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Chronological and Cultural Framework of
Bronzes in Northern China during the 4th to the
3rd Millennia B. P.

Chronologischer und kultureller Rahmen der
Bronzen in Nordchina während des zweiten bis
ersten vorchristlichen Jahrtausends

Zur Erlangung des akademischen Grades Doktor der
Der Fakultät für Kulturwissenschaften
der Eberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen

Vorgelegt von
Junli Jin 金 君 利
aus Zhejiang

Gedruckt mit Genehmigung der Fakultät für Kulturwissenschaften
der Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

Gutachter: Prof. Ernst Pernicka, Prof. Dr. Michael Tellenbach

Tag der mündliche Prüfung: 20.01.2009

Dekan: Prof. Dr. Jürgen Leonhardt

Verlag: Contents

Abstract vii
Acknowledgements viii
List of Tables x
List of Maps xiii
List of Figures xiv

Chapter 1 Introduction ............................................................. 1
1.1 The background to the rise of the archaeological research in
northern China 1
1.2 Previous studies of the bronzes in northern China 1
1.2.1 From the 1920s to the 1950s 2
1.2.2 From the 1950s to the mid-1970s 4
1.2.3 From the middle 1970s 6
1.3 Scope of this study 9
1.3.1 The temporal scope 9
1.3.2 The spatial scope 12
1.3.3 Three Subregions and complexes 14
1.3.4 ‘Ordos bronzes’ and ‘Northern bronzes’ 16
1.4. Aims of this study 17
Chapter 2 Discoveries of bronzes ........................................... 20
2.1 Discoveries of bronzes in the Qinghai Province 20
2.1.1 Hualong county 21
2.1.2 Gangcha county 22
2.1.3 Ledu county 23
2.1.4 Ping’an county 23
2.1.5 Minhe county: Shanjiatou cemetery 23
2.1.6 Huzhu county 24
2.1.7 Tongren county 25
2.1.8 Xunhua county: Suhusa cemetery 26
2.1.9 Guide and Jianzha county: Shanjiaping cemetery 26
2.1.10 Datong county: Huangjiazhai cemetery 27
2.1.11 Huangyuan county 28
2.1.12 Huangzhong county: Panjialiang cemetery 29
2.1.13 Other sites 30
2.2 Discoveries of bronzes in Ningxia 31
2.2.1 Zhongwei county: Langwozikeng 32
i 2.2.2 Pengyang county 32
2.2.3 Xiji county 33
2.2.4 Longde county 33
2.2.5 Zhongning county: Niding 34
2.2.6 Guyuan county 34
2.3 Discoveries of Bronzes in the Gansu Province 36
2.3.1 Dongxiang county: Linjia 37
2.3.2 Minle county: Donghuishan 38
2.3.3 Wuwei county: Huangniangniangtai 41
2.3.4 Yongchang county 44
2.3.2 Linxia Hui Autonomous Prefecture and Yongjing county 45
2.3.6 Xihe county: Lanqiao 50
2.3.7 Lintao county: Siwashan 51
2.3.8 Zhuanglang county 51
2.3.9 Qingyang region 52
2.3.10 Gangu county: Maojiaping 53
2.3.11 Qingshui county: Liuping 53
2.3.12 Yumen: Huoshaogou 54
2.3.13 Others 57
2.3.14 The Central Plain bronzes found in the Gansu Province 59
2.4 Discoveries of bronzes in Inner Mongolia 60
2.4.1 Keshenketengqi: Longtoushan 61
2.4.2 Chifeng region 62
2.4.3 Linxi county 63
2.4.4 Ningcheng county 65
2.4.5 Wengniuteqi 67
2.4.6 Aohanqi 68
2.4.7 Liangcheng county 69
2.4.8 Hangjinqi 71
2.4.9 Zhungerqi 72
2.4.10 Yijinhuoluoqi: Ming’anmudu and Shihuigou 73
2.4.11 Dongsheng city: Nianfangqu 74
2.4.12 Baotou: Xiyuan 74
2.4.13 0ther sites 74
2.4.14 Summary 75
Chapter 3 The Northwest Complex ....................................... 77
3.1 Qijia culture 78
3.1.1 Distribution 78
3.1.2 Chronology and periodization 78
ii 3.1.3 Copper and bronze 79
3.1.4 Origin 84
3.2 Siba culture 85
3.2.1 Distribution 85
3.2.2 Chronology, periodization and origins 85
3.2.3 Metal objects 86
3.3 Xindian culture 88
3.3.1 Distribution 88
3.3.2 Classification, chronology, periodization, origins and trace 89
3.3.3 Comparing the Xindian culture between the Qinghai and Gansu regions 91
3.3.4 Bronze 92
3.4 Kayue culture 93
3.4.1 Distribution 93
3.4.2 Chronology, periodization and origin 93
3.4.3 Bronzes 95
3.5 Siwa culture 100
3.5.1 Distribution 100
3.5.2 Chronology, periodization and origin 101
3.5.3 Bronzes 101
3.6 Shajing culture 102
3.6.1 Distribution 102
3.6.2 Chronology and periodization 102
3.6.3 Metal objects 103
3.7 Nuomuhong culture 105
3.7.1 Distribution, periodization, chronology, and origin 105
3.7.2 Bronzes 106
3.8 Tangwang-style-pottery and others 106
