Hongshan culture

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Neolithic cultures of China
Shangshan culture 11000-9000 cal BP
Zaoshi culture of the lower class 7500-7000 BC Chr.
Pengtoushan culture 7500-6100 BC Chr.
Gaomiao culture 7400-7100 BC Chr.
Zhaobaogou culture 7000-6400 BC Chr.
Hemudu culture 7000-4500 BC BC / 5000–3300 BC Chr.
Houli culture 6250-5850 BC Chr.
Xinglongwa culture 6200-5400 BC Chr.
Laoguantai culture also Dadiwan-I culture 6000-5000 BC BC / 6000-3000 BC Chr.
Dadiwan culture 5800-3000 BC Chr.
Chengbeixi culture 5800-4700 BC Chr.
Peiligang culture 5600-4900 BC Chr.
Xinle culture 5500-4800 BC Chr.
Cishan culture 5400-5100 BC Chr.
Beixin culture 5400-4400 BC Chr.
Qingliangang culture 5400-4400 BC Chr.
Tangjiagang culture 5050-4450 BC Chr.
Baiyangcun culture 5000-3700 BC Chr.
Yangshao culture also Miaodigou-I culture 5000-2000 BC Chr.
Yingpanshan culture 5000 –... v. Chr.
Caiyuan culture 4800-3900 BC Chr.
Majiabang culture 4750-3700 BC Chr.
Hongshan culture 4700-2900 BC Chr.
Daxi culture 4400-3300 BC Chr.
Dawenkou culture 4100-2600 BC Chr.
Beiyinyangying culture 4000-3000 BC Chr.
Songze culture 3900-3200 BC Chr.
Miaozigou culture 3500-3000 BC Chr.
Liangzhu culture 3400-2000 BC Chr.
Longshan culture also Miaodigou II culture 3200-1850 BC Chr.
Shanbei culture 3050-2550 BC Chr.
Majiayao culture 3000-2000 BC Chr.
Xiaoheyan culture 3000-2000 BC Chr.
Tanshishan culture 3000-2000 BC Chr.
Shixia culture 2900-2700 BC Chr.
Qujialing culture 2750-2650 BC Chr.
Shijiahe culture 2600-2000 BC Chr.
Banshan Machang culture 2500-2000 BC Chr.
Baodun culture 2500-1700 BC Chr.
Keshengzhuang II culture 2300-2000 BC Chr.
Zhukaigou culture ...– 1500 BC Chr.
Qijia culture 2000 –... v. Chr.
Qugong culture v. Chr.
Shangzhai culture v. Chr.
Xinkailiu culture v. Chr.
Youziling culture v. Chr.
Kuahuqiao culture v. Chr.
Lijiacun culture v. Chr.
Pianbaozi culture v. Chr.
Banpo culture v. Chr.
Shijia culture v. Chr.
Miaodigou culture v. Chr.
Xiwangcun culture v. Chr.
Qinwangzhai culture v. Chr.
Hougang culture v. Chr.
Dasikongcun culture v. Chr.
Xiawanggang culture v. Chr.
Changguogou culture v. Chr.
Copper Age

The Hongshan culture ( Chinese  紅山 文化  /  红山 文化 , Pinyin Hóngshān Wénhuà , English Hongshan Culture ) was a Neolithic culture (approx. 4700-2900 BC) in northeast China . It extends from the north of the Yan Mountains (燕山) in Hebei over the areas on the upper reaches of the Daling He River (大 凌河) and on the Xiliao He River (西 遼河) in Liaoning and Inner Mongolia . The eponymous Hongshanhou site (红山 後) is located on the territory of the prefecture-level city of Chifeng in Inner Mongolia, it was discovered in 1908 by Torii Ryūzō and explored for the first time in 1935 by Hamada Kōsaku and Mizuno Seiichi . It was named Hongshan in 1954. The Hongshan culture is particularly known for its jade objects as well as for some grave and cult sites: temples, altars, cairns (stone tombs) and pyramids . Archaeologists believe that this culture was formed on the basis of the Xinglongwa culture (兴隆 洼) ( Inner Mongolia and Liaoning ) and the Zhaobaogou culture (赵宝 沟) (Inner Mongolia and Hebei ), as it is based on religious Area shows clear similarities. The Hongshan culture falls into the middle and late Yangshao culture , with which it may have been related.

Way of life

The examination of the instruments and animal bones showed that the agriculture practiced with stone tools took up more space in them than in the Xinglongwa culture and the Zhaobaogou culture. The hunt had a certain importance, like finds of Hirschknochen seen. Pigs , sheep and cattle were bred . The habitat is scattered and the family clans are likely to have taken care of themselves, judging by the remains of certain dwellings that have been discovered. These formed a rectangle or a square, were half buried and had a central fireplace made of tamped earth in the ground.


