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Yangshao Culture

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The Yangshao Culture, which was located mainly in the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River Valley, belonged to China's Neolithic Age. In 1921, it was discovered in Yangshao Village, in Mian Chi County, Sanmenxia City of Henan Province. Thus it was named Yangshao Culture. 

The culture existed between the 5000 BC and 3000 BC, distributed in the Yellow River region from Gansu Province to Henan Province. Till now, thousands of Yangshao Culture sites have been discovered, of which most are situated in Shaanxi and Henan provinces which hence have been considered as the center of Yangshao Culture.

The unearthed cultural objects reflect the same kind of cultural characteristics. The implements of production was mainly the polished stone implements, such as knives, axes, adzes, chisels, arrows and stone spinning wheels. Also, the bone implements were rather delicate. The agriculture during that period was relatively advanced, with millet as their main crop. The livestock is swine as well as dog. Meanwhile, people during that period went hunting, fishing and collecting. The water wares included caldron, tripod, bowl, cup, basin, kettle and urn. The potteries for daily use are usually in red color since they were made of red pottery. 

 Society - matriarchal clan community
The Yangshao Culture belongs to the matriarchal clan community which shows the first signs of primitive communes after advancing from the primitive tribes, and came to an end not long before patriarchy society was established. This happened in approximately the period spanning the late Paleolithic and Neolithic Ages. Here below are the main features of that society: 

The agriculture in that period is the small-scale slash-and-burn cultivation, with millet, heat or rice as the main crop. Also, they did go hunting, fishing, and raising pigs, dogs, as well as sheep, goats, and cattle. The major tools they use are made of stone. The silkworm cultivation also began during that time.

 Women and the Marriage
Early period: Women were engaged in collecting wild fruits while men were occupied with fishing and hunting. As a result of the intertribal communal marriages, children were closely associated with their mothers from morning to night. Yet their fathers remained something of a stranger to them. 

Later period: the transition to exogamy. Women took up farming, and managed the tribal affairs and the economic life. Husbands lived in the homes of their wives. 

 Deaths of Children
During that period children had high death rate. Usually the dead children were buried in jars with a hole in the centre. Older children were buried in two pottery urns jointly connected. And the burial place was usually chosen around their houses.

 Colored Pottery Making
The ancient painted pottery making can be the representative of Yangshao Culture. Generally, the making process included four major steps: first, choose the proper earth which has good plasticity, usually the red clay, black earth and sedentary soil; second, make the original model. Most models were made by hands. During the Yangshao Culture period, the coil technique appeared. To obtain the elegant shape, two halves were made then joined together while the clay was still damp. Third, paint the surface. A mix of fine clay and natural pigments was painted onto the vessels and the entire surface was gently burnished to shine the surface. It was the earliest form of glazing. Fourth and the last step is firing. During that period, the kiln chamber appeared so that the pottery was not burnt direct above the flame, which was a great progress. 

 More Culture of the Prehistoric Times: Longshan Culture

Questions & Answers on Yangshao Culture
  • Can one please write this English word "Yang shao" into Chinese character?
    What is this culture ?
    Did they come from " Fu xi, or learned from him ?
    Thank you for the reply beforehand.

    Asked By junglepoh | Oct. 29, 2013 15:53
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  • Do they still practice its beliefs or make artwork within modern society?

    Asked By Shay Llrelle | Dec. 01, 2011 17:13
    1 AnswerAnswer Question
  • Asked By Travieza | Oct. 21, 2011 08:49
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