Social Memory and State Formation in Early China 1107141451, 9781107141452

In this book, Li Min proposes a new paradigm for the foundation and emergence of the classical tradition in early China,

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foreword
wen-ding
frames-of-reference
before-the-central-plains
the-longshan-transition
the-rise-of-the-luoyang-basin-and-the-production-of-the-first-br
the-rise-of-the-henei-basin-and-the-limit-of-shang-hegemony
the-rise-of-the-guanzhong-basin-and-the-birth-of-history
the-world-of-yus-tracks
conclusion
notes
bibliography
index
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SOCIAL MEMORY AND STATE FORMATION IN EARLY CHINA

In this book, Li Min proposes a new paradigm for the foundation and emergence of the classical tradition in early China, from the late Neolithic through the Zhou period. Using a wide range of historical and archaeological data, he explains the development of ritual authority and particular concepts of kingship over time in relation to social memory, weaving together the major benchmarks in the emergence of the classical tradition, particularly how legacies of prehistoric interregional interactions, state formation, urban florescence and collapse during the late third and the second millennium bce laid the critical foundation for the Sandai notion of history among Zhou elite. Moreover, the literary-historical accounts of the legendary Xia dynasty in early China reveal a cultural construction involving social memories of the past and subsequent political elaborations in various phases of history. This volume enables a new understanding of the long-term processes that enabled a classical civilization to take shape in China. Li Min is Associate Professor of East Asian Archaeology at the University of California, Los Angeles.

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SOCIAL MEMORY AND STATE FORMATION IN EARLY CHINA LI MIN  University of California, Los Angeles

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University Printing House, Cambridge cb2 8bs, United Kingdom One Liberty Plaza, 20th Floor, New York, ny 10006, USA 477 Williamstown Road, Port Melbourne,VIC 3207, Australia 314–321, 3rd Floor, Plot 3, Splendor Forum, Jasola District Centre, New Delhi – 110025, India 79 Anson Road, #06-04/06, Singapore 079906 Cambridge University Press is part of the University of Cambridge. It furthers the University’s mission by disseminating knowledge in the pursuit of education, learning, and research at the highest international levels of excellence. www.cambridge.org Information on this title: www.cambridge.org/9781107141452 DOI: 10.1017/9781316493618 © Li Min 2018 This publication is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception and to the provisions of relevant collective licensing agreements, no reproduction of any part may take place without the written permission of Cambridge University Press. First published 2018 Printed in the United Kingdom by TJ International Ltd. Padstow Cornwall A catalogue record for this publication is available from the British Library. ISBN 978-1-107-14145-2 Hardback Cambridge University Press has no responsibility for the persistence or accuracy of URLs for external or third-party internet websites referred to in this publication and does not guarantee that any content on such websites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate.

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I dedicate this book to Henry Wright, a great mentor and an inspiring mind

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CONTENTS

Foreword Acknowledgments 1

Wen Ding : Gaging the Weight of Political Power

The Primary Symbols of Kingship in Early China The Ritualization of Power Structure of the Book 2

Frames of Reference: Multiple Classifications of Space

The Classification of Physical Landscape The Cultural Historical Classification of Space Archaeological Classifications: Multiregional Paradigm and Interaction Sphere Conclusion 3

Before the Central Plains: The Pinnacle of Neolithic Development

The Rise of the Liangzhu Society Lowland Society in the Huai River Basin and the Middle Yangzi The Divergence of Highland Society Conclusion 4

The Longshan Transition: Political Experimentation and Expanding Horizons

The Changing Frame of the Longshan World The Convergence of Three Interaction Spheres in Highland Longshan Society Political Experimentation in Highland Longshan Society Growth and Decline in the Lowlands Conclusion 5

The Rise of the Luoyang Basin and the Production of the First Bronze Ding Vessels

The Collapse of Longshan Society and the Rise of Erlitou Forging a New Cultural Tradition

page ix xiii 1 1 4 19 22 22 25 29 41 42 43 59 69 78 82 83 95 115 152 172 175 176 193

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CONTEN T S

Becoming the Central Plains: A Luoyang-Centered Political Landscape Conclusion 6

The Rise of the Henei Basin and the Limit of Shang Hegemony

The Rise of a Highland Confederation in Henei Political Change in the Luoyang Basin and the Early Shang Expansion The Return to Henei and the Anyang-Centered Political Landscape Religious Communication and the Ritual Significance of Bronze Ding Vessels The Limit of Shang Hegemony Conclusion 7

The Rise of the Guanzhong Basin and the Birth of History

A Highland Confederation in the Guanzhong Basin Sandai Historical Landscape in the Zhou State Formation Process Social Memory and the Ritualization of the Past The Central Domain under Siege: Challenging the Zhou Political Order Conclusion 8

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215 225 230 231 237 257 274 291 309 312 313 322 365 382 394

The World of Yu’s Tracks: A Blueprint for Political Experimentation 396

The Imagined World of Yu’s Tracks and its Nonary Division Religious Responses to Climatic Change Divergent Legacies of the Ritual Tradition The Wen Ding Narrative as a Palimpsest of World Orders Conclusion

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Conclusion: The Emergence of the Classical Tradition

469 469 471 482

Emergence and Transformation The Wen Ding Legacy in Warring States and Early Imperial China Methodological Reflections Notes

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Bibliography

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Index

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FOREWORD

Paraphrasing Clausewitz, archaeology may be characterized as “merely the continuation of history with other means.” In other words (with apologies to Binford):  “Archaeology is history or it is nothing.” This has always been emphasized in China. But archaeologists – in China and everywhere else – proceed differently from textual historians when they string together their historical narratives from material remains; and modern anthropological archaeology has generated a set of methods with which they can do so responsibly and reliably. Archaeological arguments are strongest when they are reached independently of text-based reasoning; in the words of Clausewitz’s erstwhile student Helmuth von Moltke, archaeology and textual history ought to “march separately and strike jointly.” When this is done, material evidence – as shown throughout this book – can throw important new light on textual records. As a subdiscipline of anthropology, archaeology is a social science in the same sense that history, too, is a social science; and as an extension of history, it simultaneously belongs to the humanities to the same degree that history does. As a successful piece of archaeological writing, the present book strikes a fine balance between these dual dimensions of the discipline. Its author, Li Min, was trained at the University of Michigan in one of America’s foremost anthropology PhD programs, and in this book he boldly sets out to investigate early Chinese civilization from an anthropological perspective. His main topic – the development of sociopolitical complexity and the origins of the state – has been for many years the main focus of recent anthropological theory-building in archaeology, and it is a subject of central importance to textual historians of China as well. Atypically, although Social Memory and State Formation in Early China is Li Min’s first book, it has no relation to his doctoral dissertation. Instead, Li Min took the considerable risk of undertaking a completely new and very ambitious research effort early in his academic career. The result is a mature, stand-alone work of grand synthesis. In it Li Min has harnessed some of the most advanced modern methods of spatial analysis to show how different parts of Asia interacted with one another during the third and second millennia bce. In China, this period is for the most part prehistorical; only during its final centuries is there a small amount of contemporary textual ix

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FOREWO R D

documentation in the form of the famous oracle bone inscriptions, and later textual records are few in number and biased in their contents. Through an anthropological approach, as pioneered in Chinese archaeology by the late K. C. Chang (1931–2001), the investigation of pre- and protohistoric materials from China is linked to worldwide, diachronic efforts at cross-cultural comparison, thereby bringing out the specifics of the Chinese case in the concert of state-level civilizations of the Ancient World. In adopting such an approach, the present study is by no means unprecedented. But Li Min adds a special twist: employing sophisticated models of how historical memory is formed, he revisits textually recorded legends about remote antiquity in light of recent archaeological evidence. He attempts – as far as I know, for the first time – to situate different traditions of historical memory within specific regions of protohistoric China, and he is able to show how they encapsulate regionally different models of, or trajectories toward, kingship and state-level government that can in turn be independently traced in the archaeological record. This reflective turn places the book at the very cutting edge of both the archaeological and the historical disciplines. More broadly speaking, Li Min contributes in a highly original manner to the current debate about memory among scholars across the humanities and the social sciences. Li Min has painstakingly distilled his broad-stroked, wide-ranging, and many-stranded narrative from a huge body of archaeological data that was not originally generated with a view to facilitating a systematic, quantitative, and social-science minded analysis. This is a universal predicament:  all over the world, archaeologists must face the fact that the materials at their disposal rarely speak directly to the research questions they are interested in answering. Li Min deals with this problem creatively, and his handling of the data reminds one of the tremendous untapped potential of the published archaeological record. Whereas Chinese scholarship tends to emphasize the connections between archaeological materials and written texts, this book provides a more balanced treatment, foregrounding new and often unexpected discoveries and linking them, first and foremost, to other material evidence. This is a forward-looking book, exhibiting great intellectual courage. It is completely sui generis. Unlike many other books similar topics, it is not descriptive and enumerative, nor is it a mechanical application of shopworn theories of social evolution. Instead, it has its own clearly stated point of view – a point of view the reader is welcome and invited to argue with.The principal value of this book does not lie in establishing solutions of inshakeable validity, but in formulating new ideas for discussion, thereby encouraging the next generation of scholars to go further. Readers should keep in mind that this is an archaeological inquiry, and it would be unfair to demand from the author the philological and linguistic skills necessary to bring out all the nuances of meaning in the written sources adduced. Archaeologists rarely have these skills.

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F O RE W O RD

The self-reflective and often tentative approach to textual sources espoused in this book is commendable, but it cannot replace further in-depth philological work by qualified specialists. I predict that Social Memory and State Formation in Early China will be one of those seminal books that everyone must read and engage with; for it establishes a new frame of discourse, forcing readers to rethink what they thought they knew. Such rethinking is altogether healthy and may be expected eventually to lead to new intellectual breakthroughs. I hope that this book will serve as a source of inspiration especially to younger colleagues – as an encouragement to explore new methods and to be creative in the way they approach both material and textual data. As the unforgotten K. C. Chang used to say: “The future is very bright.” Lothar von Falkenhausen Los Angeles

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CHAPTER ONE

WEN DING : GAGING THE WEIGHT OF POLITICAL POWER

THE PRIMARY SYMBOLS OF KINGSHIP IN EARLY CHINA

Civilization represents the “overarching social order in which state governance exists and is legitimized” (Baines and Yoffee 1998:254). In early states and civilizations, the transmission of aristocratic knowledge of their core symbols and exclusive access to them were the primary concerns of the elite class and elite culture. Core symbols, along with the knowledge and narratives associated with them, not only resonate with a coherent synthesis of meaning, but also embody social order itself. This book links the concept of social memory to physical landscape and political power, using a broad perspective to analyze how the manipulation of symbols created the foundation for legitimacy in early China (Connerton 1989; Fentress and Wickham 1992; Alcock 2002; Ricoeur 2004; Davis 2007; Yoffee 2007; Mills and Walker 2008). By examining the emergence of exclusive symbols that represented political and ritual authority in early China, I will analyze the state formation process and the development of the overarching social orders that defined the early Sandai civilization. This investigation into the cultural and symbolic representations of kingship and statecraft involves a syncretic approach which aims to address the “originality of China” in the anthropological study of states and civilizations (Berr 1930). The aim is “not to spot something essentially Chinese in its earliest manifestations, but to show

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how a notion of a distinct and lasting cultural identity gained momentum in a certain place and time” (Schaberg 2001:505). Although not explicitly defined, the notion of core symbols for representing kingship and legitimacy runs throughout the historical narratives of early China in the first millennium bce. The most famous rhetorical connection between symbols and political authority is attributed to a 606 bce exchange recorded in Zuozhuan between a Zhou noble and a Chu king in the suburb of Luoyang, the center of the Zhou world: The Master of Chu attacked the Rong of Luhun, and consequently reached the Luo River. He drilled his troops at the border of Zhou. King Ding sent Wangsun Man to honor the exertions of the Master of Chu. The latter asked about the size and weight of the bronze ding vessels [in Zhou royal palace]. Wangsun Man replied, “Size and weight depend on virtue, not on the ding vessels. In the past, just when Xia possessed virtue, men from afar depicted various creatures, and the nine superintendents submitted metal, so that the ding vessels were cast with images of various creatures. The hundred things were therewith completely set forth, and the people thus knew the spirits and the evil things … Thus, [the Xia people] were able to harmonize with those above and below them and to receive Heaven’s blessings. The last Xia king, Jie, possessed dimmed virtue, and the ding vessels were moved to the house of Shang, there to remain for six hundred years. The last Shang king, Zhòu, was violent and tyrannical, and the ding vessels were moved to the house of Zhou. When virtue is bright and resplendent, the bronze ding vessels, though small, are heavy. When virtue is distorted, dimmed, and confused, the ding vessels, though large, are light. Heaven blesses those of bright virtue, giving them the place for realizing and maintaining it.When King Cheng put the ding vessels in place at Jiaru, he divined about the number of generations and got thirty; he divined about the number of years and got seven hundred. This is what Heaven has commanded. Although Zhou virtue is in decline, the heavenly command has not yet changed. The question of whether the ding vessels are light or heavy may not be asked yet. (adapted from translation by Durrant et al. 2016: Lord Xuan 3.3)

In his rebuttal against the Chu challenges to the Zhou royal power, the Zhou storyteller articulated the dynastic historiography in its most condensed form, seamlessly merging together food, ritual, technology, and historical conceptions of time and space in the biography of the legendary ding vessels. These bronze vessels permeated all aspects of civilization as presented in the classical tradition and the Zhou possession of them marks its exclusive claim to kingship and legitimacy (Figures 1.1 and 1.2). The Chu’s expression of covetousness for these legendary vessels was perceived as an ultimate challenge to the Zhou’s claim to the Mandate of Heaven.

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1.1. The bronze ding vessel sponsored by Prince Zi Wu. Also known as Zi Geng (d. 552 bce), Zi Wu was a son of King Zhuang – the Chu king featured in the Wen Ding story. Measuring 76 cm high and 66 cm in diameter, this vessel is the largest of a set of seven ding vessels excavated from the elite tomb m2 at Xiasi, Xichuan, a Chu cemetery of the middle to late Spring and Autumn period. (Image courtesy of National Museum of China.)

1.2. A set of nine bronze ding vessels excavated from a ritual dedication pit (t602k15) sponsored by the rulers of the Zheng state during the Spring and Autumn period (after Henansheng 2006, vol. iii, Color Plate 5).

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This famous story in Zuozhuan gave rise to the phrase wen ding (問鼎), an inquiry on the tripod vessels. The concept of wen (asking) was endowed with multiple layers of meaning  – inquiry, divinity, and contest, which concerns the exclusive access to the pathway toward political authority. At the same time, understanding wen ding as an inquiry addressed in the form of divination to these bronze tripod vessels identifies them as sources for political wisdom and mediums of religious communication (Chang 1983). For the next two millennia, the phrase wen ding was used as a verb in the Chinese language, epitomizing the ultimate challenge to legitimacy by characterizing both the pursuit of and contention with political authority. The symbolic significance of this story for early China resembles that of the Palette of King Narmer in Egyptology, which serves as an ideal point of entry for investigating the rise of kingship (Chang 1983; Wu 1995). As we approach the cultural assumptions of these stories, “it was the invention and manipulation of those stories,” Pines et al. (2014b:13) argue, “rather than their historic ‘truth,’ which mattered most.” These questions thus summarize this book’s central concern: What made the wen ding story such a compelling representation of power to the learned elite of classical and imperial China? Why did possession of these core symbols and use of this rhetoric collectively define the ideology of kingship? How did social memory and state formation contribute to the emergence of these primary symbols? Using the wen ding narrative as a lens to observe the diverse aspects of early China’s political evolution, this book aims to explore the process through which diverse manifestations of political authority were forged together into a single, coherent narrative of the historiography of power. To borrow a term from Foucault (1972), I hope to offer an archaeology of knowledge on the emergence and transformation of these legendary bronze vessels, from culinary wares to symbols of kingship, within the contexts of changing techniques, technologies, and political structures. THE RITUALIZATION OF POWER

In the wen ding story, the Zhou storyteller skillfully manipulated a historical lore that wove together the notions of power in its temporal, spatial, and technological manifestations. While it is a retroactive narrative about what the core symbols should be (Wu 1995:10), Zuozhuan and its intended readers operate within an overarching cultural order shared by the cultured elite of Zhou society. Within this classical tradition, the place of the wen ding story closely resembles Mauss’s notion of total social phenomenon (or social facts), which pervaded every sector of culture in early China, simultaneously expressing a great many institutions, and at once “juridical, economic, religious, and even aesthetic and morphological” (Mauss 1990:79). Using the wen ding story as my

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archaeological trowel, I will examine the cultural, political, and technological assumptions that made the story so compelling in the cultural milieu of Zhou society, hoping to unravel the complex entanglement of power and knowledge in early China. The wen ding narrative assumes a tripod form, much like that of the ding vessel itself:  the practice of bronze metallurgy, a historical concept of civilization, and a Central Plains-centric ideology of political landscape. These notions of form, materiality, time, and space become integral parts of the ding symbol through the process of ritualization – the transformation from a common utensil to an exclusive “ritual vessel,” the recognition of certain raw materials as sacred, or the identification of a specific place in the landscape as the axis mundi (Bell 1992, 1997; Wu 1995). Ritualization, kingship, and power are intricately connected. As Bell (1992:140–41) put it:  “Ritualizing schemes invoke a series of privileged oppositions that, when acted in space and time through a series of movements, gestures, and sounds, effectively structure and nuance an environment … Ritualization always aligns one within a series of relationship linked to the ultimate sources of power.” In the wen ding narrative, each ritualization process was framed in a distinct temporal, geographical, and technological history, converging within the larger framework of prehistoric social interactions that led toward the rise of the classical tradition in which works like Zuozhuan were produced and transmitted. This discussion on diverse aspects of ritualization will serve as the roadmap for my archaeological inquiry on the emergence and changing configuration of this knowledge leading up to Zhou society.

The Ritualization of Food and Culinary Vessels The bronze ding vessels were the primary meat-cooking vessels of the classical tradition; together with the cattle-based domestic animal set, they constituted defining attributes of the culinary tradition in classical China. Ranking high on the list of ritual institutions in early China, this culinary tradition included food techniques, ritual bronze vessels, feasting, ritual offerings of animals, cereal food, and alcoholic beverages (Chang 1977, 1983; Sterckx 2005). Serving protocols and the symbolism attached to the vessels are as important as the food contained within; thus all three constitute important attributes of the classical tradition (Chang 1977). In the classical narratives, e.g. Zuozhuan and Shiji, the extent to which the bronze ding vessels possess the aura of wealth and kingship delimits classical civilization:  those who did not adopt the symbolism – either by deliberate refusal or through simple lack of awareness – resided beyond the geographic extent of civilization. The ritualization of food vessels must be approached as part of a study of food techniques, which involves meals, cooking, utensils, food ideologies,

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condiments, and drinks (Mauss 2006:115). Many ritual protocols described in early Chinese texts deal with food techniques – the preparation of food, the fermentation of alcohol, the arrangement of the dishes, the instruments of consumption, and formalized seating – that left abundant archaeological imprints in mortuary contexts through food remains and culinary assemblages (Chang 1977;Yu and Gao 1978–79; Appadurai 1986; Okamura 2005; Falkenhausen 2006). Important to the process of socialization was an awareness of an embodied cultural order and protocols involving food vessels and culinary techniques. These techniques manipulated “materiality, artificiality, the appropriation of nature, the production of goods and the application of knowledge, usually augmented with references to society, culture or civilization” (Schlanger 2006:2).Techniques are socially produced and always embedded in a symbolic system (Lemonnier 1993:22). They played a meaningful role in the social transmission of knowledge and in shaping the world’s everyday experience.1 Techniques connect individuals with cultures and society by reproducing the cultural milieu and social relationships in the context of storytelling: The resident master craftsman and the traveling journeymen worked together in the same rooms; and every master had been a traveling journeyman before he settled down in his hometown or somewhere else. If peasants and seamen were past masters of storytelling, the artisan class was its university. In it was combined the lore of faraway places, such as a much-traveled man brings home, with the lore of the past, as it best reveals itself to natives of a place. (Benjamin 1968:85)

Techniques imbued objects with cultural memory, crafting a biography of things and a history of techniques that bridges archaeological remains and social history. Symbols of authority embedded in and elaborated from food techniques and daily practices are deeply penetrating – they make the social order associated with them appear as a natural extension of human experience. While exclusive association with the production and maintenance of high culture like the bronze ding vessels made inner elites the focus and repository of civilizational meaning, food symbols derive part of their power from their capacity to evoke a collective response in everyday practice. They are rooted in and respond to the basic structural principles embedded in practices and bodily techniques: The use of oral symbols is but one case of the use of symbols: any traditional practice, endowed with a form and transmitted through that form, can in some measure be regarded as symbolic. When one generation hands down to the next the technical knowledge of its manual and bodily actions, as much authority and social tradition is involved as when transmission occurs through language. In this there is truly tradition, and continuity. (Mauss 2006:76)

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From these daily rituals and their associated material manifestations, the emerging political authority took up its elementary forms and designs for elaboration. These food vessels were the foci of social life and the carriers of social memory, thereby connecting the everyday culinary practice with the ultimate symbol of power (Henansheng 2013). Food is an important means of engaging with the ancestors and deities in ancestral rituals (Ahern 1981). Food also binds people to their faiths through powerful links between food and memory (Feeley-Harnik 1994, 1995).Through its association with supernatural beings and processes, food can be sacred. The storyteller’s statement about a vessel’s ritual qualities echoes the nearly universal property of food vessels as observed by Mauss (2006:110): “Almost all pots have symbolic values … Very often the pot has a soul, the pot is a person. Pots are kept in a specific place, and they can often constitute objects of considerable religious importance.” Defying a strict opposition of the symbolic versus utilitarian, every pot, no matter how modest in construction and material, could potentially serve as a “ritual vessel,” or at least the focus of ritual attention. Whereas textual and verbal discourse was lost to the passage of time, the deeply engrained realms of food techniques and culinary vessels offer a window on to past cultural choices and their power relations. These culinary traditions concerning forms, aesthetics, techniques, ritual order, and gift transactions did not directly engage political authority; yet, they constitute cultural realms in which political authority could act. Through ritual use, the bronze ding vessels became the focus of the ritual economy – “the material, the shape, the decoration, and the inscriptions of these bronzes were meant to attest to something entirely beyond the range of ordinary experience, to demonstrate that the vessels, as liqi or ritual paraphernalia, were sacred and unworldly” (Wu 1995:70). Within this tradition, bronze ding vessels represent the legitimate forms for engaging with ancestral ritual and “embodying and consolidating the web of social relationships” (Wu 1995:71). The display of these vessels lends weight to the social reproduction and negotiation at work in the community’s major gatherings, e.g. ancestral veneration, rites of passage, weddings, and alliancemaking (Rawson 1999a; Childs-Johnson 2012, 2014). Their use for divination in the wen ding narrative further attests to these potent vessels’ religious efficacy. While eating “embodies desirability within an historical food tradition” (Hastorf 2017:10), the culinary vessels chosen for the occasion were also historically contextualized.The ritualization of ding vessels as the symbol of kingship must be approached within the full culinary assemblage in use at the time, particularly their relation to their conventional counterparts – the pottery li tripod vessels, which were reserved for mundane household cooking in Shang and Zhou society. Although the code of conduct is more politically situated for elite feasting or ritual sacrifices involving the use of bronze ding vessels, social demarcation and identification are often present in simple and unconscious

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matters, because even the most mundane episodes of daily consumption are deeply laden with cultural meanings and classification schemes. The parallel history of the ding and li vessels throughout Shang and Zhou society attests to the cultural and political choices entailed in ritualization. Both the Shang and Zhou culinary traditions, for example, prepared the daily meal with the pottery li vessels. The choice of the ding vessel as the ritual vessel, therefore, did not necessarily arise from an elaboration of the utilitarian li pottery ware used by mainstream society. If the ritual vessels preserved social memory, whose memory was commemorated in this choice of ritual vessel form? How did the ding vessel form, among a variety of vessel forms used in early China, come to symbolize wealth, kingship, and the center of the known world, while others like the li tripod vessel did not? These questions underscore the plurality of prehistoric traditions, wherein the rise of the classical tradition embraced competition among multiple histories and narratives. In this historic process, the symbols associated with different networks of power rose and fell with changing political fortunes.The emergence of a set of core symbols out of these complex interactions amounts to a tectonic shift in the political and cultural landscape, which could not have materialized without some repercussions.Tracing the biography of these vessel forms through time and space helps reveal the historic process that gave the hegemonic discourse its distinct shape.

The Ritualization of Metallurgy Technology encompasses the objects’ production processes, including shared (or secret) human knowledge (Miller 2007:4). In the wen ding narrative, metallurgy marks a new epoch and delineates political space. In early imperial works like Yue jue shu, authors on the evolution of early Chinese technologies attribute the beginning of its Bronze Age to the onset of the Xia dynasty (Chang 1983). In the wen ding story, the Xia dynastic founder used metallurgy to transform the political landscape into bronze vessels at the close of the third millennium bce. Thus, their legendary production was celebrated as one of the most momentous events in early China, commemorating the end of the legendary era and the beginning of the dynastic regimes (Wu 1995:5). The supernatural properties associated with bronze provided the ideological foundation for the ritualization of metallurgy.These vessels became part of the ritual apparatus for the performance of religious ceremonies directed at royal lineage ancestors and natural deities. K. C. Chang (1983:97) identifies ritual bronze vessels as mediums for religious communication and the path to political authority in early China: [T]he possession of such sacred bronze vessels served to legitimize the king’s rule. These vessels were clear and powerful symbols:  they were

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symbols of wealth because they were wealth and possessed the aura of wealth; they were symbols of the all-important ritual that gave their owners access to the ancestors; and they were symbols of the control of metal, which meant control of exclusive access to the ancestors and to political authority.

The major preoccupation of statecraft, therefore, was to guard these vessels in the royal capitals of the early states and to secure the raw materials for their manufacture (Chang 1983; Wu 1995; Liu and Chen 2003, 2012). The elite’s obsession with bronze ritual vessels became the defining attribute of the political ideology (Liu and Chen 2012:296). Before identifying control strategies, we must understand that the ritualization of metal first involves changes in the regime of value and technological knowledge for prospecting and production. Cross-culturally, bronze was neither a hallmark of states and civilizations, nor a universal medium for ancestral ritual and religious communication. Metalworking traditions in the Near East, Europe, and the New World, for example, predate state formation, sometimes by millennia (Kristiansen and Larsson 2005; Pernicka and Anthony 2010; Renfrew 2011; Roberts and Thornton 2014). In early China, the rise of political authority in large settlement centers with marked social differentiation predated metallurgy’s introduction in the late third millennium bce (Chapters 2 and 3). The close association of metallurgy, religious communication, and political authority in early China, therefore, needs to be investigated as the product of a ritualization process. Values, aesthetics, and experience associated with metal were intricately intertwined in the bronze ding symbolism. The cultural perception of materiality played a significant role in the ritualization of bronze (Sherratt 2006). The transformation from stone to liquid to resonating, shiny, solid, and durable vessels during the metalworking process would seem magical to prehistoric communities, providing considerable prestige to those capable of harnessing such power (Wu 1995:5–6). Metallurgy, therefore, was nothing short of a spectacle in the cultural world of early China. A study of changing configurations of technologies and the shifting historical and cultural values that surround them offers critical insights into the ritualization of metallurgy (Doonan et al. 2014). The preexisting technological logic, such as the fragility of coastal fine wares, provides the important conceptual basis for bronze vessels to acquire their distinctive values in China. Despite the critical importance of bronze in religious communication and political representation, neither Chang (1983) nor Wu (1995) addressed the source of metallurgy, which provides the critical link between early China and its world. The unresolved question for the ritualization of metallurgy regards the cultural responses to the new technology: How did a millenniaold Eurasian technology become the medium of religious communication in

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early China? In the course of this transformation, how was the perception of bronze vessels related to the existing mediums of religious communication and representations of power? The expanding Eurasian metallurgical network during the third millennium bce bears critical clues for understanding the cultural transformations that turned metal vessels into political and religious symbols of early China. Archaeological evidence for the first introduction of bronze vessels in early China can reveal the potential convergence and divergence between textual narrative and technological history. As recent archaeological research on early metal prospecting, mining, and metalworking reveals uneven access to metallurgic knowledge as well as uneven mineral distribution across early China, the rise of bronze vessels as primary symbols of political authority for early states implies a significant shift in the technology of power. This unevenness in metalworking knowledge and raw material transformed the ways in which the political landscape was envisioned and controlled (Chang 1983; Liu and Chen 2003, 2012). Since the production of the first bronze vessels allegedly used metal ore from various parts of the political landscape in the wen ding narrative, spatiality and metallurgy were integrally connected in the ritualization of bronze vessels.

The Ritualization of Time, Place, and Space The symbolic significance of the legendary bronze vessels cannot be understood outside of the spatiality and temporality of the political landscape they allegedly represent. Instead of approaching time as a continuum, authors of Zuozhuan framed time in terms of the Sandai historical tradition, from the legendary creation of these tripod vessels at the onset of the first dynasty at the end of the third millennium bce to the waning of Zhou royal power in the mid-first millennium bce. The emic concept of Sandai describes the broad patterns of political authority in Bronze Age China, as remembered and described in early textual traditions from the first millennium bce. Literally meaning the “Three Dynasties,” Sandai refers to the three dynastic regimes, namely Xia (c. 2100–1600 bce), Shang (c.1600–1046 bce), and Zhou (cc. 1046–256 bce). This historical epoch started in the period of extraordinary drought and flooding of the late third millennium bce, when “exceptional circumstances of major historical disruptions and social transformations” broke the “cosmological continuity” (Kristiansen and Larsson 2005:316). These dynastic powers allegedly claimed hegemony in the Central Plains through the second and first millennia bce.As a time period, Sandai also includes contenders during interregnums that failed to be recognized as legitimate lines, or were erased from the historical memory.

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The importance of the Sandai civilization lies in its perceived role as the fountainhead of cultural and political institutions for historical China (Chang 1976, 1983). Even though the Sandai tradition comprises disparate elements of three eras, the rituals embodied in bronze culinary assemblage unite them as a multifaceted civilization. As an epoch, a cultural milieu, and a cultural hegemony in Chinese historiography, the Sandai narrative holds such significant sway in conceptualizing early China that it is often taken to represent early Chinese civilization itself, drawing an implicit connection between state formation and the Sandai dynastic narrative:  “the origins of early states in China involve four intertwined issues: the formation of the state, the development of urbanism, the emergence of civilization, and the beginning of dynastic history” (Liu and Chen 2012:253). From an archaeological perspective, however, the Sandai civilization was one among numerous early East Asian civilizations whose developmental trajectories frequently intersected. The rise of the Sandai civilization represents neither the first nor necessarily the only episode of state formation in early China. Instead, it was part of the “networks of jostling states, sharing some beliefs, practices, and cultural forms, while differing in others” (Morris 2010:215). Since the Sandai narrative became the central component in the ideology of kingship represented by the Zuozhuan story, it is important to observe from an archaeological perspective the political process that this historical discourse evolved and how the defining features of Sandai tradition came into place. This book’s aim is not to verify the historicity of the dynastic narratives, but to understand why the Sandai narrative mattered so much to the Zhou historical discourse. Why was the end of the third millennium bce regarded as a major watershed in Zhou historical knowledge? What made the notion of Three Dynasties a prevailing historical discourse in the Zhou textual tradition? To address these questions, I take a deep history approach to investigating the interconnectedness of the temporal and spatial representations of political history in early China (Shryock and Smail 2011). As part of a symbolic system, places and spaces have history, social memory, and power. A mastery of cosmography and cultural landscape, real or mythological, as well as genealogies of great personages and places, represents important components of elite knowledge in ancient China (Strassberg 2002). As an important aspect of world-making, places are value-laden; place-making is fundamentally a process of incorporating spaces into larger systems of value (Graeber 2001; Papadopoulos and Urton 2012). With the Shang in the east, Xia in the middle, and Zhou in the west, the Sandai tradition could also be seen as three geographically defined cultural historical traditions bound to the areas these societies inhabited, where Bronze Age states rise and decline (Chang 1986). The textual narrative about the

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historical transfer of these legendary bronze vessels through the three dynastic regimes highlights the “temporality of the landscape” (Ingold 1993). This underlines the importance of space in the creation, maintenance, and reproduction of political authority at multiple scales. Besides the Sandai notion of landscape, the incorporation of physical and metaphorical place and space into the wen ding narrative involves three nested spatial concepts: the Luoyang Basin as the event place, the Central Plains as the heartland of the Zhou political landscape, and, as the geographic extent of civilization, the world of Yu’s tracks – places visited and drained for human habitation by the Great Yu in his legendary flood control odyssey during the late third millennium bce. Together, these three spatial concepts of different scales defined the spatiality of power in the Zuozhuan story. They were not necessarily created together as a central point surrounded by two concentric circles; rather, the loci and the perimeter of these spatial concepts were historically defined, each associated with its own genealogy of power. First, the Luoyang Basin as the event place for the Zuozhuan story was closely tied to the Zhou notion of political order and legitimacy. The wen ding story was set against the backdrop of declining Zhou royal power.The Luoyang Basin means more to the Zhou political order than being the only royal center that the dynastic house clung to after it lost its homeland in the Guanzhong Basin to highland invasion in 771  bce. As I will elaborate later in this book, the choice of Luoyang as the center of the Zhou political order by its dynastic founders at the end of the second millennium bce hinged upon its historical definition of axis mundi. The establishment of a central place is a common pursuit of human communities:  “Every microcosm, every inhabited region, has a centre; that is to say, a place that is sacred above all” (Eliade 1991:39). The spatial order defined by the center is replicated at various scales from body to landscape, which was never fully removed from the overall scheme of order (Wheatley 1971). The notion of a center evolved in tandem with the development of political authority. The choice and recognition of a spot on the landscape as the axis mundi, to the exclusion of competing claims, was laden with political appeals to tradition and authority. The siting of the axis mundi as the spatial definition of legitimacy, therefore, is historically defined and could shift with changing notions of political hegemony. In historical China, the notion of axis mundi is represented by the concept of zhong, center or middle, and the term Zhongguo, the central domain or central place and later the historical designation for the country of China (Stumpfeldt 1970; Wang Aihe 2000). The religious communication that took place at these loci highlights their special place in the overall schemes of ritual and liminality. The determination

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of this distinctive place in the landscape was an important exercise of political and ritual authority.2 Since the center is where the gnomon is set, the choice of axis mundi also maps the middle point of the calendric cycle, effectively combining spatial and temporal definitions of legitimacy in an all-encompassing cosmological order (Loewe 1999: 993–94). After the Zhou conquest of the Late Shang capital in Anyang, the alleged relocation of the nine vessels to the new royal center at Luoyang comprised part of the Zhou political effort to establish a new order with reference to the pre-Shang legacy. The association of these bronze vessels with divination and religious communication attests to the sacred properties of these vessels as well as of the place. Given its symbolic and logistical significance in the Zhou political order, it was here that the presence of Chu troops and a hostile inquiry into the bronze vessels came to be perceived as a grave threat to the Zhou kingship. The event place, therefore, was critical in understanding the Zhou notion of legitimacy in the wen ding narrative. Based on this archaeological investigation, I argue that the Zhou definition of axis mundi tapped into the legacy of political experimentation and state formation of the early second millennium bce. Second, the Central Plains represented Sandai civilization’s core region. In historical China, the phrase wen ding is frequently followed by a spatial specification, Zhongyuan, the Central Plains, which was the main political theater for claiming hegemony. The notion of the Central Plains is closely related to the geographic definition of the axis mundi in Mt. Song along the southern edge of the Luoyang Basin. The geographical concept of the Central Plains was already used in many sources in pre-imperial China, and remained central in contemporary cultural and archaeological discourse. Its influence on political geography was so prominent that the Central Plains was once considered the cradle of civilization, from which the defining attributes of the Chinese civilizations evolved and spread (Ho 1975). Straddling the highlands and lowlands, the Central Plains includes the western half of the Huai River Basin, the middle Yellow River Valley, and the Jinnan Basin (Figure  1.3).3 With its diverse terrain types, the Central Plains area was anything but an open plain. To imagine the Central Plains as a well-integrated and expansive human terrain around the central peak of Mt. Song, the early rulers had to secure those strategic passes and river valleys that connected the pockets of river basins separated by mountain ranges. Failure to keep these routes open could result in the political fragmentation. To make Central Plains central, therefore, implies the political means for maintaining social integration across diverse terrains, which are the subject of this inquiry:  When did the area historically known as the Central Plains come to be imagined as a unified cultural and political space by its inhabitants? How did the society of the Central Plains rise to

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1.3. A schematic map of the diverse terrain types and the geographic extent of the area historically known as the Central Plains (represented by the dashed line) (illustrated by Li Min).

prominence in a world of multiregional development? The emergence of Zhongyuan as the central area of early China’s political landscape, therefore, should be interrogated as a question and process, rather than viewed as a given (Yan Wenming 1987; Zhao Hui 2000, 2006; Liu Li 2004). This development parallels the rise of Sandai civilization and its Central Plains-centric ideology of political landscape. Third, the imagined world of Yu’s Tracks represents the Sandai civilization’s geographic extent. The full extent of the political domain represented by the wen ding narrative is defined by the legendary landscape known as the world of the Yu’s tracks or traces of the Great Yu, Yuji (Wu 2010; Strassberg 2002) (Figure 1.4). The legendary Great Yu allegedly surveyed this landscape, making it habitable by draining floodwater, and legible by classifying it into nine regions, each represented by a bronze ding vessel (Granet 1926; Xu 1960; Lewis 2006a, 2006b; Dorofeeva-Lichtmann 1995, 2009). Beyond this imagined world of civilization, the world slips into an unknown or undefined realm, characterized by chaos and inhabited by cultural others, exotic objects, and esoteric knowledge (Strassberg 2002:10). As J. B. Harley (1990:99) puts it, “to map the land was to own it and make that ownership legitimate.” As the story goes, this extraordinary knowledge of landscape provided the basis for claiming kingship for the first dynasty at the

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1.4. A historical map of the world of Yu’s tracks printed in 1209 ce (open source image, Beijing Library).

close of the third millennium bce. The metallic conception of the legendary landscape, represented by the casting of metal ore from diverse regions into nine bronze vessels, assimilated those tribute-providing communities into a single unit (Wu 1995:5–6). The legendary narratives about the contributions of metal ores and the actual procurement of metals for producing bronze vessels in the Sandai ritual economy probably reinforced one another. The same logic also underlies the iconographic representation of the bronze vessels belonging to the natural and supernatural beings encountered in Great Yu’s legendary journey. The iconography of these vessels, therefore, was integral to the representation of space in the wen ding story. The geographic extent of the world of Yu’s tracks spans from the Ordos in the north to the middle Yangzi in the south (approximately 2,000 kilometers), and from the Hexi Corridor in the west to the coast in the east (approximately 3,000 kilometers). The archaeological evidence presented in this book reveals that the interregional interactions involved in the making of the Sandai civilization extended far beyond the geographic extent of the Yu’s tracks. How did

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the spatial notions of Yu’s tracks evolve out of an infinite network of Eurasian interactions? This question is critical for understanding spatiality in early China’s political ideology. In the wen ding narrative, these bronze vessels represent the political landscape and its classification under an archaic notion of kingship. In contrast to Pythia (the Oracle of Delphi), religious communication involving these vessels could be physically separated from a fixed location. Their presence defined the location of the axis mundi; thus, they became place-making devices in the Zhou ideology of political landscape (Wu 1995). This book helps to identify the shifting configurations of power and landscape leading up to the emergence of this worldview, or weltanschauung, “a particular conception of the world and of life” (Berr 1930:xiii). These differing notions of technology, time, and space did not evolve together in early China. Instead, their eventual convergence after a long process of political experimentation was necessary for these legendary vessels to become an enduring symbol of statecraft and legitimacy (Strassberg 2002:5)(Figure 1.5). Engaging the concept of wen ding as its master narrative, my investigation of the intersectionality and the convergence of different realms of ritualization, therefore, includes the motivation for choosing the ding vessel form to represent political and religious authority, the consolidation of metallurgical technology needed to produce these vessels, and the emergence of a political landscape ideology through which early Chinese states were legitimized. From the perspective of this book, it was the extraordinary scope of the legendary landscape and the classical notion of Sandai history symbolized by these bronze vessels that defined their monumentality. To consider the emergence of the Sandai historical tradition and its connections with the past and with neighboring societies, we need to investigate “a continent’s big history” (Pauketat 2007:206). This is critical for early China, where some of the symbols and technologies associated with exclusive access to the ancestors and political authority were inherited from the past, or introduced through interactions with other Eurasian civilizations. The coevolution of symbols and political authority spans from the first introduction of ceramic pots with tripod legs among the sedentary villages in the seventh millennium bce to the adoption of the bronze ding tripod vessels as the “primary symbol of states” during the second and first millennia bce (Chang 1976:118). The interconnectedness of objects, place, and oral traditions helps establish the vessels as social memory’s media and vehicles: People, houses, landscapes, and portable objects all lived parallel lives and each of them would have provided a medium for human memory. Oral traditions were vitally important, but it was through an interplay between

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1.5. A late Ming woodblock illustration of the legendary nine bronze ding vessels, depicted against the backdrop of the legendary landscape of the nine isles in the world of Yu’s tracks that the vessels symbolically represented. A design for an ink cake from a catalogue Fangshi mopu (1588) by the late Ming dynasty artisan Fang Yulu (fl .1570–1619). (Image courtesy of the East Asian Library, University of California, Berkeley.)