The Hongshan culture is known for its stone tools and jade objects , the latter often inspired by animals. The most characteristic motif is a kind of ouroboros , which in Chinese is called " pig-dragon " ( zhulong 豬 龍 ).

The pottery included pieces of clay mixed with sand intended for storage and more finely crafted pieces of red clay decorated with stripes, triangles, or scale motifs with a black or purple pigment; one also encounters indented patterns in the form of a "Z". Fragments of unburnt earth have also been found of sometimes very large portraits of pregnant naked women. Especially at the places of worship it could be goddesses.

The pottery discovered at the Xitai site in the Aohan banner (敖汉旗) of Inner Mongolia, which form the two halves of a casting mold, shows that the technique of bronze casting was known in certain places.

Significant sites


The Dongshanzui site ( 東山 嘴 ) is located in Kazuo County ( 喀左縣 ) in Chaoyang , Liaoning; its remains are dated to around 3500 BC. Dated. The site includes various places with piled stones as a foundation, the largest measuring 240 m 2 . The north-south orientation corresponds to the orientation of the cities and buildings in ancient China. Certain areas appear to have been paved and remains of cylindrical pillars made of painted clay have been found. The rectangular tombs are in the north, the round hills in the south. About 20 figurines of naked pregnant women from 6 to almost 80 cm high and also jade objects were discovered on the site.


The Niuheliang site ( 牛 河 粱 ) on the border of Jianping County (Chaoyang, west of Liaoning Province ) is dated to the same time as the Dongshanzui site. The site, a candidate for UNESCO World Heritage , consists of altar platforms made of stone and earth, supported on an underground structure of painted clay pillars. It bears traces of a painting and is called "Temple of the Goddess" ( nüshenmiao ). In the south and west of the temple are stone tombs (cairns) and a pyramid construction (jīshízhǒng 积 石 冢). The ensemble is on a hill.

The Cairns were first excavated in 1983 ; the arrangement of the graves suggests a hierarchically structured society. Numerous jade objects were recovered, although some of the graves appear to have been looted.

The temple, located at one extreme end of an altar platform, has a very elongated shape in one direction . The only fragmentarily preserved sculptures of pregnant naked women were discovered there, with a head the natural size and with eyes made of jade. Some of them, formed from unfired earth around a core piece of straw or wood, are two or three times larger than in nature. The site has also supplied exceptional red patterned pottery ( poteries rouges de taille ).

One year after the temple, a pyramid construction made of stones and earth that did not occur on site was identified nearby , which had been realized with special care. It was hidden on a hill known for centuries as Zhuanshanzi ( 轉 山 子 ), which served as a station for one of the offshoots of the Great Wall at the time of the Han (206 BC to 220 AD) .


The Sijiazi site ( 四 家子 ) is in the Aohan banner ( 熬 漢 旗 ) in Inner Mongolia . In 2001, another Chinese pyramid was discovered that had a cult site and tombs on its summit .

Zhulong ("Pig Dragon")

The pig seems to have been a sacrificial animal in Manchurian prehistory . Much later in China, according to the five-element theory, it became the pet associated with water (水 畜). Perhaps it played a role in the rain rites, a function the dragon often performed in ancient China. Nevertheless, Michel Maucuer, chief curator at the Musée Cernuschi , suggests seeing a chthonic symbol in the zhulong and imagining a rolled up insect larva instead of a pig's snout, symbolic of the resurrection ( résurrection ) in connection with his role as a burial victim.

See also


  • Kwang-chih Chang: The Archeology of Ancient China. 4th, edition, revised and enlarged. Yale University Press, New Haven CT et al. 1986, ISBN 0-300-03784-8 .
  • Sarah Milledge Nelson (Ed.): The Archeology of Northeast China. Beyond the Great Wall. Routledge, London et al. 1995, ISBN 0-415-11755-0 .
  • R. Torii, Kimiko Torii: Populations Primitives de la Mongolie Orientale. In: Imperial University of Tokyo. Journal of the College of Science. Vol. 36, Art. 4, 1914, ZDB -ID 708633-7 , pp. 1-100.
  • Liaoning Hongshan wenhua tan miao zhong辽宁 红山 文化 坛庙 冢 (The site of the Hongshan culture (tan / altar, miao / temple, zhong / burial mound) of Niuheliang in Liaoning Province) Beijing: 1994 ( Zhongguo kaogu wenwu zhi mei )
  • Christian Eric Petersen: “Crafting” Hongshan Communities? Household Archeology in the Chifeng Region of Eastern Inner Mongolia, PRC. Pittsburgh 2006, (Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh, Dissertation 2006), Online (PDF; 5.9 MB) .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Pig-Dragon
  2. Sites of Hongshan Culture: The Niuheliang Archaeological Site, the Hongshanhou Archaeological Site, and Weijiawopu Archaeological Site ( English ) UNESCO. January 29, 2013. Retrieved May 10, 2019.
  3. Le dragon chinois by M. Maucuer ( Memento of the original dated August 4, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.clio.fr