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A History of China by Wolfram Eberhard

Fine black pottery of Lung shan


7

_The Lung-shan culture_

While the Yang-shao culture flourished in the mountain regions of northern and western China around 2000 B.C., there came into existence in the plains of eastern China another culture, which is called the Lung-shan culture, from the scene of the principal discoveries. Lung-shan is in the province of Shantung, near Chinan-fu. This culture, discovered only about twenty-five years ago, is distinguished by a black pottery of exceptionally fine quality and by a similar absence of metal. The pottery has a polished appearance on the exterior; it is never painted, and mostly without decoration; at most it may have incised geometrical patterns. The forms of the vessels are the same as have remained typical of Chinese pottery, and of Far Eastern pottery in general. To that extent the Lung-shan culture may be described as one of the direct predecessors of the later Chinese civilization.

As in the West, we find in Lung-shan much grey pottery out of which vessels for everyday use were produced. This simple corded or matted ware seems to be in connection with Tunguse people who lived in the north-east. The people of the Lung-shan culture lived on mounds produced by repeated building on the ruins of earlier settlements, as did the inhabitants of the "Tells" in the Near East. They were therefore a long-settled population of agriculturists. Their houses were of mud, and their villages were surrounded

with mud walls. There are signs that their society was stratified. So far as is known at present, this culture was spread over the present provinces of Shantung, Kiangsu, Chekiang, and Anhui, and some specimens of its pottery went as far as Honan and Shansi, into the region of the painted pottery. This culture lasted in the east until about 1600 B.C., with clear evidence of rather longer duration only in the south. As black pottery of a similar character occurs also in the Near East, some authors believe that it has been introduced into the Far East by another migration (Pontic migration) following that migration which supposedly brought the painted pottery. This theory has not been generally accepted because of the fact that typical black pottery is limited to the plains of East China; if it had been brought in from the West, we should expect to find it in considerable amounts also in West China. Ordinary black pottery can be simply the result of a special temperature in the pottery kiln; such pottery can be found almost everywhere. The typical thin, fine black pottery of Lung-shan, however, is in the Far East an eastern element, and migrants would have had to pass through the area of the painted pottery people without leaving many traces and without pushing their predecessors to the East. On the basis of our present knowledge we assume that the peoples of the Lung-shan culture were probably of Tai and Yao stocks together with some Tunguses.

Recently, a culture of mound-dwellers in Eastern China has been discovered, and a southern Chinese culture of people with impressed or stamped pottery. This latter seems to be connected with the Yueeh tribes. As yet, no further details are known.

8 _The first petty States in Shansi_


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