3.9 Summary 108
3.9.1 Origin and development of the bronze cultures 108
3.9.2 Spatial distribution and interactions 110
Chapter 4 The North-central Complex ............................... 112
4.1 Zhukaigou culture 112
4.1.1 Definition and distribution 112
4.1.2 Periodization and chronology 113
4.1.3 Cultural elements 115
4.1.4 Metal objects 115
4.2 Lijiaya culture 126
4.2.1 Definition and distribution 126
iii 4.2.2 Periodization and chronology 129
4.2.3 Metal objects 130
4.3 Xicha culture 132
4.3.1 Definition and relations between the Zhukaigou culture, Lijiaya culture and
Xicha culture 132
4.3.2 Metal objects 133
4.4 Maoqinggou culture 133
4.4.1 Definition and distribution 133
4.4.2 Chronology, periodization, and characteristics 135
4.4.3 Metal objects 137
4.5 Taohongbala culture 137
4.5.1 Definition and distribution 137
4.5.2 Chronology and periodization 140
4.5.3 Metal objects 141
4.6 Yanglang culture 149
4.6.1 Definition and distribution 149
4.6.2 Chronology, periodization, and relations with the neighboring cultures and
others 152
4.6.3 Metal objects 153
4.7 Summary 155
Chapter 5 The South of the Yanshan Complex...................157
5.1 Datuotou culture 157
5.1.1 Definition and distribution 157
5.1.2 Chronology, periodization, and origin 159
5.2.3 Metal objects 161
5.2 Weifang III culture 161
5.2.1 Definition and distribution 161
5.2.2 Chronology, cultural elements, and origin 164
5.2.3 Metal objects 165
5.3 Upper Zhangjiayuan culture 165
5.3.1 Definition and distribution 165
5.3.2 Chronology, origin, and cultural attribution of some sites 167
5.3.3 Metal Objects 168
5.4 Yuhuangmiao culture 169
5.4.1 Definition and distribution 169
5.4.2 Chronology and some problems 172
5.4.3 Metal objects 172
5.5 Summary 175
iv Chapter 6 Chronological and cultural framework of bronzes
in northern China ..................................................................177
6.1 Northwest Complex 177
6.1.1 From the late Neolithic to the early Shang period (2300-1500 BCE): the
continuity of agricultural economics and the rise of the earliest copper/bronze
metallurgy 177
6.1.2 From the early Shang to the early Western Zhou Period (1500-1050 BCE):
the rise of animal husbandry and the initial development of the bronze metallurgy
6.1.3 From the early Western Zhou period to the middle Spring and Autumn
period (1050-400 BCE): the prevalence of a mixture of farming and animal
husbandry, and the disparate development of bronze metallurgy 180
6.1.4 Summary 181
6.2 North-central Complex and south of the Yanshan Complex 183
6.2.1 From the early Xia period to the late Shang period (1900-1250 BCE): the
continuity of the agricultural economics and the rise of copper/bronze metallurgy
6.2.2 From the late Shang period to the middle Western Zhou period (1250-900
BCE): the prevalence of a mixture of economics: farming, animal husbandry, and
hunting, and the development of the northern-style bronzes 186
6.2.3 From the early Spring and Autumn period to the end of the Warring States
(800-200 BCE): The prosperity of animal husbandry and flourishing of the
northern–style metal objects 186
6.2.4 Summary 188
6.3 Interactive relations between complexes 189
Chapter 7 Relations with the neighboring cultures ...........190
7.1 Relations with the Central Plain 190
7.1.1 The rise of the dynasties in the Central Plain 190
7.1.2 Relations between North-central China and the Central Plain 191
7.1.3 Relations between the South of the Yanshan and the Central Plain 194
7.1.4 Political interaction 194
7.2 Relations with the Xinjing region 196
7.2.1 The Bronze Age and Iron Age cultures in Xinjiang 196
7.2.2 Relations between Xinjiang and northern China 199
7.3 Relations with the Eurasian Steppe 201
7.3.1 Early period: 3000-1800 BCE 202
7.3.2 Middle period: 1800-800 BCE 203
7.3.3 Late Period: 800-200 BCE 206
v 7.4 Origin of the Chinese bronzes 206
7.4.1 The earliest copper/bronze objects in China 208
7.4.2 The copper-arsenic alloy in northern China and lead-containing ore
resources 214
Chapter 8 Conclusions...........................................................216

