Chinese played polo with donkeys!
Not all news from China is about Coronavirus, there is some discovery as well.
Archaeologists in China have unearthed a tomb belonging to a 9th-century noblewoman who was buried alongside her donkeys, which she likely rode while playing an ancient version of polo.
New research describes the tomb of Cui Shi, an Imperial Chinese noblewoman who died in 878 CE. Her tomb was found eight years ago in Xi’an, China and appears to have been badly looted. Thankfully, some pieces of little value were left in the tomb, including a stone epitaph that identified the tomb as belonging to Cui Shi, the wife of an esteemed governor.
Much to the surprise of the archaeologists, this elite member of society was buried alongside three donkeys, which the researchers say is the first physical evidence of donkey polo dating back to this time period. Tang Dynasty (618 CE to 907 CE) texts describe the use of donkeys for this ancient sport, but archaeological evidence had been lacking until now.
Donkeys were a critical resource in ancient times, enabling trade and the transportation of goods (both for commerce and the military), in addition to their use on farms. As for their use in entertainment and leisure activities, not so much is known. The new research is important in that it highlights a rare and unusual role played by donkeys in Imperial China, while also providing a glimpse into the life of high status Imperial Chinese women.
Polo is traditionally played on horseback, and the pastime can be traced back to ancient Persia (now Iran) and the Parthian Empire (circa 247 BCE to 224 CE). The sport eventually spread to central China and the Tibetan Plateau by the 7th century.