The Earliest Cultures in China ( 5,000 BC ~ 2,500 BC )

Introduction

1. Yangshao Culture

In the Middle and Lower Yellow River Valley is YangShao Culture.Here agriculture was practiced. Pottery was made with geometric patterns and baked at 1000-1500 degrees C. No potter's wheel. A lot of pigfarming. No horses.
The first evidence of a neolithic culture in China was discovered at Yangshao, in Henan Province, in 1921. In1953, during construction of a factory at Banpo, near the city of Xi'an in Shaanxi Province, a neolithic village belonging to the Yangshao Culture was accidentally uncovered. This village covered an area of two and a half acres. Careful excavation recovered an area of two and a half acres. Careful excavation revealed the tresence of 45 houses, 200 storage pits, needles, tools, arrowheads, fish hooks and six kilns. There were also 174 adult graves, 76 children's graves and 37 funerary urns. The Nelolithic people of Banpo hunted, fished, cultivated millet, cooked their food and raised pigs as domestic animals.

Especially note worthy was their gray or red pottery. THe red pottery was painted with black geometrical designs and occasionally with pictures of fish or human faces. Because the potter's wheel was unknown at that time, the vessels were probably fashioned with strips of clay. The Yangshao Culture, also referred to as the "Painted Pottery" Culture, flourished between 6000 B.C. and 5000 B.C.

Painted Urn
Painted Bowl
Painted Pottery Bowl
Painted Pottery
Human-shaped Design

2. Longshan Culture


In the Middle and Lower Yellow River Valley is Longshan Culture. (Wheel-made pottery. Divination and Ancestrial worship.)
In 1928, another Neolithic culture was discovered at Longshan, in Shandong Province. The Longshan Culture was more advanced than the Yangshao Culture and probably flourished about a thousand years later, between 5000 and 4000 B.C. People of the Longshan Culture also hunted, fished and planted grain. They probably domesticated the pig, dog and ox. They mad e stone tools such as axes and knives as well as bone necklaces and bracelets. They also made a exquisite black pottery, probably with the potter's wheel. Their pottery was not painted but was decorated with rings, either raised or grooved.

The Longshan Culture, because of its distinguished pottery, has been called the "Black Pottery" Culture. It was probably the predecessor of the Xia and Shang Dynasties.

Recent research has persuaded some authorities that the Yangshao and Longshan Cultures were not separate and distinct. These scholars now believe that the Longshan Culture was in fact a later development of the Yangshao Culture.

Blackware
Pottery Gui
Jade