Maps 222
Figures 257
Appendix: List of Radiocarbon dates 475
Bibliography 483

vi Abstract

This thesis first collects and presents all the basic, objective, and complete
information currently available on bronze objects, site by site in northern China
th rdduring the 4 and 3 millennium B. P. with particular attention being paid to the
catalogue, figures, and related cultural ascription of the bronze objects.

It surveys archaeological complexes located in the northeast, north-central, and
northwest of China. Their distribution, chronology, periodization, cultural features,
origins, and the bronze assemblages and metallurgical techniques unique to each
culture are the main focus. The cultural development of each complex, and the
cultural connections between various archaeological complexes during different
periods are also discussed. Apart from the internal connections within the northern
bronze cultures, their external relations, namely their relations with the Central Plain,
Xinjiang region and the Eurasian Steppe are also analyzed. The cultural and
th rd
chronological framework of bronzes in northern China during the 4 and 3
millennium B. P. is thus provided.

Finally, this study offers an insight into the origins of early metallurgy in northern
China, on the basis of an analysis on all of the earliest copper/bronze objects available
in northern China, providing an opportunity for a fresh understanding on the origin of
the earliest metallurgy in the world.

I am indebted to Professor Korfmann, my first academic advisor at the University of
Tübingen, whose expertise, enthusiasm and insight into archaeology encouraged me
to persist with this work. His passing away is a great loss to us all.

I would like to express my extreme gratitude to Professor Pernicka, my principal
advisor, for his guidance, support and continuous constructive advice throughout this
study. Due to being influenced by Professor Pernicka, I chose to study the earliest
metallurgy in China, which has opened a new perspective in my mind, and has
broadened my views. Without his support and encouragement, I would never have
been able to complete my dissertation. I am also very grateful to Dr. Wagner, who has
helped me greatly, providing effective suggestions for the structure and style of this
dissertation as well as stimulating me to make greater efforts. I would like to thank
Professor Tellenbach very much for being my second supervisor, who gives me a
great help in a hard situation.

This work was made possible by substantial financial support from the Sun Hung Kai
Properties Foundation in Hongkong, to whom I would like to express my sincere and
profound gratitude for their generous provision for a four-year scholarship, which
enabled me to complete this work.

I would also like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to my teachers at the
Jilin Universtiy in China, where I spent my undergraduate and postgraduate years
before coming to the Tübingen University in Germany. Professor Yang Jianhua has
given me both her opinions and suggestions about this topic based on her solid
knowledge in this area. Professor Lü Jun has also inspired me greatly.

Throughout this study, many people have provided me with their advice, support,
encouragement and assistance. I wish especially to thank Utta Gabriel at the Tübingen
University for her continuous help and encouragement. I am also thankful to Christel
Bock for her kindness and helping me to lead a comfortable life during my time
studying at the Tübingen University, Germany.

When I was collecting data for my dissertation in China, many scholars and friends
also helped me. I owe a particular debt to them all at the Jilin University: Jiang Lu,
Tang Miao, Jiang Gang, Shao Huiqiu, Han Jinqiu and so on.

I would also like to express my special gratitude to Edel Flynn, Barbara Black and