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those accounts and the biographies of things that people without written documents were able to trace their histories. (Bradley 2000:81)

The concern for knowledge involves much broader considerations than the political structure of the states themselves and the immediate time frames of their formation. This, therefore, demands a multiscalar research perspective with an extended time frame. In this regard, archaeology created a revolution in historical time, like the “revolution in ethnological time” in cultural evolution brought by the development of geology (Trautmann 1992). Archaeology opened up prehistory to the time scale of millennia – well beyond the time frame when the early classics were put into writing. As this book reveals, society in early China experienced several major transformations leading up to the rise of the Sandai civilization. To borrow an analogy from Pauketat (2007), it was a series of small bangs over a long period of time, instead of one big bang in the first millennium bce, which characterized state formation and the rise of classical tradition in early China. This book, therefore, aims at closing a critical gap in the prevailing paradigms on the study of early China, namely, the social evolutionary paradigm, which generally focuses on the sociopolitical development from prehistory to the first historical civilization at Yinxu during the late second millennium bce, and the historical paradigm, which focuses on the study of early texts and classical thought during the first millennium bce. In the historical paradigm, the Late Shang oracle bone inscriptions from Yinxu served as the terminus post quem for textual tradition and its associated intellectual tradition. The authenticity and authorship of early texts, therefore, were often exclusively examined within the sociopolitical milieu of the first millennium bce. These two diverging paradigms left a critical issue unaddressed – the contribution of the pre-Shang legacy to the development of classical tradition, including social memories of the past and the political legacies of state formation for the emergence of classical tradition in early China. This is already implied in the wen ding narrative, wherein the notion of the Sandai civilization and its symbolic representation with bronze vessels reference an era extending well beyond the production of the Late Shang oracle bone inscriptions in the final quarter of the second millennium bce. Given the lack of textual evidence from the formative period of the Sandai civilization, the discrepancy of the two paradigms is inadequate for addressing the foundation and emergence of classical tradition in early China. Hu Shi (1921:22) raised the need for an archaeological inquiry into the foundation of classical tradition in the early twentieth century: My general views on ancient history are:  we first shorten the ancient history by two or three millennia, starting from the three hundred odes. When the study of archaeology and epigraphy develops into a scientific

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discipline, we then use the excavated historical data to gradually expand the ancient history beyond the Eastern Zhou period.

This book attempts to bridge this gap by looking into the sources of Zhou historical knowledge through the lens of archaeology. I argue that the genealogy of knowledge contributing to the wen ding narrative encapsulated a palimpsest of multiple landscape ideologies, technologies, aesthetic traditions, and historical processes, each of which came with its own trajectory back in time. Instead of writing up to the rise of the first historical civilization in Yinxu, therefore, this book ends with the period when historical narratives about the past served as the cornerstone of an emerging classical tradition. STRUCTURE OF THE BOOK

To examine the multiple trajectories and their contribution to the Zhou notion of legitimacy symbolized by the wen ding narrative, I first provide a comprehensive archaeological study of the sociopolitical developments leading up to the rise of the Sandai civilization, focusing on the evolution of culinary forms, technology, notions of time and space, and representation of political authority. The chapters both stand alone as their own arguments for each respective period, and yet interlock around the book’s central theme. Chapter  2 provides an overview of three landscape classification systems used in this book, i.e. cultural historical, topographic, and archaeologically based classifications, which present a framework for long-term observation of the shifting configuration of the political landscape. It is followed by a brief survey of the formation of a prehistoric interaction sphere that used tripod ding vessels for food preparation and ritual presentation. Chapter 3 focuses on the emergence of the coastal paramount center at Liangzhu and its associated lowland network of mound centers during the early third millennium bce. As the pinnacle of political development before the rise of political powers in the Central Plains, this coastal development ushered in some of the core symbols for political representation in early China, which eventually worked their way into the Sandai political tradition after its collapse in the late third millennium bce. Chapter  4 investigates the major social and ecological transitions during the late third millennium bce, when climatological crisis and expansion of pastoralism and metallurgy led to accelerated cultural, technological, and political changes, as well as the increased interactions connecting East, Middle, and North Asian communities. With the collapse of coastal centers, the shift of political theater to the highland basins and the loess plateau was critical for the eventual rise of the Central Plains-centered political order during the second millennium bce. I argue that the unprecedented convergence of

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technologies from diverse sources in newly emerged Longshan centers was the immediate source of a repertoire of knowledge that eventually became the foundation for the Sandai civilization. The introduction of metallurgy and the prospecting activities associated with its incipient development created a new type of knowledge critical to the metal-based conception of political landscape assumed in the wen ding narrative. Chapter 5 explores state formation in the Luoyang Basin during the early second millennium bce, which presented evidence for the production of bronze ritual vessels and the first Luoyang-centered configuration of the political landscape. Experimentation in new forms, new décor, and new production technology at Erlitou attests to the creation of some of the primary symbols for political representation of the Sandai tradition, including the first bronze ding vessel. I  argue that this critical change defined the framework for Sandai political tradition, upon which later societies modeled themselves. Chapter 6 explores the rise of Shang during the second half of the second millennium bce, its incorporation of the pre-Shang legacy, and the parallel trajectories of highland communities associated with the pre-Shang legacy. I argue that the limit of Shang hegemony assured the preservation of the preShang legacy among memory communities within and beyond the Shang political domain. The final two chapters build upon the archaeological investigation of the prehistoric roots of early China’s cultural symbols, geographical configuration, and political representation laid out in previous chapters. I will compare the Zhou historical conception of political landscape with temporal and spatial patterns observed in the archaeological landscape, aiming to gain insight into the ways that “myth, meaning, history transformed into cultural memory” (Kern 2000b:148). Chapter 7 investigates the ways that historical knowledge served as the blueprint for the Zhou state-building enterprise. I argue that the legacy of diverse political and cultural traditions from the millennium leading up to the rise of the Zhou state, particularly the political experimentation of late third and the early second millennium bce, had critically contributed to the emergence of the Sandai narrative as a prevailing representation of history in early China. Chapter 8 addresses the formation of the overarching social order through which the Zhou states were legitimized, namely the Xia legacy and the imagined world of the Yu’s tracks. I  argue that the legend of the Great Yu’s flood-control odyssey and its nonary division of the legendary landscape represent a legacy of religious responses to the climatological and ecological crisis of the late third millennium bce, from which the Sandai political tradition and later occult religious traditions evolved. From the archaeological perspective, the Xia legacy in the Zhou political rhetoric represents a juxtaposition of historical knowledge stemming from multiple episodes of political

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experimentation in the late third and the early second millennium bce. This palimpsest of history became the foundation of Zhou political philosophy and classic thought. Viewing these changes from the perspective of Sandai civilization resembles the view through a kaleidoscope – a different world produced with changing constellations of power in its spatial, temporal, and technological manifestations. For each chapter, I engage the major sociopolitical development critical to the specific time period, exploring the techniques and forms of culinary tradition, the technology of political representation, the configuration of political landscape with relevance to the notion of the Central Plains, and the representation of the past in the archaeological record and/or historiography. This seemingly more complex approach has a distinctive advantage over a fixed perspective – it is only through long-term observation of changing structural patterns that the complex interactions among multiple regional and transregional trajectories can be untangled with due respect to their contributions to the formation of Sandai civilization (Sherratt 1995). The kaleidoscopic approach on an extended temporal frame also helps us evaluate whether an absence of archaeological record results from an absence of research – an important point to keep in mind when we discuss emergence, collapse, and other dynamic processes unfolding in different regions during different periods.

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CHAPTER TWO

FRAMES OF REFERENCE : MULTIPLE CLASSIFICATIONS OF SPACE

Following the discussion in Chapter  1, the departure point for this investigation of power and knowledge, therefore, is to put the systems of categorization in question and to investigate the intersectionality of multiple, intersecting classifications of space that shape the conception of the political and historical landscape. To study the dynamic relationship between the physical and cultural landscapes, I  juxtapose three landscape classifications integral to the wen ding narrative: mytho-historical, topographic, and archaeological landscapes. Each offers different sets of spatial representations that only partially overlap, and their constellations shift over time. Each scheme involves value-laden choices, embedded in political processes. The superimposition of these classification schemes helps to uncover the dynamic shifts in cultural concepts, categories, and techniques that crosscut seemingly natural boundaries. THE CLASSIFICATION OF PHYSICAL LANDSCAPE

“The placing and re-placing of history,” Pauketat (2007:199 italics original) argues, “has become the new common ground for archaeological study of civilizations.” The extensive prehistoric interactions in early China spanned distinct ecological zones, i.e. alluvial plains, piedmonts, intermontane valleys, plateaus, steppes, and deserts. For the purpose of this book, the physical terrain

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of early China is divided into two macro-regions: the highlands between the Taihang mountain range and the Hexi Corridor, and the lowlands to the east of Taihang. As waterways, corridors, and mountain passages laid out the armature for prehistoric interactions, a coarse-grained classification carries the potential to move beyond regional variations in archaeological remains to discuss broad patterns of social change. The highland regions can be characterized as a vast, interconnected political theater with three macro-regions, i.e. the northeastern highlands, the loess highlands, and the western highlands. The northeastern highland fall between the Yanshan mountain range and the Mongolian Plateau, which serves as the gateway to Northeast Asia and eastern Siberia. The Liao River flowing out of the northeastern highlands empties into the Gulf of Bohai, which provides maritime access to the Shandong Peninsula, the archaic lower Yellow River Basin, and the coast of the East China Sea. Early China’s northeastern and western highlands are both known for their jade deposits, which account for their long-distance prehistoric exchange networks. Starting from the Qingtong Gorge and Mt. Helan in Ningxia, the middle Yellow River cut an S shape through the loess highlands. The southernflowing section of the Yellow River channel divided the loess highlands in half – the western loop in Shaanxi and the eastern loop in Shanxi. This distinctive formation linked the Mongolian Plateau and the loess highlands in the north with the great basins of Guanzhong and Jinnan in the south. The western loop approaches the Mongolian Plateau’s southern edge, where the pastoral empires to the north and agrarian empires to the south once fought over the numerous mountain passes across Mt. Yin (Li Feng 2006:82–83). Inside the western loop, the Ordos served as the buffer zone between the south and the north, through which the Great Wall was built during the late first millennium bce. To the south of the Great Wall, tributaries along the middle Yellow River formed a dendritic network of highland corridors for interactions between the highland societies and the political centers in the great basins. The fertile Jinnan Basin at the southern edge of the eastern loop connected with the Mongolian Plateau through a chain of highland basins along the Fen River, a major tributary of the middle Yellow River. Although the region within this eastern loop belongs to two modern provinces, i.e. Shanxi to the west of the Taihang mountain range and Hebei to the east of it, the entire region within the eastern loop was named Jizhou or Jifang in the Yu’s tracks classification of the legendary landscape (Zhongguo and Shanxisheng 2015:1120). I  will return to the sources for this archaic landscape classification and its significance for the wen ding symbolism in Chapter 8.

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Unlike the modern lower Yellow River, the archaic lower Yellow River drainage system’s tributary valleys straddled the Taihang mountain range (Shi Nianhai 1978, 1981;Tan Qixiang 1981;Wu and He 1991; Zou Yilin 1993).With Mt. Taiyue in central Shanxi as the watershed, the loess highlands supplied the middle Yellow River to the west and the archaic lower Yellow River to the east. Historically known as Taihang baxing, the eight passages of Taihang, multiple pathways traversing the mountain range connected the loess highlands west of Taihang with the alluvial plains of the archaic lower Yellow River to the east, contributing to the development of a cultural continuum on both sides of the mountain range. The entire Yellow River drainage basin, therefore, was a primarily highland phenomenon in early China.1 The western highlands fall between Mt. Liupan and the Hexi Corridor along the northern edge of the Tibetan Plateau, through which the upper Yellow River flows. The western highlands also include the upper Yangzi River tributary valleys in the eastern Tibetan Plateau and the highland basin of Sichuan. To the west of the Minshan mountain range, the tributary networks of the upper Yangzi River and the upper Yellow River flowed adjacent to each other in the eastern Tibetan Plateau, where prehistoric interactions occurred as early as the fourth millennium bce (Chen Wei 2012; Hein 2013a, 2013b). To the east of Minshan, multiple highland corridors connected the Sichuan Basin with the Guanzhong Basin north of the Qinling mountain range. The vast Xinjiang region between the Hexi Corridor and Central Asia can be divided into two halves along the Tianshan mountain range. Located between Tianshan and the Altai mountain range, the Beijiang region’s foothills provide the northwest gateways connecting the western highlands and the Eurasian steppes, either through the Yili River Valley or farther north through the Dzungarian Gate. The Eurasian steppes, consisting of vast, semiarid grasslands spanning from southeast Europe across Siberia, as well as the forest-steppes of the Altai in North Asia, border with the taiga forest to the north and the desert and valleys of Central Asia in the south. Located between the Tianshan mountain range and the Tibetan Plateau, the Nanjiang region consists of the Tarim Basin’s deserts and oases, which connected with Central Asia through the Wakhan Corridor to the Oxus (Amu) River, which flows westwards from the Pamir mountain range and Hindu Kush. After the expansion of pastoral economy during the third millennium bce, the steppes facilitated prehistoric interactions between the highland regions and North Asia. Oasis adaptations in Central Asia also encouraged the expansion of settlements around the Tarim Basin. The convergence of steppes and oasis economies in the Hexi Corridor transformed the western highland region into a major hub of prehistoric interactions that ultimately linked prehistoric China with the world of Central and Southwest Asia (Possehl 2002; Sherratt 2006; Kohl 2007; Frachetti 2012).

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The lowlands include the vast plains drained by the archaic lower Yellow River, the Ji River, the Huai River, and the middle and lower Yangzi River. Coastal and river navigations, as well as overland travels along these great rivers’ tributary valleys, facilitated interactions among communities across vast distances, contributing to the formation of shared cultural traditions. From north to south, numerous corridors and gateways served as major conduits for the transmission of knowledge, technology, and resources between highland and lowland. I  refer to the narrow alluvial plain between the Taihang mountain range and the archaic lower Yellow River as the Henei Basin, a geographic concept which was used in early imperial China and has important implications for understanding the Sandai historical landscape in the second half of this book. South of the Taihang mountain range, the Circum-Songshan region represents another important highland gateway.To the north of Mt. Song, four tributaries of the Yi-Luo River converged in the Luoyang Basin, before cutting through a low ridge and emptying into the Yellow River.To the south and east of Mt. Song, multiple tributary valleys of the Huai River Basin flowed toward the southeast, serving as communication arteries. Further south, the Shangluo Corridor along the upper Han River Valley connects the highland basin of Guanzhong and the copper-rich middle Yangzi in the lowlands. Given the diverse terrain types, claiming kingship over the Central Plains requires the political effort of forging the two highland basins of Jinnan and Guanzhong, the southern part of the Henei Basin, and the western part of the Huai River Basin into a political landscape centered in the Circum-Songshan region, e.g. the Luoyang Basin and the Zhengzhou region to its east. No longer an extension of the mountain ranges on the eastern edge of the highland regions, Mt. Song would instead become the political domain’s central pillar. These deviations between the natural terrain and cultural perception imply a political process of extraordinary scale and momentum. THE CULTURAL HISTORICAL CLASSIFICATION OF SPACE

Myth and legend were important components of the physical landscape’s cultural, political, and historical perception. While legendary accounts and mythical narratives were reworked and extrapolated during the early imperial era, many texts were formed prior to the emergence of any centralized government capable of canonizing a single view (Birrell 1993:19). Storytellers of diverse intellectual persuasions supported their arguments by drawing on various aspects and versions of myth and legends circulating in the shared cultural milieu of early China. Socially important stories often referenced subjects significant to storytellers, such as the ruling houses, their genealogies, and their native

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places, which help establish a sense of cultural identity. Even after they were transmitted to written text in the first millennium bce, oral transmission remained a significant means of keeping alive the tales from the distant past. The diverse and sometimes contradictory references to the events and ideology of the legendary era indicate that the rich repertoire of transmitted sources preserved their authors’ multiple perspectives. The “legends of the ancient tribal chiefs, heroes, and sages,” K. C.  Chang (1983:120) argues, “provide useful clues to our reading of the Lungshanoid archaeological record.” Chang’s perspective echoes that of R. G. Collingwood, who took “folk tales as recollections of earlier forms of social life, disconnected from the material worlds in which they took shape, but nevertheless merging into the historical consciousness of more recent societies” (Wengrow 2010:100). Part of the past legacy was embedded in the configurations of the legendary landscape, such as spectacular landmarks and famous ruins (Bradley 2000). Sacred mountains and other culturally significant natural places often served as destinations for political gatherings and religious pilgrimage (Snead 2004; McCorriston 2011; Snead et al. 2006). When dealing with legendary accounts, mythical narratives, and oral histories, neither their historicity nor the exact fit with archaeological patterns matters to our investigation at hand. Instead, legendary landscape narratives in the layered texts reveal temporal scale, spatial perimeters, and conceptual schemes about the societies in which these stories were told and, sometimes, even the social memories of the societies that these stories are attributed to. Compared with terrain-based and archaeology-based classifications, the nonary division of landscape in the wen ding story resembles what Wu Hung (1995:19) calls “internal classifications,” emic “classifications closer to the original classification than our own.” Scholarly efforts to reconstruct regional cultural traditions from patterns in legendary geography predate modern archaeological interests in cultural pluralism and diversity.This research turned a diachronic sequence of early regimes and dynasties into a synchronic narrative of plural cultural historical traditions, each with its own genealogy of mythical figures and legendary ancestors, as well as its distinctive ethos and organizational patterns. Fu Sinian (1935), for example, argues that the tensions between eastern (lowland) and western (highland) traditions characterize early China’s sociopolitical dynamics, predating the rising tension between the pastoral empires in the north and their agrarian rivals in the south during the imperial period. Xu Xusheng (1960) identifies three major cultural traditions as major players in the legendary era: the coastal Yi communities, the southern Miao-Man communities of the middle Yangzi

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River Basin, and the Hua-Xia communities in the loess highlands. The rise of kingship and early states in early China evolved from the interactions and confrontations of these major confederations. As a field archaeologist and cultural historian, Xu pioneered an integrated approach to textural narratives, historical geography, and archaeological landscape in reconstructing early China’s prehistory. Xu (1959) also identifies the Luoyang Basin in the Yi-Luo River Valley, the Ying River Valley south of Mt. Song, and the Jinnan Basin along the Fen River Valley as hotspots for the Xia legend, which led to his discovery of Erlitou, a major site in Sandai archaeology (Chapter  5). Xu’s legacy became a major source of inspiration for scholars of the multiregional paradigm in Chinese archaeology, e.g. Su Bingqi (1965), K. C. Chang (1986), and Shao Wangping (1987), whose work laid the intellectual foundation for this book. With an increasing interest in social memory and identity formation, storytelling once again became a critical component in anthropological studies of past societies: Maybe understanding Mississippianization – or any civilization – means understanding storytelling too, the tales of heroic superhuman men and women from, say, Cahokia, being the subject of epics told and retold across the American Midwest and South. Maybe, just maybe, archaeologists needed to think more about the ways and contexts in which stories are told and the ways that memories of places, peoples, and things are created. (Pauketat 2007:203)

The critical subject of inquiry for the study of storytelling in early China is the shift from a plural to a singular narrative of political and religious authority. The wen ding story about the creation of a set of vessels to symbolize the parts and the whole of the world of Yu’s tracks manifests such an important transition, which justify my choice of using it as the master narrative of this book. In the stories put down to writing in the first millennium bce, the central theme of legendary narratives made a significant shift from the competing confederations in remote antiquity to legends of early kingship at the end of the third millennium bce. Two interrelated narratives were associated with the transition in the late third millennium bce – stories about the emergence of legendary cultural heroes in predynastic polities in the Jinnan Basin, and stories about the flood-mitigation odyssey of the Great Yu, who also mapped out the landscape covered in his legendary journey (Xu 1960; Dorofeeva-Lichtmann 1995, 2009; Lewis 2006b). Numerous versions of the Yu legends presented to us in written sources from the first millennium bce shared these key components:  an archaic notion of kingship, a period of ecological crisis in the late third

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millennium bce, a classification of landscape based on rivers and major landmarks, a waterway-based tribute network leading to the Jinnan Basin, and an idealized world order represented in concentric rings from royal center to remote periphery (Li Ling 2014). The legendary accounts offer important emic categories from the ancient society’s perspective – the use of rivers, mountains, and significant landmarks to organize the landscape. A waterway-based conception of landscape is consistent with the patterns of traditional travels and manifest social networks (Smith 2005, 2007). The confluences of two rivers were meaningful nodal points for transportation, settlements, and gatherings in the river-oriented landscape. The adoption of a waterway-based approach to the prehistoric landscape in this book calls for reorienting the spatial perspective, particularly pertaining to the river networks’ role in interregional interactions. This approach invites us to look at landscapes of movement, e.g. trails, paths, and roads, which has distinctive advantages over the conventional classification schemes that divide close-knit interaction networks into arbitrary regional traditions (Snead et al. 2006). Among different notions of “ideological topography” (Flad and Chen 2013), the Yugong (Tributes of the Great Yu) vision is the most influential scheme in China’s political history – numerous dynasties used its spatial classification to organize their empires, and many place names from this geographic tradition remain in use today (Henderson 1994; Zhongguo 2002). The legendary landscape represents an imagined cultural realm defined at some point before the late first millennium bce, when texts incorporating these stories were produced. Its profound influence on historical and modern landscape classification makes it difficult to conceptually separate from it. Rather than seeing it as a fl aw, this entanglement between past and present makes a compelling case for investigating the formation process of this spatial ideology. If the nine bronze ding vessels symbolized a legendary landscape from a given moment in early China, whose perspective did they represent, and how did such spatial ideology emerge? How did it reconcile with other schemes of landscape classification in archaeological or historical observation? Depending on the spatial assumptions associated with storytelling, we can imagine conceiving multiple Chinas at different times in history.While many were lost, we can speak of the “Yu’s tracks China,” “Sandai China,” and “Imperial China,” all of which only partially overlapped and probably merged over time. Changes in the definition of axis mundi and landscape classification for these worlds reflect differences in the ideology associated with the political aspirations of each regime (Feng Shi 2015). I will address these questions by comparing archaeological and historiographical representations of the past in this book’s final chapters.

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ARCHAEOLOGICAL CLASSIFICATIONS: MULTIREGIONAL PARADIGM AND INTERACTION SPHERE

Archaeological advances through the twentieth century expanded the time frame of historical research in China. Prehistoric archaeology outlines the rise, decline, and regeneration of great political and religious centers leading up to the first historical civilization found in Yinxu. Archaeological inquiry further informs on diverse aspects of ancient society that were unavailable to people in the past: In certain respects, students of pre-imperial China today can call on fuller information and can assess it more accurately than the founding fathers of the Qin and Han dynasties.They possess a more comprehensive and clearer picture of China’s physical geography and its relation to the growth and distribution of material resources. Archaeology has revealed evidence of a type that was unknown and that serves to confirm or amplify that of the oral tradition and the written records that were available in 200 bc. (Loewe 1999:971)

Many processes defining the terms of the Sandai tradition unfolded during the prehistoric period, e.g. agriculture, metallurgy, ritual practices, and culinary forms. Archaeology provides a direct insight into these processes without relying on textural transmission of historical knowledge.

The Multiregional Paradigm A central challenge for the archaeology of early China is to reconcile the plurality of cultural traditions and the emergence of the Central Plains as a hegemonic tradition in historiography. During the 1930s, archaeologists at the Academia Sinica approached Yangshao culture and Longshan culture as two competing prehistoric traditions, corresponding to the dual origins of ancient Chinese civilization. Within this framework, the pioneers of Chinese archaeology took the highland-based Yangshao culture as the forerunner of the Xia civilization in the west, and the coastal Longshan culture as the origin of the Shang civilization in the east (Xu Zhongshu 1931; Fu Sinian et al. 1934; Fu Sinian 1935; Chen Xingcan 1997). Although the chronology and cultural history has since been significantly revised, the dual origins conceptual framework became a major source of inspiration for multiregional interaction perspectives on early China (Su 1965; Keightley 1985, 1987; Chang 1986; Wang Fan-sen 2000). The recognition of the stratigraphically based chronological difference between the Yangshao and Longshan cultures changed the foundation of this perspective. Proponents of the diffusion paradigm argue that the differences in material culture represented various phases or stages of social

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evolution. An Zhimin (1959), for example, argues that the Longshan culture evolved from the Yangshao culture, and later gave rise to the Sandai civilization in the middle and lower Yellow River Valley. The archaeological landscape can be envisioned as concentric circles around the cradle of civilization in the middle Yellow River Basin, whereas the advanced Central Plains cultures became the source of cultural diffusion. In his early works, K. C. Chang (1959a, 1959b) endorsed the diffusion argument for a rapid and extensive cultural expansion from the middle Yellow River Valley, which led to the development of the “Lungshanoid Horizon” in the fourth millennium bce. Refinement in regional chronology has since revealed synchronic developments in diverse regions and diachronic changes within each regional tradition. Inspired by the early multiregional paradigm of the Academia Sinica tradition, particularly the works of Xu Xusheng, Su Bingqi (1965) and K. C. Chang (1986) each offered their classifications for the emergence of early civilizations on the basis of interregional interactions (Figure  2.1). Their arguments for pluralism in regional development challenged the primacy of the middle Yellow River Basin as the cradle of Chinese civilizations, and contributed to the development of a  polycentric approach to the study of ancient civilizations (Wright 2005). Su Bingqi (1999:4–5) cautions against two misleading trends in historical research, namely approaching the rise of early civilizations in China as a unilinear development out of the Central Plains and taking the Marxist model of social evolution as history itself. Both run the risk of reducing the dynamic trajectories and cultural diversity observed in archaeology into static stages. Su (1965) argues that the prehistoric communities beyond the Central Plains displayed sophisticated cultural developments, and that their relationship with the middle and lower Yellow River Valley can be characterized as one of mutual influence and sustained interaction. To document the diverse regional trajectories and their place in the prehistoric world, Su Bingqi classified the archaeological landscape of China into six regional traditions with sustained contact – three inland traditions and three coastal ones (Su and Yin 1981). These regional societies were in turn situated in a broad interaction framework: the three highland regions interacted with Northeast Asia, the Eurasian steppes, and Central Asia, while the three coastal regions interacted with maritime East Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Indian subcontinent.The highland–lowland dichotomy used in this book generally maps on to Su’s inland and coastal groups. K. C. Chang considers the increasing interregional interactions as unfolding with increasing social complexity within each regional society, as well as the result of landscape transformations that closed the gap between the coastal regions and the highlands by approximately 4000 bce.With the flow of goods,

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2.1. K. C. Chang’s Prehistoric Chinese Interaction Sphere, 4000–3000 bce (redrawn by Li Min based on Chang 1986:235 Figure 197).

techniques, and knowledge among multiple interacting co-traditions, the Prehistoric Chinese Interaction Sphere took shape: First, all regional cultures in time became more extensively distributed and interaction between them was intensified, resulting, during the fourth millennium bc, in a sphere of interaction that set the geographic stage for the first historical Chinese civilizations. Secondly, each region’s Neolithic cultures became increasingly complex, diversified, and stratified, socially and culturally, and these trends led to the foundation of civilizations in these regions. (Chang 1986:234)

These interactions could include marriages, gatherings, alliance-making, pilgrimages, war, travels, prestige goods, cosmological knowledge, and other forms of contact and exchange (Li Xinwei 2004). The nature, intensity, and

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changing dynamics of interaction bear the key to the emergence of hegemonic powers based in the Central Plains.As I will elaborate in Chapter 4, Chang’s concept of an interaction sphere is an important building block for understanding the social and technological changes involved in the rise of the Sandai tradition. The sociopolitical transformation of multiregional interaction into the rise of the Sandai tradition in the historical Central Plains remains the central question for scholars of the multiregional paradigm. Su Bingqi (1999:65) argues that the central region, consisting of the Fen, Wei, and Yi-Luo river basins, functioned as a crucible, where regional traditions were forged into the Sandai civilization in Bronze Age China.Yan Wenming (1987) proposed a nested interaction model, with the Central Plains surrounded by five major regional traditions. These regional communities interacted with the Central Plains and with each other, as well as with communities at the outer orbit of the nested interaction network (Tong 1986). Both Su and Yan highlight that geographic proximity to multiple regional  traditions, instead of advanced social development, enabled the Central Plains to become a syncretic place that eventually hosted the Sandai civilization’s emergence. Even within the geographic extent of the historical Central Plains, the rise of Sandai dynastic regimes evolved within a multiregional framework.The major political theaters for investigating the rise of Sandai tradition focused on four great basins, i.e. the Xia in the Jinnan Basin and the Yi-Luo River Basin (including the Luoyang Basin), the Shang in the Henei Basin between the archaic lower Yellow River and the Taihang mountain range, and the Zhou in the Guanzhong Basin (Chang 1986; Li Ling 2003; Li Min 2017).2 The emergence of the Central Plains as a spatial concept of political significance, therefore, took place at the end of a long sociopolitical process, after numerous shifts in the constellation of political power since the fourth millennium bce (Zhao 2000, 2006). Understanding the Central Plains as a hegemonic discourse also raises the question of social memory and pluralism: With the rise of the Central Plains powers, what happened to the legacy of the previous political hegemonies? How did the knowledge of the past work itself into political representation associated with the rise of the first states? These are questions guiding my research on the archaeology of power in early China within an expanded temporal and spatial framework.

Sedentary Life and the First Tripod Tradition As technological choices are salient markers of social boundaries, material culture provides important attributes for archaeological classification: [T]hose ancient Chinese buildings and objects that survived to this day were constructed within the intellectual framework of their time and

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place, and … they therefore provide us with the insight into both the material way of life and the underlying cognitive framework of their periods. (Rawson 1999a:20)

Variations in ceramic assemblages have important bearing on understanding the relationship between political power and culinary techniques. Comparison between deeply entrenched cultural tradition and rapid changes in culinary forms allows us to identify deliberate efforts to manipulate culinary shapes for political representation, as seen in the case of the bronze ding vessels. The introduction, distribution, elaboration, and ritualization of the ding tripod vessels, in pottery and later in bronze, can be empirically studied as an archaeological phenomenon from the time that these vessel forms were first conceived in the Peiligang tradition (approximately the seventh and sixth millennium bce )(Li Youmou 2003; Zhang and Qiao 1992).3 The widespread monsoon maximum in north China c. 9000 cal. bp provided favorable conditions for the flourishing of early Neolithic villages along the middle and lower Yellow River valleys, as expressed in the Houli, Peiligang, Cishan, Laoguantai, and Dadiwan archaeological cultures (Liu and Chen 2012:32– 34). The process of neolithicization unfolding in these communities marks an important “economic transformation in which people exploited food differently from hunting-gathering communities, including particularly the domestication of plants and animals” (Liu and Chen 2012:46). The availability of storable foods, particularly nuts and cereals, and the technological improvements in the utilization of an expanding range of plant foods, e.g. the use of pottery and grinding tools, encouraged sedentary life and population change (Liu and Chen 2012:74). This new economic mode is interrelated with a range of changes in tool technology, settlement patterns, and social organization. The introduction of tripod construction during the Peiligang period marks an important elaboration in the ceramic technology of early China (Chang 1986; Gao and Shao 2005; Han 2015a) (Figure 2.2). Although it was not the oldest ceramic tradition in early China, the Peiligang tradition was important for several reasons. First, it was the first ceramic tradition associated with tripod construction. Second, its distribution generally coincided with the historical Central Plains and its adjacent regions. Third, it was closely tied to the expansion of sedentary life in early China, as the Peiligang tradition represents the end of a general trend away from more foraging-oriented human groups during the late Pleistocene toward more collecting-oriented communities during the early Holocene. As a horizon marker, the tripod forms were adopted by the fluent huntergatherer and early horticulturalist communities in the Guanzhong Basin (associated with the Baijia and Laoguantai material culture), the Henei Basin (associated with the Cishan material culture), and the Huai River Basin

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2.2. Early pottery ding tripod vessels used among the Peiligang communities and their neighbors during the seventh and sixth millennia bce (redrawn by Li Min from Han 2015b:38 Figure 8).

(associated with the Shuangdun material culture) (Han 2015a). The spread of this ceramic tradition coincided with the onset of the Mid-Holocene Climatic Optimum, occurring at around 10,000–7,500 bp, and peakd between 7,000 and 5,000 bp, which brought warm and humid climatic conditions to East Asia (Wang et al. 2005; An et al. 2005, 2006; Feng et al. 2006; Rosen 2007, 2008a; Wu and Liu 2004). From a technological perspective, the spread of tripod forms came with the development of kiln firing technology, a significant innovation from the openair production used in the initial phase of ceramic use (Zhongguo 2010). The tripod vessels were used for boiling, a culinary technique with great longevity in China. Widespread ceramic use, in the form of large cauldrons, cylinder vessels, or delicately built tripod vessels, was part of the general shift toward sedentary life based on farming. As Liu and Chen (2012:124) put it, the tripod vessels “reflect an emergent design suitable only for a stable residential mode, as the legs would be an obstacle to mobility.” A culinary tradition involving the use of tripod vessels was developing at this time, though it was far from becoming a symbol of political authority. The spread of tripod vessels suggests a technological and aesthetic choice that marked the cultural boundary between those adopting the new form

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and neighboring communities that continued to work with older technologies and forms, e.g. cylinder vessels in the northeast and large cauldrons in coastal regions. While any symbolic consideration associated with the tripod design has been lost to time, this innovation in culinary tradition endured through millennia leading up to the rise of the Sandai civilization. It was against this resilient and deeply engrained culinary tradition that signs of political elaborations and the invention of traditions were observed in Bronze Age China during the second millennium bce. As seen in the Jiahu cemetery, lowland communities associated with the Peiligang tradition also developed a rich inventory of material culture and technologies, e.g. musical instruments produced from bone, turtle-shell rattles, turquoise jewelry, ivory ornaments, river-deer canine scepters, pig feasting, and sophisticated fermentation techniques for producing alcoholic beverages from steamed rice (Henansheng 1999; McGovern et  al. 2004). At the Shuangdun site in the central Huai River Basin, the discovery of many pottery vessels with a rich repertoire of engraved signs provides an indication of communal gatherings, involving different communities at this major convergence of several tributaries with the Huai River’s main channel (Kan 2008). Millet cultivation eventually became the primary subsistence base and rice cultivation also expanded into the Yellow River Valley by the fifth and fourth millennia bce (Lee et al. 2007; Rosen 2008b;Yang et al. 2012). From the fifth millennium bce onwards, the communities associated with the Peiligang cultural tradition and their neighbors displayed significant differences in social structure. The coastal societies saw accelerated change toward marked social distinction, which presented a strong lead over their counterparts in the loess highlands, as seen through the ritual display of wealth and social distinctions in the mortuary context. Some of these coastal communities grew very large, e.g. nearly a thousand burials were documented in the Wangyin cemetery in the Huai River Basin, indicating the growth of permanent life (Zhongguo 2000). After an extended hiatus following the Houli Phase, the eastern extension of communities associated with the Peiligang material culture from the Huai River Basin brought the tripod construction to the coastal region of Shandong (Luan Fengshi 2013). This coastal extension of the Peiligang tradition, regionally known as the Beixin culture and later the Dawenkou culture, developed without significant interruption in the Shandong region until the early second millennium bce, when the Longshan communities associated with the Shandong Longshan culture eventually collapsed. Social inequality and wealth concentration left clear physical imprints on some of the large cemeteries associated with the Dawenkou material culture (Pearson 1981, 1988; Keightley 1987; Underhill 2000, 2002). Social distinction was expressed through the extravagant display of pig skulls and mandibles, along

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with elaborate pottery vessels in the inventory of funerary goods found in wellconstructed shaft burials (Kim 1994; Fung 2000). The Dawenkou elite in these cemeteries retained several traits of the Peiligang cultural tradition: pig feasting, drinking, and the ritual use of river-deer canine scepters and turtle-shell rattles (Gao and Shao 2005). The Dawenkou communities maintained extensive exchange networks with their neighbors in the middle and lower Yangzi. They also maintained the maritime trade route across the Bohai Gulf, through which jade products from the Liaodong Peninsula were imported (Okamura 1995). To the south of the Peiligang heartland, the middle Yangzi saw the earliest rice cultivation and ceramic production among hunter-gatherer communities during the early Holocene. During the seventh millennium bce, a network of rice-growing communities flourished from the middle to lower Yangzi (Hubeisheng 2006, 2007). At the site of Pengtoushan in the middle Yangzi, early farmers had built earthen enclosures (approximately 300 meters in diameter) to defend their rice paddies and villages since the fourth millennium bce. In the lower Yangzi, intrepid coastal communities had developed sophisticated lacquer ware, seafaring capability, and an elaborate culinary assemblage evolving around ceramic cauldrons for at least three millennia before the introduction of tripod vessels from the Huai River Basin communities during the late fifth millennium bce (Zhejiangsheng and Xiaoshan 2004; Jiang Leping 2013; Sun Guoping 2013; Jiao 2007, 2013). Several jade-working centers flourished from the late fifth to the fourth millennium bce, e.g. Beiyinyangying, Tianluoshan, and Fangjiazhou, which supplied the coastal elite of the lower Yangzi River Basin (Chang 1986:206). The elite tombs at Dongshancun in the lower Yangzi displayed remarkable evidence for the emergence of a warrior ethos and expansion of social distinction, whereas feasting was taken as the primary representation of an elite persona (Figure 2.3). Up to three meters long and two meters wide, these elite tombs were some of the most impressive burials from the fifth and fourth millennia bce, and were richly furnished with ceramics, jades, lithic objects, and presumably organic goods (Nanjing et al. 2010, 2015a, 2015b). Some elite persons at Dongshancun were also buried with their lapidary tool kits, consisting of an iron-rich stone drill, grinding stone, and quartz sand, indicating that the knowledge of and skill set for working jade were a source of societal prestige and status, starting a regional tradition that was significantly elaborated in the lower Yangzi during the third millennium bce (Zhang and Hung 2008; Zhang Chi 2012, 2015).

