xiaoming 孝明.  According to the excavation team leader Ma Sheng 马昇, this is the largest in scope, highest ranking, most copiously filled with grave goods Northern Wei tomb found in ancient Hedong 河东 area.

For more information, see Kaogu.

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