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Chinese Culture >> Chinese Society Traditions >> China Longshan Culture

China Longshan Culture

Longshan Culture represents a civilization in which both stone and bronze tools were in application. It was first discovered at Longshan town of Zhangqiu City in Shandong Province, hence its name. Its influence mainly spread out in the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River about 4,350 to 3,950 years ago.

During the time of Longshan Culture, people were organized in patriarchal clan community. In pottery making, they widely adopted the use of potter wheel. Painted potteries gave way to black ones. The black earthenwares were carefully polished for much finer quality, some objects even had the outer walls made as thin as eggshell. Longshan Culture, with the highest level of pottery making in Chinese history, is also known as Black Pottery Culture. At the same time, bronze forge appeared. There are two pieces of bronze prick unearthed at Sanlihe village, in Jiaoxian County of Shandong Province, which remained from this transitional period between Stone Age and Bronze Age.

In aspect of construction, on the site of Longshan town, there found ruins of an earth platform, rectangular in shape. It was made of layers of compact earth. This kind of architectural technique prevailed during Shang Dynasty (16th B.C-11th B.C.). Furthermore, defensive works was built up in ground structure, evolving from oldest big moat underground. A large number of walls of rammed-earth walls came into being. Around Shandong Province, more than ten vestiges of ancient walls were discovered.

Among them, there are seven walls densely located together, forming into wall complex. The appearance of wall marked the emergence of city that heralded the coming of a new era in which human civilization underwent mass production. Originally, the word wall stands for the word city. The Longshan culture (Chinese:龍山文化 Pinyin: longshanwenhua) was a late Neolithic culture centered on the central and lower Yellow River in China. Longshan culture is named after Longshan, Shandong Province, the first excavated site of this culture. It is dated from about 3000 BCE to 2000 BCE. The distinctive feature of Longshan culture was the high level of skill in pottery making, including the use of pottery wheels.

Longshan culture was noted for its highly polished black pottery (or egg-shell pottery) and is often referred to as the 'Black Pottery Culture' for this reason. Life during the Longshan culture marked a transition to the establishment of cities, as rammed earth walls and moats began to appear, the site at Taosi (陶寺)being its largest walled settlement. Rice cultivation was clearly established by that time. The Neolithic population in China reached its peak during the Longshan culture. Toward the end of the Longshan culture, the population decreased sharply; this was matched by the disappearance of high-quality black pottery found in ritual burials. Early studies indicated that the Longshan and Yangshao cultures were one in the same. It is now widely accepted that the Longshan culture is in fact a later development of the Yangshao (仰韶文化) culture.

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