Liangzhu culture

Liangzhu culture

The Liangzhu culture (zh-cp|c=良渚文化|p=liángzhǔ wénhuà) (3400-2250 BC) was the last Neolithic jade culture in the Yangtze River Delta of China. Its area of influence extended from Lake Tai in the north to Nanjing and Shanghai in the east and Hangzhou in the south. The culture was highly stratified, as jade, silk, ivory and lacquer artifacts were found exclusively in elite burials, while pottery was more commonly found in the burial plots of poorer individuals. The type site at Liangzhu was discovered in Yuhang County, Zhejiang and initially excavated by Shi Xingeng in 1936.

The culture possessed advanced agriculture, included irrigation, paddy rice cultivation and aquaculture. Houses were often constructed with stilts on rivers or shorelines.

The jade from this culture is characterized by finely worked large ritual jades, commonly incised with the taotie motif. The most exemplary artefacts from the culture were its cong (cylinders). The largest cong discovered weighed 3.5 kg. Bi (discs) and Yue axes (ceremonial axes) were also found. Jade pendants were also found, designed with engraved representations of small birds, turtles and fish. Many Liangzhu jade artefacts had a white milky bone-like aspect due to its tremolite rock origin and influence of water-based fluids at the burial sites, although jade made from actinolite and serpentine were also commonly found.

A neolithic altar from the Liangzhu culture, excavated at Yaoshan in Zhejiang, demonstrate that religious structures were elaborate and made of carefully positioned piles of stones and rock walls, indicating that religion was of considerable importance. The altar has three levels, the highest being a platform of rammed earth. Three additional platforms were paved with cobblestones. There are the remains of a stone wall. On the altar are twelve graves in two rows.cite book
last= Xujie
year= 2002
title=Chinese Architecture -- The Origins of Chinese Architecture
edition= English Ed.
publisher=Yale University Press
pages= p. 16
id= ISBN 0-300-09559-7
] A new discovery of ancient city wall base relics was announced by the Zhejiang provincial government on November 29, 2007. All the relics previously identified were parts of city construction. It was concluded the site was the ancient capital of the Liangzhu Kingdom, whose influnce spread as far as modern-day Jiangsu, Shanghai, and Shandong Provinces.

ee also

* List of Neolithic cultures of China



* Allan, Sarah (ed), "The Formation of Chinese Civilization: An Archaeological Perspective", ISBN 0-300-09382-9

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