Ancient dumplings recently discovered inside tombs in the Turpan region of Xinjiang reveal that the people of that western region had been chowing down on the bite-sized meat packets for at least 1,700 years.
Performing the dumpling excavation were archaeologists from the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region Museum. Thanks to the region’s arid conditions, the dumplings were well preserved, allowing for informative analyses, China Daily reports.
The three oldest dumplings appear to originate from the Six Dynasties period (220-589), when the Turpan region was ruled over by multiple different dynasties and clans, some Han, some Xiongnu.
While two other dumplings date back to the Tang Dynasty (618-907). They were wrapped in wheat flour and stuffed with meat. Crescent shaped, 5 centimeters long and 1.5 cm wide, they are pretty similar to the ones you’ll found on a dinner table during Spring Festival.
According to ancient China scholar Zhang Yi’s Guang Ya, a glossary dictionary written during the Three Kingdoms period (220-280), dumplings originate from the Northern Dynasty as “crescent moon-shaped ravioli,” and the Southern dynasties as “dry meat Yiaozi.”
Archaeologists believe that the discovery of dumplings in Xinjiang at such an early time reveals how widespread the food had become and how similar eating habits were across the Middle Kingdom.
In 1972, archaeologists in Xinjiang also found a buried wooden bowl of dumpling-looking objects. They were buried along with miniature pavilions, carts and horses, grapes and melons, following with the Chinese belief of being well-stocked to prepare for the afterlife.
Feel free to combine these 1,700-year-old dumplings with the 2,150-year-old tea discerned early this month for one unforgettable meal.
By Eugenia Xiao
[Images via China Daily / VTangHub]