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Traces of time: The rich prehistoric legacy of Inner Mongolia

The Bronze Age: Upper Xiajiadian Culture

Updated: Dec 30, 2021 govt.chinadaily.com.cn Print
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An outstanding example of the cultures that flourished in northern China during the late Bronze Age, the Upper Xiajiadian Culture had a multi-layered social structure and was mainly distributed in Chifeng and Tongliao in Inner Mongolia, Chaoyang in Liaoning province and Chengde in Hebei province. It can be traced back from 1000 through 300 BC, roughly overlapping with the time span from the Western Zhou Dynasty to the Warring States Period in the Central Plain.

The bronze wares of the Upper Xiajiadian Culture show diversified origins: curved blade swords from the eastern Liaoning region, Ordos bronze wares exemplified by daggers with blades and hilts cast as one, and straight-blade swords with perforated handles. 

Bronze helmet, Upper Xiajiadian Culture, from the collection of Chifeng Museum [Photo/cfp.cn]

Common tools and weapons included broadswords, awls, pitching tools, arrowheads and short swords; cooking and serving vessels encompassed ding, hu and li vessels, dou stemmed bowls, gui tureens and jars. They not only included wares modeled after pottery, but also those in the typical style of the Zhou Dynasty. Animal motifs and plated bronze techniques of the Ordos bronzes were also common. The frequently found stone moulds indicated that bronze-casting techniques were widely used at that time.

The burial customs and funerary objects show that the people of the Upper Xiajiadian Culture had different social statuses. Meanwhile, stock farming had been fully developed and equitation appeared, which showed that its economy and lifestyle had started to transform from animal husbandry to semi-nomadic and nomadic. 

A bronze dou stemmed bowl unearthed from the Xiaoheishigou Site, Upper Xiajiadian Culture, from the collection of Inner Mongolia Museum [Photo/IC]
A bronze gui tureen unearthed from the Xiaoheishigou Site, Upper Xiajiadian Culture, from the collection of Inner Mongolia Museum [Photo/IC]
A short bronze sword with motifs of horses from the Xiaoheishigou Site, Upper Xiajiadian Culture, from the collection of Inner Mongolia Museum [Photo/IC]

 

 

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