Communal Ethos of the Highland Society While coastal lowland society was on the path of accelerating social differentiation evolving around warrior elites, the social development on the loess

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2.3. The mortuary context and its feasting vessels from tomb m90 at Dongshancun (after Nanjing et al. 2010: Color Plate 3; image courtesy of Li Xinwei)

highlands greatly diverged from approximately the fifth millennium bce, when the social emphasis on a communal ethos dominated highland life associated with the Yangshao material culture (Han 2015b). Painted pottery, large amphorae, and large communal houses (up to 200 square meters in size) in the moated villages represented the foci of Yangshao social life in regions that later became the heartland of the Central Plains (Figure 2.4). With a small semi-subterranean tunnel entrance and a large fire hearth, the architectural design of these great communal houses was religiously replicated in Yangshao settlements through the fifth and fourth millennium bce.Within a community, such buildings were built and rebuilt at the same location according to the same plan. The walls and floors of these great structures were often painted bright red, indicating their ritual significance. Storytelling about myths and legends likely took place in association with trance and ritual performance.The large amphorae were probably used for the fermentation, transportation, and communal consumption of millet ale (Bao 2005a, 2005b, 2007a;Wang et al. 2016).The creation of communal mass burials marked an important ritual occasion for social solidarity in Yangshao society. These communities periodically collected the deceased members’ remains and buried them together in ossuaries in the settlement’s center, often under the central plaza, or outside

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2.4. Part of the Yangshao ceramic assemblage from the Miaodigou site and the reconstruction of a large house (f301) at Miaodigou (after Zhongguo 1959b:14–38 Figures 5, 6, 20, 21, 24).

of the settlement (Zhang Chi 2012:25). Sometimes pig mandibles were placed along the massive graves, perhaps to commemorate past feasting events held within the community. Yangshao society reached its apogee during the Miaodigou Phase of the fourth millennium bce (Song and Xue 2002; Han 2015b). Characterized by their extensive use of dots, spirals, and leaves, the Miaodigou painted wares were found across the highland regions, spanning from the Mongolian Plateau’s southern edge to the eastern edge of the Tibetan Plateau (Wang Renxiang 2010, 2011; Zhongguo 2010:209).Within this broad distribution area, thousands of sites of Miaodigou material culture have been identified, which had the greatest concentration in the middle Yellow River Valley, particularly the Jinnan Basin and the Lingbao-Ruicheng Corridor, south of Wangwu mountain range (Zhao Hui 2000). These Miaodigou sites shared several traits:  the extensive use of painted pottery and amphorae; village life centered on millet-based agriculture; large settlements and dense site distribution; and a lack of social differentiation (Lee 2007). Some Yangshao settlements were extraordinarily large, exceeding

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100 hectares. The Yangshao material culture, however, remained highly homogeneous through the fourth millennium bce. The highly consistent execution within each stylistic tradition suggests that several production centers, like Yangguanzhai in the Guanzhong Basin, may have supplied a large network of communities (Duan Hongzhen 1991; Wang Renxiang 2010). The movement of pots likely manifested religious and communal participation from an extensive Yangshao exchange network (Li Xinwei 2004). Although we cannot recognize a prominent center for the Yangshao society through size, population, ritual, or trade activity, recent archaeological investigation at the Zhudingyuan site, located in the narrow stretch of the middle Yellow River south of the Wangwu mountain range, revealed unusual concentrations of large settlements (up to 100 hectares) and several extraordinarily large community houses (up to 240 square meters) with red floors and interior walls (Zhongguo and Henansheng 2010). No compelling evidence for religious or political leadership, however, was found at the site until the end of the fourth millennium bc, when significant changes to the Yangshao society started to unfold. The development of the Yangshao tradition appears to represent a cultural choice to embrace an egalitarian ideology. Given the scale and momentum of this social phenomenon, it is remarkable that Yangshao society maintained a highly communal ethos that rejected marked social distinctions for two millennia. Proposals for leadership strategies, therefore, must account for the social mechanism that insisted on reproducing the communal ethos (Banpo et al. 1988; Xibei 200; Beijing and Zhongguo 2003). Similarly, generalizations from the minor wealth variations in Yangshao cemeteries must reconcile the fact that these variations were nowhere close to the social distinctions observed on the coast. The concentration of Miaodigou sites in the Jinnan Basin, the Guanzhong Basin, the loess highlands, and the western edge of the lowland plains generally overlapped with the areas later known as the Central Plains. The region, however, only served as a contact zone for the communities of the loess highlands and the lowlands during the Yangshao period. Yangshao-style large houses (approximately 200 square meters) were built at the Wangwan site in the Luoyang Basin (Beijing 2002). In the Nanyang Basin, ossuaries discovered in Xiawanggang and Baligang also adhered to the Yangshao ritual tradition (Zhang Chi 2015). In the upper tributary valley of the Huai River Basin, the Hongshanmiao cemetery includes hundreds of secondary burials interred in ceramic cylinder urns painted with a rich repertoire of images from the lost world of the Yangshao ritual tradition (Henansheng 1995).The Yangshao communities in the Circum-Songshan region had their own painted pottery production centers (Zhengzhoushi 2001; Han 2015b). The subsistence economy of these Yangshao communities displayed mixed characteristics. Besides millet

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farming, geomorphological surveys in the region identified sediment and phytolith evidence for rice paddy farming from the sixth to the third millennium bce, whereas agricultural intensification took place during the second half of the fourth millennium bce (Rosen 2008b:298–305). Signs of prestige items from this region, if any, were of coastal origin. The Yiquecheng cemetery in the Yi-Luo River Valley, for example, produced jade objects from the lower Yangzi (Zhang Chi 2012:18). Urn burials from the Qingtai cemetery produced not only jade objects, but the earliest evidence of woven silk textiles in China, presumably brought in from lowland regions, which may have been engaged in sericulture as early as the Peiligang period (Zhang and Gao 1999; Zhengzhoushi 1999; Gong et al. 2016). During the fifth and fourth millennia bce, the historical notion of the Central Plains as a geopolitical concept with a major political center would have been irrelevant to Yangshao society. When it was first discovered in the early twentieth century, Yangshao culture was taken as an archaeological marker of the Xia civilization – an archaeological elaboration to Fu Sinian’s dual model of early Chinese history (Xu Zhongshu 1931; Fan Wenlan 1955). After its great antiquity was established archaeologically, the Yangshao culture was taken as an evolutionary stage that predates the rise of private property and institutionalized social inequality in a Marxist social evolution paradigm (Gong and Yan 1981; Zhang Zhongpei 1985). Although current archaeological research has rejected both of these approaches, the Yangshao material culture is still regarded as a major prehistoric source of the Sandai civilization. In contrast to the coastal assemblages, however, none of the ceramic forms, set configuration, and designs on the painted vessels from the Banpo and Miaodigou ceramic assemblages contributed to the Sandai core symbol repertoire. Nevertheless, it was the dominant cultural tradition in the loess highlands and the regions that later became the heartland of the Central Plains. Understanding the region’s rise of political authority requires taking into account this significantly different social form in the region before the third millennium bce. Beyond the Peiligang world, these early farming communities maintained sustained interactions with hunter-gatherer communities to the north and south. With limited millet plantation practice, these  hunter-gatherer communities adhered to their deeply rooted cylinder vessel tradition until the introduction of tripod construction from the loess highlands during the late third millennium bce  (Neimenggu and Jilin 2012). Further north, millet was incorporated into the eastern Siberian hunter-gatherer diet by the middle of the fourth millennium bce (Miyamoto  2005). This difference highlights the multiplicity of interaction networks in early China, and the presence of

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cultural boundaries beyond which the tripod form was no longer associated with everyday culinary techniques. CONCLUSION

From the highlands to the coast, prehistoric interactions created a repertoire of shared cultural knowledge, including rice and millet agriculture, pig domestication, lithic and ceramic technology, carpentry and lacquer-working, cooking and fermentation techniques with associated culinary assemblages, and diverse ritual traditions. The development of these elementary forms of social life took several millennia. While exchange and borrowing is a consistent state among societies in contact, societies “define themselves rather by the refusal of borrowing than by its acceptance” (Mauss 2006:44). Together, these different societies in sustained contact made up the world of Neolithic China, which set the stage for the forthcoming changes leading up to the rise of state and kingship after the third millennium bce. Critics of the interaction spheres approach argue that it comes with an “implicit assumption of parallel evolutionary trajectories within interacting societies” (Pauketat 2007:180). This assumption may mask significant shifts in the configuration of political landscapes and reconfigurations of geopolitical alliances in the course of these interactions. Episodes of experimentation, expansion, contraction, collapse, and regeneration must be incorporated into our understanding of the dynamic interactions. Critical awareness of power asymmetry among communities with vastly different scales, political ideologies, and organizations helps us understand why certain regions, forms, and techniques rose to prominence, while others fell into oblivion. With the rise of a paramount mound center at Liangzhu in Hangzhou toward the end of the fourth millennium bce, the configuration of prehistoric China’s political landscape experienced a major shift. The emergence of these great mound centers on the coast came at the time of the Miaodigou society’s dissolution. The turn of the third millennium bce, therefore, presents an ideal benchmark for the end of parallel trajectories in interacting regional traditions, and the beginning of the florescence of paramount centers that left important legacies for the rise of Sandai civilization. This shift marks this book’s departure point.

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CHAPTER THREE

BEFORE THE CENTRAL PLAINS : THE PINNACLE OF NEOLITHIC DEVELOPMENT

Despite its rich stylistic variation, the ding tripod vessel of the Peiligang tradition remains the centerpiece of the ceramic assemblage among prehistoric communities of the Prehistoric Chinese Interaction Sphere (Figure 3.1). While interactions intensified among regional traditions, the trajectories of their political development diverged significantly by the early third millennium bce. The coast communities displayed a clear advantage in wealth, complexity, and cultural elaboration over their counterparts in the highlands. This presents a dramatically different pattern from the defining attributes of the classical tradition, thus serving as a baseline for investigating the political changes leading up to the rise of Sandai civilization in the Central Plains. The contrast offers critical insight on the nature and structure of change in the centuries to come. For these reasons, I organize this chapter in an east–west order, starting from coastal development and moving west into the highlands. I will first investigate the emergence of the Liangzhu paramount center in Pingyao and its associated coastal political network. This is followed by a study of the political development in the middle Yangzi and the Huai River Basin. Together, these lowland developments took place around the vast tributary network of the Huai River Basin, which connected these prehistoric centers like an inland sea and created a close-knit web of interaction (Figure 3.2). From here, I  turn to the changes and expanding interactions in the Late Yangshao society in the highlands, which set the stage for the introduction 42

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3.1. Pottery ding footed vessels used by regional communities during the third millennium bce (illustrated by Li Min based on Han 2015b: 158–93 Figures 53, 62, 63).

of metallurgy during the late third millennium bce. After this reorientation of political space away from the Central Plains-based perspective, I will put the rise of the Central Plains to the forefront of the archaeological inquiry in the following chapters, which underscores a dramatic shift in the constellation of power in early China. THE RISE OF THE LIANGZHU SOCIETY

Coastal Elaborations Toward the latter part of the fourth millennium bce, prehistoric communities in coastal China displayed marked social differentiation, as manifested in a strong cultural focus on jade and feasting activities involving the consumption of alcoholic beverages in exquisitely crafted vessels. Elite burials at the Lingjiatan cemetery in lower Yangzi were furnished with a large number of jade objects, mostly in the form of battleaxes, disks, and bracelets, in addition to ceramic assemblage and a deep vat for brewing (Anhuisheng 2006, 2008).

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3.2. Major prehistoric sites around the Huai River Basin during the late fourth and early third millennium bce.

The ritual display of battleaxes around the body of the deceased highlights the warrior ethos of these prehistoric communities, which became a common scene across lowland society during the third millennium bce (Figure 3.3). The variety of grave goods at Lingjiatan not only projects wealth and culinary elaboration, but also attests to the presence of an interregional elite exchange network, through which cosmological symbols, esoteric knowledge, and prestige goods may have flowed during the late fourth millennium bce (Li Xinwei 2004). Access to this wealth and knowledge sets the deceased apart from the rest of their community members, and also from their Yangshao counterparts in the loess highlands. The formation of this web of interactions predated the rise of major coastal centers during the late fourth millennium bce. As an elaboration of the local Neolithic traditions, the ceramic assemblage associated with these lowland communities revolved around a coastal set, consisting of ding tripod vessels for cooking, the dou mounted dishes for serving, and hu bottles for containing liquids (Han 2015b). These vessel shapes highlight the importance of feasting in lowland society and it is within this deeply engrained culinary tradition that various episodes of elaboration took place. Their eventual production in bronze during the second millennium bce makes culinary practice an important realm for understanding the cultural and technological changes leading up to the rise of the classical civilization (Dietler 1990, 2006).

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3.3. The richly furnished elite tomb m23 at the Lingjiatan cemetery (image courtesy of Shuo Zhi).

The Liangzhu Mound Center Political development observed at Dongshancun and Lingjiatan in the lower Yangzi was eventually overshadowed by the rise of Liangzhu mound centers at the end of the fourth millennium bce, which represents an unprecedented episode of political development in prehistoric China. Starting from approximately 3300 bce, mound constructions took place in a previously sparsely inhabited basin on the coast of Hangzhou Bay, approximately 300 kilometers southeast of Lingjiatan (Liu Bin 2007; Qin Ling 2013; Liu Yan 2014; Liu Yan et al. 2015). As the recession of the sea level exposed vast lakebeds, prehistoric communities drained the marshes, dug canals, and built mounds that were connected by long causeways to the largest mound center in early China (Liu Bin 2007:192). From its Early Phase (c. 3300–3000 bce) to its Middle Phase (c. 3000–2600 bce), the Liangzhu site at Pingyao expanded from a small settlement into a large mound center spanning an area approximately 15 kilometers on the east–west axis by 5 kilometers on the north–south axis, with ample evidence for remarkable social differentiation and concentration of wealth (Liu Bin 2007; Zhao Ye 2007; Qin Ling 2013; Liu and Wang 2014).1 Its emergence incorporated the existing cultural and technological traditions in the

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3.4. Corona image of the built landscape of the Liangzhu center around the rectangular shaped Mojiaoshan mound (USGS D086 079 S11 FEB 69 1106-2 AFT, line-drawing after Zhejiangsheng 2001:5 Figure 4).

lower Yangzi, particularly the earlier jade-working centers in the NanjingZhenjiang region, which declined around the time that the mound center emerged. Connected by causeways, dams, and aqueducts, the Liangzhu mound center was an agglomeration of major religious-cum-residential compounds concentrated in a vast built landscape of approximately 75 square kilometers, in which the central mound at Mojiaoshan and the mound clusters around it formed the core of the Liangzhu center (Liu and Wang 2014:32). The Mojiaoshan mound appears to have served as the focal point of Liangzhu religious and political development. Constructed of rammed earth around the turn of the third millennium bce , the massive rectangular mound measured approximately 10 meters high and covers an area of 30 hectares, about three-fifths of the size of Epang Palace (estimated to be 54 hectares) in the imperial Qin capital, making it the largest single structure in pre-imperial China (Figure 3.4). Three smaller mounds were built on top of the large mound platform, which probably once supported temples or palaces. The discovery of rows of evenly spaced postholes, numerous large pillar bases, extensive rammed earth foundations, intricately carved wooden beams, and a large number of burnt adobe fragments on the mound platform suggests the presence of monumental architecture on the central mound (Zhejiangsheng 2001, 2005b). Deposits of ash and burnt clay in alternating layers suggest a

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complex life history for the structure. After the middle of the third millennium bce, an impressive 60-meter-wide rammed earth causeway was built around the central mound. It was constructed on a layer of rocks quarried from nearby mountains.The causeway enclosed an area of 300 hectares with eight openings that connected canals inside and outside the enclosure (Liu and Wang 2014:31). Around the central mound, several mound clusters were used as raised ritual platforms and elite cemeteries at various phases of Liangzhu’s occupation, which provides a striking parallel to the great mound center at Cahokia, part of the prehistoric Mississippian society in North America. Like in Cahokia, these mounds probably served as the important political stage in the life of the elite, who conducted “ceremonial displays watched by the gathered people on formal constructed plazas below, who lived there or gathered there for major annual festivals and important religious events” (Pauketat 2004:49). Liu Bin (2007:193) proposes that at least some of the ritual activities performed on the platform were aimed at tracking time, by establishing alignment with the solar movement and mountain peaks during equinox and solstice. In Bronze Age China, time-mapping ceremonies were closely associated with defining the location of axis mundi, the central place through which religious communication with the sacred allegedly took place (Pankenier 2013). Their presence attests to “an ongoing construction of place and collective memory” that occurred “through carefully orchestrated and meaning-laden earthen and stone depositional practices” (Pauketat 2007:180). After their initial use as ritual platforms, these mounds became the loci of elite tombs richly furnished with jades. Elevated above the rest of the Liangzhu community, both the living and the dead, the incorporation of the elite burials in these ritually significant mounds merged the elite persona and their authority with the sacred landscape of the Liangzhu world. Like Mississippian mounds in North America, the construction of these Liangzhu earthen mounds was a reflection not simply of political institutions, but also of “institutions coming into being” (Pauketat 2007:42 italics original). In a similar fashion, the embodiment and emplacement of these great mounds indicates that the ruling elite exercised their religious and political dominance over the surrounding countryside through a complex repertoire of social, political, and religious symbolism. This tradition of mound construction as a defining attribute of the Liangzhu landscape has no parallel in later Sandai civilization in the Central Plains. Structured around river transportation, a network of canals, linear mounds, and causeways connected the Liangzhu mound center with villages, bodies of open water, and rice paddies in the region. Dams and causeways were built using the same techniques as the mounds, indicating organized labor and planning (Liu and Wang 2014). These large linear structures were causeways to live on, rather than defensive ramparts. As seen in Meirendi, they were shielded

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with wooden beams and planks, complete with wooden piers and stone decks, for docking canoes and sailboats (Zhejiangsheng 2015a). The discovery of tens of thousands of artifacts of pottery, lithic material, jade, wood, lacquer, bone, basketry, and bamboo from residential debris in marshy deposits alongside the causeways represents every aspect of daily life based on estuarine systems of the Yangzi River Delta, e.g. food utensils, implements, toys, and clothing accessories. The discovery of carp bones, snails, and freshwater mollusks in the deck-side deposit at Meirendi, as well as shark teeth from elite burials, attests to active exploitation of aquatic resources by Liangzhu society. The diverse inventory of these archaeological finds and excellent preservation of organic remains not only offers minute details of Liangzhu material culture underrepresented in other sites, but also serves as control points for documenting changes in following centuries: the presence or absence of new species or technology in the archaeological record represents actual changes in cultural practice instead of research bias. It is critical, therefore, to keep these control points in mind as we approach the changes leading up to the Bronze Age in forthcoming chapters. The construction of waterfront buildings along the deck closely resembles the traditional riverside towns on the lower Yangzi. Rivers and canals may have taken the place of streets and boulevards as the major routes of transportation. The current settlement pattern reconstructed by the distribution of earthen mounds, however, only represents the tip of an iceberg: the residential areas between the mounds remain deeply buried under sediments from rising seawater at the end of the third millennium bce. Manipulation of waterways is a major undertaking of Liangzhu landscape transformation. Besides causeways for residential and transportation purposes, Liangzhu society also constructed a series of dams to manipulate the hydraulic regime in and around the mound center (Liu Yan 2014). Along the foot of the mountain on the northern edge of Liangzhu, a double-walled structure 6,500 meters long and 50 meters wide may have functioned both as a dam for diverting floodwater away from the central mound and as an aqueduct for channeling water from the mountain valleys toward the reservoirs on the northwest corner of Liangzhu. In the northwest corner of the Liangzhu mound center, a series of earthen dams and reservoirs appear to have functioned as part of a sophisticated hydraulic system for water management for channeling floodwater in monsoon seasons and for irrigation of the rice paddies in case of drought (Zhejiangsheng 2015b).With a combination of long dams running along the northern foothills and short dams connecting the two mountains, the twotiered reservoirs thus created could also facilitate water transportation and flood mitigation (Zhejiangsheng 2015b:13). Built around 2900 bce, the major

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dam at Ganggongling of the upper dike system measures approximately 10–20 meters tall, 100 meters wide, and 200 meters long (Zhejiangsheng 2015b:7). Many of these public works employed the same construction techniques and material, using basketloads of greyish-green mud for the foundation, presumably from digging canals (Liu and Wang 2014:36). The execution of these projects involved planning, investment, supervision, and massive labor mobilization, all attesting to the extraordinary vision of Liangzhu leaders in transforming their world (Zhejiangsheng 2015b). The dense distribution of canals, wells, and rice paddies around Liangzhu sites attests to intensifying rice agriculture around the estuaries of Hangzhou Bay, where rich environments were closely juxtaposed. In addition, rich botanical and faunal remains in waterlogged sites point to flourishing fishing, foraging activities, and aquaculture. Together, the abundance of food from diverse sources in the fertile region made it possible for the community to engage in feasting activities and alcohol production. The wealth of Liangzhu helped sponsor wars, expeditions, and craft production of prestige goods, e.g. jade, silk, lacquer, and fine ceramics.2 The enormous scale of its mound constructions, the extraordinary concentration of wealth in jades and possibly also silk textiles, and the range and quality of material culture produced by craft specialists at Liangzhu marked a clear distinction from other communities in early China during the third millennium bce. Some of the products and raw materials, e.g. cinnabar used as pigment for lacquer production, were likely traded in from the middle Yangzi through well-established arrangements. As the inventory of material remains from Meirendi and Bianjiashan shows, exchange of produce, fish, wild game, aquatic products, and utensils probably took place around the piers and causeways. These activities, inferred from archaeological remains, suggest that the mound center was the nexus of an extensive Liangzhu exchange network during the early third millennium bce.

Military Ethos and Cosmogony Resting in nested wooden coffins, elites of the Liangzhu society were buried with a remarkable number of elaborately carved jade items. The acidity of lower Yangzi soil has stripped many organic furnishings once included in the mortuary inventory, e.g. lacquer, ivory, silk, foodstuffs, and feathers. Although certain types of jade objects were frequently used for elite burials, e.g. bi disks, cong cylinders, there was no prescribed set configuration of these jades to indicate a well-consolidated social hierarchy in Liangzhu society; it is difficult to distinguish mortuary gifts contributed by other elite mourners from personal possessions of the deceased used for marking their social persona.

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The burial syntax closely resembles that of the Lingjiatan tomb m23 a few centuries earlier, where the importance of the deceased appears to be demonstrated by the inflow of gifts contributed by participants from an extensive social network. In this more open funerary context, the participants who contributed the burial goods helped define the scene and the memory of the funeral event. This sets Liangzhu apart from the representation of political authority in the classical tradition in Bronze Age China, where elite ranks were marked according to sumptuary rules (Falkenhausen 2006). The source of power for Liangzhu leadership appears to have derived from a combination of military prowess, wealth, religious authority, as well as the specialized knowledge and technology for producing the jade objects that marked these qualities in Liangzhu society. Consistent with the coastal elite tradition from the early fourth millennium bce, e.g. Lingjiatan and Dongshancun, the copious display of jade and stone battleaxes in elite tombs suggests that the military ethos was an important aspect of Liangzhu leadership. War expeditions were probably an important affair in Liangzhu communities, both within such communities and against other cultural groups.War captives might be the source of human victims occasionally observed in elite tombs at regional centers, e.g. Huating, Jiangzhuang, Zhaolingshan, and Fuquanshan (Zhao Ye 2007:215–16). Besides their participation in the construction of these mounds and other public structures, members of Liangzhu society forged their collective identity through their participation in war, expeditions, and religious gatherings. The central image of the Liangzhu religious cult was represented by the iconography of a fierce-looking figure, wearing a feather crown and possibly a mask (Figure  3.5). Its upper body took human form, while the lower body transformed into a feline, where the breasts of the human figure served as the eyes for the beast. The introduction of a new repertoire of jade forms, e.g. cong cylinders, along with the presence of a new iconography, suggests religion may have been the underlying force for the rapid influx of population into the newly developed mound centers in the lower Yangzi. Chang (1983) interprets the human–feline combination as an image of domination:  a human being riding atop an animal as a shamanistic vehicle. The image probably represents a major deity revered in Liangzhu society, possibly a war god associated with cosmogony in Liangzhu ideology, or a mythohistoric apical ancestor, like the Polynesian culture hero Tiki, as observed by Henry Wright. It could be a newly invented religious tradition, or a significant elaboration of existing ones, lending a religious veneer to the warrior leaders of Liangzhu society.The spread of such new ideology represented by the iconography had major political implications for forging new identities and solidarity among culturally heterogeneous groups, and for mobilizing them for expansionist activities.

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3.5. A Liangzhu cong cylinder from tomb m12 at the Fanshan cemetery with Liangzhu iconography engraved on the surface (image courtesy of Fang Xiangming).

The iconography was engraved on all major categories of jade objects, including the jade battleaxes held by its paramount leader buried in the Fanshan mound (Zhejiangsheng 2005a). Besides its representation on jades, the iconography was likely also depicted on perishable media, e.g. textiles, shields, flags, murals, and wooden architecture, dominating all realms of social activities in the mound centers with an “inescapable tyranny of symbol” (Wechsler 1985:32 cited in Kesner 1991:48). The emergence of this religious cult allowed the Liangzhu elite to declare that their authority was endorsed by and catered to the interest of the supreme figure. Across the Liangzhu world, people organized their lives with repetitive and precise representations of the feather-crowned figure to form an ideal constellation of what the image represented. Studies on Aztec society’s ritual focus on precise representations offer a critical insight into the symbolic potency of Liangzhu iconography, where “supernatural forces and sacred items that are animate can be approached only by those wearing the appropriate attire and carrying the appropriate objects” (Marcus 2007:64). Religious representation using different media, the construction of monumental mounds, and a sophisticated craft industry to manufacture elite art in jade and other material in Liangzhu society presents a striking resemblance to many prehistoric civilizations in the New World, where religion, military ethos, expansionist ideology, and political leadership were closely intertwined (Conrad and Demarest 1984; Marcus 2007; Pauketat 2004, 2007). The jades with iconography were likely components of a more comprehensive set of ritual objects constituting the proper apparatus for engaging with the supernatural figure. With the rise of the Liangzhu cult, the distinctive cong cylinder was added to the traditional repertoire of jade objects in prehistoric China. Square-shaped outside and rounded inside, the cong cylinder appears

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to have evolved from a bracelet, whereas the representation of iconography in full or in simplified version on these jade objects highlighted their symbolic association with the feather-crowned figure (Hayashi Minao 1990). As I will elaborate in the rest of the book, this distinctive Liangzhu jade form became a hallmark of the Prehistoric Chinese Interaction Sphere during the Longshan period after the collapse of Liangzhu society and was later incorporated into the repertoire of primary symbols of the Sandai society, thus serving a medium for the transmission of social memory from prehistoric to classical tradition. The spread of the Liangzhu religious ideology was supported by highly organized craft production (Helms 1993; Sun Zhixin 1993). Alongside finished jade objects, some elite tombs were furnished with semi-finished products, cores removed from making cylinders, jade-working tools, and multiple pieces fashioned from the same raw materials, indicating that the production of these jade objects was directly supervised  – if not actually carried out  – by the Liangzhu elite. The mutually exclusive categories of political leadership, elite warriors, priests, and artisans in conventional schemes, therefore, may not apply to Liangzhu society, where the technological knowledge of production appears to be an integral part of the elite persona. An intimate knowledge of jade working was probably necessary for bringing about the efficacy of the supreme figure through iconographic representations. Technology, in this case, became an inherent source of religious and political authority in Liangzhu society. This represents a different pattern from Sandai society, where the elite and artisans appear to be separated by a clear social boundary and the knowledge, labor, and products of the artisans were subject to the exclusive control of the ruling elite. It is important, therefore, to document how such a separation developed and became institutionalized over time, rendering technology, and those with knowledge of it, into subjects of political control. This transition is key to understanding the sources of knowledge and power in the wen ding narrative.

Feasting and Culinary Assemblage Feasting activities occupied center stage in the creation of social relations and shared cultural experience in the mound centers and across prehistoric China. Meat, cereals, alcoholic beverages, and food vessels comprise a full culinary syntax (Sherratt 1991:55). Domestic pigs provided the primary source of animal meat in the feasting activities before the introduction of cattle and sheep/goats during the late third millennium bce. Although there were no signs of political and ritual elaboration of the ding tripod vessel, the vessel form represents an important cultural marker shared by Liangzhu and other lowland communities through the third millennium bce.

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Various forms of spouted jugs, beakers, steamers, strainers, tripod pitchers, and deep vats attest to a flourishing craftsmanship of brewing in Liangzhu and other lowland societies. Elaboration in ceramic assemblages in lowland society was perhaps associated with advances in the techniques for production and consumption of alcoholic beverages made from steamed rice. By the end of the fourth millennium bce, lowland society had perfected the amylolysis fermentation technique, which exploits a mixture of specialized fungi in a starter to break down the carbohydrates of steamed rice into fermentable sugar (Bao 2005c, 2007a; McGovern et al. 2005:264; Bao and Zhou 2007:10).3 It was this technique, instead of the fermentation of millet ale in Yangshao amphorae, that defined the elite tradition of the Sandai civilization. The heating and filtering processes involved in the production and consumption of rice wine required a specific inventory of vessel forms, which may have informed the technological choices in the bronze production of these shapes during the second millennium bce. The rice used for fermentation was steamed, not malted, using tempered ceramic steamers for fracture resistance under intense heat. Fermentation took place in heavily constructed deep vats, rather than amphorae. Before consumption, rice wine was often heated and then flavored with fruit and aromatic plants, which involved the use of a heating vessel, such as the high-fired white ware tripod pitcher (McGovern et al. 2004). The rice wine was then consumed from either a goblet or highstemmed cups made of fine ceramics or lacquer (Underhill 2002). This is consistent with the presence of the deep vat, the gui tripod pitcher, and the gu goblet, used for the fermentation and consumption of alcoholic beverages in these lowland sites. High-end drinking vessels were made with lacquer in Liangzhu society. Brilliantly painted red lacquer vessels, e.g. mounted dish, the gu goblets, wine basins, cups, plates, and deep bowls, from waterlogged canals and marshy deposits at Bianjiashan at the Liangzhu mound center, for example, reveal sophisticated forms and designs. Many lacquer wares were decorated with intricate motifs that resemble the design repertoire for fine ceramics at Liangzhu and also later for bronze vessels. Because natural lacquer requires a warm temperature and high humidity to dry, the lower Yangzi has a distinct advantage in lacquer production, for which its craft tradition dates back to at least the sixth millennium bce in this region. The traditional notion of aesthetics and materiality associated with the production of and consumption with lacquer and thin black ware formed the conceptual basis for cultural responses to the first bronze vessels in the early second millennium bce (Wu 1995). Lustrous surface texture, thin-walled vessel construction, as well as luxurious décor applied by painting and engraving on lacquer ware provided the inspiration for the production of thin black wares with burnished surfaces in Liangzhu and other lowland sites. The increasing

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demands for thinner and more elaborate wares drew potters from different communities together into a web of interaction and emulation. As this lifestyle spread, it became the prevailing aesthetic tradition before the advent of the Bronze Age, perfected to an extraordinary level at the end of the third millennium bce by Shandong Longshan master potters.This pattern of technological elaboration structured the way that the first bronze vessels were perceived and ritualized. I will elaborate this point in the next two chapters on the transition to the Bronze Age in prehistoric China.

Coastal Configuration of the Liangzhu World The Liangzhu world comprised regional centers, towns, and villages in lowlands, which were connected through river and coastal navigations. During the first half of the third millennium bce, Liangzhu society had built a large coastal network spanning from the Huai River Basin in the north to the Pearl River Basin in the south (Figure 3.6). With a concentration of several major mound centers, the Circum-Lake Tai region formed the core of the Liangzhu political network in lower Yangzi. Smaller mound centers were located within a 200-kilometer radius from the Liangzhu site, probably representing regional centers in the orbit of the great mound center. Similarity in set configuration, material, and craftsmanship of the jade objects from the elite cemeteries in these regional centers suggests close ties with the Liangzhu mound center, as well as with other regional centers. With their construction of mounds, mound-top cemeteries, and canals, the residents in these regional centers modeled their settlements after the Liangzhu mound center, thus replicating a highly recognizable Liangzhu cultural pattern.The process of incorporating the local leadership into a Liangzhu social order could be observed in the hybrid cultural tradition at sites like Huating in the lower Huai River Basin, approximately 450 kilometers north of Liangzhu (Nanjing 2003). Within the well-planned cemetery, the large elite tombs were furnished with imported Liangzhu jades and a ceramic assemblage from the Liangzhu heartland.The medium and small burials, however, adhered to the local ceramic tradition associated with the Dawenkou material culture of the Huai River Basin. Although the elite figures buried in the Huating cemetery were furnished with a full assemblage of Liangzhu jade cylinders and diagnostic ceramics, the presence of head deformation and the deliberate extraction of incisors from the skeletal remains, as well as the ritual incorporation of river deer canines and deep vats, suggest the deeply entrenched Peiligang-Beixin-Dawenkou ritual tradition (Zhongguo 2000; Gao and Shao 2005). Since Dawenkou body modifications were generally performed during their childhood, these local elites of the Huai River Basin were likely brought up in Dawenkou

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3.6. The distribution of Liangzhu material culture assemblage during the early to middle third millennium bce (left, illustrated by Su Mingming) and the elite tomb m3 at Sidun in Changzhou (right, after Nanjing 1984:2 Plate 2).

society, but acquired the trappings of Liangzhu tradition through their participation in its expanding religious and political network.The display of weapons and the presence of human victims in these local elite tombs suggest that they were probably warrior elites incorporated into the Liangzhu political enterprise to secure its northern frontier. Approximately 500 kilometers upstream from the Liangzhu heartland in the lower Yangzi, communities in and around Xuejiagang were incorporated into the Liangzhu political network in the early Liangzhu period (Anhuisheng 2004). The tombs of Xuejiagang warrior elites were furnished with miniature Liangzhu-style jade cong cylinders alongside a large inventory of battleaxes and long stone saber knives. The ceramic assemblage suggests that Xuejiagang briefly served as the western stronghold of the Liangzhu domain before the region was depopulated in the third millennium bce. Approximately 1,000 kilometers southwest of the Liangzhu heartland, the elite tombs from the Shixia cemetery in the Pearl River Basin produced more than a dozen Liangzhu-style jade cong cylinders in association with a local

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ceramic assemblage and large numbers of stone battleaxes (Guangdongsheng et al. 2014). While they closely resemble the Liangzhu originals in design and craftsmanship, these jades appear to have been made with local materials by artisans with intimate knowledge of the Liangzhu jade-working tradition. Again, local warrior elites probably participated in the Liangzhu religious and political enterprise. Because the vast area separating the two regions was inhabited by diverse cultural groups, Liangzhu and Shixia appear to have been connected primarily by river or coastal navigation. This southern enclave provided the Liangzhu centers potential access to the resources from coastal regions of the South China Sea.  From the Huai River Basin to the Pearl River Basin, local elites donned Liangzhu regalia, connecting them to the great mound center in the lower Yangzi. These objects were not traded as prestige goods detached from their  cultural, political, and religious context. Rather, they were emblematic objects  to people within the Liangzhu network, defining membership for communities through a shared recognition of their symbolic power. The close association of these jade objects with battleaxes in the elite contexts of regional centers shows that military ethos and religion mutually influenced each other in the creation of a broadly defined Liangzhu world.

The Sandai Connection Liangzhu society created the first hierarchical political and religious network in early China with a well-established set of symbols for marking social distinction. The spread of Liangzhu cultural and religious tradition erased the regional variations in its core regions of lower Yangzi, creating an easily recognized pattern of social life and material culture. The cultural dynamics of sites on the frontier of the Liangzhu religious and political network attest to how expanding political hegemony encompassed significant cultural diversity. Any discussions on social memory, state formation, and emergence of civilization in early China, therefore, need to address the role of Liangzhu in regard to its contribution to, as well as its difference from, the Sandai tradition. While we still do not fully understand the nature of Liangzhu social structure and its leadership, it was clear that a major episode of religious and political development took place at the site, which had the potential to leave important legacies for the political and cultural history of early China. The scale and complexity of Liangzhu society were unrivaled during the third millennium bce, placing Liangzhu society in a class of its own in early China. Its great mound center is similar in scale and organization to Eridu and Susa in West Asia, Cahokia, Moundville, early Monte Alban in Oaxaca, and many Early Horizon centers in Peru (Pauketat 2004; Wright 2005, 2006; Marcus and

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Sabloff 2008).They are all centered on large constructed open spaces, including associated elite residences, burials, and craft-working areas. Each included peripheral residential areas often for generalized food producers. This questions our conventional wisdom on state formation as a Bronze Age phenomenon in early China. While scholars may debate whether Liangzhu represents the first episode of state formation in early China, we cannot overlook the potential contribution to episodes of political developments leading up to the rise of Sandai states in the second millennium bce. Besides scale, Liangzhu society exhibited an unprecedented concentration of wealth, which is a defining attribute of civilization. “[M]aterial wealth in concentrated form,” Chang (1983:124) argues, “is both a result of and a requisite for political authority.” The amount of wealth amassed by the Liangzhu high elite surpassed that of any contemporaneous chiefly figures in early China and would be considered outstanding even by the standard of early Bronze Age China, e.g. Erlitou and Zhengzhou. Liangzhu society also utilized a majority of the technologies and material culture known in early China at the time, e.g. jade, ivory, textiles, leather, lacquer, and carpentry. The perfection of these technologies and craft skills defined the aesthetics and values of Sandai civilization and its immediate predecessors. Liangzhu iconography and its associated new jade forms also served as important sources for the repertoire of core symbols in the Sandai civilization, including the iconography on bronze vessels. Without these sophisticated technologies and artistic traditions, the Sandai tradition would look very different. Liangzhu society also displayed some major differences from the Sandai political tradition. First, the estuarine and maritime orientation of the Liangzhu political network presents a sharp contrast with the Sandai political landscape based in the middle Yellow River Basin. From the perspective of the Liangzhu mound center in the lower Yangzi, the area later known as the Central Plains had little political or economic significance. From the perspective of the Zhou storyteller from the Luoyang Basin, however, the middle and lower Yangzi fell beyond the margins of the Central Plains and were inhabited by uncivilized southern tribes without history. Second, the spatial configuration of the Liangzhu mound center does not appear to resemble the urban layout of historical cities in the Central Plains. A legible city would be one of which the districts, landmarks, or pathways are easily identifiable and are easily grouped into an overall pattern (Lynch 1960:3). With mounds, canals, piers, and causeways, the layout of the Liangzhu mound center would appear rather alien to anyone brought up in Bronze Age cities of the Central Plains. Although they made extensive use of river valleys to facilitate transportation, the royal centers of Sandai civilization were generally land-bound settlements. The Liangzhu paramount center is also significantly

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larger than Bronze Age cities. Spanning an area of approximately 75 square kilometers, Liangzhu was five times the size of Zhengzhou and three times the size of Yinxu, two of the largest Bronze Age royal centers during the second millennium bce. The Mojiaoshan mound alone is equivalent to the size of Daxinzhuang, a major Shang stronghold in eastern China (Chapter 6). Third, the range of Liangzhu technologies and the geographic configuration of resources differed from those of Sandai society. Metallurgy and pastoralism are consistently absent from the rich inventory of Liangzhu material culture. Most of the resources of value in Liangzhu society were available within its territory, i.e. jade, silk, and lacquer, which were associated with technologies perfected in the lower Yangzi since the fifth millennium bce. Jade, for example, was quarried from outcrops around the Lake Tai region and carved at Liangzhu workshops like Lucun at the east end of the Tangshan aqueduct, where discoveries of anvil stones, sandstone, quartzite tools, jade blanks, and leftover pieces from the production of cong cylinders, disks, battleaxes, bracelets, and beads have been made. Feathers, ivory, and cinnabar would be obtained from other regions through elaborate trade arrangements. The knowledge of working with them, however, fell within the local repertoire of technologies. This localized configuration of resources, knowledge, and technology presents a very different pattern from Bronze Age society in the Central Plains, where the uneven distribution of major minerals, e.g. copper, tin, and jade, made the creation of an interregional network necessary for their procurement. Access to these resources became a major impetus for the expansion of Sandai states (Chang 1983; Liu and Chen 2003). Although poor preservation of tubers and fruits reduced the full spectrum of plant and animal remains, it is clear that herding animals and wheat cultivation were absent in Liangzhu society. Also, cowrie shells, a major representation of value in the Sandai civilization, were completely absent from the extraordinarily rich aquatic resources at Liangzhu and other coastal sites. This strongly contrasts Longshan and Bronze Age society, which I will elaborate in Chapter 4. Finally, the two traditions exhibit major differences in political and religious representation. Based on their close resemblance in style and symmetrical layout, scholars proposed an art historical connection between the Liangzhu iconography and the elaborate mask motifs on Sandai ritual bronze vessels in the second and first millennium bce, the very images commented upon by the Zhou storyteller in the Zuozhuan passage of the opening chapter (Chang 1983; Hayashi Minao 1990; Wu 1995). The iconographies on Liangzhu jades and Sandai bronze vessels, however, differ in their subject matter. While the Sandai bronzes used a similar form to represent many creatures, Liangzhu iconography appears to repetitively portray a single supreme figure. These two iconographic traditions, therefore, may have very different significance in their respective religious contexts.

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Change in symbolic representation is also observed in jade forms. Based on descriptions of their ritual significance in Zhou society, Chang (1983) argues that Liangzhu cong cylinders symbolized axis mundi, connecting the powers of the living with the dead, the supernatural, and the cosmological world. Given the large quantity and continuous distribution of these jade objects among the Liangzhu elite, however, it is unlikely that these items were exclusively associated with shamans and religious leaders. Instead, they were probably used in communal events, e.g. war dances for mobilization or celebration by the entire Liangzhu warrior elite. The jade objects might even be portable versions of large wooden posts erected at central places in their communities, which served as the foci of ritual and political gatherings (Liu Bin 2007:105–8). Most significantly, the jade cong was not used as part of the ritual set as described in the Zhou ritual texts, which included zhang scepters and gui tablets that only appeared during the Longshan period (Chapter 4). If the Liangzhu iconography and jade forms were indeed incorporated into the Sandai bronze décor and ritual jade assemblage, their symbolic meaning may have changed. I will argue in the next chapter that their role as markers of axis mundi in the Zhou tradition probably derived from the invention of ritual traditions in the highland Longshan society at the end of the third millennium bce.This change manifests religious and political reconfigurations after the collapse of Liangzhu society in approximately 2300 bce. Current evidence, therefore, suggests that Liangzhu made a significant yet distant contribution to the development of the high culture in Bronze Age China, separated by a period of remarkable transformation. An investigation into the rise of political authority in the Central Plains, the definition of a central place in the Luoyang Basin, and the development of a repertoire of core symbols centered on bronze vessels, therefore, needs to use this prehistoric mound center as its reference point for understanding continuities and differences in cultural patterns. To better understand the process of transformation at a continental scale, we also need to first investigate the dynamics of its contemporaneous societies, especially those falling into the regions later known as the Central Plains. LOWLAND SOCIETY IN THE HUAI RIVER BASIN AND THE MIDDLE YANGZI

Multiple large interregional networks emerged in the lowland regions of the Huai River Basin and the middle Yangzi River Basin during the time Liangzhu dominated the coast. Their marked differences from Liangzhu reveal significant variability in lowland political development. At the same time, connections between these prehistoric networks laid the foundation of the

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third-millennium world from which Bronze Age society took shape at the end of the millennium.

The Dawenkou Society in the Huai River Basin Starting from the end of the fifth millennium bce, shared material culture and body techniques attest to the formation of a close-knit network of communities in the Huai River Basin. These attributes range from the Peiligang culinary traditions revolving around tripod vessels to rites of passage that require a long-term, cross-generational commitment toward irreversible modifications to the human body, i.e. head deformation, teeth extraction, and holding stone/clay balls in the mouth during one’s lifetime (Zhongguo 2000). Such body works shaped the long-term experience of being a fully initiated member in these communities, which cannot be emulated or even observed on the basis of itinerant encounter. These highly restrictive body techniques, some possibly beginning in childhood, provide clues to the cultural understanding of personhood and appearance for members of lowland communities associated with the Dawenkou material culture (Gao and Shao 2005). In contrast to the rapid development of new religious and political centers in the lower Yangzi, the Beixin-Dawenkou material culture in Shandong represents a gradual elaboration from the Peiligang tradition. In the middle of the third millennium bce, the settlements at Lingyanghe and Dazhujia in the Shu River Basin, a tributary valley of the Huai River, had grown and merged into a prominent centers of Late Dawenkou culture, which spanned an area of approximately 100 hectares (Shandongsheng et al. 1987; Shandongsheng and Juxian 1991). The elite cemeteries of Lingyanghe and Dazhujia suggest a remarkable concentration of wealth and expanding social hierarchy within Late Dawenkou society. Significant variations in size, construction, and grave goods are documented in these cemeteries (Pearson 1981, 1988; Kim 1994; Fung 2000; Underhill 2000, 2002). Besides prominent display of jade and stone battleaxes, the burials of these Dawenkou warrior elites often included dozens of pig mandibles stacked up by the wooden framed coffin. The elaborately crafted ceramic vessels for food and drinks include the ding tripod, the gui tripod pitcher, the dou mounted dish, and a variety of jars and amphorae (Han 2015b). Some of these shapes were prototypes of the Longshan and Sandai culinary tradition (Keightley 1985, 1987; Shandongsheng 1991). The placement of river deer canines and turtle shell raddles in Dawenkou burials underscores the resilience of the millennia-old Peiligang ritual tradition in the region.

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3.7. A reconstruction of Late Dawenkou elite burial m17 from the Lingyanghe cemetery in Juxian, Shandong (lower, photo taken by Li Min at the Shandong Provincial Museum) and Late Dawenkou deep vats with emblematic signs incised on them (images nos. 1–4 were excavated from Dazhucun and image nos. 5–9 were excavated from Lingyanghe, after Gao and Shao 2005:101 Figure 3.3–9).

