Northern Wei

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The Northern Wei Dynasty (Chinese: 北魏朝; pinyin: Běi Wèi Cháo), also known as the Tuoba Wei (拓拔魏), Later Wei (後魏), or Yuan Wei (元魏), was a dynasty which ruled northern China from 386 to 534 (de jure until 535). It has been described as "part of an era of political turbulence and intense social and cultural change".[6] It is perhaps most noted for the unification of northern China in 439, but was also a period when foreign ideas were introduced, and Buddhism became firmly established. Many antiques and art works, both Daoist and Buddhist, from this period have survived. During the Taihe period under the Emperor Xiaowen, court advisers instituted sweeping reforms and introduced changes that eventually led in 494 AD to the dynasty moving its capital from Datong to Luoyang. It was the time of the construction of the Buddhist cave sites of Yungang by Datong during the mid-to-late 5th century, and towards the latter part of the dynasty, the Longmen Caves outside the later capital city of Luoyang, in which more than 30,000 Buddhist images from the time of this dynasty have been found. It is thought the dynasty originated from the Tuoba clan of the non-Han Xianbei tribe. The Tuoba renamed themselves the Yuan as a part of systematic Sinicization. Towards the end of the dynasty there was significant internal dissension resulting in a split into Eastern Wei Dynasty and Western Wei Dynasty.



Rise of the Tuoba Xianbei

The Jin Dynasty had developed an alliance with the Tuoba against the Xiongnu state Han Zhao. In 315 the Tuoba chief was granted the title of the Prince of Dai. After the death of its founding prince, Tuoba Yilu, however, the Dai state stagnated and largely remained a partial ally and a partial tributary state to Later Zhao and Former Yan, finally falling to Former Qin in 376.

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