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A History of China by Wolfram Eberhard

Were the present provinces of Shensi and Kansu


(a)

_The north-east culture_, centred in the present provinces of Hopei (in which Peking lies), Shantung, and southern Manchuria. The people of this culture were ancestors of the Tunguses, probably mixed with an element that is contained in the present-day Paleo-Siberian tribes. These men were mainly hunters, but probably soon developed a little primitive agriculture and made coarse, thick pottery with certain basic forms which were long preserved in subsequent Chinese pottery (for instance, a type of the so-called tripods). Later, pig-breeding became typical of this culture.

(b) _The northern culture_ existed to the west of that culture, in the region of the present Chinese province of Shansi and in the province of Jehol in Inner Mongolia. These people had been hunters, but then became pastoral nomads, depending mainly on cattle. The people of this culture were the tribes later known as Mongols, the so-called proto-Mongols. Anthropologically they belonged, like the Tunguses, to the Mongol race.

(c) The people of the culture farther west, the _north-west culture_, were not Mongols. They, too, were originally hunters, and later became a pastoral people, with a not inconsiderable agriculture (especially growing wheat and millet). The typical animal of this group soon became the horse. The horse seems to be the last of the great animals to be domesticated, and the date of its first occurrence in domesticated form in

the Far East is not yet determined, but we can assume that by 2500 B.C. this group was already in the possession of horses. The horse has always been a "luxury", a valuable animal which needed special care. For their economic needs, these tribes depended on other animals, probably sheep, goats, and cattle. The centre of this culture, so far as can be ascertained from Chinese sources, were the present provinces of Shensi and Kansu, but mainly only the plains. The people of this culture were most probably ancestors of the later Turkish peoples. It is not suggested, of course, that the original home of the Turks lay in the region of the Chinese provinces of Shensi and Kansu; one gains the impression, however, that this was a border region of the Turkish expansion; the Chinese documents concerning that period do not suffice to establish the centre of the Turkish territory.

(d) In the _west_, in the present provinces of Szechwan and in all the mountain regions of the provinces of Kansu and Shensi, lived the ancestors of the Tibetan peoples as another separate culture. They were shepherds, generally wandering with their flocks of sheep and goats on the mountain heights.

(e) In the _south_ we meet with four further cultures. One is very primitive, the Liao culture, the peoples of which are the Austroasiatics already mentioned. These are peoples who never developed beyond the stage of primitive hunters, some of whom were not even acquainted with the bow and arrow. Farther east is the Yao culture, an early Austronesian culture, the people of which also lived in the mountains, some as collectors and hunters, some going over to a simple type of agriculture (denshiring). They mingled later with the last great culture of the south, the Tai culture, distinguished by agriculture. The people lived in the valleys and mainly cultivated rice.


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