The funerary syntax of Dawenkou elite burials reveals that feasting and consumption of alcoholic beverages were major components of the local ritual tradition. The richest elite burial (79m17) at Lingyanghe features more than a hundred high-stemmed cups carefully placed over the body of the adult male, presumably left by mourners after paying tribute to the dead (Figure 3.7). Elite burial at Lingyanghe also featured entire sets of vessels for producing alcoholic beverages, consisting of a deep vat, a straining urn, a large container jar, and a wine basin (Bao 2008; Bao and Zhou 2007:11).Together, these vessels provided the deceased access to the entire production and consumption sequence, thus highlighting the key role of alcohol consumption across lowland society (McGovern et al. 2004, 2005).

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The exclusive association of deep vats with elite tombs in Late Dawenkou society suggests that the mastery of fermentation skills was an important aspect of chiefly authority (Gao and Shao 2005:102). These vessels were placed at prominent locations in front of the elite tombs, and also had emblematic signs inscribed on their surface.The repeated effort of inscribing signs on these deep vats suggests that these vessels, and the consumption episodes associated with them, were focal points of political and religious life in Dawenkou society (Wang Shuming 1989; Gao and Shao 2005:102). The distribution of the same signs across the vast Huai River Basin suggests the emergence of large religious networks revolving around these potent vessels. “Because of its intoxicating properties,” Sherratt (1987:81) argues,“alcohol is a particularly powerful social lubricant, capable of sustaining both secular (usually elite) and religious symbolism.” For prehistoric society, the fermentation process constituted a ritual transformation, rendering the brewing vat itself a potent agent in the process. Ethnographic observations on alcohol production suggest that many rituals and taboos developed around the vessels during the fermentation process (Wang Shuming 1989). The possession of deep vats and other brewing vessels, mastery of fermentation techniques, understanding of ritual protocols, and access to rice and associated raw materials offered significant political leverage to leaders in these Dawenkou communities (Shandongsheng and Ji’nanshi 1974). The ecological and economic variation generated by the complex terrain in and around the Huai River Basin provided the impetus for prehistoric interactions. Rather than serving as natural barriers, wetlands, lakes, and littorals along the tributary network of the Huai River Basin drew communities around them into sustained contact and exchange.Through overland travel and river navigation, communities associated with the diagnostic Dawenkou ceramic assemblage settled the entire Huai River Basin and infiltrated the adjacent regions of the middle Yellow River Basin and the middle Yangzi River Basin (Du 1992b; Zhang Zhihua 2001). From the perspective of the Huai River Basin, the Zhengzhou-Luoyang region, the core for the historical Central Plains, represented the western edge of the Dawenkou world and a meeting place with communities associated with the late Yangshao material culture. Coastal navigation also connected Dawenkou society with the jadeproducing region of the Liaodong Peninsula, through which the notched disks, double and triple disks, and other objects carved from Xiuyan serpentine were brought into the Shandong Peninsula and the Huai River Basin (Okamura 1995).4 Access to common jade sources created a nexus for communities with very different technological and cultural traditions to interact. To the south,

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river and coastal navigation connected Dawenkou society with communities in the lower Yangzi River Basin, which accounts for the presence of Songze and Liangzhu material culture in Shandong (Han 2015b:95). As stated earlier in this chapter, evidence from Huating and Jiangzhuang suggests that Dawenkou warrior elites had been incorporated into the Liangzhu political orbit and rewarded with the trappings of the Liangzhu elite culture. The distinctive Dawenkou sunbird emblem on deep vats was also found engraved on Liangzhu jade objects, revealing that Dawenkou and Liangzhu interaction involved the movement of prestige jades from the Liangzhu mound centers (Du 1992b; Huang 1992; Wu 1995). The extensive exchange with the middle and lower Yangzi River Basin probably accounts for objects made out of alligator skin and ivory in Dawenkou elite burials (Shao 1987).Together, evidence for these interactions attests to the importance of the Huai River drainage network in fostering a well-integrated lowland society in prehistoric China.

Place-Making in the Middle Yangzi To the southwest of the Huai River Basin, a different process of creating a central place unfolded in the middle Yangzi, attesting to significant variability in ritual and political development during the middle third millennium bce. The epicenter of this development is located at Shijiahe, where significant landscape modification and massive gatherings once took place (Shijiahe 1992).The archaeological sequence of the middle Yangzi is divided into multiple phases, namely Qujialing (c. 3100–2600 bce), Early Shijiahe (c. 2600–2450 bce), Middle Shijiahe (c. 2450–2200 bce), and Late Shijiahe (c. 2200–1800 bce), whereas cultural changes between Middle and Late Shijiahe phases mark a major break in cultural and political development (Zhang Chi 2003, 2013; Jingzhou 2008). For this reason, recent archaeological literature renamed Late Shijiahe as the PostShijiahe material culture (Hubeisheng 2016b). Since this phase is contemporaneous with the Longshan period, I will address it in Chapter 4. Like the mound center at Liangzhu, the configuration of the built landscape at Shijiahe did not resemble the urban layout of Sandai cities in the Central Plains. Located inside a river bend, the multi-component site at Shijiahe consists of several concentric earthen embankments dotted with numerous terraced mounds that were modified from low ridges in the natural terrain (Figure 3.8). With the construction of a moat and earthen embankment, the terraced mound known as Tanjialing (approximately 26 hectares) at the center of Shijiahe was already in use during the second half of the fourth millennium bce (Hubeisheng 2016b). During the early third millennium bce, Shijiahe expanded from this existing center by adding a broad moat (approximately

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3.8. The plan view of the Shijiahe site (after Liu and Chen 2012:244 Figure 7.14).

80–100 meters wide) and a massive embankment inside the moat. The new enclosure spans an area of more than 120 hectares, in and around which there were numerous mounds. Outside the main wall, the distribution of linear mound features in the northwest indicates two more enclosures separated by an outer moat (Shijiahe 1992). With water gates and canals, these concentric moats connected with the river system in the region. The construction of embankments reached its apogee during the first half of the third millennium bce. Inside the enclosure, multiple layers of architectural foundations suggest long-term occupation at various locales. While the majority were multi-roomed residential complexes, some were large structures for communal gathering or political leadership (Zhang Chi 2003:146). Instead of a prehistoric city with permanent residential communities, Shijiahe may have served as a pilgrimage center for gatherings of participants from a vast religious network. Unlike the Liangzhu mound centers, there was no iconographic representation of a supreme figure as the focus of its religious activities, nor a class of elite warriors with marked social distinction and concentration of wealth. Instead of permanent structures and portable jade objects, the ritual attention at Shijiahe appears to have focused on ritual performances, massive gatherings, and the communal consumption of alcoholic beverages.

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The most spectacular ritual features at Shijiahe consisted of clusters of buried large pottery cylinders and deep vats in and around terraced plazas at Dengjiawan (northern mound), Yinxintai (western mound), and Sanfangwan (southern mound):  all major places for ritual gathering (Shijiahe 2003; Hubeisheng 2016b). Approximately one meter in height, the multi-sectional ceramic cylinder has dozens of appliqué bands around its lower section, a globular waist with protruding spikes in the middle, and a slim top. Many cylinders were once stacked up together and assembled into a chimney-like “totem pole.” These vessels were buried in pits, representing either a state of storage between episodes of use, or some form of ritual dedication (Yan 2003:3). The ritual pattern was replicated with stacks of Dawenkou-style deep vats, with more than 120 relatively intact deep vats and their fragments found on the surface of the plaza at Dengjiawan (Yan 2003:4). Burnt clay, fragments of broken vats, gui tripod beakers, clay figurines, and several hundred red clay cups were piled on top of them. In addition, deep vats were found half-buried in the ground behind a multi-roomed long house (f3 ) at Dengjiawan, which may indicate their original context of use (Zhang Chi 2003:147). More clusters of stacked deep vats were found in association with the architectural foundation at Xiaojiawuji and Yinxintai mounds outside the wall enclosure, probably as part of the foundational offerings (Zhang Chi 2003:150). At the Yinxintai mound, four large rammed earth architectural platforms (each up to 30 meters long and 13 meters wide) were surrounded by burials and six groups of deep vats, each group with dozens of vats stacked up into an impressive formation (Hubeisheng 2016a:24). Measuring approximately 50  cm tall and up to 5 cm thick, each of these heavily tempered deep vats has a single sign inscribed on the front depicting images like a bird carrying the sun, horns, a goblet, and a warrior holding a battleaxe. Many signs are identical with those previously seen on deep vats from the Late Dawenkou cemetery at Lingyanhe and Yuchisi in the Huai River Basin, which outlines an exchange network of approximately a thousand kilometers in range. The recurrent use of the same signs across the vast Huai River Basin invites us to look at the entire basin as a continuous web of interaction with shared ideological premises, which encouraged long-distance travels of tribal leaders, ritual pilgrims, and itinerant potters. Massive gatherings left behind hundreds of thousands of small red clay cups at multiple loci at Shijiahe. At the Sanfangwan locus in the southern part of Shijiahe, these pottery cups were piled up in a thick layer of approximately 1.5 meters and mixed with burnt clay, unfired clay, and rocks, possibly from large buildings (Zhang Chi 2003:148). Intervals between layers of cups suggest

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successive consumption episodes associated with major annual festivals and important religious events. The association of these cups with deep vats and other drinking vessels at Shijiahe suggests that they were probably used for the communal consumption of fermented alcoholic beverages. An iconographic representation on a deep vat from Shijiahe depicting a cup with a stick placed inside suggests that its liquid content was consumed using either a stirring stick or a straw. The practice of placing dozens of cups over the body or at the feet of the deceased in local burials suggests the ritual significance of communal libation in the rite of passage at Shijiahe, which concurred with the rise of a similar practice in elite burials at Lingyanghe in the eastern Huai River Basin. Besides large deposits of clay cups, thousands of small clay figurines of animals and humans were discovered at multiple locales at Shijiahe. The wideranging species represented by the miniatures appear to mirror the available domestic and wild fauna in the lowland regions (Flad and Chen 2013:185). There were also hundreds of human figurines wearing long robes and flat hats. While some depicted dancing figures, the majority represented a kneeling figure holding a fish on its lap, which might represent a posture of ritual presentation (Yan 2003:5) (Figure 3.9). Whether these were tokens of votive offering or foci of initiation rites, the large quantity of these figurines indicates that the scale of the ritual activities exceeded that expected from the household and community levels. Once considered in association with the massive deposits of clay cups, as well as the concentration of deep vats, these figurines were probably props used in the communal rituals that gave Shijiahe its distinctive significance. Unlike Liangzhu and Lingyanghe, where mortuary data exhibited marked social differences, no traces of political or religious authority can be observed at the cemeteries in Shijiahe before the last quarter of the third millennium bce (Figure  3.10). Besides perishable goods, the tombs were filled with an excessive display of pottery vessels, which were probably brought in by funeral participants with food or liquid contents inside, and dozens of red clay cups left by communal consumption of fermented beverage at the last rite (Zhang Chi 2003:155). There is no indication, however, of prestige goods or any concentration of wealth in these Shijiahe burials until the Longshan period (Chapter 4). The archaeological features observed at Shijiahe do not provide sufficient explanation for the massive gathering of people from the middle Yangzi, the Huai River Basin, and the distant middle Yellow River Basin.The material culture from Shijiahe did not exhibit the great concentration of wealth or technological sophistication seen in Liangzhu. We do not know why did the Shijiahe center draw large gatherings of populations, or who was responsible for the organization of such gatherings. Yan Wenming (2003) argues that religion

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3.9. Clay human figurines and stacked deep vats from the Shijiahe site (after Han 2015b:176 Figure 41 and Hubeisheng 2016a:24).

provided the Shijiahe leadership an effective means to mobilize the masses and enhance social cohesion. Evidence of such leaders, however, remains elusive in the archaeological record. As in Miaodigou society, the ideological forces that allowed Shijiahe to draw in large crowds from an extensive network of communities are hidden from view in the archaeological record, indicating the presence of a strong communal ethos in the middle Yangzi.The communal consumption episodes became the catalyst for creating a new sense of community for followers. Exchange and other social events would have taken place alongside these ritual congregations. Several smaller walled sites ranging in size from 10 to 50 hectares are found in the middle Yangzi. Like Shijiahe, these sites have irregularly shaped wall enclosures that follow the contours of the terrain (Zhang Chi 2003:144–56). The broad moat outside these earthen embankments often incorporated or connected with natural river channels and canals to drain floodwater and facilitate water transportation. Together, these communities formed the nexus of social and religious life in the middle Yangzi River Basin, about which we

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3.10. The plan view of m7 in Shijiahe (redrawn by Wang Tianfeng after Shijiahe 1999:275 Figure 207).

know very little. The absence of the deep vats and other distinctive features observed in Shijiahe at these smaller sites attests to the special ritual significance of the great center. The clay figurines and red clay cups from Shijiahe were distributed widely in and beyond the middle Yangzi. These modest objects probably acquired their ritual significance from their association with the pilgrimage center. For the participants of the ritual congregations at Shijiahe, these objects embodied that religious experience and helped evoke the memories of these events. In addition to Dawenkou sites in the Huai River Basin, these simple but highly diagnostic objects have been incorporated into residential and mortuary contexts in regions as far afield as the Guanzhong Basin and the Jinnan Basin in the loess highlands (Beijing and Zhongguo 2003:89; Han and Yang 1997:74– 75).This distribution pattern offers clues about the diverse range of communities involved in the Shijiahe religious network. Beyond the central sites like Shijiahe and Lingyanghe, religious activities in the Huai River and middle Yangzi River basins also left deposits of ceramic vessels and, occasionally, jade objects on hilltops or islands, highlighting the ritual significance of landscape in the prehistoric religion of early China (Lu Depei 1994). This tradition of making ritual deposits in natural places of ritual significance became a widespread practice in Longshan and Sandai society.This cultural connection between object and landscape serves as the foundation for

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investigating the cultural assumptions of the wen ding narrative. I will return to this connection through the rest of the book. Shijiahe and Liangzhu represented two major episodes of place-making in the middle and lower Yangzi, each with transformative potential for forging new identities through religious mobilization. Although they had very different structures, each dominated a network of small centers, involving the participation of a large population and the distribution of distinctive symbols associated with the great center. While the communities in the Huai River Basin associated with the Dawenkou material culture maintained intense interactions with Shijiahe and Liangzhu, the two great centers in the middle and lower Yangzi offer no archaeological evidence for direct interactions with each other. The middle and lower Yangzi seem to be separated by a sparsely populated buffer zone, which used to be the center of significant cultural development in the late fourth millennium bce, e.g. Lingjiatan and Beiyinyangying. Although neither of these great centers fell within the geographic extent of the historical Central Plains, they played important roles in the process of political reconfiguration leading up to the rise of early states there. An in-depth understanding of these archaeological records also serves as a solid baseline for observing changes unfolding after the fall of these great prehistoric centers. The rich information about these great prehistoric centers suggests that the decline of these regions during the Bronze Age is a reliable archaeological pattern, instead of resulting from a lack of research effort due to the Central Plains-centered paradigm, as proposed by Bagley (1999). Furthermore, the rich archaeological evidence on Qujialing-Shijiahe society from the early third millennium bce saw the complete absence of copper mining in the middle Yangzi, which eventually became the hallmark of this region in Bronze Age China. It takes a new knowledge system, coupled with prospecting activities, to set off this profound transformation in the way that the landscape of middle Yangzi is conceptualized and exploited. I will explore this change in Chapters 4 to 6. THE DIVERGENCE OF HIGHLAND SOCIETY

The changes in highland regions are important for understanding the rise of the Sandai civilization for three reasons. First, the increased highland interaction with the lowland regions created the conditions for reconfiguring the cultural and political landscape, a critical precondition for the emergence of political authority centered in the gateway regions of Luoyang and Zhengzhou. Second, the rise of the pouch-legged tripod construction technique in the loess highlands provided the source for the li vessel as a conventional counterpart to the ding tripod vessels in the Sandai culinary tradition. Third, the social and technological configuration of highland society structured the ways that the first metals were incorporated into early China during the late third

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millennium bce. These three observations provide the vantage points for the following discussion.

Transformation in the Loess Highlands Against the backdrop of a consistent absence of elite burials in thousands of Miaodigou sites known to date, the discovery of thirty-four large shaft tombs at the Xipo cemetery in Lingbao along the middle Yellow River produced some of the first signs of political leadership in Late Yangshao society (Zhongguo and Henansheng 2010:6). In contrast to the rich display of grave goods on the coast, the deceased in Xipo were buried in large shaft tombs filled with clay and specially selected leaves from different species of plants – a mortuary ritual unique to the cemetery. The ritual display of stone or jade battleaxes alongside the deceased again highlights a warrior ethos in the construction of their social persona, which resembles their peers in lower Yangzi, e.g. Dongshancun, Lingjiatan, and Lingyanghe. Other aspects of ritual representation in these great tombs also suggest that cultural transformation in the Yangshao heartland coincided with the incorporation of coastal ideologies and technologies, e.g. the incorporation of deep vats in grave goods and the deliberate removal of incisors. Two great tombs at the Xipo cemetery each produced a pair of deep vats painted with cinnabar, which resemble the fermentation vessels placed in lowland elite tombs, particularly Dongshancun (Zhang Chi 2012:24) (Figure  3.11). Alcoholic beverages brewed with starter and steamed rice in deep vats produced a higher alcohol content than millet  ale fermented in large amphorae, which were more difficult to make, and thus greatly favored by elites (Bao 2005c, 2007a; McGovern et  al. 2004). The ritual removal of incisors observed in the Xipo cemetery suggests these elite persons came from, or had been to, the Huai River Basin and the east coast, where ritual extraction of certain teeth had been practiced since the fifth millennium bce (Gao and Shao 2005:52, 75). The changes observed in Xipo were part of the broad social and cultural transformations unfolding in LateYangshao society, whereas the cultural homogeneity of Miaodigou material culture was dissolving into different regional traditions during the first half of the third millennium bce (Zhongguo 1973; Zhao Hui 2000, 2006).The material culture of the loess highlands increasingly incorporated lowlands techniques, which contribute to the development of a highly diverse assemblage of material culture in the Jinnan Basin during the final quarter of the third millennium bce (Chapter 4). Current evidence on the scale and density of archaeological sites suggests that the Jinnan Basin was the center of sociopolitical change in the loess highlands during the middle third millennium bce (Zhao Hui 2006; Zhang Hai

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3.11. The culinary assemblage from the Xipo tomb m8 and the mortuary context of tomb m27 (images courtesy of Li Xinwei).

2007; Sebillaud 2014). The highland potters increasingly used reduction-firing techniques to produce grey ware with cord-marked or checker-marked surface décor and bands of appliqué. Known as the Miaodigou Phase II material culture (c. 2900–2500 bce), the new assemblage marks a significant deviation from the cultural preference of smooth surfaced red ware during the Yangshao period (Zhongguo 2010:523). This shift in production technology and consumption patterns coincided with an influx of the lowland forms and pottery techniques from the middle Yangzi and the Huai River Basin (Zhang Hai 2007:49, 80–83). It marked a change not only in production techniques but in the long-held ideologies associated with the painted red ware and the amphorae, the hallmark of Yangshao material culture. The ritual focus on these Yangshao vessels either declined or shifted to other realms of social life (Keightley 1985, 1987). The incorporation of lowland feasting vessels into the social life of the Jinnan Basin primarily manifested in libation vessels, fermentation vessels, and food-serving vessels, i.e. vessels with a high-ring foot, zeng and yan steamers, deep vats, mounted dishes, the gui tripod pitcher, and high-stemmed cups, as well as a variety of elaborately painted red ware cups associated with the Qujialing-Shijiahe material culture of the middle Yangzi Basin and the Dawenkou material culture of the Huai River Basin (Du 1992b:166; Han and Yang 1997:75; Zhang Hai 2007:48). In several cases, these distinctive cups associated with the Shijiahe ritual center in the middle Yangzi are the only nonperishable objects left in the burials in the Jinnan Basin and the adjacent regions along the middle Yellow River (Zhongguo 1959b:24). Given the special context of their original use in ritual, the presence of these mass-produced

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clay cups in burials of the Jinnan Basin symbolically harkens back to the distant cult center, where people may have traveled to and participated in the mass congregation events at Shijiahe (Zhongguo 2010:524). Sherratt’s (1991:60) observation on feasting in prehistoric Europe during the third millennium bce provides a comparative perspective for understanding the social implication of these changes: “Instead of being part of the communal ceremonies of stable and long-lasting groups, drinking could be used tactically through hospitality and the formation of horizontal relations among a more fluid pattern of communities: a class of event whose best known representative is the Greek symposium.”The commensal drinking of alcoholic beverages like millet ale was not new to the Miaodigou world. Rather, changes in culinary techniques, ceramic assemblage, and associated ideology contributed to a significant departure from the highly homogeneous Yangshao cultural patterns of the fourth millennium bce. The cultural change in these highland basins probably manifested the emergence of new ideologies of political authority and new forms of social mobilization. Up to 200 hectares in size, the Xiaoling site in Xinjiang may be the largest settlement center in the Jinnan Basin during the middle of the third millennium bce.The heavy concentration of kilns at the site suggests that these new assemblages were produced at major production centers at an impressive scale (Shanxisheng 2015). Besides the production of the lowland-style ding tripod vessels with three solid legs, the highland potters also engaged in the manufacturing of pouch-legged tripod vessels as primary cooking vessels, which were produced by joining together three individually hand-built cones (Li Wenjie 1996). With centuries of experience in producing amphorae with pointed bottoms, the highland potters had perfected their molding technique for cone construction. The production of tripod vessels with jointed cones, therefore, involved an elaboration upon an existing repertoire of techniques in the Yangshao tradition, an important technological transition with lasting consequences for the rest of this book. As cooking vessels, the pouch-legged tripod vessels provided a larger surface for direct contact with heat. With its weight absorbed by the cones, the pouch-legged tripod construction was probably more solid in construction and sturdier in use than its ding counterparts. As part of the broad changes in highland society, the introduction of these pouch-legged tripod vessels during the first half of the third millennium bce has been taken as the typological marker for the end of the Yangshao period (Bu Gong 1990). From the perspective of this book, the pouch-legged tripods are important index vessels for tracking the movement of highland communities through the third and second millennia bce, particularly the distribution of the Shang and Zhou archaeological remains, both of highland cultural origin (Chapters 6 and 7).

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In contrast to the lasting stability of the Miaodigou society, the nature of social and cultural changes in and around the Jinnan Basin during the first half of the third millennium bce is far from clear. Regional variations in material culture and consumption patterns probably manifested changes in the broad political and social arena. Located within close proximity to each other, the mortuary patterns in cemeteries at Taosi, Xiajin, and Qingliangsi displayed a striking difference from the Xipo cemetery in the same region, approximately half a millennium earlier. Richly furnished with jade axes, cong cylinder-style jade bracelets, and human sacrifices, these cemeteries displayed many traits that closely resembled those of Dawenkou warrior elites from the Huai River Basin. At the same time, these cemeteries also yielded compelling evidence for interactions with North and Central Asian exchange networks further west and north. I  will elaborate on this change in Chapter  4 when I  discuss the emergence of highland Longshan society in the Jinnan Basin. To the east of the loess highlands, the Zhengzhou-Luoyang region served as a major crossroads for these increasingly intensified highland–lowland interactions, which laid the foundation for its eventual rise as the political center during the early second millennium bce. Ceramic vessels from the Dawenkou culture of the Huai River Basin and the Qujialing-Shijiahe culture of the middle Yangzi both had significant presence in the ZhengzhouLuoyang region (Du 1992b:166; Zhongguo 2010:524; Han 2015b:89). From the Zhengzhou-Luoyang gateway region, the red clay cups, high-stemmed cups, and other vessels from the lowlands were brought further west into the basins and tributary valleys of the loess highlands (Keightley 1985, 1987). Besides a broad range of lowland ceramic wares, primarily drinkingrelated vessels, the construction of multi-roomed long houses at Dahecun in Zhengzhou is consistent with the architectural tradition in lowland regions of the Huai River Basin and the middle Yangzi (Zhengzhoushi 2001). The appearance of a small number of transitional, heterogeneous households with lowland affiliations in communities like Dahecun would have provided “an innovative model for the indigenous inhabitants to emulate if it seemed profitable or prestigious to do so” (Keightley 1985:84). These individuals could be identified through their Dawenkou ceramic assemblage in the mortuary context, as well as through signs of head deformation and teeth modification, both associated with the cultural tradition in the eastern Huai River Basin. At the Xishan site in Zhengzhou, a rammed earth wall enclosure (approximately 3.5 hectares) was constructed during the early third millennium bce; a significant influx of ceramics associated with the Dawenkou society of the Huai River Basin and the Qujialing society of the middle Yangzi is documented there (Yang 1997). The material culture from the Xishan site, however, produces few signs of marked difference to suggest its status as a major

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political center. Similarly, excavations at the Zhouli cemetery in Mengjin in the Luoyang Basin yielded large graves like those discovered at Xipo. Few grave goods, however, are found in these tombs to offer any clues at to the social persona of their occupants (Han 2015b:75). Approximately a thousand years later, the Zhengzhou-Luoyang gateway region would host the greatest royal centers of Bronze Age China. During the era of Liangzhu and Shijiahe, however, there are no signs of distinction in its prehistoric settlements. In general, the post-Yangshao society of the early third millennium bce experienced a significant increase in cultural diversity and the formation of a close-knit interaction network, which linked the middle Yangzi and the Huai River Basin in the lowlands with the highland communities of the middle Yellow River Basin. The distribution of the Miaodigou Phase II material culture partially overlapped with the area later known as the Central Plains. Unlike the lowland regions, however, there was no great center associated with the region until the final quarter of the third millennium bce, when dramatic political changes led to a significant shift in the political landscape of early China. The communities residing north of the loess highlands were also undergoing significant changes. Farming communities living in cave houses on loess terraces constructed clusters of mesa-top fortresses along the tributary valleys of the middle Yellow River, which were historical gateways connecting the Mongolian Plateau and the loess highlands (Han 2015b:73). With stone structures inside, these fortresses served both defensive and ritual purposes. The presence of microlithic objects among the archaeological assemblages in these highland sites suggests sustained interactions with hunter-gatherer communities to the north, northwest, and northeast (Han 2008:48; Zhongguo 2010:521).This northern belt of stone fortresses became points of convergence for communities associated with very different modes of subsistence economy and multiple geographic regions.This development preceded the expansion of interregional interactions and the rise of major political and religious networks in the highland regions during the last quarter of the third millennium bce. I  will discuss these developments in Chapter  4, when the emerging clues became major trends during the Longshan period.

Interregional Interaction in the Western Highlands In the western highland regions, multiple mountain ranges and their associated river valleys channeled prehistoric exchange with neighboring regions, e.g. the Qilian mountain range toward eastern Central Asia in the west, Helan mountain range toward the Mongolian Plateau in the north, Liupan mountain range toward the Guanzhong Basin in the east, and Minshan mountain range toward the Sichuan Basin in the south. In the eastern part of this complex region, the rise of cord-marked grey wares in the Changshan ceramic assemblage

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represents a cultural continuum with the Miaodigou II assemblage on the loess highlands (Hu Qianying 1980; Zhongguo 1988; Han 1997, 2015b). The introduction of double- or triple-handled beakers in the Changshan assemblage as a centerpiece in drinking rituals represents a distinctive highland innovation (Fitzgerald-Huber 2003:58–59; Ningxia and Zhongguo 2003; Chen Honghai 2013:107). From the late third millennium bce onward, the double-handle construction became the defining attribute of the highland ceramic assemblage. Like the pouch-legged li tripod vessels, the broad distribution of the double-handle beakers made these distinctive vessels diagnostic forms for tracing highland interaction leading up to the rise of the Sandai civilization as well as the activities of its Bronze Age peers on the highlands. These double-loop handled beakers and amphorae were found alongside Late Yangshao painted pottery and turquoise mosaic work in the Dianhe cemetery at Guyuan, an important gateway connecting the western highland and the Guanzhong Basin, attesting to the extent of cultural integration in highland Longshan society on the eve of the Longshan period (Ningxia 1987). Further west, however, the Miaodigou tradition appears to have evolved as a cultural continuum well into the late third millennium bce without adopting the cord-marked grey wares and tripod construction characteristic of the postYangshao material culture in the loess highlands (Gansusheng 2006:692). With the decline in the loess highlands and the expansions in the western highlands, the center of the Yangshao world shifted from the middle Yellow River to the western highlands along the northeastern edge of the Tibetan Plateau. The defining attributes of the Yangshao tradition, e.g. large houses and painted pottery, remained the foci of community life in the western highlands during the first three-quarters of the third millennium bce. With local production of amphorae and painted wares with spirals and vortexes, the Majiayao ceramic tradition of the western highlands appears to be a stylistic elaboration of the Miaodigou tradition and thus has been broadly defined as the “western and later extensions of the Yangshao Culture” (Chang 1986:140–46). Unlike the general scarcity of burials in Miaodigou society in the middle Yellow River Valley, however, cemeteries are abundant in the western highlands, and many are richly furnished with dozens of painted Majiayao pottery. While the remarkable variation in their quantity may suggest difference in status and wealth, the choice to represent these differences in pots, instead of prestigious objects like the jades in coastal society, appears to have preserved the communal ethos of the Yangshao tradition. There are no single burials in the western highlands that stood out as those of paramount leaders of large social groups. No single settlement is large enough to serve as a regional or transregional center either. Against this general backdrop of cultural continuity from the Yangshao world, the Majiayao material culture in the western highlands exhibits several

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attributes that are important for understanding the nature of social and technological changes in the region since the late third millennium bce. Multiple lines of evidence suggest increasing contact and exchange with huntergatherer-herder communities to the west and north of the highland society, which contributed to new elements in the Late Yangshao material culture. The Dadiwan site in Gansu offers evidence for both perseverance of the Yangshao architectural tradition and clues for Eurasian interaction.The large house (f901, 290 square meters) at Dadiwan rivals those at Xipo in size and features complex architectural design with a main hall and multiple side chambers (Ganshusheng 2006). In the middle of the main hall (131 square meters) was an enormous fire hearth (approximately 2 meters in diameter) and a group of distinctively shaped vessels, presumably apparatus used for communal rituals that took place around the hearth. Interactions with prehistoric communities in the Hexi Corridor and Central Asia likely account for the discovery of a marble macehead in one of the large buildings (f405, 270 square meters) at Dadiwan, which was unprecedented in the Miaodigou material culture (Han 2015b:78, 92). Further west, burials associated with Majiayao material culture at the Liuwan cemetery in Qinghai produced five birch bark quivers with triangular designs filled with hatched lines characteristic of the Siberian material culture tradition (Qinghaisheng and Zhongguo 1984:51–52) (Figure 3.12). These were probably associated with the movement of animal skins and other game products from trappers and hunters of Altai and the Mongolian Plateau. These triangular designs filled with hatched lines would eventually adorn some of the elaborate Longshan pottery and later the surface of bronzes in Shang society. Cowrie shells and their imitations made their debut in prehistoric China as part of the Late Majiayao (Machang) assemblage at Liuwan, which expanded steadily eastward over time during the Longshan period (Qinghaisheng and Zhongguo 1984:168–79). As I will discuss in the rest of this book, they would adorn the collars of the Sandai elite in the Central Plains and of Siberian shamans alike. As such, these classes of artifacts yield important clues for investigating the emergence of Bronze Age society in China (Chapters 4 and 5). This expansion in material culture concurs with the increase of sheep bones in highland fauna assemblages previously dominated by pigs, suggesting a steady growth of a herding component in highland subsistence economies (Han 2015b:78). Oracle bones first appeared almost simultaneously in the Late Yangshao contexts in western and northern highlands during the middle third millennium bce (Gansusheng 2006; Han 2007a:23, 2015b:73, 77). Their expansion coincided with the growth of cattle and sheep herding in early China. This new technique of religious communication would spread rapidly in Longshan society during the last quarter of the third millennium bce, eventually becoming the hallmark of Shang ritual practice in the late second millennium bce (Keightley 1978; Flad 2008). As I will elaborate in Chapters 5

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3.12. A birch bark quiver from Late Majiayao (Banshan) Phase tomb m478 at the Liuwan cemetery in Ledu, Qinghai, and a cowrie shell scatter between the femurs that may have once been attached to a frontlet in Qijia Phase tomb  m992 (after Qinghaisheng and Zhongguo 1984: Figure 37–8 and Plate 27).

and 6, oracle bone divination closely relates to the notion of inquiry in the wen ding narrative. These encounters draw our attention to the change in the artistic representation on painted pottery toward the late third millennium bce. In contrast to the highly homogeneous décor of the Miaodigou tradition in the fourth millennium bce, these painted pots display such an extraordinarily rich variety of entoptic imagery that no two vessels shared the same design (Figure 3.13). Attending a funeral at Liuwan would have been like gazing into a whirlpool of the mind-altering patterns depicted on dozens of pots. While K. C.  Chang (1986) has attributed the Yangshao-Majiayao artistic tradition to the broad cultural milieu of prehistoric shamanism in prehistoric China, this explosion of entoptic representations seems to suggest changes in ritual practice that brought in new conceptual experiences and states of mind. As I will elaborate in Chapter  4, expanding interactions with Eurasian society contribute new means of religious communications and artistic representations in prehistoric China.

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3.13. The range of entoptic designs depicted on painted pottery excavated from Late Majiayao (Machang) Phase tomb m564 at the Liuwan cemetery in Ledu, Qinghai (after Qinghaisheng and Zhongguo 1984:57 Figure 38b and Plate 7).

This expansion of interregional exchange made the highland regions a nexus for new technological and political development in the Longshan period. At the same time, the resilience of Yangshao tradition in the western highlands had important bearings on the culturally specific ways that these communities responded to the first introduction of metallurgy and other trade goods, knowledge, and technologies from North and Central Asia. I will discuss its critical contribution to the rise of Sandai tradition in the next chapter when increasing interactions of the post-Yangshao society led to the creation of a well-integrated, culturally heterogeneous highland Longshan society, which includes the Qijia material culture in the western highlands. CONCLUSION

With his definition of the Prehistoric Chinese Interaction Sphere, K.  C. Chang (1986:59) argues for the emergence of an armature of a cultural tradition, around which the later historical civilizations in China were built: “By 3000 bc, the Chinese interactions sphere can properly and appropriately be called China, as it became the stage where Chinese history began to play out, with its clearly defined actors, events, motivations, and story lines.” This argument implies a significant continuity in transmission of social memory from the heyday of the Liangzhu mound center to the Eastern Zhou society when storytelling of the legendary era was incorporated into the repertoire of classical writing. For someone familiar with the Central Plains as the main stage of social development in early China, however, the political landscape of the early third millennium bce would seem like a foreign country. The area later known as

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the Central Plains was primarily a gateway for interregional contacts, rather than a great center for political development. None of the four great basins associated with the Sandai tradition, namely Jinnan, Yi-Luo, Guanzhong, and Henei, played any significant role in the political development of the early third millennium bce. The prominence of the Liangzhu, Shijiahe, and Dawenkou centers suggests that the coastal lowland was the center of sociopolitical development during the early third millennium bce. The rise of the Central Plains, therefore, involved a shift of political gravity from the coast to the middle Yellow River Basin – an important process to be examined in later chapters of this book. Again, from the perspectives of urban traditions in historical China, the layouts of Liangzhu and Shijiahe were hardly legible. Both prehistoric centers incorporated broad bodies of open water into their built landscapes, highlighting the importance of water transportation. Neither the mound building at Liangzhu nor the massive gatherings at Shijiahe worked into the urban experience of Sandai cities and historical memory. These indicate different processes of emergence during the critical period between the third millennium bce and the rise of the early Sandai cities in the second millennium bce. Yet, the cultural and political developments in the late fourth and early third millennium bce contributed to the formation of the Sandai political tradition in diverse ways. With great concentration of wealth in its prehistoric city, Liangzhu presented the first effort to build great ritual and political centers dominating a large political network in early China. The creation of an elaborate inventory of material culture and technologies contributed to the development of Sandai high culture during the second millennium bce. The jade assemblage from Liangzhu, for example, was eventually incorporated into the repertoire of Longshan and Sandai core symbols. In the realm of everyday techniques, the ding tripod culinary vessel shared among the lowland societies became increasingly embraced in the loess highlands during the third millennium bce (Han 2015b:73). A technological innovation of the loess highlands, the pouch-legged tripod vessels later became the culinary form of choice for daily cooking in Shang and Zhou societies. The historical process that brought these early regional forms into the Sandai culinary tradition is the primary subject of inquiry in the following chapters. The ritualization of the ding vessel form from this prehistoric repertoire helps us understand whose tradition was commemorated as the Sandai ritual institution took shape during the second millennium bce. Taken together, the archaeological evidence from the third millennium bce appears to support Li Chi’s (1977) observation that the vessel forms of the Shang civilization derived from their prototypes in coastal societies. This is elaborated in Keightley’s (1985:1) study on the sources for the technological and aesthetic choices in the Shang artistic tradition:

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[T]he cultures of the East contributed, in the Late Neolithic, a series of significant technological and social features to the cultures of the Central Plains area.These coastal features involved an emphasis upon componential construction, model simulation, upward-reaching esthetics, precise design and use of pots, concern with mensuration, and a willingness to devote the labor-intensive products of highly-developed jade and ceramics industry to the service of the dead and thus to the validation of social hierarchy and discipline. Many of these features served to define Shang culture and help to explain its genesis in north-central Henan.

From this perspective, the post-Yangshao transition during the third millennium bce was critical for the new technological and aesthetic traditions to develop in the region later known as the Central Plains.The decline of painted wares and amphorae attests to a general technological shift that favored the lowland drinking tradition in post-Yangshao society. Since the consumption of psychoactive substances like alcohol was an integral part of the ritual tradition in early China, the technical shift was likely an indication of changes in the broad domain in the third millennium bce. Innovations in technologies and apparatus associated with drinking continued to accelerate in the Longshan and Erlitou period leading up to the rise of the Sandai tradition, which became the most important realm served by the early metal industry. Although metallurgy was not part of the technological inventory of the early third millennium bce, the cultural logic underlying materiality and manufacturing techniques in a pre-metal society had important bearings on the cultural and political process by which metal was later incorporated into the existing symbolic system (Mei 2003a, 2009). Like the production of jade cylinders and lacquer wares, the production of very thin burnished black wares with fast wheel techniques was part of a lowland-based technological tradition. With the production of the famed Longshan eggshell pottery in the late third millennium bce, this technological and aesthetic tradition reached its limit in the coastal region of Shandong (Underhill 2002). The cultural preference of lowland drinking traditions and the notions of materiality associated with the thin-walled ceramic wares and lacquer framed the cultural perceptions of the first metal wares, which were introduced to the elite drinking scene during the early second millennium bce. In this regard, the choice of forms, materiality, fermentation techniques, and production technologies for lacquer and ceramic vessels provided the crucial connections between the lowland traditions of the third millennium bce and the Sandai tradition. I will further explore this important theme in the next two chapters. With the recent revelation of the antiquity of Liangzhu society, we come to realize that the great mound center collapsed nearly five centuries before the rise of the first Bronze Age city at Erlitou in the Luoyang Basin. We have

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a period of transformation to account for the striking differences observed between the Liangzhu world and the Sandai tradition, e.g. the absence of kingship, metallurgy, bronze-based political economy, writing, and pastoralism. The tectonic shift in the configuration of the political landscape and technology that took place in the final centuries of the third millennium bce is the subject of the next chapter. The prominence of the Central Plains, therefore, was a relatively recent phenomenon within an extended time frame of early China.

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CHAPTER FOUR

THE LONGSHAN TRANSITION : POLITICAL EXPERIMENTATION AND EXPANDING HORIZONS

For this book, the Longshan period (c. 2300–1800 bce) is bracketed by the collapse of Liangzhu society at approximately 2300/2200 bce and the rise of Erlitou in the eighteenth century bce. This period of five centuries was marked by critical social transformations, from which some defining attributes of the Sandai political tradition took shape, including the dramatic reconfiguration of the political landscape leading up to the rise of the Central Plains and the introduction of metallurgy into prehistoric China during the late third millennium bce. The convergence of two important processes, political experimentation and expanding interactions, characterized the Longshan transition in early China. Henry Wright (2006:316) defined the dynamics of early statecraft as processes of political experimentation, which “characterize the organization of successive efforts to build successful political or social formations, and the factors that led to failures and successes.” “Experimenting,” Wright (2006:315) argues, involves “the building of knowledge based on understandings of the past.” Emphasizing knowledge of the past, real or invented, this notion of experimentation highlights the dynamic interplays between human agency and past political legacies. Experimentation and innovation go hand in hand – inventions of traditions must be embedded in knowledge of the past to be accessible by the intended audience. Social memory, which pertains to the knowledge of the past as well as narratives about it, became an important component for the state-building 82

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process. As a contribution to the study of political evolution, the concept of political experimentation highlights the fluid dynamics of state formation, wherein instabilities, collapse, and regeneration commonly occurred. In early China, political experimentation during the Longshan period coincided with increasing interregional interactions, which expanded the repertoire of technologies for new regimes of value and new mediums of political representation. The notion of expanded horizons operated in multiple realms. Spatially speaking, this book approaches the Longshan world in terms of the increasing convergence of three interaction spheres in East, North, and Central Asia, which requires a shift in the geographic scope of archaeological observation. From a technological and conceptual perspective, this expanded interaction brought new technological knowledge (metallurgy, new inventory of flora and fauna, and the cultural and religious knowledge associated with them), new conceptions of landscape (prospecting for minerals and representing the landscape with metals), and new cognitive experiences (techniques and substances for engaging with the sacred in altered states of consciousness) to prehistoric society in early China. This chapter, therefore, starts with the expanding interactions of the Longshan world, followed by political experimentation in the highland Longshan society, and ends before the rise of Erlitou in the Luoyang Basin. In addressing this critical era with multiple, intersecting trajectories unfolding at the same time in different regions across the broadly defined Longshan world, I  will focus on technological exchange, political development, and efforts of place-making as potential loci for the creation of statecraft and transmission of social memory.

