Researchers have recently uncovered a tomb in Taiyuan city, China that contains the skeletal remains of a powerful general and his princess bride. They believe the two were buried in 564 A.D. The research team also discovered over a hundred objects buried along with the bodies, including pottery figurines as large as 22 inches tall. The figurines depict drummers, camels, warriors, oxcarts and other things that would have been common in the era.
The general was, according to a sandstone inscription in the tomb, named Zhao Xin. And his bride was named Princess Neé Liu. “On the 20th day of the second moon of the third year of the Heqing period [March 18, 564], they were buried together.”
Xin was a general as well as an occasional governor, who served the Northern Qi Dynasty. When he met his end, he was serving as the leader of a military garrison at Huangniu Town. The garrison saw combat, and under Xin’s leadership, was victorious.
“A thousand men lost their souls; he disposed of the Yi barbarians and exterminated the enemy, and the public flocked to him,” the inscription reads.
Xin served the Northern Qi, who controlled most of northern China between 550 and 577. It was founded by Emperor Wenxuan. Of the three Chinese states, including the Northern Zhou and the Chen Dynasty, it was the mightiest. It was also fraught with violent uprisings and bad leadership. When Northern Qi power waned, the Northern Zhou swept in to dissolve the dynasty.
The tomb inscription says of the Princess, “by nature, she was modest and humble, and sincerity and filial piety were her roots. Her accommodating nature was clear, her behavior respectful and chaste.”
Xin died at age 67. The circumstances of Liu’s death are unknown. Analyses are currently being run on the two sets of bones.
The tomb was found in a mountain that may have been culturally significant. The inscription reads, “If the mountain peak’s roots are firm, it can contend in height with Heaven and Earth; deep and brilliant, solid and bright, it speeds far away along with the Sun and Moon; civil and martial seek each other, and so men are naturally there…”
Considering the fact that it is unknown how the Princess came to be buried with her husband at the same time, it’s maybe foolhardy to assume that theirs is a romantic story. But as more tests are run on the skeletons, hopefully we can glean further insights into the circumstances of their lives and deaths.