The Yangshao culture (zh-cp|c=仰韶文化|p=Yǎngsháo wénhuà) was a
Neolithicculture that existed extensively along the central Yellow Riverin China. The Yangshao culture is dated from around 5000 BC to 3000 BC. The culture is named after Yangshao, the first excavated representative village of this culture, which was discovered in 1921 in HenanProvince. The culture flourished mainly in the provinces of Henan, Shaanxiand Shanxi.
The subsistence practices of Yangshao people were varied. They cultivated
milletextensively; some villages also cultivated wheator rice. The exact nature of Yangshao agriculture -- small-scale slash-and-burncultivation versus intensive agriculture in permanent fields, is currently matter of debate. However, Middle Yangshao settlements such as Jiangzhi contain raised floor buildings that may have been used for the storage of surplus grains. They kept such animals as pigs and dogs, as well as sheep, goats, and cattle, but much of their meat came from hunting and fishing. Their stone tools were polished and highly specialized. The Yangshao people may also have practiced an early form of silkworm cultivation.
The Yangshao culture is well-known for its painted
pottery. Yangshao artisans created fine white, red, and black painted pottery with human facial, animal, and geometric designs. Unlike the later Longshan culture, the Yangshao culture did not use pottery wheels in pottery-making. Excavations found that children were buried in painted pottery jars.
The archaeological site of
Banpovillage, near Xi'an, is one of the best-known ditch-enclosed settlements of the Yangshao culture. Another major settlement called Jiangzhai(姜寨) was excavated out to its limits, and archaeologists found that it was completely surrounded by a ring-ditch. Both Banpo and Jiangzhai also yielded controversial incised marks on pottery which a few have interpreted as numerals or perhaps precursors to the Chinese script [Woon, Wee Lee (1987). some of their potterry was found in the shape of penises and other disturbing objects and activity.Chinese Writing: Its Origin and Evolution. Joint Publishing, Hong Kong. ] . However, such conclusions may be premature [裘錫圭 Qiú Xīguī (2000). Chinese Writing. Translation of 文字學概論 by Mattos and Norman. Early China Special Monograph Series No. 4. Berkeley: The Society for the Study of Early China and the Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley. ISBN 1-55729-071-7.] .
Among the numerous overlapping phases of the Yangshao culture, the most prominent phases, typified by differing styles of pottery, include:
Banpophase, approximately 4800 BC to 4200 BC, central plane
Miaodigouphase, circa 4000 BC to 3000 BC, successor to Banpo
* Majiayao phase, approximately 3300 BC to 2000 BC, in
Banshanphase, approximately 2700 BC to 2300 BC, successor to Majiayao
* Machang phase, approximately 2400 BC to 2000 BC
List of Neolithic cultures of China
Prehistoric Beifudi site
* Chang, K.C. "Archaeology of Ancient China". Yale University Press, New Haven, 1983.
* Liu, Li. "The Chinese Neolithic: Trajectories to Early States", ISBN 0-521-81184-8
* Underhill, Anne P. "Craft Production and Social Change in Northern China", 2002. ISBN 0-306-46771-2.
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