THE CHANGING FRAME OF THE LONGSHAN WORLD

Climate Change in the Late Third Millennium BCE Within the broad trend of environmental deterioration after the end of the Holocene Climatic Optimum at approximately 2500 bc, the Longshan period coincided with a major episode of severe climatic anomaly in the northern hemisphere known as the Holocene 3 Event (He et  al. 2004; Wu and Liu 2004; Wang et al. 2005; Arz et al. 2006; Feng et al. 2006). The weakening of Asian monsoons, caused by variability in solar output, altered the hydrological regime and led to cooler and drier conditions in the late third millennium bce. Occurring over the magnitude of centuries and millennia, such medium time scale variability has the potential to cause “fundamental changes in hydrology with readjustments of stream behaviors, as well as changes in biomass with the qualitative composition of plant and animal communities persisting while the quantitative composition changes” (Butzer 1982:23–32 in Rosen 2008a:4). Synthesized paleoclimatic data collectively suggest that this episode of climatic

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anomaly was characterized by rapid fluctuations between cold and dry spells over a period of approximately five centuries after 2400 bce (An Zhisheng et al. 2000;Tian and Tang 2001; Zhou et al. 2001;Wu and Liu 2004; An ChengBang et al. 2005, 2006; Wang et al. 2005; Huang et al. 2010, 2011). Among the similar Holocene climatic abnormalities, analysis of speleothem climate proxy suggests that this Holocene 3 Event was the longest in duration and greatest in magnitude (Wang et al. 2005)(Figure 4.1).1 The complex configuration of physical terrain and cultural responses diversely affected how climate changes played into the lived experience of local communities. In West Asia, it contributed to major sociopolitical changes in Bronze Age societies (Rosen 1995, 2008a; Staubwasser and Weiss 2006). In East Asia, it significantly impacted the development of the Longshan societies and the early Bronze Age societies that followed (Ren 2000; Wang Wei 2002; Wang Shaowu 2005; Liu et al. 2010; Liu and Chen 2012:39). In the highland regions, increased aridity associated with climatic change contributed to the expansion of stockbreeding economies among highland communities that traditionally engaged in dry farming (Wu and Liu 2004:155). In the semi-arid to arid monsoonal regions, abnormal climate change is typified by high seasonal variability in precipitation and river hydrology. Severe droughts resulting from shortage of rainfall and extraordinary floods resulting from rainstorms were part of the extreme climate variability during this period (Huang et al. 2011, 2017). Extended drought and cooling conditions reduced vegetation, and thus aggregated the threat of severe floods and soil erosion (Rosen 2008a, 2008b). When major reversions took place after an excessively dry period perpetuated by weak monsoons, torrential rain would increase

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channel incision and erosion, increasing runoff with heavy sediment loads, and creating flash floods in deforested valleys (Liu Li 2004:19). The loess highlands were particularly vulnerable to erosion, as vegetation on tableland and ridges grew sparsely due to soil structure constraints (Cao 2014:31). After the flash flood reached the alluvial plains downstream, heavy sediments washed out of the loess highlands would fill the river channels, resulting in the overbank flooding that inundates settlements and fields. Geomorphological research on sections along the middle to lower Yellow River attests to the extent of ecological crisis induced by the abrupt climatic change. Section profiles from the Luoyang Basin and Ordos both reveal a half-meter thick layer of heavy sediments from rapid erosion during the Longshan period, sandwiched between layers of soil built up during relatively stable periods (Tian and Tang 2001; Rosen 2007, 2008b; Zhongguo 2014:1247– 63). Similarly, layers of slack-water deposit from extraordinary flood episodes dating to the last quarter of the third millennium bce were also observed from sections along the Qi River and the Jing River, both tributaries of the Wei River in the Guanzhong Basin (Zhongguo 1988; Huang et  al. 2010, 2011). Longshan settlements on the riverbank terrace land were inundated by overbank floodwater repeatedly, resulting in their eventual abandonment. As the tributaries of the Yi-Luo River and the Wei River drainage systems were organized in a dendritic pattern, the alluvial plains in the Luoyang Basin and the Guanzhong Basin along the lower reaches of these rivers were particularly prone to flood damage, which may account for the low population density in these two basins during the Longshan period. In the Henei Basin located between the Taihang mountain range and the archaic lower Yellow River, several Longshan walled settlements at the foot of Taihang mountain range suffered severe flood damage. At Mengzhuang, for example, floods washed away sections of Longshan town walls and filled the moats and lower areas inside the town with a thick deposit of flood sediments (Henansheng 2003;Yuan Guangkuo 2003). In such highland gateway regions, where ecological crises and political unrest converged, the impact on the human habitat could be particularly prevalent. These ecological challenges may account for the underdevelopment of Longshan society in three of four major basins, namely Luoyang, Henei, and Guanzhong. This makes the political development in the Jinnan Basin stands out as a remarkable exception. Climate change did not necessarily determine the course and outcome of social development, but it did change the frame within which political actions and social interactions took place. Local circumstances, cultural tradition, and human agency worked within the changed frame, where political, social, and economic considerations mediated the dynamics of human interaction with the new environment (Rosen 2008a). At times of severe ecological crisis, however, the options available to Longshan communities might be so

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limited that abandonment appeared to be the only way out. Even so, there were conscious choices to be made as to where and how to relocate, how to make sense of the dramatic changes, and how to adapt to new habitats, which involved cultural, political, and even religious considerations. Longshan political development consisted of multiple trajectories simultaneously operating in different regions and different rhythms. Social disruptions and abandonment of hierarchical, proto-urban settlements in the middle and lower Yangzi during the third quarter of the third millennium bce marked the most important shift of political landscape, where the area historically known as the Central Plains and its adjacent regions emerged as the central stage for social development. Collectively, these divergent trajectories present a complex image of the turbulent Longshan world in which the process of political experimentation and state formation unfolded. In the settlement record, social collapse is characterized by “a major decrease in site numbers and reduction in the site distribution, significant decline in material culture and technology, the disappearance or a sharp decrease of monumental architecture and public construction projects” (Wu and Liu 2004:155). By 2300/ 2200 bce, Liangzhu society, as the most prominent lowland power in early China, was dwindling: its impressive mound centers were abandoned, and its dams and levees were no longer maintained (Zhejiangsheng 2005b:324). Although the sea level stabilized and approached the modern mean in the middle Holocene, the delta plain was still very sensitive to subtle sea level fluctuations, storm surges, and tidal currents, which affected and restrained the development of the agricultural-based Liangzhu society (Liu Yan et al. 2015). These fluctuations at approximately 2300–2200 bce appear to have contributed to the decline of the Liangzhu mound centers and the abandonment of Neolithic settlements in lower Yangzi (Yu et  al. 2000:29; Liu and Chen 2012:251; Ningboshi 2013). Other lines of evidence identify freshwater flooding as the primary cause of social decline (Zong et al. 2011; Liu Yan 2014).The Shijiahe society in the middle Yangzi collapsed soon afterwards (Shijiahe 1992; Zhang Chi 2017). The depopulation of major centers in the middle and lower Yangzi River Basin took place in tandem with enormous population growth in highland regions. These changes require a kaleidoscopical shift in the perspective and geographic order for approaching the archaeology of this period. In order to address some of the new processes added to the interaction framework during the late third millennium bce, I organize this chapter from west to east, reversing the geographic order used in Chapter 3.

The Expanding Longshan World Climatic change affected societies at the global scale, and worked alongside other social and economic processes at a regional level in creating changes to

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4.2. The convergence of the Middle Asian, North Asian, and Prehistoric Chinese (East Asian) Interaction Spheres during the late third millennium  bce (illustrated by Li Min  based on Chang 1986:235 Figure 197; Hiebert 1994:177 Figure 10.8; Possehl 2002:234 Figure 12.37; Kohl 2007:183 Figure 5.1).

settlement patterns. A growing pastoralist economy and expanding mobility associated with aridization increased the range of interactions across the Eurasian continent. During the late third millennium bce, Longshan technological developments intensified and incorporated knowledge gained through transcontinental interactions with societies in the Eurasian steppes, Siberian alpine forest, Central Asian oasis, and the network of Bronze Age cities in Southwest Asia and the Indus Valley. In order to characterize the dynamics of change in the Longshan world and understand these societies with diverse economies, I introduce a framework of three converging interaction spheres: the Prehistoric Chinese Interaction Sphere defined by K. C. Chang (1986); the North Asian Interaction Sphere based on the work of Kohl (2007) for the pastoralists and hunter-gatherers of the Eurasian steppes and the Siberian northern alpine forest, and the Middle Asian Interaction Sphere defined by Gregory Possehl (2002:215, 228; 2007:40), which encompasses the regions bounded on the north by Central Asia and on the south by the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea (Figure 4.2). To simplify the terminology, I refer to them as the East, North, and Middle Asian Interaction Spheres in this book. As I will detail in this chapter, the

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convergence of these three interaction spheres constituted the full scope of exchange networks in the broadly defined Longshan world, and thus the geographic scope of my archaeological study – a significant expansion of the traditional framework for research on Longshan society and early China in general. This tripartite interaction framework has a distinctive advantage over the dichotomies of east vs. west, north vs. south, and herders vs. farmers in characterizing complex interactions in current archaeological literature.The convergence of these three interaction spheres contributed bronze-centered multi-metallic metallurgy, cowrie-based notions of value, cattle and sheep herding, new techniques and mediums of religious communication, and other important components to the Sandai civilization and its Bronze Age peers in early China. Understanding the social configuration of technologies in this complex interaction is therefore critical for comprehending the ritualization of metallurgy associated with the genealogy of knowledge for the wen ding narrative. Each interaction sphere contains a wide range of terrain types and subsistence economies, which were nevertheless connected through river valleys, mountain corridors, piedmonts, and alluvial plains. For the sake of understanding the richness of interactions that defined the Longshan world, I will discuss in particular where and how they converged, as well as the movement of trade goods and technologies. Two processes significantly affected technological and social development in the Longshan world: the expansion of the Middle Asian exchange network into the steppes and the mobilization of Eurasian steppes, which facilitated the movement of communities and technologies across the permeable boundary of the three interaction spheres. During the late third millennium bce, the florescence of trade networks among cities in Mesopotamia, the Iranian Plateau, the Indus Valley, the Persian Gulf coast, and Central Asia contributed to the formation of the Middle Asian Interaction Sphere (Possehl 2002). In the land to the east of Sumer, secondary states flourished during the late third millennium bce in places like Altyn-depe, Jiroft, and Mundigak (Kohl 2007:218). Further north, almost every potentially irrigable area of land or mineral-rich region in Central Asia and southern Afghanistan was developed, hosting trade outposts from Bronze Age cities in the Iranian Plateau and the Indus Valley (Possehl 2002; Kohl 2007). Trade in lapis lazuli from the Pamir Mountains, turquoise and metal ore from Central Asia, carnelian, marine shells, and ivory from the Indus Valley, and manufactured goods connected the cities in this vast region into a close-knit network, where the distribution of seals attests to a sophisticated exchange network involving the knowledge of literacy (Francfort 1989; Kenoyer 1998; Hiebert 2002; Possehl 2002). The North Asian Interaction Sphere consists of networks of pastoral and hunter-gatherer communities inhabiting the diverse terrains of the steppes,

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steppes-forest, and taiga forest, spanning the vast landscape from the Eurasian steppes to Siberia. Although the political, economic, and social structures of these communities dramatically varied, they remained linked by increased mobility and expanding exchange network in steppes and forest zones. On the steppes, stockbreeders subsisted on animal husbandry, supplemented with foraging, hunting, and fishing (Kohl 2007). Aridization and cooling contributed to the declining conditions during the late third millennium bce, thereby encouraging extended colonization of the Eurasian steppes, which featured multi-animal pastoralism involving sheep, goat, and cattle (Hiebert 2000:57). The expansion of the steppe zone due to increased aridization also contributed to the increasing social interaction between steppe herders and the huntergatherer communities of the taiga forest further north. Besides the increase of stockbreeding in subsistence economy, several factors contributed to the growing mobilization of the steppes during the late third millennium bce, i.e. the expansion of metal procurement and the increased use of wheeled transport technologies in the form of carts and wagons (Hiebert 2000:56; Koryakova and Epimakhov 2007:52; Frachetti 2012:21). The domestication of horses and camels also added horse riding, chariots, and camel caravans to this repertoire (Levine 1999; Levine et al. 1999; Potts 2004; Anthony 2007). Increasing mobility contributed to the integration of herder and huntergatherer communities within the North Asian Interaction Sphere, as seen in the eventual formation of the Andronovo Horizon at the turn of the second millennium bce (Hiebert 1994, 2000; Kohl 2007; Hanks 2010). Metal prospecting and herding developed concurrently, contributing to the mobilization of the steppes. Metallurgy in the form of arsenical copper/bronze was introduced to the steppes from the Caucasus during the fourth millennium bce (Kohl 2007:54–58, 130, 168; Koryakova and Epimakhov 2007:33). In the late fourth millennium bce, steppes metallurgists started casting pure copper objects with one-sided or bivalve molds made from stone or clay (Koryakova and Epimakhov 2007:34). As the first metalworking steppe society east of the Urals, pastoral and hunter-gatherer communities were associated with the Afanas’evo material culture (c. 3400–2300 bce), which flourished in the Minusinsk Basin. By the late third millennium bce, multiple regional metalworking traditions flourished from the eastern slope of the Urals all the way to the forest-steppes in the Sayan-Altai region, elaborating upon the basic patterns of the Circumpontic metallurgical network (Koryakova and Epimakhov 2007; Kohl 2007). The eastern expansion of metallurgy in the Eurasian steppes was likely driven by the pursuit of unevenly distributed minerals required for bronze production (Chernykh 1992; Chernykh et al. 2004; Hiebert 2000; Kohl 2007). Herders, experienced in metalworking, prospected for ore sources, mined ores on a seasonal basis, and transported ores to their settlements with wagons, to be

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worked on at different times of the year (Kohl 2007:178). During the late third millennium bce, many new metallurgical and metalworking centers emerged, based on the ore deposits in the Urals, Kazakhstan, Tianshan, and the Altai Mountains (Koryakova and Epimakhov 2007:27). Extensive exchange in minerals, pastoral products, techniques, molds, and finished metal objects among these North Asian communities created a web of communication with shared material culture and increasingly reduced regional variation (Kuzmina 2008; Chernykh 1992, 2009; Chernykh and Kuz’minykh 2010). After one or two centuries of concurrent development and sustained interactions during the late third millennium bce, regional metalworking traditions in steppes and forest regions eventually dissolved into one cultural horizon, thus transforming the steppes “from a series of isolated cultural ponds to a corridor of communication” (Anthony 2007:457). This exchange network associated with the Late Bronze Age Andronovo Horizon or Transcultural Phenomenon spans from the Urals steppes to the upper Yenisei River in Altai, and from the southern forest zone southward to Amu Darya in Central Asia (Chernykh 1992, 2009; Mei and Shell 1998, 1999; Kuzmina 2008). Excavations of cemeteries with stone slab tombs, stone human statues, stone architectural remains, and horse remains at Chemurchek (Ke’ermuqi), Adunqiaolu, and Husita suggest the presence of bronze-working communities in the mountain ranges of Altai and Tianshan during the turn of the second millennium bce (Zhongguo, Bo’ertala, and Wenquanxian 2013; Jia Xiaobing et al. 2016). Excavations in the intermontane basins of Bortala and Yili along the Tianshan mountain range have also identified a significant presence of bronze objects and burials associated with the Andronovo tradition (Zhongguo et al. 2013; Jia et al. 2016; Xinjiang 2016). The technology of working with tin bronze formed an integral part of the cultural knowledge associated with the stockbreeding and hunter-gatherer communities of North Asia by the late third millennium bce. Remains of prospecting, mining, and exchange of metals, therefore, became important archaeological evidence for observing the dynamic interactions along the northern zone of the highland Longshan society. In addition to the exploitation of natural resources, ritual landscapes marked by petroglyphs, stone slab tombs, stone steles carved with anthropomorphic and zoomorphic masks and geometric patterns, stone fortresses locally known as sves, and sacred mountains in North Asia attracted diverse groups for economic and/or religious reasons (Gotlib and Podol’skii 2008; Jacobson-Tepfer 2015). Widespread distribution of Bronze Age petroglyphs in Altai, the Minusinsk Basin, and the mountain ranges of Tianshan, Yanshan, Qilian, Mazongshan, and Helan offers compelling evidence for the activities of herders and hunter-gatherers along the contact zone between North

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Asia and the highland Longshan society (Zhao Yangfeng 1987; Guo Wu 2011). Petroglyphs in the Minusinsk Basin on the upper Yenisei featured engravings of wheeled vehicles, consistent with the increased mobility of the late third and early second millennium bce. The North and Middle Asian Interaction Spheres converged at the vast regions spanning from Amu Darya (Oxus) and the Caspian coast in the west, to Turfan in the east. With Amu Darya as the traditional boundary, Central Asia served as a major northern gateway to the steppes for cities in the Middle Asian Interaction Sphere. Bronze Age cities like Sarazm (c. 3500–1500 bce, 47 hectares) in the Zerafshan Valley and Gonur Tepe (c. 2200–1800 bce, 50 hectares) in the Margiana Oasis of Kara Kum Desert served as major relay stations for transcontinental trade and for northern extensions of the urban network along the foothills of Kopet Dag. During the late third millennium bce, these Central Asian cities flourished on an agropastoral economy with a fully developed wheat–barley–sheep–goat assemblage and intensive irrigation agriculture brought in from the Iranian Plateau (Hiebert 1994; Kohl 2007). While these cities functioned as nodes of a multi-city settlement network within Central Asia, they also served as the “Northeastern frontier of the ancient Near East” (Kohl 1981:vii). The configuration of landscape, economy, resources, and trade networks in these gateway regions structured the ways in which farmers and agropastoralists in Central Asian and highland Longshan societies engaged with their common neighbors to the north. With the increasing use of ox wagons, and the introduction of camels and horses, these cities connected agropastoral and farming communities in the Iranian Plateau and the Indus Valley with the cattle herders in the steppes and the huntergatherer communities in northern alpine forests (Potts 1999; Possehl 2002; Sherratt 2006; Kohl 2007). The mudbrick architectural tradition and material culture of these cities tied them to the urban societies of Southwest Asia. Substantial exchanges of metallurgical technology, finished metal products, and raw materials formed an important aspect of the steppes–oasis interactions. Located at the point of contact between the high-altitude valleys of the Pamir Mountains and the expansive steppes, the Zerafshan Valley hosted communities with diverse cultural affiliations and mixed economies (Frachetti 2012:13). Rich in deposits of copper, tin, gold, silver, arsenic, and lead, and with close access to a turquoise outcrop nearby, the Zerafshan Valley supplied semiprecious stones and metal ores to Southwestern Asian cities to the south and to steppe herding communities to the north through the third millennium bce (Boroffka et al. 2002; Garner 2015). As a Central Asian urban outpost deep in the steppes, Sarazm at the western end of the Zerafshan Valley brought an agropastoral economy of wheat and barley farming, and sheep, goat, and cattle herding deep into the steppes region by the early third millennium bce (Jettmar 1981). Equipped

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with a well-developed tin-bronze casting technology, the mobile herders associated with the Andronovo cultural tradition also intensified tin mining at the Zerafshan Valley and the upper Irtysh during the late third and early second millennium bce (Hiebert 2000:57–59; Anthony 2007:425; Garner 2015). Steppes-style burials suggest the presence of mobile pastoralist communities throughout the Zerafshan region (Frachetti 2012:14). A  burial containing materials of both the Bactria-Margiana Archaeological Complex (BMAC, c. 2200–1800 bce ) and steppe cultures further attests to the extent of cultural hybridity in and around the Zerafshan Valley (Lamberg-Karlovsky 2012:25). To the south of the Zerafshan Valley, the late urban phase of Sarazm coincides with the rise of Bronze Age urban centers associated with the material culture of the BMAC, whereas immigrants from agropastoral cities along the foothills of Kopet Dag built new, well-planned fortification complexes up to 100 hectares in size in the oasis south of Amu Darya (Sarianidi 2007). The presence of palatial or temple precincts at the center of these cities suggests that the religious and/or political authority played a critical role in their construction and operation (Anthony 2007:423). These trade hubs at the intersection of the Middle and North Asian Interaction Spheres fostered vibrant cultural and economic exchange. To the south, these cities maintained trade relationships with the great Indus cities of Harappa (150 hectares) and Mohenjo Daro (250 hectares) around 2200–1900 bce (Kenoyor 1998; Possehl 2002). People associated with the BMAC material culture also traveled in the Indus Valley, and even took up residence there (Hiebert 1994:154–55; Jarrige 2008:77). The presence of horses, horse harnesses, and hand-made ceramics in Oxus oases provides compelling evidence for sustained cultural contacts with the steppe communities (Hiebert 2000:57–59; Anthony 2007:427–35; Koryakova and Epimakhov 2007:181). Sintashta metal production may have supplied the steppes–oasis trade, involving the BMAC communities of Central Asia (Anthony 2009:64–67; Doonan et  al. 2014:760). Some steppe communities migrated southward to the desert oases settled by agriculturalists: These newcomers settled down on the watered plains of Bactria and Margiana and changed their way of life, adopting and transforming the material culture of the agriculturalists with whom they came into contact  ... What has been found is just what one would expect to show the gradual, but continuous infiltration and assimilation of cattle herders into the established sown world of irrigation agriculturalists that become increasingly substantial in the last phases of the Bronze Age, particularly towards the middle of the second millennium bc. (Kohl 2007:203)

With the increase of steppes ceramics from the desert oases to the piedmont of Kopet Dag, metals found in these regions shifted from unalloyed copper,

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arsenical bronze, and a copper–lead alloy typical to the Kopet Dag foothills to tin bronzes from the Altai region (Hiebert 2000:57–59; Anthony 2007:425). Through these interactions, the material culture of the settled communities in the Oxus oases increasingly became a “hybrid with the continuous arrival of cattle herding pastoralists from further north” (Kohl 2007:203). These communities not only facilitated the exchange between Middle, North, and East Asian societies, but also played a filtering role based on their own cultural preferences. These processes closely paralleled those of the highland regions of early China from the late third to the early second millennium bce. If Amu Darya represents the western hub, then the vast Circum-Tianshan region from the Ferghana Valley to the Turfan Basin represents the eastern hub for interactions between steppe herders and Central Asian agropastoralists. Within this vast region spanning approximately 2,000 kilometers, Tianshan glaciers supplied the oases and pastures around the mountain range. At the western end of the Tianshan mountain range, cattle herders of the Ferghana mountain-valley would interact with the agropastoral communities associated with the BMAC material culture in the oases along Amu Darya. The distribution of a distinctive style of petroglyphs from Saimaly-Tash in the west, high up in the Ferghana range, to the Bogda glacier in the east also attests to trans-Tianshan movement of cattle herders through the intermontane corridors during the third and early second millennium bce (Guo 2011; Frachetti 2012). As part of the local sacred landscape centered on the central snow peaks, these petroglyphs depict cattle, horses, deer, rams, and people with a diagnostic double triangle composition. Their techniques, elevation, orientation, and landscape configuration were all similar across Tianshan. Between Tianshan and Altai, oases and steppe lands around the Dzungar Basin helped connect steppe herders, oases agropastoralists, and forest hunter-gatherers in the surrounding regions. On the southern slope of Altai, Chemurchek (Ke’ermuqi) and Chaganguole produced stone statues and cist tombs that closely resemble the ritual tradition north of Altai (Xinjiang 1981, 2013; Han 2007b). Centered in the Altai mountain range, this ritual tradition of carving stone human statues spanned a vast region from the Tianshan mountain range to the southwest, Tuva and the Minusinsk Basin in the north, to Ordos in the southeast. I will return to this point later in this chapter. To the south of the Tianshan mountain range, an agropastoral economy engaged in wheat and barley farming, as well as cattle and sheep herding, allowed for the initial settling of a network of oases along the edges of Tarim Basin (Barber 1999; Hiebert 2000; Mallory and Mair 2000; Thornton and Schurr 2004; Kuzmina 2008; Li Chunxiang et  al. 2010a). These interactions of North and Central Asia account for the hybrid material culture in Xiaohe cemetery, which displays design elements from southern Altai to Central Asian traditions (Guo 2011). The extraordinary preservation of desiccated mummies

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in the desert-edge cemeteries of Xiaohe and Gumugou offers rare insights into the organic remains associated with ritual life in the basin, e.g. ephedra, yarrow (Achillea millefolium) sticks, and later, cannabis, which had connections with Central and North Asian religious traditions (Rudenko 1970; Sherratt 1991, 2007; Russo et al. 2008).This dynamic of Central and North Asian interactions elucidates the nature of interactions involving highland Longshan communities in East Asia, because both featured contacts between farmers and herders, as well as the production and trade of metal. The North and East Asian Interaction Spheres converged along the northern edge of highland Longshan society, spanning from Altai to the north coast of Bohai Gulf.The configuration of physical terrain in the highland contact zone structured the pattern of interaction. The mountain ranges of Altai and Tianshan formed a funnel-shaped gateway that narrows toward the Hexi Corridor in the southeast. At the foot of these two mountains, a series of oases, lakes, and steppe lands supplied by the mountain glaciers provided passages along the edges of the Dzungar Desert. To the south of the Dzungar Basin, the intermontane valleys of the Tianshan mountain range connected with Central Asia and the Eurasian steppes to the west.To the north of the Dzungar Basin, the Altai mountain range connected with the steppes, steppe-forest, and taiga forest regions in southern Siberia. From the Hexi Corridor to Ordos, the exploitation of pastures, oases, lakes, wetlands, river valleys, jade outcrops, and copper mines by communities from Tarim Basin oases, the steppes, the Altai forest-steppes, and the western highlands made the region a nexus of interactions. A permeable boundary between the steppe and oasis communities not only encouraged exchange in both directions, but also allowed steppe and forest communities to serve as intermediaries for the transmission of goods, knowledge, and technology from the Middle Asia Interaction Sphere into the highland Longshan society of early China. Sherratt (2006:52) points out that from the end of the third millennium bce onwards, “there was a process of successive southward displacement of the axis of contacts, from ‘upper’ to ‘central’ Eurasia, forest to steppe to desert oases, and a gradual tautening of the multi-stranded cord that stretched between two ends of Eurasia.” The goods, knowledge, and technology available through interactions during the late third millennium bce included a multi-metallic metalworking tradition with sophisticated casting techniques,Western Asian domesticate animals and plants, irrigation techniques, ideas about writing, distinctive compartmented seals, mudbrick construction, monumental architectural styles (stepped terraces or ziggurats with stepped niches), turquoise beads, lapis lazuli, carnelian beads, cowrie shells, storytelling about distant places, iconography of fantastic beings, as well as psychoactives and their associated apparatuses. Political experimentation and social change in Longshan society, therefore, need to be approached

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within this broad framework of expanded interactions during the late third millennium bce. THE CONVERGENCE OF THREE INTERACTION SPHERES IN HIGHLAND LONGSHAN SOCIETY

The convergence of symbols, technologies, and cultures of the three interaction spheres contributed to the making of the Longshan world in the late third millennium bce. Many trappings of the later Sandai kingship were present in the western highlands in their rudimentary forms, i.e. metallurgy, jades, horses, cattle, sheep, and scapulimancy, each holding its distinctive place in highland society based on existing schemes of value and prestige. Understanding the social configuration of new technologies and new inventories of material culture in the western highlands, therefore, is critical for understanding their eventual incorporation into the repertoire of Sandai symbols.

Metallurgy in the Western Highlands Transmission of knowledge of metallurgy is critical for ritualization of bronze vessels in early China, and is thus a central theme of this book. To the south of the Tianshan mountain range, the colonization of Tarim Basin at the turn of the second millennium bce probably involved populations from the surrounding regions in multiple directions (Mallory and Mair 2000; Han 2007b; Thornton and Schurr 2004). The presence of tin, copper, gold, and silver objects at Gumugou, Xiaohe, and Tianshanbeilu cemeteries is consistent with patterns of multi-metallic tradition observed in Middle and Northern Asian sites (Mei 2009:11). Besides tools and accessories, bronze bells and bronze mirrors held ritual significance in later religious traditions of North Asia (Lindgren 1935; Liu Guiteng 2007; Jaang 2011) (Figure 4.3). To the north of the Altai mountain range, Siberian metal smiths during the third millennium bce worked with copper and bronze for producing tools, weapons, and accessories, as well as gold and silver earrings. During the late third millennium bce, forest metallurgists associated with the Seima-Turbino technological tradition perfected the technology of using bivalve molds of soapstone and clay to cast socketed weapons and tools in tin bronzes (Chernykh 1992:218; Koryakova and Epimakhov 2007:180; Doonan et  al. 2014). These Siberian hunter-gatherer-herder groups were the first producers of tin-bronze objects in North Asia (Chernykh and Kuz’minykh 2010:125; Liu and Chen 2012:332). The technological advances may have been related to substantial exchange of metal and metalworking technology between the steppes and forest workshops in North Asia, and the oasis cities in Central Asia (Anthony 2007:444–47). In particular, intensified mining of tin in upper Irtysh along

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4.3. A Central Asian-style bronze mirror from tomb m25 associated with the Qijia material culture at the Naimatai cemetery in Qinghai and an ethnographic representation of a Numinchen shamaness dress adorned with bronze mirrors and bells (after Qinghaisheng and Beijing 2016:130 Figure 116; Lindgren 1935: Plate 1, painted by Edith King).

western Altai connected the Siberian forest metalworking communities with technological developments in what we broadly defined as the Bronze Age society of North and Middle Asia. Spanning a vast distance of more than 6,000 kilometers, the distribution of Seima-Turbino-style bronze products from the Carpathian mountain range and the Baltic coast in the west to the middle Yangzi in the east illustrates the extraordinary extent of this North Asian metal exchange network and the mobility of North Asian communities (Chernykh 1992, 2009; Sherratt 2006:47; Koryakova and Epimakhov 2007:39–40; Anthony 2007:446; Gao Jiangtao 2015). The discovery of jade beads made from nephrite from the Lake Baikal region, alongside lapis lazuli beads and metal objects of the Seima-Turbino technological tradition at the Rostovka cemetery on the middle Irtysh River, suggests the presence of extensive exchange routes linking Afghanistan and Siberia (Anthony 2007:444). Some of these discoveries are ritual offerings associated with pilgrimages to sacred landscapes. The ritual deposit of Seima-Turbino bronze caches in Rostovka, Seima, Turbino, and Shaitanskoye Ozero II suggests the sacred nature of metal products in the North Eurasian tradition (Korochkova et al.

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2010). This creates a ritual context for comparison with similar finds in China at the eastern end of this vast network, where Seima-Turbino-style spearheads with a downward hook on one side of the socket were found in multiple sites from Shenna, Qinghai, on the northeastern edge of the Tibetan Plateau, to Xiawanggang on the southern end of the Shangluo Corridor and Chaoyang on the eastern edge of the Mongolian Plateau (Mei 2009; Kohl 2007; Gao 2015; Liu and Liu 2016). The eventual perfection of casting techniques using closed bivalve molds with a suspended core in North Asia enabled the production of thin-walled bronze vessels in the Luoyang Basin during the second quarter of the second millennium bce (Sherratt 2006:44; Koryakova and Epimakhov 2007:19). I will elaborate on this point in Chapter 5. Jettmar (1981) highlights the potential contribution of the northern alpine forest communities to the interregional interactions in East Asia:  “In the northern fringes of the steppe belt, I stressed the extreme importance of the Okunev Culture which had on the one hand connections with the Far East and, on the other, definite links with the south of Central Asia.”The Minusinsk Basin, a steppe region on the upper Yenisei surrounded by forested mountains, served as the gateway for the development of incipient metallurgy in Siberia. By the late fourth millennium bc, interactions with metalworking groups and incipient pastoralists in the Minusinsk Basin and the surrounding foothills and mountains brought copper objects and small-scale metal production to hunter-gatherer communities in the Sayan Mountains, the Cis-Baikal, and Trans-Baikal regions (Shepard 2012:377–78). The Minusinsk Basin and its surrounding regions of Tuva, Khakassia, Altai, and the Mongolian steppes, therefore, became a major hub for North Asian metalworking during the third and second millennia bce. With infiltration by North Asian herders and Central Asian stockbreeding and wheat farming communities, the Hexi Corridor in the western highlands became a converging area for three interaction spheres. Goods, techniques, and knowledge available to highland Longshan society through interactions with North Asia include fur and leather, cattle and sheep herding, horses, birch and lumber, flint tools, and a multi-metallic tradition of metallurgy and mining that involved bivalve casting of copper, arsenical, and tin bronze (Bunker 1993; Sherratt 2006; An and An 2008). This convergence brought metalworking communities in contact with highland Longshan communities residing in areas spanning from the western end of the Hexi Corridor to the eastern end of the Mongolian Plateau in the late third millennium bce. Current archaeological research provides no evidence for a lasting metalworking tradition in early China independent of the Eurasian tradition (Muhly 1988; Mei 2000, 2003a, 2003b, 2009). Occasional metal finds associated with the Majiayao (Machang) material culture indicate that metal may have been traded in the western highlands by the third quarter of the third millennium

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bce (Yan Wenming 1984; Gansusheng et  al. 1984; Sun and Han 1997). The proliferation of metal objects associated with the Qijia (c. 2200–1800 bce) and Siba (c. 1950–1550 bce) material cultures coincided with the expansion and elaboration of metalworking in the steppes and taiga forests of North Asia. The discovery of more than one thousand early bronze and copper objects in western highland sites, as either trade goods or local production, suggests sustained use of metals in highland Longshan society (Li and Shui 2000; Li Shuicheng 2002, 2005). Archaeological evidence from the western highlands represents different aspects of the production–consumption sequence, e.g. mining sites, smelting sites, casting sites (sites consuming products with casting/recasting capacity), and trade-in sites (sites with access to copper without the casting capacity) (Miller 2007:155–56). Early metal objects from the western highlands were mostly simple objects for utilitarian or decorative use produced at community or household scales without signs of political control or craft specialization. Extraordinarily refined and up to 62 cm long, the Seima-Turbino-style bronze spear excavated at Shenna in Qinghai offers compelling evidence for the southern extension of the North Asian metalworking tradition into the upper Yellow River Basin on the northeastern part of the Tibetan Plateau (Zhongguo 2003:538; Liu Xiang 2015). Excavations at the Tianshanbeilu cemetery (c. 2000–1500 bce) in the Hami Basin yielded a rich collection of metal objects from more than 700 tombs, consisting of mirrors, gold and silver ornaments, as well as knives, awls, axes, tubes, earrings, bracelets, beads, buttons, daggers, plaques, arrowheads made of copper, tin bronze, arsenical bronze, gold, and silver (Mei 2009:11; Liu and Chen 2012:342). In general, the Eurasian metalworking tradition represents the major source of inspiration for the limited design repertoire in highland Longshan sites, e.g. tools, weapons, and accessories (Debaine-Francfort 1995; Chernykh 1992, 2009; FitzgeraldHuber 1995, 2003). With limited production volume and function types, experimentation with metal production was underway among western highland communities during the late third millennium bce (Gansusheng 1960a). The discovery of stone molds, crucible fragments, furnace tubes, copper ore, and metallurgical slag at the Xichengyi site (c. 2135–1690 bce) in the Hexi Corridor, for example, suggests that early highland production centers worked directly with the bivalve casting of the North Asian technological tradition (Li Yanxiang 2014; Chen et al. 2015; Zhang Xuelian et al. 2015). This production technique represents an extension of the metalworking traditions in contemporaneous Central Asian and steppe communities (Fitzgerald-Huber 2003:56). In addition to shared production techniques, the western highland metal assemblage displays a multi-metallic configuration consistent with that of the Eurasian metalworking tradition (Sherratt 2006:44). Gold, silver, copper,

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and bronze objects consistently appeared together in Xiaohe, Tianshanbeilu, Huoshaogou, Mogou, Zongri, Xichengyi, and other early metal-using sites at the onset of their metal use (An and An 2008). From the second millennium bce onwards, metalworking traditions of the Sandai civilization and their Bronze Age peers in early China all operated within the technological framework of this multi-metallic tradition, including the production of bi-metallic objects made of bronze and meteoritic iron. The range of copper alloy in archaeological metals from the Longshan period, e.g. arsenical copper, arsenical bronze, and tin bronze, is also consistent with the Eurasian tradition. Familiarity with bronze working was an inherent part of the cultural assumptions for the wen ding narrative. Prospecting and mining activities laid the foundation for sustained metal production in Bronze Age China. The mining operation in the western highlands likely resembled the “gold rush” model proposed by Kohl (2007:178) for the steppes metalworking industry, which strongly contrasts the involvement of a centralized authority, as seen in Erlitou and Zhengzhou (Chapters 5 and 6). The high frequency of arsenical copper among metal objects from western highland sites was attributed to the mineralogical characteristics of ore deposits in the region (Xu Jianwei et al. 2010; Li Yanxiang 2014). As metalworking was practiced by herders and hunter-gatherers in the steppes and forest regions, increased herding activities in the western highlands provided the impetus for exploring highland landscapes for mines and pastures, as well as salt and freshwater lakes. Metal mines, stone outcrops, lakes, and pastures also attracted return visits from diverse groups, thus facilitating exchange and social gathering. The distribution of early mining and smelting sites at the Ejin River along the Hexi Corridor concurs with the spread of herding into the river valley (Li Yanxiang 2014). Analysis of pollen samples from the lake bottom suggests that the high fuel demand of metallurgy, particularly for the production of arsenical bronze, may have aggravated deforestation and ecological degradation caused by climate change in the late third millennium bce (Li Xiaoqiang et al. 2011). Through the exchange networks, tin mines in the upper Irtysh may have indirectly supplied the early demand in these highland bronze workshops, while prospecting for local sources was underway in early China. To the north of the loess highlands, the Huogeqi copper mining site in the western section of the Yinshan mountain range represents a major Bronze Age mining operation along the southern edge of the Gobi Desert. Early mining and smelting operations left behind crashed ores, furnaces, ore-processing implements, shafts, tunnels, and piles of slags (Liu and Chen 2012:320), consistent with early prospecting and subsequent expansion of the highland bronze industry through the second millennium bce. A rich inventory of petroglyphs along the Yinshan mountain range suggests that hunter-gatherer-herder

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communities had made frequent use of the trans-Yinshan passes to reach the good pastures in the Hetao Oasis to the south. To the south of the Yinshan mountain range, the great loop of the middle Yellow River provided access to Ordos and the loess highlands. Given the distribution of metal objects on both sides of Yinshan during the Longshan period, it is likely that the copper and lead mines in the mountain range had been prospected and utilized by the late third millennium bce. Ordos became a major nexus for sustained interaction among the communities of the loess highlands, western highlands, and North Asia, which helps account for the early metal finds in the Longshan centers of Shimao in Ordos and Taosi in the Jinnan Basin. I will elaborate on the contexts of these finds later in this chapter.

Expanding Knowledge in Fauna and Flora Understanding the cultural configuration of multiple technological and ritual traditions converging in the western highlands helps us understand the changing notions of value in Longshan society and the ritualization of bronze. Like the Columbian Exchange in global history, this Longshan Exchange from increasing interactions in Eurasia during the late third millennium bce brought a new inventory of domesticated animals and plants for food and other cultural use into early China, which co-evolved with the production and elaboration of metalworking.This process contributed to the emergence of an early Bronze Age society, from which the Sandai tradition developed. Stockbreeding requires systematic knowledge of animal husbandry and sustained investment in time and effort. Like the multi-metallic tradition of Eurasian metallurgy, the types of animals raised and relative frequency of the different species were not random choices. On the steppes, for example, it took at least two millennia for the multi-animal adaptive system to evolve with “the right combination of animals and the development of technologies for maximizing their control and utilization” (Kohl 2007:159). Herding animals, cultivating plants, and working metals were not merely economic matters. They also involved religious knowledge, thus needed to be placed in the broader schemes of technological choices (Lemonnier 1993). While pigs constituted a traditional focus of religious offerings and feasting activities among farming communities in Neolithic China, increased intercultural encounters facilitated by the mobilization of the Eurasian steppes and the deteriorating climate created conditions for the spread of multi-animal pastoralism. The timing of the introduction of stockbreeding to the western highlands is consistent with the spread of metallurgy during the late third millennium bce (Hiebert 1994; Chen and Hiebert 1995; Fitzgerald-Huber 1995, 2003; Mei 2003a, 2003b, 2009;

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Yuan Jing 2003; Anthony 2007; Flad et al. 2007, 2009; Lü 2010; Cai et al. 2014; Miyamoto 2014). The incorporation of herding expanded the range of animals in ritual contexts among the highland Longshan communities. At the DahezhuangQinweijia cemetery in Gansu, for example, different ritual traditions operated within a community in transition from farming to an agropastoral economy (Zhongguo 1974, 1975). While pig bones dominated the faunal assemblage of these tombs associated with the Qijia material culture, the display of sheep mandibles in graves suggests the incorporation of herding animals into the deeply engrained Peiligang tradition of curating pig mandibles from feasting events. Intriguingly, no burials at the cemetery contained both animals. The mutually exclusive distribution of sheep and pig mandibles in the DahezhuangQinweijia cemetery seems to indicate the maintenance of a cultural boundary, at least in mortuary syntax, within the agropastoral community. Since both domesticates were fairly common in residential refuse, the overwhelming emphasis on pig mandibles in these burials reveals what people chose to remember and display for their ritual needs. At Dahezhuang, five pebble stone circles with an opening on one side were found next to houses with plastered floors and ritual deposits of articulated skeletons of cattle and sheep (Zhongguo 1974, 1975; Lü 2010). These could represent the baselines of tents or burial markers associated with the steppes tradition (Liu and Chen 2012:326). These highland cemeteries all produced evidence for incipient metal use dating to the late third and early second millennium bce, which comprised tools and body ornaments (Chang 1986:282). While cattle and horse bones were available in the residential remains of highland Longshan communities, they were never shown in the form of curated mandibles in burials, as practiced in the Neolithic tradition. Instead, the discovery of head-and-hoof deposits as ritual offerings in the Dahuazhongzhuang cemetery from the early second millennium bce indicates that some western highland communities adopted Eurasian ritual traditions, which were later documented in highland cemeteries in Bronze Age China (Qinghaisheng 1985:15–17). Differences in the ritual use of domesticated animals (e.g. the emphasis on pig mandibles in burials and cattle scapulae for divination) reveal that highland communities were building a new frame of knowledge, where the traditional and new domesticates and their associated ritual protocols were accommodated in culturally meaningful ways. This new configuration of ritual knowledge associated with domesticated animals is fundamentally important for defining the Sandai ritual tradition in several aspects. First, cattle eventually overtook pigs as the prime choice for elite-sponsored ritual sacrifice and feasting in Sandai society (Okamura 2005). Cattle rapidly spread across early China after their first introduction during the Longshan period. During the late second millennium bce, cattle-based

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animal sacrifice became the central component of Late Shang royal ancestral rituals, while horses were primarily used for pulling chariots as part of the Late Shang military apparatus (Campbell et al. 2011). Known as Tailao, the grand ritual set consisting of cattle, sheep, and pig eventually defined the terms for the Zhou ritual tradition known through textual sources (Yuan and Flad 2005). The head-and-hoof deposits as ritual offerings later became a hallmark of the highland groups operating in the margins of Zhou states, including those highland elites in the Luoyang Basin who were the target of the Chu military campaign in the wen ding story, which I will discuss in Chapter 7. Second, the introduction of new techniques in religious communication coincided with the expansion of the agropastoral economy. Scapulimancy was practiced by applying heat to an animal’s scapula and making observations from the cracks on the other side (Keightley 1978; Xie 1998; Flad 2008). Evidence for scapulimancy was first documented in the western highland site of Fujiamen during the late third millennium bce (Liu Li 2004:67). This technique of divination spread quickly across social, linguistic, and cultural barriers in Longshan society. The preference for cattle scapulae as mediums of scapulimancy indicates that the spread of this religious technique was related to the ritual tradition of herders (Neimenggu and E’erduosi 2000; Henansheng 2004; Shaanxisheng and Yulinshi 2005; Han Jianye 2007a). By the late second millennium bce, it became the primary technique for religious communication of the Shang kingship, used in association with the bronze ding vessel (Chapter 6). Third, just as herding and metallurgy were closely interwoven in the Eurasian metalworking tradition, the spread of herding facilitated the spread of metalworking, and encouraged the prospecting of landscape from the perspective of metallurgists. Excavations of houses and storage pits at Dahezhuang yielded two dozen copper objects and slugs, indicating that some of the residents in these western highland agropastoral communities were engaged in metalworking and metal exchange (Chang 1986:282). The knowledge accumulated from metal prospecting laid the cultural foundation for the rise of Bronze Age society in early China. Evidence for the exchange of botanical knowledge of staple and non-staple use is also crucial for understanding Eurasian interactions (Sherratt 2006; Potts 2012). Millet had been the primary staple among highland farming communities for several millennia, whereas rice was introduced into the western highlands from the lowlands during the late third millennium bce (Li Xiaoqiang et al. 2007; Li Chunxiang et al. 2010b).The settlement of the oases around the Tarim Basin and the Hexi Corridor established a network of exchange between farmers of Central Asia and the highland regions, through which irrigation techniques associated with wheat farming could have traveled (Kohl 2007:128). While steppe herders were not heavily engaged in the cultivation of cereals, millet and wheat were

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probably exchanged as trade goods (Spengler et al. 2014). By the turn of the millennium, the association of wheat and barley with the metalworking agropastoral communities in the western highlands suggests that interactions with the oasis agropastoralists and steppe herders expanded the repertoire of botanical knowledge in Longshan society (Gansusheng and Jilin 1998; Mei 2003a:27; Flad et al. 2010; Atahan et al. 2011; Gansusheng et al. 2014; Zhao Zhijun 2015). From these highland nexuses of technological exchange, the knowledge associated with the cultivation and irrigation of wheat and barley spread across the Longshan world in a very short time. Wheat and barley remains have been identified in dozens of Longshan sites in the highlands, lowlands, and as far as coastal Fujian in southeastern China (Guedes 2011; Jones et al. 2011; Zhao and Chen 2011; Guedes et al. 2013, 2014, 2015; Jiao 2013). What propelled the rapid spread of Western Asian crops, however, remains understudied, as wheat was not adopted as a major staple in the Central Plains until the end of the first millennium bce. Cross-culturally, religious communication and divination frequently involved ritual use of psychoactive plants, e.g. cannabis, ephedra, alcohol, cocoa, and tobacco (Sherratt 1987, 1991, 2007; Dietler 1990, 2006; Devereux 1997; Joffe et al. 1998; Merlin 2003; Russo 2007; Crown et al. 2009, 2012; VanPool 2009). Each religious tradition developed its own techniques, substances, and protocols for achieving altered state of consciousness, which were associated with culturally specific ideologies and symbolism for engaging with the sacred. The alcoholic beverages fermented from rice or millet, for example, had been the primary form of psychoactive substance in early China, while textual and archaeological evidence suggests that cannabis and ephedra enjoyed great ritual significance in the steppes, Altai, and Central Asia (Rudenko 1970). Experimentation with different techniques and associated substances for religious communication is part of the syncretic process in the making of early civilizations. As an integral part of the multi-technology encounter, the increased interaction may have expanded the range of techniques in religious communication, as herbal medicines and hallucinogenic plants often traveled over great distances due to their cultural significance (Sherratt 2007). Although ritual use of psychoactive plants in the context of cultural interactions remains conjectural, Chang’s (1995) hypothesis for a combined use of alcohol and hallucinogenic agents like cannabis in Late Shang religious communications helps us understand elaboration of an already very sophisticated assemblage of ritual vessels in early China during the second millennium bce (Chapters 5 and 6). In contrast to oracle bones, the ritual use of plants is difficult to track owing to the lack of preservation, the small volume used, and the inherently destructive nature of consumption. At the same time, the consumption of these psychoactive substances (alcohol included) is critical to understanding the emergence

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of the Sandai ritual tradition, because a large portion of Sandai bronze vessels were labeled as drinking vessels. Archaeological and ethnographic inferences are necessary for linking the diverse ingredients and the ritual purposes they once served, which are often listed under the label “spices” in current research. At the eastern end of the Tarim Basin, ritual use of ephedra, yarrow sticks, and wheat was documented in association with desiccated mummies in the Xiaohe cemetery from the end of the third millennium bce. As a psychoactive plant, ephedra was ritually significant in the Central Asian religious tradition and often regarded as the potential ingredient for soma, a euphoriant or inebriating drink consumed in Vedic rituals (Sherratt 1987, 1991, 2007; Devereux 1997:96).The natural habitat of ephedra reached far beyond Central Asia. The shrub-grassland vegetation of the Yi-Luo River Basin at the heart of the historical Central Plains, for example, was mainly dominated by Artemisia, Ephedra, and Chenopodiaceae before modern farming (Rosen 2008b:300). The ritual use of plants in the Longshan world, therefore, may have extended far beyond the Tarim Basin, which exhibited extraordinary preservation of plant remains. Yarrow stalks appeared in bundles of eight in Xiaohe tombs in the Tarim Basin; the numerical pattern strongly resembles the milfoil (yarrow) divination that was used side by side with scapulimancy in Shang and Zhou society (Zhang Zhenglang 2011; Bai Junping 2014). Cannabis presents a more complicated picture, because its source plant, hemp, was used for textiles in early China for several millennia (Li Hui-Lin 1974a, 1974b;Touw 1981; Long et al. 2017). Context, therefore, becomes critical for distinguishing between the nature of its use in hemp textiles and in cannabinoid psychoactives. The earliest direct evidence for psychoactive use of cannabis dates to the end of the second millennium bce, when crushed cannabis leaves and seeds with psychoactive properties were recovered from the tomb of a mummified religious figure at the Yanghai cemetery at the eastern end of the Tarim Basin (Xinjiang 2004; Russo et al. 2008; Xinjiang and Xinjiang 2011). The recovery of cannabis seeds, stone-filled censers, and hemp clothing from the frozen kurgans at Pazyryk, Siberia, also offers clues to the ritual use of cannabis in the Altai region of Northern Asia, consistent with Herodotus’ account of Scythian funeral rites during the late first millennium bce (Rudenko 1970; Russo 2007). The extraordinary preservation of these tombs suggests that ritual use of cannabis was probably widespread in North and Central Asia well before the end of the second millennium bce. As with ephedra, we do not know the extent of psychoactive use of cannabis further east. Artistic representations inspired by entoptic visions in altered states of consciousness, e.g. geometrics, vortexes, and dots, have frequently been associated with shamanistic practices in prehistoric communities (Lewis-Williams 2002; VanPool 2009). This could help understand the proliferation of entoptic designs on petroglyphs and painted pottery

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from the Altai to the western highlands during the late third millennium bce, as discussed at the end of Chapter 3. Although we do not know the specific substance used to induce these entoptic visions, the distribution of these ceramic vessels and the lack of quality differentiation in western highland sites suggest that these religious activities were associated with a strong communal ethos, which significantly differs from the kind of shamanism proposed for Shang kingship (Chang 1983, 1995). I will return to this point in Chapter 6. The ritual or commensal use of psychoactive substances for their intended effect involved different treatments, e.g. filtration of rice wine and inhalation of cannabis, and each required specific design features for their apparatus. It is within this cultural tradition that the footed vessels from Central Asia and the steppes were interpreted as censers or braziers for burning hallucinogenic substances (Rudenko 1970; Sherratt 1991, 2007; Mallory and Mair 2000). Experimentation with new ingredients and techniques provides the impetus for the rapid elaboration of the so-called drinking apparatus in the Longshan ceramic assemblage, including some of the first vessel shapes created in bronze in the second quarter of the second millennium bce (Chapters 5 and 6). The elaboration of techniques and substances of religious communication, therefore, needs to be taken into consideration for the investigation into the development of the ritual bronze vessel assemblages that became the core symbols of the Sandai civilization (Chapter 5). This directly bears on the symbolic significance attributed to the bronze ding vessels in the wen ding narrative, which I will elaborate in the rest of this book.

Trade Shells in Highland Longshan Society Besides faunal and botanical knowledge, exchange facilitated by the longrange mobility linking the Indian Ocean, the Persian Gulf, the Iranian Plateau, the steppes, and the western highlands also accounts for the influx of trade goods, i.e. cowrie shells, carnelian beads, and turquoise beads, which often occur together in contexts involving herding and metal trade (Peng and Zhu 1995; Rawson 2010). Of this small inventory of trade goods, cowrie shells stand out as the most important item. Coinciding with the rise and decline of Bronze Age society in early China, these tropical marine shells first appeared as a highland trade item during the late third millennium bce (Chapter  3), rose to the symbol of value in Sandai society during the second millennium bce (Chapters 5, 6, and 7), and eventually disappeared in early imperial China during the late first millennium bce. Whereas the natural range for these tropical and sub-tropical mollusks spans from the Indian Ocean to the South China Sea, the coastal communities of the East and South China Sea did not develop a historical tradition of harvesting and trading cowrie shells. Despite intensive research on

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lowland sites like Liangzhu and its peers, cowrie shells were systematically absent from Neolithic sites, cemeteries, and shell mounds in coastal China (Zhongguo 1999a; Jiao 2013). Indian Ocean society, in contrast, had a long historical tradition of harvesting and “producing” cowrie shells on a massive scale (Hogendorn and Johnson 1986; Litster 2016).2 Around the Indian Ocean, natural habitats of cowries also include the Arabian Sea, the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf, and the Eastern Mediterranean, all part of the Middle Asian Interaction Sphere. Historically, trade in cowrie shells in Mesopotamia dates to the Chalcolithic culture, Early Dynastic Uruk, and Old Babylonian Ur (Reese 1989; Bruyako 2007). Before their widespread use among elites in Shang and Zhou society, the distribution of cowrie shells was essentially a highland phenomenon in the Longshan world (Peng and Zhu 1995; Li Kai 2010). The timing of the introduction of cowrie into the Longshan world is consistent with the florescence of Bronze Age trade in the Middle Asian Interaction Sphere and the mobilization of the Eurasian steppes in the late third millennium bce. As stated at the end of Chapter  3, cowrie shells first appeared in prehistoric China in a Late Majiayao (Machang) context in Qinghai during the late third millennium bce (Qinghaisheng and Zhongguo 1984:168). During the Longshan period, the western highlands have the highest concentration of cowrie finds, particularly along the Hexi Corridor (Peng and Zhu 1995; Bruyako 2007; Flad 2012; Liu and Chen 2012:311; Kontonicolas 2014). The configuration of material culture at the metalworking Xichengyi site along the Hexi Corridor shows that cowrie shells were associated with other trade items common in Middle and North Asiatic trade, i.e. turquoise beads, pearls, jet (lignite), carnelian beads, and bronze mirrors. The frequency of cowrie finds significantly declines from the western highlands to lowland sites. The only recorded find on the east coast comes from the Longshan center of Liangchengzhen, which also had extensive highland connections. I  will return to this site later in this chapter. Although the organization of cowrie trade within the Middle Asian Interaction Sphere remains understudied, their distribution pattern in East Asia suggests that these shells were traded into highland Longshan society through the Iranian Plateau and the Eurasian steppes, the shortest route to which appears to be the area along the southern coast of the Caspian Sea. The exchange network outlined by the northeastward flow of cowrie from the coast of Southwest Asia to highland Longshan society covered a distance of more than 6,000 kilometers. The trade route partially overlapped with the westward flow of lapis lazuli toward the Mediterranean and Egyptian world from Central Asia (Sherratt 2006). The intersection of these two trade networks in Middle Asia characterized the interconnectivity of “global trade” in Bronze Age Eurasia (Jennings 2011).

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Ethnographically, the cultural use of cowrie is extremely versatile. The intact shells could act as amulets, apotropaic charms, beads, jewelry, money, and randomizing devices in a game of chance or divination. Most shells in Longshan contexts had their dorsal side broken off or a hole bored through one end, indicating that they were once strung as ornaments or attached to clothing.This concurs with the context of Bronze Age finds, e.g. elite tombs at Erlitou and Dadianzi of the early second millennium bce, where cowries were attached to the frontlet of a dress or to headbands (Zhongguo 1998). From Gansu to Ordos, the highland communities also have a tradition of attaching cowrie shells or their imitations to the surface of pottery vessels, a practice consistent with the anthropomorphic representation of these vessel forms. As I  will continue to document throughout this book, the presence of cowrie shells serves as a critical marker for tracking the potential contribution of the trans-Eurasian exchange to the emergence of the Sandai core symbols, including early Chinese writing (Chapters 5 and 6). The highland Longshan proliferation of cowries, carnelian, and turquoise provides a rich body of information about the religious and aesthetic focus on beads in the Central and North Asian cultural traditions. Ethnographically, beads were attached to the hair, collars, sleeves, shoes, and other entrances in the clothes to repel adversity, protect health, and attract luck in Central and North Asia (Luneva 2002). Beads were also worn on necklaces, headdresses, earrings, and bracelets to symbolize wealth, health, distant places, and esoteric knowledge. Ceremonial dress adorned with cowrie shells remains important to North Asian shamans in the ethnographic record (Lindgren 1935). The jade- and cowrie-adorned turquoise mosaic wristbands from Xiajin, cowrie necklaces and frontlets at Erlitou and Dadianzi, and the tradition of attaching cowries to headbands, collars, clothing, horse harnesses, flags, and coffin covers among Shang-Zhou elite and their Bronze Age peers in early China are consistent with this bead-working tradition.

The Expansion of Lapidary Tradition Highland Longshan society saw the spread of two lapidary techniques  – turquoise mosaic production and jade carving. The convergence of these two technological traditions produced a repertoire of jade and turquoise objects that became an important component of Sandai high culture (Chapters 5 and 6). The continuity in their forms and techniques from the third to the first millennium bce also highlights the resilience of highland Longshan cultural tradition. Turquoise held a critical place in the material culture of Longshan and Bronze Age China. Prehistoric communities in the Huai River Basin had used turquoise pendants and beads to adorn their bodies as well as jade ceremonial

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axes and bone cylinders since the Peiligang period. The raw material probably came from turquoise deposits in the middle Yangzi River Basin. The amount and distribution of turquoise use, however, had been rather limited through millennia. This pattern changed during the late third millennium bce, when dramatic changes in geographic distribution and in techniques of turquoise use occurred across the Longshan world. This proliferation and elaboration of turquoise use in Longshan society was not necessarily an outgrowth of the lowland tradition. During the late third millennium bce, turquoise use in lowland society declined sharply from the pre-Longshan period, while the quantity and variety of turquoise finds rapidly expanded in the western highlands (Pang 2014). Its frequent association with cowrie shells, carnelian, stockbreeding, and metal objects at highland sites like Liuwan in Qinghai indicates Central Asian and steppe involvement (Qinghaisheng and Zhongguo 1984). Some of these turquoise beads may have been brought in from major turquoise-producing regions in the Turfan Basin and the Hexi Corridor, while others were likely produced using local stones and lapidary techniques transmitted via the steppe trade. By the early second millennium bce, the ceramic assemblage diagnostic of highland Qijia material culture had reached the turquoise-producing regions in the mountainous valleys of the middle Yangzi, e.g. Liaowadianzi, likely associated with highland prospecting activities in the copper-rich middle Yangzi (Hubeisheng 2014). Longshan innovation in lapidary techniques involved cutting turquoise into very thin tesserae tiles and attaching them to the surface of bone, leather, or wooden backings. At Dianhe, Liuwan, and other western highland sites, triangle-shaped turquoise tiles were attached to the surface of ceramic double-handled beakers (Pang 2014). The most distinctive examples came from the Zongri site in Tongde, Qinghai, which was also one of the highland sites that yielded the first evidence of metal objects in early China. Associated with the Majiayao material culture of the Yaoshang tradition, a stone cist tomb from the Zongri cemetery produced a wristband with turquoise tesserae tiles attached on the surface of a bone cylinder. Another tomb from the same cemetery yielded a stone slate with turquoise tiles of various sizes glued to its surface. Several small tiles had perforations in the corners, indicating that they may have been adapted from turquoise pendants (Ge and Chen 1999:13–17). Lapidary techniques for producing extremely fine turquoise mosaics were probably aimed at maximizing the number of tiles in a given space – the smaller the tiles, the greater the number of “beads” on a given piece and the greater the protective strength, because each individual bead possesses power (Luneva 2002). These fine mosaics required better material, more labor investment, and better craftsmanship, thus commanding greater prestige and value than the

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ones with fewer pieces in larger chunks.They were probably produced by very few workshops and distributed widely in the Longshan world through elite exchange networks. Turquoise mosaic objects decorated with this technique spread rapidly from the Hexi Corridor to the Shandong Peninsula on the east coast, a distance of more than 2,000 kilometers. This distribution pattern generally coincides with the spread of cowrie shells and metal objects in the Longshan world. With exposure to metalworking and bead-working traditions, highland communities appear to be the first to experiment with adding turquoise mosaic inlay on to a metal backing to create plaques (Chen Xiaosan 2013). The perfection of casting techniques for creating elaborate bronze seals in Central Asian cities and openwork metal objects in Siberia and the oases of the Hexi Corridor during the late third millennium bce had laid the technological foundation for producing the metal backing on which to set the mosaic. During the second millennium bce, bronze/copper plaques with or without turquoise inlay were documented in the western highlands (Tianshanbeilu, Qijiaping, Tianshui), the Luoyang Basin (Erlitou), and the Chengdu Plain (Sanxingdui); the western highlands appeared to be the common source of this technology (Chen Xiaosan 2013). The technique was the predecessor of the turquoise mosaic inlay on metal plaques produced at the Erlitou royal workshop in the Luoyang Basin during the second quarter of the second millennium bce (Chapter 5). The production and exchange of carnelian beads was a well-established craft in the Indus Valley and the Indian subcontinent (Kenoyer 1998). Although no positive identification of beads from the Indus Valley workshops has been made in China, the discovery of carnelian beads with pecked perforation along the Hexi Corridor suggests a broad technological connection with the beadworking tradition in the Middle Asian Interaction Sphere. Artisans probably made use of the abundant carnelian deposits on the surface of the Gobi Desert for bead production. During the Shang and Zhou periods, carnelian beads steadily flowed into early China for elite consumption (Rawson 2010). This tradition emphasizes a close connection between the human body and the magic and protective power associated with beads. In the opposite direction from that of the turquoise, carnelian, and cowrie trade, the rapid expansion of a jade-working industry in the western highlands was part of a highland Longshan cultural phenomenon spreading from the east coast. The products from these highland workshops are primarily disks, fl at battleaxes, and a Longshan adapted version of the Liangzhu cong cylinders. The design repertoire suggests a coastal connection through the major highland Longshan centers in the middle Yellow River Basin, which I will discuss next (Zhongguo 1999b; Ningxia and Zhongguo 2003; Huang 2010; Fang 2015).

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The materiality and forms of the highland Longshan jade assemblage probably evoked the legends of the paramount centers in the east, which provided the ritual and ideological basis for local aspirations for social distinction: [T]he east–west transmission of jade forms did not consist merely of individual objects, divorced from their original purpose and context, traded upstream along the Wei, and dispersed to the settlements beyond and replicated locally from single items of trade … Because these jade types are evidently accompanied at the Qijia sites by customs of personal adornment and ritual function comparable to those at Taosi, some form of a deeper cultural affiliation, or, at the very least, cultural affectation, apparently accompanied the jade forms themselves. Whatever the particular circumstances may have been, we may conclude that the Qijia wished to assert an affiliation, however distant and fanciful it may in actuality have been, with the more refined centers of civilization to the east, and that they aspired in some measure to emulate their customs. (Fitzgerald-Huber 2003:67)

The recent collapse of Liangzhu society resulted in a dispersal of its jade objects and possibly a population diaspora from its coastal mound centers, providing the Longshan society in the Huai River Basin and the highlands access to the symbolic significance of coastal jades and associated lapidary techniques (Fang 2015). Some highland finds were Liangzhu heirlooms, complete with the iconography of the supreme deity (Deng 2014). The majority of the finds, however, were of highland production with a different craftsmanship and highland raw material (Figure  4.4). The discovery of jade raw materials, unfinished products, drilled cores from disk production, and leftover materials in cemeteries associated with the Qijia material culture indicates widespread local engagement with the jade-working industry, which operated through the first half of the second millennium bce (Gansusheng 1960a, 1960b, 1978; Wang Yumei 2012; Fang 2015). The presence of jade objects at major highland Longshan centers appears to reveal “an interregional transmission of cosmology or even a sphere-wide substratum featuring that cosmology” (Chang 1986:287). Whether this shared cosmology across the Longshan world represents a continuum in symbolic meaning from Liangzhu society is contested. As a proponent for continuity, Chang (1995:321) argues: [T]he cong encapsulates in one small package the entire cosmology of the Neolithic people and gives us a link from the Neolithic cosmology to the dynastic period. It says, “Heaven and earth interpenetrate one another.” It is a representation of the axis mundi. Heaven is round, the earth is square, and the object is hollow.

In contrast, Bagley (1999:164) argues for a rupture: “the jade inventories of Erlitou and Liangzhu barely overlap, giving no reason to suspect any particular

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4.4. The distribution of jade cong cylinders after the collapse of the Liangzhu mound center during the late third millennium  bce (redrawn by Su Mingming from Huang 2010:34–41 Figures 1 and 6).

connection between the two cultures.” These opposing arguments have very different implications for the transmission of social memory between the Sandai civilization and its prehistoric predecessors, and thus deserve close scrutiny. Since the Longshan assemblage incorporated both coastal forms and new designs, I argue that the incorporation of the Liangzhu form in the highland Longshan assemblage represents neither a continuum nor a rupture. Rather, it was part of a unique cultural synthesis through which diverse cultural traditions were forged into a new assemblage that presaged the Sandai ritual jade tradition. Its development probably revolved around a new ideology that was perpetuated by religious syncretism in the context of the unprecedented social and ecological changes during the Longshan period. For a region without a jade-working tradition before the Longshan period, the florescence of the new industry involves the introduction of lowland prospecting knowledge and lapidary skills into the region, which coincided with intensified interregional interactions and the emergence of major highland Longshan centers in the middle Yellow River Valley (Deng 1997; Yang 2000, 2001; Huang 2010). This surge of jade production in the

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upper and middle Yellow River Basin ushers in a “Western China Tradition” in jade working (Deng 1993). The rise of this highland jade industry saw the intensive exploitation of jade sources in the Qilian mountain range along the Hexi Corridor (Wen 1998; Yan 2010).3 The stone tool assemblage associated with the jadeworking community at Huangniangniangtai also involved extensive use of microlithic technology associated with mobile groups (Gansusheng 1960b; Liu and Chen 2012:325). The convergence of lithic technology associated with a hunter-gather-herder economy and the coastal forms in the western highland community highlights the transregional characteristics of cultural interaction in the Longshan period. Since the sites with the greatest concentration of jade objects, namely Taosi and Shimao, are located in the loess highlands, I will elaborate in the next section on their significance in relation to the emergence of major highland Longshan rituals and political centers.

The Social Configuration of Technologies in Highland Longshan Society The archaeological discoveries of domesticated animals, plants, and metal objects in the Longshan world are consistent with the expectation of increased interaction of Middle, North, and East Asian Interaction Spheres during a time of expanding mobility and climatic instability. The eastern and southern expansion of herding and metal prospecting associated with the Central and North Asian communities converged with the western expansion of the highland Longshan jade industry in the Hexi Corridor and along the eastern slopes of the Tibetan Plateau. These convergences generated unprecedented diversity and hybridity in material culture and technologies among highland Longshan communities, which were the direct predecessors of the Sandai tradition. The early metal industry in the western highlands, however, exhibits some remarkable differences from the Sandai civilization. First, the social configuration of metal in North Asian and highland Longshan society differs from that of the Sandai tradition. The production and distribution of metals in the steppe, forest, and highland Longshan metalworking traditions were not associated with cities, state control, culinary elaboration, and other trappings of a hierarchical society. At the fortified communities of Sintashta and Arkaim in the steppes-forest region of the southern Urals, for example, the presence of metalworking apparatus in virtually every household in the communal compound suggests open access to the knowledge of metallurgy (Koryakova and Epimakhov 2007:36–37; Kuzmina 2008:45). Such lack of centralization would seem utterly alien to the Sandai political tradition, where metallurgy was the exclusive knowledge of artisans attached

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to political authority. This does not necessarily indicate that the western highland communities were detached from the emergence of political and religious authority in the Longshan period. Instead, the configuration of technologies in highland sites associated with the Qijia material culture indicates that jade was the material of choice for representing social prestige in highland Longshan society: [M]etal objects, with the exception of small ornaments of personal attire, are rarely found in Qijia burials, even in the high-status graves at Huangniangniangtai, such as m48. This observation raises the question whether the Qijia themselves considered metal objects to be among their prestige goods and whether these objects were in any significant way integrated into their ritual practices. Instead, the high-status burials at Huangniangniangtai were provided with a lavish array of jade and stone disks and rings. (Fitzgerald-Huber 2003:65)

The distribution of western highland jade objects and jade raw material in major highland Longshan centers of Taosi in Jinnan and Shimao in Ordos suggests that many communities in the region were actively involved in emerging political and religious networks located in the middle Yellow River Valley. The contrast is characteristic of the general difference in metallurgical tradition between the western highlands and the Sandai tradition, where the incorporation of metal objects and metallurgy into the western highlands did not significantly contribute to the intensification of political economy in the region (Linduff 1998; Linduff and Mei 2009, 2014). At the Donghuishan, Huoshaogou, and Naimatai cemeteries in the Hexi Corridor and Qinghai, trumpet-shaped gold earrings, copper nose ring, mirrors, cast bronze ringpommel single-edge knives, axes, spears, arrowheads, awls, pins, tubes, maceheads, and other metal accessories were found in contexts associated with turquoise beads, carnelian beads, cowrie shells, oracle bones, wheat and barley, horse sacrifice, sheep, cattle, jade, double loop handle beakers, and other highland-style ceramics (Gansusheng and Jilin 1998; Qinghaisheng and Beijing 2016). This inventory demonstrates how metal only modestly debuted in the Longshan highlands before it became the defining aspect of Sandai civilization. Second, highland Longshan metallurgy had a ritual focus different from that of the Sandai tradition. While metalworking was frequently associated with magical power and religious transformation by prehistoric societies, different ritual traditions channeled the powers of metal objects in their own culturally meaningful ways. In his characterization of the technological differences in the later second millennium bce, Chernykh (2009:9) argues that Karasuk-Tagar metallurgy is “incomparably simpler and more rational” in comparison with

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the heavy emphasis on the “sacral purposes” connected with “diverse, ritually magical ceremonies” in the Central Plains. In the religious traditions of North and Central Asia, mirrors and jingle bells were key components of ritual performances, with ethnographic evidence showing that the resonance and reflection of the mirrors attached to the costume provided North Asian shamans with religious potency in their dances (Liu Guiteng 2007). The exchange and production of bronze mirrors in the western highlands, therefore, cannot be detached from the sacred knowledge and ritual techniques associated with them (Chang 1986:282; Jaang 2011). These forms represent a very different ritual focus from the Sandai tradition, where a group of distinctive bronze vessels came to be regarded as the primary symbols of political and ritual authority, which is the central narrative of this book. Third, the distribution pattern of metal finds during the Longshan period is very different from that of the Sandai tradition. The remote upper Yellow River Valley on the northeastern edge of the Tibetan Plateau was one of the first and most active regions in the experimentation of metallurgy at the end of the third millennium bce. This pattern is very different from the historical perceptions of the Central Plains as the industrial center for bronze production. Located between Qinghai Lake in the northwest and the Minshan mountain range in the northeast, this region was far removed from the political and technological centers of Bronze Age and imperial China. During the Longshan period, however, it was well connected with other metalworking centers in the western highlands through the upper Yellow River and its tributary Tao River. This highland region also had trans-Minshan connections with the Sichuan Basin through the Bailong River, a tributary of the upper Yangzi (Chen Wei 2012). This has important implications for understanding the configuration of the technological landscape in the wen ding story, on which I will elaborate in Chapter 8. Finally, the piece-mold technology used to cast bronze vessels with elaborate form and iconography sets the Sandai tradition in Bronze Age China apart from the highland Longshan and North Asian metalworking traditions, which used simple bivalve stone and clay molds for their metal objects (Mei 2003a, 2003b, 2009). This difference is critical for understanding the ritualization of metallurgy in the wen ding narrative, where important bronze vessels cast from complex piece-mold techniques embodied the Sandai kingship. As I  will describe in the following chapters, the technological innovation and political elaboration of the Sandai bronze industry took place in multiple stages during the second millennium bce (Chapters 5 and 6). While highland Longshan society provided an important link between the expanding Eurasian metallurgical network and the Sandai metalworking tradition, the threshold for bronze to become the primary symbol of political and religious authority

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was crossed in the Luoyang Basin to the east of the loess highlands during the second quarter of the second millennium bce, which was also the event place for the wen ding narrative. POLITICAL EXPERIMENTATION IN HIGHLAND LONGSHAN SOCIETY

Highland Longshan Society Although the western highland communities were going through significant economic, technological, and political changes during the Longshan period, no large centers emerged in these well-populated river valleys in the region. Instead, large prehistoric centers arose in the middle Yellow River Valley to the east. During the early third millennium bce, the loess highlands saw the disintegration of a highly homogeneous cultural horizon associated with the Miaodigou material culture. The change in ceramic assemblage marked the end of communal rituals revolving around the consumption of alcoholic beverages fermented in amphorae, which were once the focus of Yangshao social life (Chapter  3). The infiltration of lowland material culture into highland society coincided with intensifying social differentiation in post-Miaodigou society. The archaeological inventory from the sites along both sides of the middle Yellow River provides compelling evidence for cultural change.The Qingliangsi cemetery in Ruicheng on the north bank of the Yellow River produced hundreds of well-organized graves richly furnished with jade axes, disks, and cong cylinders (Shanxisheng et al. 2006, 2011, 2016).Their mortuary assemblage strongly contrasts with that of the minimally furnished Late Miaodigou tombs from the Xipo cemetery, approximately 50 kilometers south of Qingliangsi, as discussed in Chapter 3. The deceased probably represented warrior elites with extensive connections with both the highland basin and the coastal lowlands (Fang 2015). The trans-Zhongtiao corridors saw intensified interactions between highland and lowland communities. Approximately 50 kilometers east of Qingliangsi, the Sanliqiao site at Sanmenxia on the south bank of the middle Yellow River yielded mixed ceramic assemblages, containing ceramics from the Jinnan Basin as well as from the Yi-Luo River Basin and the upper Huai River Basin (Zhongguo 1959b). It probably served as a river port connecting the Jinnan Basin and the Luoyang Basin. This diversity in material culture is consistent with the increasingly important role played by these gateway communities in political development, leading up to the rise of the Central Plains as the central theater for state formation in early China. Archaeologists have classified remains associated with Longshan communities in the loess highlands and the two major highland basins of Jinnan and

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Guanzhong into many archaeological cultures and their regional variants (see Han Jianye 2015b for a recent synthesis). As highland interactions intensified, however, Childe’s (1956:123) assumption of repeated and exclusive association of well-defined diagnostic types in his definition of archaeological culture is no longer adequate for characterizing the increasing hybridity in Longshan material culture. Highland communities engaged in all forms of exchange along the tributary networks of the middle and archaic lower Yellow River, and thus shared a basic repertoire of ceramic vessels and construction techniques. I use the notion of highland Longshan society as a broad framework to address the interconnectedness, porousness, hybridity, and mobility of the Longshan communities in the vast region from the Taihang mountain range to the western highlands, which were associated with the Laohushan culture in the northern loess highlands, the Xinghuacun culture in middle Shanxi, the Keshengzhuang II culture in the Guanzhong Basin, the Qijia culture in the western highlands, and the Taosi culture in the Jinnan Basin (Zhongguo 2010). Despite rich stylistic variations across the complex terrain of the loess highlands, there are enough shared traits among these regional traditions to characterize them as part of the material culture of highland Longshan society. After their brief florescence in the Miaodigou Phase II assemblage, the ding tripod vessels were dropped from highland Longshan culinary tradition. Instead, highland social life revolved around the double-handled beaker and the pouch-legged tripod vessels, which expanded with the agropastoral economy in Longshan society and Bronze Age China (Gansusheng et al. 1982; Zhongguo and Shanxisheng 2015:197–212, 240). As discussed in Chapter 3, the technique of molding or hand-building ceramic cones for constructing the li and jia tripod vessels was adapted from the Yangshao craft tradition of building pointed-bottom amphorae (Li Wenjie 1996; Zhongguo and Shanxisheng 2015:294–95). The stylistic changes and geographic distribution of the pouchlegged li tripod vessel served as major markers of highland interactions through the second and first millennia bce (Chapters 5, 6, and 7) (Figure 4.5).

The Rise of Taosi and the Jinnan-centered Political Tradition Within the loess highlands, significant regional variation can be observed. The number of farming communities in the fertile Guanzhong Basin declined during the Longshan period, while the Jinnan Basin and Ordos became major highland theaters for political experimentation during the late third millennium bce (Shaanxisheng 2008). Starting from approximately 2300 bce, Taosi and the Circum-Chongshan region in the Jinnan Basin saw an unprecedented population concentration in the Longshan world (Xie 2007; Zhongguo and Shanxisheng 2015).4 In contrast to the large Miaodigou settlements of the fourth millennium bce, these highland Longshan centers display clear signs of

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4.5. The stylistic variations of highland pouch-legged tripod vessels vs. the lowland solid-legged ding tripod vessels during the Longshan period (redrawn by Li Min from Han Jianye 2015b:187 Figure 62 and the chaîne opératoire of highland ceramic production after Li Wenjie 1996:103–4 Figures 54 and 55).

social differentiation, concentration of wealth, cultural diversity, and symbols that became prototypes for the representation of kingship in the Sandai political tradition. Diverse social groups were drawn to these proto-urban centers (approximately 100 hectares or larger) and towns (10–100 hectares), which served as the central stage of economic, political, and religious life.Their large size, complex structure, extensive network, and instability shed light on state formation in early China. The Longshan settlement at Taosi expanded from 160 hectares in its Early Phase (c. 2300–2100 bce) to 300 hectares during its Middle Phase (c. 2100–2000 bce) (Figure 4.6). The whole site extends to 400 hectares and was occupied over approximately five centuries. Due to severe destruction from political turmoil at the turn of the second millennium bce, the urban configuration of Taosi was not well understood. Recent excavations, however, offer important clues on this site (Gao et al. 1983, 1985; Gao et al. 1984; He 2013, 2016; Zhongguo and Shanxisheng 2015).

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4.6. The archaeological landscape of Taosi as represented on Corona satellite images (USGS ds1108-2135df022_22_c).

In the northeast part of Taosi, its palatial precinct occupied an area of approximately 7 hectares, which included a large rammed earth foundation spanning 1 hectare (Zhongguo et al. 2004, 2005, 2008). Lower elite residences and large storage areas were found adjacent to the palatial precinct, while residences for its commoners were scattered across the northern quarters of the city and the immediate hinterland (He 2013). Outside the walled city, attached to its southeast wall, was a small ritual precinct (10 hectares), which included a cemetery of elite burials and an earthen observatory with niches aligned to the central peak of Mt. Chong for calendric observation (Zhongguo 2007; Wu et al. 2009; Pankenier et al. 2008; Pankenier 2013). A massive cemetery with remarkable social difference presents compelling evidence for the emergence of Taosi as a major prehistoric city in early China (Zhongguo and Linfen 1983; Zhongguo and Shanxisheng 2015). Director Gao Wei (1993) estimated that the large cemetery at the southeast corner of Taosi (approximately 4 hectares) once contained approximately 10,000 tombs, of which half were lost to erosion and a quarter have been excavated by archaeologists (Zhongguo and Shanxisheng 2015:1117). The cemetery was so densely packed that more than 1,300 tombs were excavated from an area of 5,000 square meters during the 1978–85 seasons. In one location, as many as 185 tombs were stacked atop one another, which was exceptionally rare in Chinese archaeology of any period (Zhongguo and Shanxisheng 2015:394). The orderly

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arrangement of these burials in rolls and columns suggests the presence of corporate groups as lineages or clans (Zhongguo and Shanxisheng 2015:1128). The extent of this cemetery suggests that Taosi’s population was disproportionately larger than that of any prehistoric sites in China in the late third millennium bce.The scale of Taosi can be compared to the size of the TianmaQucun cemetery on the southern slope of Mt. Chong. During the early first millennium bce, this important cemetery of the powerful Jin state hosted approximately 20,000 burials, only twice the size of the Taosi cemetery (Zou Heng 2000:283).The extent of these large cemeteries at two neighboring sites separated by one millennium attests to the degree of population concentration in the Jinnan Basin. I will return to this in Chapters 7 and 8 to discuss their connection in regard to the Longshan legacy in the Zhou historical landscape. Almost all tombs in the Taosi cemetery were oriented toward the central peak of Mt. Chong, approximately 7 kilometers to the southeast (Zhongguo and Shanxisheng 2015:403). As early cities represented “nodal points of pilgrimages and ceremonies, exchange, storage and redistribution, and … centers for defense and warfare” (Yoffee and Terrenato 2015:3), the sacred landscape became an important component of urban formation. The heavy concentration of burials at Taosi and their collective ritual alignment suggests that the proto-urban growth probably revolved around a new ideology, which symbolically inaugurated the sacred mountain as the ritual focus of the migrants with diverse cultural backgrounds who settled at Taosi.The massive concentration of people also presents a strong contrast to the demography of the second millennium bce, when the population in the basin significantly declined after the collapse of Longshan society (Chapters 5 and 6). The striking differences observed in grave goods and grave construction among the more than 2,000 excavated burials reveal that the mortuary ritual was the arena of choice for representing social distinctions in Taosi society (Zhongguo and Shanxisheng 2015).The contrast to the archaeological patterns in the region from the fourth millennium bce cannot be greater: no cemeteries were present there despite the large concentration of Miaodigou sites in the basin. Taosi elite had much more to display than the commoners on these solemn ritual occasions. Tombs in the large cemetery at Taosi can be classified into three tiers according to their dimensions and grave furnishings. The large tombs account for less than a dozen, while there are hundreds of medium tombs, and thousands of virtually empty small tombs for commoners.5 The frequent use of stone battleaxes in elite burials highlighted the warrior ethos of highland Longshan society. Up to three by three meters in size (m3015), the large tombs often used red lacquered coffins placed over a layer of cinnabar in the tomb shaft, a mortuary tradition frequently seen in Sandai elite tombs. Three large tombs (m3016, m3015, and m3002) were accompanied by one or two richly furnished

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medium-sized tombs, which probably represent the spouses of the male elites buried in large tombs (Zhongguo and Shanxisheng 2015:455–57). In addition to the significant difference in wealth and status from the rest of Longshan society, the Taosi elite appear to have developed a sumptuary rule on the basis of the set configuration of grave goods selected for rites of passage. This new development in Taosi offers a critical insight for our study on the ritualization of culinary assemblage and musical assemblage as hallmarks of the Sandai civilization, which sets it apart from other Bronze Age communities in early China. The next section will examine the social construction of elite persona at Taosi in mortuary contexts and discuss how the mortuary configuration influenced Sandai ritual tradition.

Culinary Elaboration at Taosi The most striking feature of the Taosi elite burials is their formalized mortuary syntax, which highlights elaborate culinary and musical apparatus, e.g. painted serpent platters, lacquered wooden and ceramic preparation and presentation vessels, chimestones, and alligator skin drums. Based on the placement of grave goods in one well-preserved elite tomb (m2001) and five partially disturbed top-tier tombs in the large cemetery, we can reconstruct the configuration of a feasting scene as part of the elite mortuary ritual at Taosi (Zhongguo and Shanxisheng 2015) (Figure 4.7). With the exception of those lost to looting at the turn of the second millennium bce, each high elite tomb from the Early Phase yielded a serpent charger up to 40  cm in diameter (Figure  4.8 left). The charger features an eared serpent with black-and-white scales and a plant in its mouth, which appears to resemble a branch of ephedra (He 2012). Painted in red and white over black slip, their post-firing painting technique and porous quality suggest that these earthenware chargers were probably ceremonial vessels intended for mortuary ritual, copying lacquer wares or painted wooden vessels of the same design. Their exclusive association with the high elite attests to their distinctive place in Taosi material culture, probably as a clan emblem or religious symbol. Placed on a wooden stand above the head of the deceased, a group of presentation vessels, consisting of a pottery and wooden goblet, a cup, bone spoons, a wine ladle, and a small pouch-legged jia tripod vessel, represents a complete set for personal dining. Cooking wares, serving wares, drinking vessels, and various cuts of pork are placed alongside the coffin, e.g. wooden culinary stands, pouch-legged jia tripod vessels of various sizes, stoves, wooden meat stands, ground stone chopping knives, amphorae, bottles, gu goblets, polychrome painted ceramic basins, chargers, deep vats, mounted dou dishes of various sizes and materials, wooden ladles, and bone spoons.

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4.7. The mortuary assemblage of Early Phase elite burial m2001 at Taosi (after Zhongguo and Shanxisheng 2015:460–61 Figure 4.38a and b). The deceased wore a hair accessory consisting of a jade ring, bone hairpin, and turquoise tiles (1) and a jade hairpin (2). The deceased also wore a turquoise mosaic armband (3) on the right arm and two freshwater mollusk rings on the right hand (86). Also traces of organic accessories at the waist and left elbow indicate other body ornaments. In the middle of the front wall of the tomb chamber is a polychrome painted wooden stand (7) with a small pottery pouch-legged jia tripod vessel (6) displayed in the center and a wooden vessel next to it, possibly a goblet. To left of the wooden stand are five bone spoons, each resting on its own wooden spoon rest (8, 11, 13–17), and an unrecognizable wooden vessel. To the right of the wooden stand is a set of seven wooden tall mounted dishes (75–79, 81). A series of serving and storage vessels are placed along the left wall of the tomb chamber, i.e. nine polychrome painted wooden mounted dou dishes with double knob handles, thirteen red painted burnished black pottery mounted dou dishes (24, 29, 30, 35, 37, 40), a pair of polychrome painted pottery bottles (41, 42), a zun vase (43), a pair of jars (44), a short vase (47), a tall vase (48), a polychrome painted pottery amphora, and the polychrome painted trace of an unidentifiable vessel. A partially bent polychrome painted wooden post 225 cm long and 7 cm wide of unknown function was placed along the left side of the coffin. Cooking wares were placed along the right side of the coffin, i.e. a polychrome painted pottery serpent charger (74), a large wooden basin (73), a pair of storage jars (69), a pair of large round-shaped wooden culinary stands (63), one with a stone knife (61), pig ribs, and a bone arrowhead, and another with a stone knife (66) and pig ribs, leg, and feet on display. A single loop handled jar (70), a high mounted dish (71), and pottery bottle (72) are found below the wooden stand. Further down along the right side of the deceased, a stone knife (60) and a painted stain, possibly a deteriorated wooden vessel, are displayed on a wooden meat stand (57). A pair of pouch-legged tripod jia vessels (58, 59) placed near the right foot represent the main cooking vessels. A pottery stove (56) is placed at the lower right corner. Pig mandible, vertebrae, ribs, legs, feet, and tail (50–55) were placed at the feet (Zhongguo and Shanxisheng 2015:458–62).

The set configuration and the enormous size of these feasting vessels indicate an emerging high culture associated with paramount leaders or royal personages at Taosi on the eve of the Bronze Age in China. The food presentation wares, e.g. large pedestaled chargers (approximately 22–50 cm

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4.8. Pottery and stone culinary wares from Taosi elite burials: a large serpent platter from Early Taosi elite burial m3072 and a set of three Liangzhu-style ground stone chopping knives set on a wooden meat stand from Early Phase elite burial m3015 at Taosi (after Zhongguo and Shanxisheng 2015: Color Plates 17 and 38).

high and up to 63 cm in diameter), are some of the largest in early China. The mounted dou dishes always came in sets of odd numbers, i.e. three, five, or seven. Although we do not know the symbolism of these numbers in Taosi, the concept of graded numerical sets was the defining attribute of the Zhou ritual institution, which used graded ding vessel sets of nine, seven, five, and three for marking elite ranks (Yu and Gao 1978–79; Falkenhausen 2006). I will elaborate on the relationship between highland Longshan and Zhou cultural traditions in Chapter 7. In contrast to the western highlands, the culinary elaboration among Taosi’s elite circle displayed an exclusive focus on pig feasting. Mortuary settings in high elite tombs highlighted different cuts of pork, e.g. pig heads, legs, feet, ribs, or whole pigs split in halves, as well as refined methods of cooking, e.g. placing pork ribs and pork feet on a polychrome painted wooden meat stand with ground stone chopping knives on the top and placing a pig head inside the large pouch-legged jia tripod vessel (Zhongguo and Linfen 1983:35). The absence of pastoral animals and the ritual emphasis on pigs highlights the resilience of the prehistoric farming tradition at this critical moment of increasing agropastoralism in highland Longshan society. The elaborate display of feasting apparatus and techniques draws the attention of funeral participants to aspects of a culinary high culture  – the Taosi elite not only had a refined palate, but also had the related knowledge

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4.9. Pig mandibles displayed in two second-tier elite tombs m2172 and m2200 at Taosi (after Zhongguo and Shanxisheng 2015:468 Figure 4.41a and 487 Figure 4.57).

and culinary techniques. Expertise in techniques of fine cuisine constitutes a distinctive form of craft production that adds to existing connections between elites and technology. Such knowledge is an important component of the Sandai elite tradition, as seen in the elaboration of a culinary vessel as the primary symbol of political authority (Chapters 5, 6, and 7). Taosi marks an important step in the development of this great cultural tradition. Aspects of culinary display were also incorporated into second-tier graves in reduced size and assemblage (Zhongguo and Shanxisheng 2015:463).The secondtier tombs, for example, only included pig heads, feet, ribs, and tails, while butchered whole pigs were found only in first-tier elite tombs. These represent the ritual incorporation of unconsumed pork in the burials. Some second-tier elite burials only contained pig mandibles placed around the coffin or in the niches, probably memorabilia from feasts hosted by the deceased over their lifetime. Ranging from dozens to more than a hundred in quantity, the large number of pig mandibles brought the deeply rooted Peiligang ritual tradition to a new height (Zhongguo and Shanxisheng 2015:399)(Figure 4.9). At the same time, Taosi marks the end of this millennia-old ritual practice in the area later known as the Central Plains. As I will elaborate in later chapters of this book, neither Erlitou nor Shang tombs observed this ritual tradition during the second millennium bce. By the Middle Phase, ritual and social drinking among Taosi elites revolved around double-handled beakers  – the diagnostic highland vessels. First seen in Changshan in the western highlands during the middle of the third millennium bce, double-handled beakers had been widely used by highland

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Longshan communities west of the Taihang mountain range. The drinking rituals associated with these vessels became the primary means for developing social alliances and commensality in these highland communities (FitzgeraldHuber 1995, 2003). Double-handled beakers were never incorporated into the lowland ceramic assemblage except in highland gateway regions, e.g. the Henei Basin, the Luoyang Basin, and the Shangluo Corridor. In the western highlands, however, they were part of a resilient cultural tradition practiced during the next four millennia. During the imperial period, it was primarily associated with the highland group known as the Qiang, the “cultural other” of Shang and Zhou society (Hein 2013a, 2013b). During the Longshan period, however, such dichotomies had not yet taken shape and the distribution of doublehandled beakers in the Jinnan Basin, Ordos, and the western highlands outlines a highland Longshan network that deviates from the patterns of the Sandai political landscape. The rise of the Sandai tradition as represented by the bronze ding tripod vessel in the wen ding narrative, therefore, involved a series of transformations during the second millennium bce, which I  will cover in the next three chapters.

Musical Elaboration at Taosi The musical instruments from Taosi elite tombs deserve special attention, for they represent the first time that the major instruments in Sandai high culture appeared together in early China. With the exception of the well-preserved m2001, all other five top-tier tombs yielded chimestones, alligator (Alligator sinensis) skin drums, and earthenware drums, indicating the symbolic significance of these instruments in Taosi elite culture. The exclusive access to these instruments by a small group of elite and the concentration of these elite burials within a specific area in the large cemetery suggests that the knowledge and privilege of working with these instruments may have been restricted to certain elite lineages. Approximately 80  cm long, the chimestone from m3072 is the earliest example of this instrument in Taosi and in early China. It also has the finest sound quality in the Taosi assemblage (Zhongguo and Shanxisheng 2015:444). These chipped stone instruments were made locally from lithic materials sourced from the Daguduishan outcrop on the western slope of Mt. Chong (Tao 1991; Shanxisheng 2014) (Figure 4.10). In contrast to the finely polished stone culinary knife set, these impressive chimestones kept their chipped surface, presumably as an aesthetic choice. The introduction of these distinctive stone instruments at Taosi started an important cultural tradition in Sandai civilization. Their size and shape closely

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4.10. Stone and pottery musical instruments from Taosi elite tombs: a chimestone (No.6, width 95 cm), a pottery drum (No.53, height 81.4 cm), an alligator skin covered wooden drum (No.27, diameter 47–57 cm), and their associated mortuary assemblage from the Early Phase elite tomb m3002 (left, after Zhongguo and Shanxisheng 2015:455 Figure 4-37b); a chimestone from tomb m3015 (upper right, width 79 cm, after Zhongguo and Shanxisheng 2015: Plate 299); and an earthenware drum from Taosi elite tomb m3072 (lower right, height 142 cm, photo by Li Min at the Shanxi Provincial Museum).

resemble those of the large chimestones discovered in Late Shang royal tombs at Yinxu and the chimestone sets in the tombs of Zhou lords.While the Shang and Zhou chimestones came in graded sets and displayed refined polish, the instrument did not experience a fundamental change after its first appearance in the Jinnan Basin in the early Longshan period. It also was not shared by Bronze Age society beyond the Sandai civilization in the Central Plains. I will return to this historical connection in Chapter 7. Up to one meter in height and a half-meter in diameter, alligator skin drums usually came as a pair in Taosi (Zhongguo and Shanxisheng 2015:399, 445–47). Their cylindrical body was painted with interlocking motifs and geometric designs using polychrome pigments. A  series of low-fired clay cones were attached to the alligator skin, probably to be used as tuning devices. Alligator skin drums, alligator bone plates, and clay cones have been discovered in elite tombs associated with the Dawenkou and Longshan material culture in Shandong, adjacent to the natural habitat of the freshwater reptile in the lowlands (Shandongsheng and Ji’nanshi 1974; Shandong 1990; Zhongguo 2000; Zhongguo and Shanxisheng 2015:1093).This coastal tradition was incorporated

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into the material culture in the highland Longshan centers of Taosi and Shimao, and later became a symbol of military authority and kingship in Sandai political tradition (Shao 1987). In Zhou classical sources, these drums were frequently used in martial ceremonies, smeared with the blood of sacrificed war captives (Hong 2014). Their appearance at Taosi suggests that the prehistoric city served as a syncretic place for creating new ritual institutions, thus proving an important link between the prehistoric and Sandai tradition. The alligator skin drums and chimestones were used in association with a pair of large gourd-shaped earthenware drums, which feature a long cylindrical neck and a round belly with multiple openings. When fired at a high temperature, they produce a metallic ringing sound when tapped. While the other two instruments were found exclusively inside the five top-tier tombs, a very large earthenware drum (142 cm) was also present in a small-sized tomb (Zhongguo and Shanxisheng 2015:498) (Figure 4.10 lower right). The association suggests that the deceased may have been a musician associated with this distinctive instrument that had never appeared in the archaeological record before. To the ears of a Zhou elite, the music played on this instrument set would seem archaic but not completely incomprehensible. The formation of this musical assemblage as the centerpiece of Taosi elite culture appears to have combined the alligator skin drum from the Dawenkou tradition in the eastern Huai River Basin with newly invented chimestones and earthenware drums. Their presence as a set in the earliest two of the five top-tier elite burials (m3072 and m3073) suggests that the musical set was developed together at the onset of the great Longshan center and remained relatively unchanged through its Early Phase (Zhongguo and Shanxisheng 2015:441). From the coast to the western highlands, this pattern of syncretic development characterizes the material culture associated with the political experimentation in great Longshan centers. Orderly display of different cuts of pork, culinary apparatus, presentation vessels, ceremonial weapons, and musical instruments around the body suggests prescribed notions about the ways in which elite social personas should be represented at the great Longshan center. Such a prescribed set presents a striking difference from the redundant display of mortuary goods in pre-Longshan elite burials, e.g. Lingjiatan, Liangzhu, and Lingyanghe.While these prehistoric elite burials all display a great concentration of wealth, the prescribed notion of status observed in Taosi suggests the emergence of sumptuary rules during the Longshan period, which became the defining attribute of Sandai kingship during the second and third millennia bce.

Dress and Body In addition to the natural decay of perishables, widespread looting of elite tombs at the end of the Middle Phase distorted or destroyed the majority

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of human remains. Despite extensive losses, body ornaments in tombs that survived the plunder offer critical clues to elite life in highland Longshan society. Elites at Taosi, Qingliangsi, and Xiajin frequently wore jade disks on their wrists, resembling the Dawenkou warrior elites of the Huai River Basin. There is also an increasing use of turquoise mosaic and beads on hairpins and body ornaments in the Jinnan Basin, which coincided with the trend observed in the western highlands and across Longshan society (Pang 2014). The most distinctive body ornament of Taosi society, however, was a broad wristband made with turquoise mosaic attached to lacquered leather or other organic backing. Among the 1,300 tombs excavated during the 1978–85 seasons, eight individuals wore these turquoise mosaic wristbands (Zhongguo and Shanxisheng 2015:777). Besides the top-tier tomb m2001, two more came from the companion tombs by the side of the great tombs, indicating the elite association. Their design closely resembles the turquoise-inlay bone cylinder wristband from the Zongri cemetery in the upper Yellow River Valley, approximately 1,500 kilometers west of Taosi. To the east, the turquoise mosaic wristband and headdress were also observed in the elite tombs of coastal Longshan society at Xizhufeng and Liangchengzhen, approximately 850 kilometers east of Taosi (Shandongsheng and Linquxian 1989; Zhongmei 2004). The distribution of these distinctive turquoise objects, therefore, covered the full span of the Yellow River drainage basin. The extensive use of genuine and limestone imitation cowrie shells for body ornaments provides compelling evidence for Taosi’s  interactions with the North and Middle Asian exchange networks, probably through the western highlands and Ordos. By the Middle Phase, elites in Taosi society could be adorned with elaborate collars decorated with strung cowrie (Xiajin m11), turquoise mosaics on lacquered leather wristbands (Xiajin m13 and m76), jade disk bracelets (Xiajin m 13), turquoise beads, cowrie shells, jade pendants, copper rings, and turquoise decorated headdresses (Taosi m22 ). On a broad wristband worn by an elite person at the Xiajin cemetery, jade imitation cowrie shells were set into the turquoise mosaic wristband, indicating a strong association between the two ornaments (Xiajin 1998; Liang et al. 1999) (Figure 4.11). This combination was critically important for tracing the sources of Sandai cultural tradition. During the second quarter of the second millennium bce, the most important elite tomb at Erlitou featured an elite person wearing a strung cowrie collar and holding a turquoise mosaic dragon or serpent with eyes and nose represented by white jade inset (Chapter 5). The Erlitou artisans also elaborated the turquoise mosaic inlay technique by setting the tesserae tiles on to bronze plaques, which became the most diagnostic body ornaments of the Erlitou elite alongside bronze waist bells with white jade clappers. Through the Shang and Zhou periods, there is a significant concurrence of turquoise and cowrie fittings in elite contexts. This change in

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Xiajin M76

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4.11. A turquoise mosaic wristband with jade cowrie inlay worn on the right arm of the deceased of m76 at the Xiajin cemetery and the ceramic imitations of cowrie shells excavated from Middle Phase cultural deposit and Late Phase pit features in Taosi (after Xiajin 1998: Color Plates 1–2 and Zhongguo and Shanxi 2015:299, Figure 3–101).

highland Longshan material culture placed the Jinnan Basin within a broad network of trans-Eurasian interactions connecting the Middle, North, and East Asian Interaction Spheres. I will elaborate on this new body technique as the hallmark of Bronze Age life in early China through the rest of this book.

The Aura of Kingship While most status differences were expressed within the great cemetery at Taosi, some elite burials were physically removed from the rest of the corporate group. A small group of approximately two dozen elite tombs from the Middle Phase was buried within the ritual precinct attached to the southeast wall of the city, only a short distance from the earthen observatory. All of these tombs were badly looted at the end of the Middle Phase in the same episode responsible for the sabotage of the elite burials in the great cemetery. These once richly furnished elite burials were arranged around a great tomb from the Middle Phase, presumably for a leader of Taosi society at the height of its urban phase at the end of the third millennium bce. The grave shaft of m22 measures 5 meters long, nearly 4 meters wide, and 7 meters deep (Zhongguo et al. 2003) (Figure 4.12). The size and the elaborate construction of the tomb

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4.12. The niche construction of the Middle Phase elite burial m22 at Taosi and some of its grave goods: a polychrome painted goblet and a jade cong cylinder (after Zhongguo et al. 2003:4–5 Figures 1, 2, and 4).

rivals the tombs of the Shang and Zhou high elite, e.g. the tombs of Fu Hao in Yinxu and Lord Guo in Sanmenxia (Zhongguo 1959c, 1980). Like all tombs in Taosi, m22 was oriented toward the central peaks of Mt. Chong. Painted red inside and out, the enormous canoe-shaped wooden coffin (2.7 meters long and 1.2 meters wide) was hollowed out from a single log – a mortuary practice seen in some Early Phase elite burials at Taosi (Zhongguo and Shanxisheng 2015:403–4). The wall of the tomb shaft was carefully plastered and decorated with five rolls of hand-tarnished bands with eleven niches dug into the wall for displaying grave goods. The niche construction appears to represent a ritualization of the highland architectural tradition of cave dwellings (Zhongguo and Shanxisheng 2015:180). I  will return to this distinctive trait in my definition and investigation of the highland memory communities in Bronze Age China (Chapters 6 and 7). The looting at the end of the Middle Phase left disturbed skeletal remains, five human skulls (some possibly originating from nearby destroyed tombs), fragments of jade battleaxes, and other grave goods scattered in the central chamber and in the looting tunnel. Although the turquoise tesserae tiles, turquoise beads, and cowrie shells were found in disarray, they were likely part of a mosaic wristband like the one in m2001, or other body ornaments as seen in the elite tombs at Taosi and Xiajin. The white jade tube may be a clapper for a copper bell, as the set frequently appeared together in Erlitou elite burials immediately after the Longshan period.The bell itself and possible other metal items were presumably looted.

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While the destruction of the coffin and the body resulted in critical losses of information on the social persona of the deceased, the grave goods placed around the coffin and inside the niches survived the looting and included: ten pigs, each split in half; different cuts of pork; a complete culinary set including stone chopping knives and wooden chopping boards; musical instruments; bows and arrowheads in red quivers; woven baskets; a jade cong cylinder; jade disks; a pair of jade mask pendants; a pair of jade huang pendants; and a set of culinary vessels made of lacquer, wood, and painted polychrome ceramics. The configuration of these grave goods is similar to that in elite tombs of the Early Phase. A large boar mandible was mounted in the central position in the tomb chamber, which was flanked by six ceremonial jade battleaxes with elaborately carved red lacquer handles. The prominent display of these extremely thin and highly polished jade battleaxes in the great tomb attests to the importance of martial ceremonies in Taosi leadership. The placement of a pig mandible in the central wall of the tomb chamber and the ritual display of dismembered pigs are all part of established ritual protocols observed in the large cemetery, which indicates the cultural continuity in Taosi leadership from the Early to Middle Phase (Zhongguo and Shanxisheng 2015:399). Together, the assemblage from m22 highlights the combination of military leadership and elaborate highland feasting traditions for the social definition of the Taosi elite persona. Taosi leadership may have also included ritual authority derived from access to religious knowledge for ordering time and space. Archaeo-astronomical studies of the increments marked on a lacquered wooden post from tomb m22 suggest that it may have been used as a gnomon for determining solstices and axis mundi (He 2013). The technique and knowledge of using a gnomon to determine solstices probably long predated the rise of political authority in prehistoric society. Its association with elite burial and the ritual precinct of the earthen observatory, however, represents a critical moment when such sacred knowledge, and the ritual authority associated with it, was co-opted into the symbolic representation of Taosi leadership (Pankenier 2013:17–29). In Zhou ritual texts put into writing during the late first millennium bce, a gnomon was used in combination with a gnomon shadow template in the form of a gui, a jade tablet with pointed top (Needham 1959:284–86). The reading was so significant in Zhou society that it was a royal duty to make observations and to issue calendars to the lords of regional states, who would present them at their ancestral temples. Although absent from m22, gui tablets made of black and white jades were found in Taosi as part of newly invented ritual objects in the highland Longshan tradition. I will return to the symbolic significance of this new ritual form in Chapter 8. With the impressive scale, complex construction, and rich furnishing of Taosi tomb m22, the deceased elite buried there represents someone of extraordinary stature in highland Longshan society (Zhongguo et al. 2003).The configuration

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of mortuary syntax indicates how political authority was constituted in Taosi society, where rank- and status-prescribed sets of cuisine, music, fine wares, and utensils were presented.The wide range of material culture indicates a convergence of different exchange networks and cultural groups at Taosi. Although aspects of these elite practices were observed in various regional traditions in the pre-Longshan era, Taosi represents the first occasion when they were brought together in a major political tradition. The incorporation of coastal traditions was juxtaposed with the increasing interactions with agropastoralists in the loess highlands, western highlands, and beyond, all incorporated within a highland Longshan mortuary tradition at Taosi. In addition, these material cultures associated with Taosi elite life were crafted in extraordinarily large sizes, suggesting deliberate efforts to create a high culture at times of political experimentation in the Jinnan Basin. Instead of making categorical distinctions between a paramount chief and a king, Su Bingqi (1994:71) uses the term “the aura of kingship” to describe the exceptional grandeur that rulers of Taosi attempted to project. The exclusive association of the serpent chargers and the chimestone–alligator skin drum musical set with the great tombs at Taosi suggests their role as symbols of political or religious authority during the Early Phase. Again, their central place in the Shang and Zhou high culture suggests that Taosi had laid the foundation for the elaborate Sandai ritual protocols, when graded sets in stone, lacquer, and pottery assemblages were replaced by sets of bronze vessels during the second and first millennia bce. Political experimentation involves building knowledge based on understandings of the past (Wright 2006). The archaeological evidence from Taosi indicates that the Jinnan Basin had become a critical syncretic place, where interactions among people from different cultural backgrounds contributed to the development of new political traditions. As I will elaborate in the following chapters, the highland Longshan legacy in turn became an important fountainhead for the Sandai tradition as well as highland traditions beyond the Central Plains.The Jinnan legacy was also important for the legendary landscape of the Yu’s tracks and the Xia dynastic narrative for Zhou storytellers, both critical assumptions in the wen ding narrative (Chapters 7 and 8). At a regional scale, the rise of Taosi coincided with unprecedented population concentration on both slopes of Mt. Chong. The number of large sites (more than 100 hectares) identified by intensive surveys around Mt. Chong exceeds the sum of all sites of this size in other parts of Longshan society (Shanxisheng 1996; Shanxisheng and Quwoxian 1996). Su Bingqi (1994:29) argues that these large Longshan centers constituted a multi-locus settlement conglomerate centered on the sacred landscape of Mt. Chong, similar to the multiple settlement conglomerate of Zhouyuan at the foot of Mt. Qi at the end of the second millennium bce, which itself became the political base of the rising Zhou state (Chapter 7).

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Approximately 20 kilometers north of this Circum-Chongshan center, another group of large Longshan settlements was located around the Shenliu site (30–40 hectares, including the important Xiajin cemetery) and the Nanguan site (40 hectares), making the Linfen region, a 50-kilometer long strip along the Fen River Valley, the most densely populated area in early China during the late third millennium bce (Zhongguo and Shanxisheng 2015:1118– 19). Approximately 60 kilometers south of Taosi, the Zhoujiazhuang site (200 hectares) in Jiangxian represents another regional center. Diachronic settlement patterns from the regional survey, strontium isotope signatures, and genetic analysis of human remains indicate that the extraordinary concentration of the Longshan population resulted from an influx of people from diverse sources, in addition to local demographic growth (Zhongguo 1989; Zhang et al. 2009; He 2013; Zhao and He 2014). To the east of the loess highlands, the presence of Taosi-style ceramics at Baiying and Xiapanwang near Anyang provides evidence for the extension of the highland exchange network into the Henei Basin through numerous trans-Taihang corridors (Hebeisheng 1975; Anyang 1980; Henansheng 1983). In these highland gateway sites, the double-handled beakers and other diagnostic highland ceramics were found side by side with lowland wares, including the ding tripod vessels with mask-shaped legs from the Shandong region. Further to the east, it became difficult to track the extension of the highland’s power on the basis of ceramic assemblages. The far-reaching influence of the highland exchange network likely manifested through the flow of prestige goods, e.g. jades, turquoise mosaic ornaments, cowrie shells, and other valuables. No lowland settlement, however, produced the full assemblage of Taosi ceramics to suggest any highland expansion from the Jinnan Basin, which differs from the patterns associated with the Sandai states after the Longshan period.

Crisis and Transformation in the Jinnan Basin At the end of the Middle Taosi Phase, widespread violence swept through the Jinnan Basin and beyond.The elite burials in Taosi, Xiajin, and other sites in the region were systematically plundered.The thorough and deliberate destruction of elite tombs was not aimed at removing their valuables, as they were often left behind or tossed around the looting tunnel. Instead, the destruction of bodies highlights the strong political motivation behind such activities of ritual violence (Figure 4.13). The sabotage occurred not long after the funerals took place, as the looters knew the exact location of the coffins and the skeletons left at the scene remained partially articulated (Zhongguo and Shanxisheng 2015:457–58).The time span between Taosi’s rise to prominence and its downfall, therefore, was relatively short, which attests to the fragility of Taosi society.

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4.13. Section profiles indicating the looting tunnels of the Early Phase elite burials during the Late Taosi Phase (after Zhongguo and Linfen 1983:31 Figure  2; Zhongguo and Shanxisheng 2015:444 Figure 4–31, 450 Figure 4–35).

As a distinctive cultural phenomenon, grave looting had been practiced for several millennia in North Asia, where the ritual violence was aimed at inflicting irreversible damage on the enemy, e.g. crushing the skull, dragging out the torso, and discarding grave goods (Link and Weber 2001:21; Losey et al. 2013:69).6 This technique of ritual violence spread across vast geographic spans in the context of intensified intercommunal conflict at the end of the third millennium bce, e.g. the Rostovka cemetery in the Omsk Oblast on the middle Irtysh, Taosi and Qingliangsi in the Jinnan Basin, and Yinjiacheng in Shandong (Chernykh and Kuz’minykh 2010:7; Shandong 1990). After the Longshan period, tomb looting came to be associated with nearly every episode of regime change during the Sandai period, e.g. the looting of Late Shang royal tombs at Yinxu after Zhou’s request and the looting of lords’ tombs at Yangshe by rival factions in the Jin state (Jing 2010; Shanxisheng and Quwoxian 2009). The palatial compound at Taosi was also destroyed, with its architectural remains – fragments of roof tiles, white plastered wall fragments with elaborate geometric designs painted in blue, and chunks of finely constructed rammed

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earth – dumped in pits (Zhongguo and Shanxisheng 2015:124). Signs of violence were abundant across the site, which left many mutilated human bodies in its urban spaces (Zhongguo et al. 2005). Whether from outside conquests or internal conflicts in the region, the widespread destruction of elite tombs at Taosi and at nearly every major Longshan site in the region is characteristic of the political instability prior to the emergence of any consolidated form of political structure. Archaeological evidence for crisis and instability suggests that different phases of the proto-urban occupation at Taosi may not be associated with a single, uninterrupted political regime. Instead, we may have multiple short-lived regimes, experimental in character, developing new repertoires of symbols for representing political authority, e.g. alligator skin drums, chimestones, earthenware drums, serpent chargers, and the elaborate culinary assemblage centered on pig feasting. Many aspects of this new tradition later worked their way into the Sandai tradition of Bronze Age China. Analyses of ceramic and faunal assemblages collectively suggest that political instability in the highland basin needs to be understood in relation to the political dynamics of the loess highlands.The destruction took place at a time of a significant increase in the pottery pouch-legged li tripod vessels in the Jinnan Basin (Han Jianye 2007a). The increase in cattle and sheep bones in the faunal record from the Late Taosi Phase strongly indicates the growing presence of pastoral components in the Taosi economy, which concurs with an increase in stock breeding in Ordos north of the highland basin (Shaanxisheng and Yulinshi 2005; Brunson 2008; Brunson et  al. 2015). Oracle bone divinations using both bovine and pig scapulae had been practiced at Taosi and its adjacent sites since the Middle Phase and increased rapidly in the Late Phase (Zhongguo and Shanxisheng 2015:366–68, 1126). At Zhoujiazhuang, bovine scapulae from both domestic cattle (Bos taurus) and wild aurochs (Bos primigenius) were used for making oracle bones (Brunson 2015). The presence of cowrie shells, copper objects, chipped flint objects, and faunal remains of herding animals at Taosi and other highland sites suggests increased interactions with the agropastoralists in the western and northern highlands, as well as herder-hunter-gatherer communities further north (Zhongguo and Shanxisheng 2015:299, 307–35). The growth of agropastoralism helps contextualize the diverse inventory of grave goods in Taosi elite burials. Besides ceramics, highland interaction brought the first copper objects to Taosi.The discovery of a copper ring, a copper frog, and a rim fragment from an arsenical bronze basin in the debris left by the destruction of the Middle Phase tombs and buildings indicates that metal objects were already incorporated into elite life at the height of Taosi’s political development (Zhongguo 1984; He et al. 2008; Liu and Chen 2012:226; Gao and He 2014).

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4.14. Metal objects excavated from the Taosi site: a serrated disk of arsenical bronze, a copper frog, and a copper bell (Gao and He 2014:92 Figure 3; Shanxisheng 2017:47; Zhongguo and Shanxisheng 2015: Color Plate 55).

Two tombs from the Late Phase provided context for metal use in Taosi.The deceased person in tomb m3296 wore a hemp cloth pouch with a cast copper bell inside (Zhongguo and Shanxisheng 2015:666–67). In the second case, the deceased wore a bangle set created by gluing together a jade disk and an arsenical bronze notched disk (Figure 4.14). Despite the emphasis on warrior ethos in Taosi elite tombs, both cases highlight the ritual significance of metal: one for its metallic acoustics, and another for its association with jade. For the central theme of this book, these earliest copper objects in the great Longshan center present critical evidence for understanding the ritualization of metal in early China. For a society without prior experience of it, the magical quality of metallic acoustics represents a cultural spectacle that defied the Neolithic sensory experience (Hamilakis 2013).The context closely resembles the pattern observed in elite tombs at Erlitou, where the combination of a copper bell suspended from the waist and a turquoise mosaic inlaid mask plaque eventually became the hallmark of the Erlitou elite persona. This recurring connection between bells and body movement offers potential links to powerful ritual dances attributed to this period in later textual sources, which I will elaborate on in Chapter 8. The first appearance of bells

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and chimestones at Taosi crossed a threshold in the cultural history of early China, where chimestones, drums, and bells were assembled and played in elaborate sets as the principal rhythmic instruments in Sandai ritual tradition (Falkenhausen 1993; Kern 2000a). The incipient metal use in Taosi also came with first signs of metal prospecting, mining, and smelting operations at the turn of the second millennium bce. On the southern edge of the Jinnan Basin, copper mining activities at multiple loci in the Zhongtiao mountain range started in the Longshan period and expanded from Erlitou to the Erligang period in the mid-second millennium bce (Li Yanxiang 2014). Metalworking operations evolved from an early focus on arsenical copper to the production of copper ingots for casting centers located away from the mining area. During the next two millennia, the Zhongtiao mines became a major source of copper ore for Sandai states (Liu and Chen 2003). There is also evidence for prospecting activities in the copper-rich middle Yangzi, which I will elaborate later in this chapter. Late Taosi also produced strong evidence for the appearance of writing in early China (Zhongguo and Shanxisheng 2015:368–70). Mixed with ceramic shards and two oracle bones in a large pit (h3403), a pottery bottle diagnostic of Late Phase was found with two characters carefully rendered in vermillion on both sides (Figure 4.15).7 The bottle appears to have been broken before deposition, as it has vermillion coating along the fracture.The sign on the front of the vessel closely resembles the character wen, meaning pattern and letters (Zhongguo and Shanxisheng 2015:70). Although the readings of the sign on the back remain inconclusive, it resembles the character yi, meaning settlement (Feng Shi 2008).8 Together, the inscription appears to represent a place name. The composition, style, brushstroke, and writing technique of these characters bear strong resemblance to vermillion inscriptions on ceramics or bone surfaces discovered in Xiaoshuangqiao and Yinxu from the late second millennium bce. The discovery of script at Late Taosi may not be an isolated incident in highland Longshan society. The ongoing excavations at Shimao have encountered jades with vermillion symbols written on them (Shao Jing personal communication, 2016).9 The invention or elaboration of writing would be consistent with the syncretic development unfolding in the Jinnan Basin during a time of indirect but sustained contacts with urban societies in the Middle Asian Interaction Sphere that had knowledge of writing (Kenoyer 1998; Mair 2001; Possehl 2002). I will return to this important development in Chapter 6, discussing how the use of writing proliferated during the reign of King Wu Ding in the context of royal divination involving the bronze ding vessels. The concentration of a large population with marked social differentiation and an extraordinarily diverse range of material culture made Taosi the pinnacle of political and cultural development in the formative period of Bronze Age society in early China. Compared with well-consolidated dynastic regimes, the

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rapid emergence and dramatic downfall of such failed state-building efforts were characteristic of political experimentation as a critical stage of state formation (Wright 2006). The extraordinary scale of social change suggests that political development in Taosi did not comprise a cycling of existing political structures. Rather, it may have represented a failed episode of state-building enterprise in the highland basin during the Longshan period, where new political institution was attempted to develop a social order deviating from traditional patterns. The political turmoil across the Jinnan Basin during the Late Taosi Phase did not result in immediate depopulation in the region. Instead, the large Longshan settlements in the basin saw continued growth for more than a century in the early second millennium bce. Nanshi-Fangcheng (300 hectares) and Dongxu (200 hectares) in the Quwo Basin on the southern slope of Mt. Chong and Zhoujiazhuang (200 hectares) in Jiangxian all reached the peak of their population during the Late Taosi Phase (Zhongguo and Linfen 1988; Shanxisheng 1996; Zhao Baojin 2008:1076; Drennan and Dai 2010; He 2013;

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Zhongguo and Shanxisheng 2015:1119). Missing from the picture was the marked social differentiation in wealth and status as observed in the Early and Middle Phase cemeteries. Most Late Phase tombs appear to have been empty – either the leadership in Taosi shifted its focus away from ritual elaborations in the mortuary context or it moved elsewhere. Highland Longshan society in the Jinnan Basin experienced a massive collapse and population dispersal at the end of the Late Taosi Phase, which was part of a widespread trend of urban collapse and demographic decline in the early second millennium bce (Sebillaud 2014; Zhang Chi 2017). The causes of the collapse of Longshan centers remain understudied. Nevertheless, the fall of the Jinnan-centered political network has important consequences for the rise of Erlitou in its aftermath, which ushered in a new, Luoyang-centered political order critical for understanding the cultural assumptions of the wen ding narrative, a central theme for the next chapter.

Rise of Political Authority in Ordos Many changes in the Jinnan Basin point to political developments in the loess highlands and the western highlands, both connected by the tributary network of the middle Yellow River. Framed by the great loop of the middle Yellow River, the Ordos region north of the loess highlands held a critical place at the convergence of the East and North Asian Interaction Spheres. Multiple tributary rivers flowed south from the southern edge of Ordos into the middle Yellow River, forming a dendritic network that facilitated trans-highland mobility from the Mongolian Plateau to the Jinnan and Guanzhong Basins. The highland region had seen several centuries of political development since the early third millennium bce. After approximately 2300 bce, the number of archaeological sites in the northern highlands rose rapidly, whereas an extensive network of stone fortresses and mesa-top settlements along the northern edge of the loess highlands served as the loci of their social life and differences in site size expanded with increasing political integration (Guojia et al. 1998; Neimenggu and E’erduosi 2000; Han 2007a; Sun and Shao 2015). Inside these well-fortified sites, rows of cave houses that cut into loess terraces closely resemble the architectural tradition of highland society in the historical period (Wei and Shao 2015) (Figure 4.16). The frequent use of niches in cave houses gave rise to the niche construction in highland burials observed at Taosi and Shimao. The stylistic and technological attributes of the pottery pouch-legged li tripod vessels from the loess highland and the Jinnan Basin suggest that the Longshan communities in Jinnan and Ordos had become part of a highland cultural continuum at the turn of the second millennium bce (Zhongguo and Shanxisheng 2015:1116). It was in this broadly defined

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4.16. The layout of a hilltop village at Zhaimaoliang in the tributary basin of the Tuwei River in Ordos (image courtesy of Shao Jing).

highland Longshan tradition that the Shang and Zhou society, as well as their highland rivals, had their roots (Chapters 6, 7, and 8). Instead of creating a frontier between herders and farmers, syncretic development at Ordos created a great highland Longshan ritual center at Shimao, which eventually eclipsed Taosi during the early second millennium bce. Starting around 2300 bce, highland communities built a monumental site enclosed by layers of stone ramparts on rough terrain overlooking the Tuwei River Valley, one of the many tributary valleys of the middle Yellow River (Shaanxisheng et al. 2013). With agate and salt deposits along the valley, a large lake at the northern end, and a Yellow River crossing at its southern end, the geographic location of Shimao in the Tuwei River Valley was strategic for highland interactions. Built on top of steep mesas, the impressive stone walls around Shimao were constructed of undressed stones over a rammed earth core. These walls were studded with gates, watchtowers, and bastions, forming a sophisticated defense system (Figure 4.17). The concentration of complex ritual features at Shimao

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suggests that the walled site was not only designed for defensive purposes, but also demarcated a ritual precinct. At the center of Shimao’s walled complex was a terraced mound (8 hectares) locally known as Huangchengtai, meaning the mound of the royal city, which has up to eleven tiers of stone walls reinforced with wooden beams. Rising approximately 70 meters above the valley floor below, the impressive terraced mound was modified from a natural stone hill on the north edge of Shimao (Shaanxisheng et al. 2013). Groups of stone architectural foundations on top of the terraced mound once supported important buildings with red painted murals. Stone stairways leading up to the terraced mound were lined with stone towers on both sides. On top of the terraced mound, large religious and/or communal gatherings left behind rich deposits of elaborate burnished black ware and grey ware vessels, animal and human bones, jade artifacts, and architectural remains. Several stone blocks incorporated into the stone terrace walls were carved with distinctive lozenge designs, each measuring approximately 30 cm tall and

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4.18. Three-dimensional modeling of the Huangchengtai central mound and lozenge designs carved on the mound’s stone terrace walls (images courtesy of Shao Jing).

18 cm wide (Figure 4.18). Their arrangement in pairs suggests that they might represent eyes gazing toward the direction of the East Gate, another important ritual locus at Shimao. Around the central mound, an elite cemetery, cave houses, and stone building foundations were found inside the inner enclosure (210 hectares). The presence of shaft burials, stone cist burials, and urn burials suggests a diverse mix of ritual traditions at the great center. Some of the large tombs at the Hanjiagedan cemetery approached Taosi m22 in their size and also had multiple niches. Grave goods from these elite tombs reveal an extensive trade network connecting with the rest of the Longshan world. The presence of cowrie shells and turquoise beads attests to trade links with the western highlands, North Asia, and Central Asia. Like cowrie shells, ostrich eggshells found in these elite tombs were likely traded in from Central and Southwest Asia (Shaanxisheng et al 2016). The inventory of mortuary assemblages, however, was not particularly rich among those that escaped plunder. Several tombs produced jade and copper compound bracelets, which were created by gluing serrated copper disks to a jade disk. These distinctive compound bracelets to date have only been found at Shimao and Taosi, suggesting close links between Ordos and the Jinnan Basin.10 Merging different valuable materials suggests that highland Longshan artisans experimented with mediums of ritual significance and diverse cultural origin in creating new objects for elite use. Because copper mines are found on both the northern and southern edges of the loess highlands, these early metal objects could be produced in highland workshops with technologies available from the Eurasian metallurgical tradition at the time. The outer wall enclosed an area of approximately 400 hectares, making it one of the largest Longshan centers. Sun Zhouyong and Shao Jing (2015)

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4.19. The East Gate of Shimao (image courtesy of Shao Jing).

estimate that the full length of the stone walls at Shimao totals 10 kilometers, which requires 125,000 cubic meters of stone material to construct, a massive undertaking in prehistoric society. Despite the monumental scale of its multiple stone enclosures, however, Shimao was not a densely populated urban center surrounded by a fertile agricultural hinterland. The settlements and associated cemeteries were located on top of sixteen mesas separated by natural gullies. While many stone constructed buildings and cave dwellings were found within the inner enclosure, the space between the inner and outer walls was sparsely inhabited, perhaps being used for seasonal ritual congregations or livestock. Beyond the central platform mound, the distinctive ritual configuration of the East Gate architectural complex suggests important religious significance for the impressive stone structures at Shimao (Figure  4.19). Located at the highest point of the site, its passageway between two imposing stone watchtowers opens up to the vast and barren loess highlands. Fully equipped with bastions and intricately designed defense features, the East Gate had all the architectural features of a city gate. Its location away from the river valley, however, suggests that it was probably not intended for daily traffic. Rather, signs of ritual elaboration suggest that it primarily served as a liminal zone associated with rites of passage. The stone walls of the East Gate were plastered with lime and painted with murals of geometric designs in red, yellow, black, and orange, similar to the designs and colors on painted wares from elite tombs in Taosi and Shimao (Shaanxisheng et al. 2013). A large number of jade blades, pendants, scepters, and tablets were inserted into the walls at the East Gate at regular intervals, a practice also observed on the stone terrace walls around the Huangchengtai central mound. In the open space outside the walls, the central axis of the East Gate aligned with a ritual mound in the open field, which had dozens of black jade scepters buried underneath as dedication offerings (Dai 1993)

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4.20. The distribution of Longshan jade scepters in East Asia and a jade zhang scepter excavated at Shimao (image courtesy of Deng Cong).

(Figure  4.20). Similar deposits were probably once associated with other gates and significant loci, collectively delineating a vast ritual precinct at Shimao. Human heads as well as standing and sitting human statues carved out of stone were incorporated into the walls around the East Gate and other loci, possibly representing deities, ancestors, and/or severed heads of sacrificial offerings (Figure 4.21). This ritual emphasis on anthropomorphic representation in stone is distinctive in early China (Luo 2011). Numerous pits containing human skulls in groups of two dozen were buried underneath the passageway at the East Gate. All of the sacrificial victims appeared to be young women, presumably captives from highland raids (Shaanxisheng et al. 2013:22). The scale of ritual violence observed at Shimao was unprecedented in early China and it foreshadowed the massive human sacrifice in Shang royal centers during the middle and late second millennium bce. The great concentration of jade artifacts, anthropomorphic representations, and the practice of human sacrifice at the East Gate attest to its extraordinary importance as a symbolic gateway between different worlds. These activities made Shimao an awe-inspiring place in the highland Longshan world. These practices of ritual

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4.21. A close-up image of a jade ceremonial axe set in the wall of the East Gate and a stone block with relief carving of a human face recovered from the collapsed section of stone walls near the East Gate (image courtesy of Shao Jing).

dedication with jades and human sacrifices probably involved the participation of representatives from a broad network of Longshan communities.

The Ordos Exchange Network Shimao can be construed as a highland center for syncretic development that indirectly linked the lowlands to the east, Central Asia to the west, the Altai region to the north, and the Yangzi River Basin to the south. During the twentieth century, thousands of jade ritual objects were plundered from the Shimao site by local farmers and ended up in public and private collections around the world (Salmony 1938, 1963). The archaeological inventory from recent excavations at Shimao, therefore, comprises only a tiny fraction of the enormous amount of jade once deposited at the site (Wang and Sun 2011). Approximately 250 kilometers south of Shimao, the Lushanmao site (200 hectares) in Yan’an represents a secondary highland center, which also produced large numbers of jades set in its hilltop architectures, including a curated Liangzhu cong cylinder, and the presence of palatial structures with roof tiles (Lei 2017). These jade objects may have been deposited for oath ceremonies for sealing political alliances, ritual offerings, or religious pilgrimage. Their ritual syntax strongly suggests the emergence of a large center for religious and political gathering: Investment in sacred places and sharply defined sacred events was characteristic of megalithic and monument-building societies with their

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plentiful traces of “ritual” activity in the form of enclosures, astronomical alignments, esoteric paraphernalia, pits and sacrificial offerings – the residues of public ceremonies. (Pauketat 2007:172)

For the first time, a great concentration of wealth in the form of jade is observed in the archaeological record of the highland communities, which rivaled coastal Liangzhu society from the early third millennium bce. In addition to Shimao, highland Longshan sites along both banks of the south-flowing Yellow River produced large collections of jade objects, e.g. Lushanmao, Xinhua, and Bicun, suggesting a widespread phenomenon (Dai 1993; Shaanxisheng and Yulinshi 2005; Shanxisheng and Xingxian 2016). The ritual use of jade objects in Shimao represents a broad transLongshan technological network involving the convergence of traditional lowland forms, coastal techniques, highland raw materials, and newly invented forms. While many jade forms from Shimao and Taosi had lowland origins, the distinctive jade scepters and tablets were new to the Longshan assemblage, which became a hallmark of the Longshan-Sandai ritual tradition. Made from black or dark green jades brought in from the western highlands, these distinctive jade scepters appeared in large numbers in Shimao. Mounted on handles as standards or planted in the hillside, these distinctive jade forms were frequently associated with landscape rituals in early China. Through the second millennium bce, their wide distribution in the Shandong Peninsula, the Luoyang Basin, the middle Yangzi River Basin, the Sichuan Basin, and as far as the coast of the South China Sea resembles what Pauketat (2007:159) describes as the “calling cards” of an expanding Longshan religious network.11 It is important to observe that Zhou textual descriptions about the cosmological significance of cong cylinders approached them as part of a ritual set that included these newly invented highland Longshan forms. Although these jade objects had different origins, their ritual use at Shimao marks the first time that all forms of the Zhou ritual jade assemblage appeared together within a single cultural tradition. This suggests that the highland Longshan innovations associated with the emerging centers at Taosi and Shimao contributed to the ritual knowledge that formed the basis of the Sandai ritual tradition. I  will return to this important connection in Chapters 7 and 8. In the pre-Longshan period, the lowland jade-working centers either exploited local jade sources in the lower Yangzi, or imported serpentine from the Liaodong Peninsula via coastal exchange networks (Okamura 1995). The rise of the highland Longshan centers, however, changed this coastal orientation. The enormous concentration of jade objects at Shimao involved products from the Liaodong Peninsula, the Shandong Peninsula, the lower Yangzi, the middle Yangzi, and the western highlands. This

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combination of coastal forms and techniques with highland raw materials and workshops created an entirely new vision of the technological landscape centered on the circulation of jade, spanning from the Hexi Corridor to the east coast. The abundance of black and dark green jades in Shimao required massive importation of raw materials and/or finished products from western highland sources (Deng Shuping 1993; Deng Cong 1997, 1998; Yan Yalin 2010). A sharp decline of jade production in the lower Yangzi River Basin, the rise of highland Longshan centers, and the exploitation of western highland sources attest to a great shift of the “jade landscape” from the east coast to the highlands. The western expansion of jade prospecting into the Hexi Corridor coincided with the southern and western expansion of metal prospecting from North and Central Asia. The highlands, therefore, became a converging place for lowland jade-working traditions and Eurasian metalworking traditions, while intersections unfolded in multiple hotspots rich in minerals and other resources. Besides the expansion in the repertoire of jade forms, highland Longshan jades were discovered in new ritual contexts beyond their traditional use as grave goods in pre-Longshan societies.The deposit of black jade scepters under earthen mounds and inside stone walls at Shimao highlights their ritual use for demarcating sacred space. This ritual practice of place-making with jades became widespread across Longshan society. At the Xinhua site approximately 30 kilometers northwest of Shimao, for example, thirty-four ceremonial jade axes were buried in a rectangular pit with a bird skeleton buried below (Sun 2002; Shaanxisheng and Yulinshi 2005). Some of these jade axes appear to have been produced by splitting long jade cong cylinders.The ritual context suggests the spread of a new ritual tradition in early China, where jade offerings were made at sacred places to engage with forces of the landscape. While the Shimao jade assemblage primarily originated from diverse sources south of Ordos, the incorporation of human statues into the Shimao ritual tradition highlights connections with Altai communities to the north (Gotlib and Podol’skii 2008; Guo 2013). During the third millennium bce, stone carved human heads, engraved stone columns, and anthropomorphic statues were widely used among metalworking communities of herders and hunter-gatherers active in the vast regions from Altai to Lake Baikal. These ritual remains are frequently associated with the Okunev culture (c. 2400–1750 bce) of the Tuva, Minusinsk, and Altai regions, which also produced petroglyphs in a similar style (Gotlib and Podol’skii 2008; Jacobson-Tepfer 2015). Okunev stone slab tombs were furnished with pottery vessels, animals from herding or hunting, copper and bronze objects associated with pastoral and hunting life, and stone statues of anthropomorphic figures. These stone statues

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(both freestanding and placed in tombs), engravings on stone slabs in tombs, and petroglyphs frequently represented three-eyed zooanthropomorphous masks, fantastic beasts and bulls, a symbol of the sun (a ring with four tips), and entoptic designs associated with an altered state of consciousness induced by shamaniac rituals (Jettmar 1981; Gotlib and Podol’skii 2008; Jacobson-Tepfer 2015). As hallmarks of the Altai-Sayan religious tradition, the distribution of stone statues, engraved stones, petroglyphs, and a high frequency of flaked flint and chalcedony tools in Ordos illustrate the dynamic interactions in the contact zone of North and East Asia. The ritual presentation of stone heads and anthropomorphic statues was closely linked with construction of stone-walled enclosures and offering of human and animal sacrifices among herder-hunter-gatherer communities in Altai, the Minusinsk Basin, and Cis-Baikal regions in the late third millennium bce. Local communities associated with the Okunev material culture built stone-walled enclosures (sves) at prominent locations in the landscape, i.e. promontories and massive rock outcrops towering above the valley, which functioned as fortified shrines (Gotlib and Podol’skii 2008; Sergeyeva and Pravda 2011; Shepard et  al. 2016). In some places, these walls stretched for miles, providing the occupants of these enclosures with a panoramic view of the valley below. The sacred landscape demarcated by these sves, petroglyphs, and stone statues structured the ritual life of North Asian herders and huntergatherers during the third millennium bce. The primary function of these sves seems to be religious, serving as liminal zones of religious communication. At times of crisis, however, these structures probably also provided refuge for communities to gather and defend themselves (Vasil’ev and Semenov 1993; Sergeyeva and Pravda 2011).Within the sves, representatives of separate families gathered at several small flat areas to light their own fires and bring their sacrifice to the spirits. Human sacrifice was an important aspect of ritual life in the sves.The discovery of engraved anthropomorphic images on remnants of the stone slabs and dismembered human skeletons associated with stone walls suggests these structures shared the same cultural milieu with the Okunev mortuary tradition (Gotlib and Podol’skii 2008; Sergeyeva and Pravda 2011). The archaeological assemblage excavated from the sves contains fragments of decorated pottery of the Okunev culture, pottery censers, arrowheads, stone axes, adzes, scrapers, chipped flint tools, residential structures, and an enormous amount of animal bones. In the Khakass-Minusinsk depression north of Altai, the construction of stone sves intensified in the late third millennium bce, indicating increased competition for resources, pastures, people, and trade (Gotlib and Podol’skii 2008). The distinctive configuration of these landscape features in northern Altai helps us understand the extraordinary diversity observed in the material culture and ritual practices at Shimao. Petroglyphs and ceramics associated

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with North Asian communities have been documented along the northern edge of highland Longshan society, particularly in Alxa and Ordos (Jettmar 1981; Luo 2011; Wen 2012). The geometric motif of the Shimao petroglyph closely represents entoptics induced from an altered state of consciousness in North Asian shamanistic traditions (Lewis-Williams 2002; VanPool 2009). The 2002 excavation at Shimao also recovered a stone column (79  cm in height) with double circles engraved on the surface, a common theme in North Asian rock art (Luo 2011:44). The siting, layout, human sacrifice, and material culture collectively suggest interactions between Shimao and its Altai neighbors. The construction of stone fortresses was common in borderland areas between the steppe and the mountainous regions throughout Eurasia, as well as between the borderlands of the steppe and the agricultural areas. During the second half of the third millennium bce, networks of stone fortresses flourished along the northern edge of the loess highlands, which became the southern counterparts to the stone sves from Tuva to the Cis-Balkal region north of Altai. The Laohushan stone fortress site in the Lake Daihai Basin, for example, featured a stone structure at the peak flanked by two walls climbing up the ridge (Neimenggu 2000). Like Shimao, some of these fortified sites were associated with platform mounds, e.g. the two-tiered platform mound inside the ridge-top fortified stone enclosure at Zhaizigedan, Ordos (Wei and Shao 2015). Often built on the top of mesas, dozens of stone fortresses in and around Ordos were centers of ritual and political life in the loess highlands during the Longshan period. The construction of Shimao’s walled enclosures, therefore, appears to have incorporated architectural traditions from both northern Altai and the northern loess highlands. The bastion design of their wall construction may be linked to contemporaneous oasis cities in Central Asia, e.g. Gonur Tepe, where the North and Middle Asian Interaction Spheres converged (Hiebert 1994; Kohl 2007; Sarianidi 2007). The incorporation of North, Central, and East Asian architectural traditions in the construction of Shimao is consistent with its role as a central place where multiple Longshan exchange networks converged. Historically a borderland between farmer and herder societies, the arid and semiarid highland regions on the margins of the East Asian monsoon region were particularly sensitive to climatic changes (Wu and Liu 2004:157). Geomorphological evidence from the Xinhua site near Shimao suggests that its Longshan component was sandwiched between sand layers, indicating multiple episodes of encroachment and retraction of desertification as a result of shifting monsoon patterns from the late third to the early second millennium bce (Shaanxisheng and Yulinshi 2005:279, 383, 391). Today, the southern tip of the Muu-us Desert sits across the Tuwei River from Shimao.

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The significant presence of sheep bones in Ordos sites, where they account for 40–60 percent of the total number of identifiable specimens at Zhukaigou (c. 2000–1500 bce) and Huoshiliang (c. 2150–1900 bce), and in the Jinnan Basin during the Late Taosi Phase, provides a compelling case for the expansion of stockbreeding activities in the highland Longshan economy (Neimenggu and E’erduosi 2000).This eventually became a widespread phenomenon across the Yellow River Valley during the second millennium bce (Okumura 2005;Yang 2008; Song 2009; Liu and Chen 2012:228). The transitional nature of Ordos might indeed explain why a great ritual center was established there. The Ordos-centered political network centered in Shimao significantly differs from the political landscape of the Central Plains assumed in the wen ding narrative. From its standpoint, the agrarian and agropastoral Longshan society lay to the south, the world of the North Asian steppe herders and forest hunter-gatherers lay to the north, the oasis cities of Central Asia loomed on its distant western horizon, and the jade production centers around the Bohai Gulf lay to the east. Shimao in Ordos represents the first effort to establish a ritual or political order that straddled the steppes and the agricultural areas, a pattern later repeated many times during the historical period, of which the historical geography of Beijing remains the best-known example. In contrast to the social collapse in the Jinnan Basin, the highland Longshan society in and around Ordos remained an active political force well into the second millennium bce. Typological attributes of the Shimao ceramic assemblage suggest that the early phase of its occupation coincided with the Longshan period, and the late phase occurred roughly contemporaneously with Erlitou in the second quarter of the second millennium bce (Chapter 5). As I will elaborate in the rest of the book, the Shimao legacy had far-reaching influence on the formation of the Sandai civilization, as well as its highland peers in Bronze Age China, e.g. the Saxingdui-Jinsha civilization in the Sichuan Basin and memory communities of the loess highlands. These divergent developments contributed to the sources of Zhou historical knowledge and Zhou political rhetoric of the Sandai tradition; I will return to this point in Chapters 6, 7, and 8.

Political Development in the Highland Basin of Sichuan To the south of the western highlands, the Chengdu Plain and the adjacent highland valleys in the Minshan mountain range became the central theater for highland political developments in Sichuan (Hung 2011; Hung et al. 2011, 2014; Zhao and Chen 2011; Flad 2013; Flad and Chen 2013). Highland interactions between the western highlands and the Sichuan Basin during the Longshan period took place along the tributary valleys of the Min River and Bailong River, located immediately south of the upper Yellow River Basin.

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4.22. The distribution of prehistoric sites along the trans-Minshan corridors and in the western highlands during the third millennium bce (illustrated by Li Min).

These trans-Minshan corridors connected the highland Longshan communities in mountain valleys and the Chengdu Plain with the tributary networks of the upper and middle Yellow River, which, in turn, linked with the Hexi Corridor and Ordos, as well as the highland basins of Guanzhong and Jinnan (Figure 4.22). Archaeological research along the Bailong River, a major tributary of the Jialing River, identified a series of sites associated with Majiayao, Qijia, and Siwa material cultures (Chen Xiaosan 2013). Further south, surveys and excavations along the tributary valleys of the Min River provided rich evidence for prehistoric settlements associated with the Miaodigou and Majiayao material cultures, e.g. the Haxiu site in the Dadu River Valley and Yingpanshan in the Min River Valley (Cui et al. 2011; Zhao and Chen 2011; Chengdushi et  al. 2002). These findings suggest that these trans-Minshan corridors had been settled by the fourth and third millennia bce (Chen Jian et al. 2005; Chen Jian 2006; Chen Wei 2012).

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At the western end of the Sichuan Basin, a series of walled settlements flourished on the Chengdu Plain during the late third millennium bce. Located on the alluvial fan of the Min River, the walled enclosures were built along numerous tributaries fanning out of a narrow opening in the Minshan mountain range. Before the construction of the Dujiangyan hydraulic project in the third century bce, these tributaries out of Minshan were highly unstable and destructive. Built along the direction of the stream flow, the orientation of these Longshan walled enclosures suggests flood prevention as their major purpose (Chengdushi and Pixian 2001; Chengdu 2010; Flad 2013). Some of the rammed earth embankments were reinforced with wooden posts, pebble stone facing, and drainage trenches for consolidation. With an inner enclosure (60 hectares) and outer enclosure (276 hectares), the size of Baodun, as the largest of these walled sites in Sichuan, approached that of major Longshan centers, making the Chengdu Plain another central stage for political development in the Longshan world (Wang Yi 2003; Flad and Chen 2013). Five groups of large building foundations found in Baodun probably represent the remains of ceremonial structures. The nature of political authority at the site, however, remains unknown. Smaller walled sites and hamlets have been documented in the Chengdu Plain, suggesting that Longshan communities thrived in the basin. Despite compelling evidence for highland interaction, the Longshan society in the Sichuan Basin used neither ding nor li tripod vessels as daily culinary wares, indicating a relative detachment from the rest of the Longshan cultural tradition. The regional development in Sichuan, therefore, deserves to be approached in its own right as an important theater leading up to the rise of Bronze Age society in early China, in which the Sanxingdui-Jinsha Bronze Age civilization co-evolved as peers with the Sandai states in the Central Plains (Bagley 2001; Falkenhausen 2003; Flad 2013; Flad and Chen 2013; Sun 2013). For the purpose of this book, the intense interactions between the western highlands, the highland valleys in the Minshan mountain range, and the Sichuan Basin present a distinctive pattern of the Longshan political landscape in early China. After the Longshan period, during the late first millennium bce, the center of gravity shifted into the Sichuan Basin, which gradually grew into a densely populated agricultural society. Meanwhile, the agropastoral communities inhabiting the trans-Minshan corridors and upper Yellow River Valley became increasingly antagonized by the expanding states and early empires based in the Central Plains, and slipped away into alien territory. This sociopolitical reconfiguration reinforced a Sichuan Basin-centered perspective in the historical classification of the political landscape, which was not necessarily the case for the Longshan period. Instead, Longshan society in Sichuan is better approached as a CircumMinshan phenomenon, wherein the highland communities in the mountain

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valleys and in the alluvial fan of the Chengdu Plain worked as a well-integrated whole, strongly connected with the western and loess highlands through the highland corridors across Minshan. This highland Longshan perspective helps explain the distribution of openwork and turquoise inlaid metal plaques in the Chengdu Plain, the western highlands, the Hexi Corridor, and the Turfan Basin (Chen Xiaosan 2013). It also provides the geographic perspective for understanding the highland connections between the Sanxingdui-Jinsha tradition on the Chengdu Plain and the Shimao tradition in Ordos during the second millennium bce (Chapters 5, 6, and 7). The shift in the configuration of the highland political landscape from the third to the first millennium bce is critical for understanding the legendary geography of the Yugong world, which I will elaborate in Chapter 8. GROWTH AND DECLINE IN THE LOWLANDS

Extensive tributary networks and a long coastline facilitated interactions and political integration among lowland Longshan communities. In contrast to the loess highlands, where the pouch-legged li vessels dominated the ceramic assemblage, lowland Longshan society associated with regional traditions under the labels of Wangyoufang/Zaolütai, Wangwan III, and Meishan traditions shared their use of ding tripod vessels derived from the Peiligang tradition (Li Boqian 1983). It is against this basic dichotomy in the highland and lowland ceramic assemblage that the expansion and contraction of different political and cultural groups through the second and first millennia bce can be monitored (Chapters 5, 6, and 7). Longshan development in the lowlands is characterized by the decline of mound centers in Liangzhou and Shijiahe, the population movement from the Huai River Basin to the political vacuum in the middle and lower Yangzi, and the increased interactions with highland Longshan centers. The general social decline in the middle and lower Yangzi led to a northern shift of the major political theater toward the areas within the geographic extent of the historical Central Plains. This reconfiguration of the political landscape set the stage for the rise of Sandai powers in the middle and lower Yellow River Basin during the second millennium bce.

Longshan Society in the Huai River Basin and East Coast The florescence of major Longshan centers across the Huai River Basin and the adjacent coastal basins was part of the multiple, interrelated political trajectories unfolding in the Longshan world. A series of Longshan centers flourished in the upper tributary valleys of the Huai River on the southern slope of Mt. Song (Han and Yang 1997; Liu Li 2004; Zhang Hai 2007). Ranging from 10 to

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100 hectares in size, these Longshan centers had rammed earth walls and/or deep moats for defense. Wadian (100 hectares), Wangchenggang (50 hectares), and Guchengzhai (17.6 hectares) represent the most important among these Longshan towns. Their emergence marks a significant change from the settlement pattern of the pre-Longshan period, when the great Dawenkou centers were located in the eastern part of the Huai River Basin while the western part exhibited few signs of centralization during the early third millennium bce (Chapter 3). Consisting of twin mounds of approximately 50 hectares each, the Wadian site (c. 2255–1755 bce ) in the Ying River Valley was the largest Longshan center in the upper Huai River Basin (Henansheng 2004). Discovery of a large architectural foundation, ritual dedication pits, and a rich inventory of jades and elaborate feasting wares at Wadian suggests its important role as a central settlement in the Circum-Songshan region. The rich diversity in material culture from Wadian attests to extensive interactions with the rest of the Huai River Basin, the loess highlands, and the middle Yangzi. A carved jade bird found in Wadian, for example, is nearly identical to those found at Shijiahe and at Shimao, indicating that the region may have served as a gateway for highland interactions with the middle Yangzi. Strontium isotope analysis of human and faunal remains reveals an influx of sheep and cattle from diverse sources, as well as an influx of migrants (Zhao et al. 2012; Zhao and Fang 2014). Located approximately 40 kilometers upstream from Wadian, the excavation at Wangchenggang featured double-walled enclosures, extensive distribution of rammed earth foundations with human sacrifice incorporated into them, jade cong cylinders and other forms, and numerous sacrificial pits (Henansheng and Zhongguo 1992; Beijing and Henansheng 2007). These features highlight its role as a key Longshan center in the upper Ying River Valley (Liu Li 2004; Yang 2005; Henansheng et al. 2008). Located at the foot of Mt. Song, Wangchenggang was part of the historical landscape associated with the Zhou definition of axis mundi, which will be discussed in Chapter 7. Both Wadian and Wangchenggang were associated with the legendary landscape of the Great Yu, attributed to the end of the third millennium bce. I will return to this point in Chapter 8. Social differentiation can be observed in the presence of elaborate feasting vessels and foundations of important architectures in these Longshan centers. The fortified site of Guchengzhai, for example, featured a rammed earth foundation for a large structure f1 (approximately 380 square meters) attached to an enclosed courtyard with a roofed corridor, which resembles the layout of palatial compounds in Erlitou and Shang royal centers (Henansheng 2002; Du 2010) (Figure 4.23). The building may have served as the palace or temple complex for the ruling elite at the Longshan center.

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The absence of burials in archaeological data in this region restricted our understanding of the ways in which social hierarchy was represented in the heartland of the historical Central Plains (Gao 1993). Archaeological remains from residential contexts, however, suggest that these settlement centers likely served as foci for rapid political development in the upper Huai River Basin. These Longshan centers may have formed alliances or became a confederation with a paramount leadership, similar to the case proposed for the Jinnan Basin. The frequent occurrence of sacrificial victims as foundational offerings at these Longshan centers suggests the escalation of ritual violence and intercommunal raiding. New techniques and mediums of religious communication associated with agropastoral society spread from the highlands to the lowland plains. Oracle bone divination introduced through highland agropastoral communities was adopted widely into the religious life of lowland Longshan centers, where bovine scapulae used for scapulimancy were found at Wadian, Dahecun in Zhengzhou, and Baiying in the Henei Basin (Yang 2008:515). Adjacent to a large architectural complex with rammed earth foundations at the Shantaisi site in Zhecheng, the discovery of an enormous sacrificial pit containing a ritual dedication of nine cattle provides the first example in which the newly

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4.24. A ritual dedication pit with nine cattle at the Shantaisi site in Zhecheng, Henan (after Zhang and Zhang 1997: Plate 1).

introduced highland livestock were incorporated into the ritual and political practices of the Longshan society of the lowland plains (Zhang and Zhang 1997) (Figure 4.24).This archaeological observation from the area of Shangqiu (the Mound of Shang) appears consistent with the later legendary narrative that portrayed the predynastic Shang ancestors as cattle herders active on the northern plains (Chapters 6 and 7). Complete cattle skeletons buried as sacrificial offerings were also found in Pingliangtai, another walled Longshan settlement in the Huai River Basin (Henansheng and Zhoukou 1983). Ceremonial and/or political gathering at ritually significant places was important for the creation and maintenance of Longshan religious and political networks. At the Yuhui site (50 hectares) in the middle Huai River Basin, an elaborately constructed Longshan ceremonial platform was aligned toward the opening of Mt. Tu, a natural spectacle created by the Huai River cutting through a rocky ridge (Zhongguo and Bengbushi 2014). Located at the convergence of several major tributaries, the sacred landscape of Mt. Tu represents an important crossroads in the vast Huai River Basin (Figure 4.25).

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4.25. The sacred landscape of Mt. Tu and the archaeological landscape of Yuhui (the place of Yu’s symposium) (left), and a museum reconstruction of the ritual platform at Yuhui in Anhui (right) (USGS, d054 019 S13 DEC 67 1102-1 FWD and photo by Shi Tao at the Bengbu City Museum).

Approximately 108 meters long and 13 to 23.5 meters wide, the impressive ceremonial platform was constructed by first excavating a linear-shaped pit, and then filling it in with three layers of soil in grey, yellow, and white colors respectively. The most distinctive feature of the polychrome platform was its sculpted surface, where the distribution of polychrome soil layers followed the contours of pits, ridges, and depressions on the platform, as if depicting terrain features. These unique features, therefore, were not later intrusions into a once flat surface, but were rather deliberately created at the time of its construction as an integral component of the platform design (Zhongguo and Bengbushi 2013). We could infer that ritual activities once took place on the platform based on the attributes of these surface features. The extensive burnt surfaces on the white soil surface indicate that a large flame was once set at the end of the platform. Paths on top of raised earthen ridges (each about 23 meters long and 2 meters wide) joined together in an X shape, suggesting movement along predetermined paths on the sculpted surface. Spaced approximately 1 meter apart and 45 meters long, a column of rectangular pits were cut into the polychrome platform, each with a large post-mold inside, probably from wooden posts or standards. Other features included square-shaped podiums built on the white soil surface, presumably for standing or display, as well as eight round pits, each built with the soil layers following their contour (Zhongguo and Bengbushi 2013). Although the ritual activities associated with these earthen features are difficult to interpret, the ritual use of polychrome soil for constructing sacred

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earthen features and the choice of pilgrim sites at places where the river cuts through rocky barriers were both observed in later ritual traditions. The ritual complex and the choice of landscape configuration may have represented a “culturally significant natural place” as defined by Bradley (2000), where communities from the surrounding regions connected by the rivers participated in religious pilgrimage and political aggregation. The place name of the Yuhui village, the gathering place for the Great Yu, attributed the place to a legendary symposium at Mt. Tu in honor of the legendary figure at the end of the third millennium. The archaeological evidence suggests that the legendary landmark may have once been the site of major ceremonial meetings of Longshan communities, possibly aimed at harnessing the powers associated with the natural spectacle. A large number of feasting vessels were deposited in trenches near the platform, as well as burnt animal bones and a large quantity of grinding stone.The majority of ceramic vessels were local to the central Huai River Basin. Vessel forms from the middle and lower Yangzi, as well as coastal Shandong, were also represented. Unlike the high-firing technique in their source regions, however, this mixed ceramic assemblage appears to be locally produced using lowfiring techniques and not intended for sustained use. They were deposited or discarded in trenches around the platform after the gatherings (Zhongguo and Bengbushi 2013:30). The central Huai River Basin was a great nucleus where tributaries from multiple regions converged. At times of ecological crisis, floodwater coming from several directions would converge here and elevate the resultant problems to a different magnitude. Historically, flooding and crop failure made the central Huai River Basin a hotbed for riots and uprisings that destabilized society.12 By the same token, the impact of the climatic fluctuations of the late third millennium bce on prehistoric communities in the central Huai River Basin may have been more severe than in the other regions, resulting in disruptions of social order. This pilgrimage site along the main channel of the Huai River probably represents a place of ritual gathering in response to the social and ecological instabilities of the Longshan society, which I will elaborate on in Chapter 8. The material culture and technologies associated with these ritual gatherings represent the expanding scope of interactions during the Longshan period. Wheat was identified as part of the botanical remains at Yuhui, Wadian, and other lowland Longshan sites, which host the first introduction of West Asian domesticates from the highlands (Jin 2007; Zhao 2015). Since these crops did not become a primary food staple in China until the early imperial era, their rapid spread at the turn of the second millennium bce could be associated with the production of alcoholic beverages consumed for ritual purpose and/ or commensality rather than daily consumption, a hypothesis to be tested with further research.

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Further to the east, the Longshan society in the lower Huai River drainage basin and the coastal basins displayed steady population growth. Consisting of high stemmed cups, tripod pitchers, steamers, and ding tripod vessels, the elaboration of the ceramic assemblage among these coastal Longshan settlements suggests that the local communities invested significant efforts in competitive feasting, a pattern consistent with local Dawenkou traditions (Underhill 2002). As a hallmark of coastal Longshan craftsmanship, the production of black eggshell pottery for consumption of alcoholic beverages perfected the aesthetics of thin lacquer ware seen in Dawenkou and Liangzhu craft traditions from the early third millennium bce (McGovern et al. 2005). Two major Longshan centers emerged in the coastal basin of Rizhao, either as two closely spaced peer polities or as part of a single coastal confederation (Zhongmei 2004; Underhill et  al. 2008). Flourishing during the Late Dawenkou to Middle Longshan period, the Yaowangcheng site (approximately 400 hectares) rivaled the highland centers of Taosi and Shimao in size (Liang 2016). Protected by triple enclosures, elite activities at Yaowangcheng left behind rich deposits of high-quality ceramics from feasting scenes, as well as signs of highland connections, e.g. buildings with mudbrick construction (Zhongguo 2015).The mortuary syntax of an Early Longshan elite burial from Yaowangcheng highlights the strong ritual focus on coastal feasting traditions, e.g. high-quality eggshell black pottery cup, black burnished wares, and a set of low-fired imitations of culinary vessels. The deceased wore a square-shaped jade disk on his left arm, a body technique also observed among the warrior elites buried at Taosi and Qingliangsi in and around the Jinnan Basin. This discovery highlights the long-distance exchange practiced by the Longshan elite, a recurrent pattern since the third millennium bce (Chapter 3).The technique involving a layer of rocks for the wall construction at Yaowangcheng, however, suggests the influence of a Liangzhu wall-building tradition on the Late Dawenkou-Longshan society (Liang 2016). Approximately 35 kilometers northeast of Yaowangcheng, Liangchengzhen (100 hectares), which also had triple moat enclosures, represents another great coastal Longshan center (Underhill et al. 2008; Liu and Chen 2012:217; Sun 2013).13 It appears to have expanded from the adjacent center of Dantu (10 hectares) of the Late Dawenkou period, approximately 4 kilometers north of Liangchengzhen (Yang 1996). In contrast to the dramatic changes on the loess highlands and in the upper Huai River Basin, continuity with Late Dawenkou material culture suggests that Yaowangcheng probably grew out of the political center from the adjacent Shu River Valley, a tributary valley of the lower Huai River Basin, where the major Late Dawenkou center of Lingyanghe flourished during the middle third millennium bce (Chapter 3). The material representation of coastal elite personas closely resembled that of their peers in the upper and middle Yellow River Valley. In the elite tomb

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m33 excavated at Liangchengzhen, for example, the deceased had a turquoise mosaic band placed on the left arm, with a group of small white stone pebbles set in the middle (Figure  4.26). The large elite tomb was richly furnished with a full assemblage of feasting wares, consisting of tripod ding vessels, storage jars, basins, mounted dishes, and cups, all deliberately smashed and scattered in the tomb (Zhongmei 2004). The mortuary syntax of m33, particularly the turquoise armband, closely resembles the second-tier elite burials at Taosi (Zhongguo and Shanxisheng 2015). Similar finds were also made in elite tombs at Yinjiacheng, Xizhufeng, Taosi, Xiajin, and Zongri, indicating a close-knit Longshan exchange network, spanning a distance of approximately 2,000 kilometers from the upper Yellow River Valley to the east coast (Pang 2014:144). Like those turquoise mosaic wristbands from Taosi in the Jinnan Basin and the Zongri site on the eastern Tibetan Plateau, some of the turquoise tiles from m33 had broken perforations in the corner, indicating that they may have previously been used for pendants. This minute technical detail suggests that these widely dispersed finds likely came from a single technological tradition in Longshan society. Together with a string of smaller walled towns (10–40 hectares) distributed along the coastal plains to the north of Mt. Tai, these two large Longshan centers became the hub of coastal development after the decline of Liangzhu centers in the lower Yangzi (Demattè 1999; Shao 2000, 2002; Liu Li 2004).The double wall enclosures around the Longshan center at Tonglin (c. 2200–2000 bce), for example, span an area of approximately 40 hectares (Sun 2013:445). Each town was probably a center for a local polity, while they could also have been members of a larger coastal confederation. Three impressive tombs from the Longshan cemetery at Xizhufeng (10 hectares) in the Linqu Basin offer a rare glimpse into the ruling elite of a Longshan polity in the Shandong Peninsula (Shandongsheng and Linquxian 1989; Zhongguo 1990). Up to 7 meters long and 3 meters wide, these tombs rival the Taosi elite tombs in their size. Their nested coffin construction was elaborately painted in red, black, and white. The prominent display of jade battleaxes and long jade knives suggests that military ethos remained an important aspect of Longshan leadership. Feasting sets consisting of fine ceramics and wooden vessels, alligator skin drums, dozens of pig mandibles, and finely polished jade pieces were placed inside the painted storage chambers adjacent to the coffin (Figure 4.26). The mortuary syntax of these Longshan elite tombs suggests a cultural continuum with the Dawenkou tradition. At the same time, these figures in Shandong were integrated into the close-knit Longshan elite interaction network. The deceased in tomb m202 wore a turquoise mosaic headdress made with nearly one thousand fine tesserae tiles, complete with an openwork-carved white jade hairpin similar to ones found at Taosi and Shijiahe.

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4.26. The Longshan elite tombs in Shandong. Above: Longshan elite burial m202 at Xizhufeng in Linqu, Shandong. (A)  Headdress and accessories:  an openwork jade hairpin, turquoise pendants, and loose turquoise chips; (B)  food preparation and food serving set:  four pottery gui tripod pitchers, a pottery ding tripod vessel, two pottery basins, three pottery lei lidded containers; (C)  drinking set:  three eggshell pottery cups, four single loop handled cups, two pottery jars, two pottery lids; (D) serving set on wooden stand: a bone spoon, a grinding stone, an eggshell pottery cup (after Zhongguo 2010:610 Figure 6–43).Below: a close-up view of the turquoise mosaic inlaid wristband from elite tomb m33 at Liangchengzhen, Shandong (image courtesy of Shandong University Museum).

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Like the wristband from m33 at Liangchengzhen, the technique of the Xizhufeng turquoise mosaic closely resembles the discoveries made at highland Longshan sites. The florescence of Longshan interregional exchange accounts for the unprecedented diversity in the range of material culture and technologies in Longshan sites, setting the Longshan period apart from its Liangzhu and Dawenkou predecessors. In contrast to the frequent finds in the western highlands, Liangchengzhen remains the only coastal Longshan site that produced cowrie, with a group of ring cowries (Monetaria annulus) found at the site likely brought in through the highland exchange network (Shandongsheng 1955). From the coast of the Indian Ocean to the coast of the East China Sea, these exotic tropical shells traveled approximately 8,000 kilometers, which marks the full geographic extent of the Longshan exchange network. The distribution pattern would expand through the second and early first millennium bce, which I will elaborate on in Chapters 5, 6, and 7. Sporadic discoveries of small copper and bronze objects in Longshan sites mark the first occurrence of metal in lowland society (Yan 1984; He 2007). From the upper Huai River Basin to the Shandong Peninsula, these finds came as tools, vessel fragments, smelting slags, and crucible fragments that are consistent with incipient metal use, exchange, and production. Among a limited inventory of Longshan burials known in the lowlands, however, none yielded evidence for mortuary association of metal, a sign of limited distribution in lowland society. The coastal Longshan jade industry shared many designs with the Longshan repertoire observed in the highland sites of Taosi and Shimao, e.g. notched disks, cong cylinders, broad knives, and battleaxes (Yan et al. 2006; Yang 2014). The deposit of jade disks in pits reported at Liangchengzhen also concurs with similar practices at highland centers. Dark jade scepters were found at four sites in the coastal hinterland of Yaowangcheng and Liangchengzhen. At Luoquanyu in Yinan, four jade scepters among a group of jade and stone objects were found inside a fissure on the slope of a rocky hill (Yu and Zhao 1998; Deng et al. 2014; Yang 2014). A black jade scepter was also found at Shangwanjialing in Wulian. Both discoveries feature similar landscape contexts, in which these jade scepters were buried in hilly terrain a few kilometers away from nearby Late Dawenkou-Longshan settlements, probably as offerings in landscape dedication rituals. The other two sites were associated with Late Dawenkou-Longshan settlements and burials. Their distinctive form and raw material suggest that several jade scepters discovered in Shandong were likely brought in from highland Longshan centers like Shimao. Elite exchange and pilgrim travels may have resulted in the presence

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of highland jade objects on the coast, and vice versa. The distribution of these distinctive jade forms across the Longshan world, and the similarity in the context of their ritual use, suggest the spread of ritual networks during the late third millennium bce. The existence of mudbrick adobe construction techniques at Liangchengzhen and Yaowangcheng suggests the possible presence of a resident population from the highlands.These coastal destinations were probably associated with both religious and political significance. During the third century bce, the coastal basin was designated by the Qin and Western Han imperial government as a sacred place for time-mapping and an important site of imperial pilgrimage, where the beginning of the four seasons was observed from a ritual mound at Langyatai (Feinman et al. 2010; Wang Rui 2011). This designation of the basin as a sacred landscape in early imperial China probably had deep prehistoric roots, which I will discuss in Chapter 8. Maritime connections became an extension of the Longshan exchange network involving the highlands and the coastal Longshan centers. The discovery of black eggshell pottery on the Miaodao Archipelago and in the stone cist tombs on the Liaodong Peninsula presents compelling evidence for maritime exchange, which connected Longshan centers in the Shandong Peninsula with jade-working communities and serpentine sources in the Liaodong Peninsula (Okamura 1995;Yan et al. 2006). Coastal navigation around the Bohai Gulf connected the Shandong Peninsula with the archaic lower Yellow River drainage basin. Longshan sites in Henei displayed significant convergence of material cultures from highland and lowland regions. Diagnostic highland vessels, such as the pouch-legged li tripod vessels, are frequently encountered in these sites, e.g. Hougang, Baiying, and Yabazhuang (Zhongguo 1972, 1982; Anyang 1980). The Yabazhuang site along the archaic lower Yellow River not only included ceramics from the coast and the highlands, but also hosted a local ceramic industry that produced hybrid vessels mixing different components from the surrounding regions (Wang Qing 1995). Intensified highland interactions also led to increasing violence among Longshan communities. The deliberate destruction of the elite tombs at Yinjiacheng and other Late Dawenkou to Longshan period cemeteries in Shandong echoed the widespread conflicts observed at Taosi and other highland sites, which resulted in the destruction of skeletal remains and loss of jade objects from the inventory of grave goods (Shandong 1990). Jiangou and other Longshan sites in the Henei Basin displayed some of the most striking signs of intercommunal violence in Longshan society. Their geographic positions at the highland gateways probably aggravated the potential threats of raiding from the loess highland west of Taihang.

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Social Transition in the Middle and Lower Yangzi After the decline and collapse of the Shijiahe and Liangzhu societies in the late third millennium bce, migrants from the Huai River Basin moved into the middle and lower Yangzi River Basin (Shijiahe 1999:347). These Longshan communities were well integrated into a vast Longshan exchange network going well beyond the lowland regions. In contrast to the early to middle third millennium bce, however, the center of political gravity had shifted from the middle and lower Yangzi to the great Longshan centers in northern China. Longshan communities brought a sophisticated jade-working tradition to the middle Yangzi that had no local precedence in the Qujialing-Shijiahe society of the early third millennium bce. Numerous cemeteries at Shijiahe produced extraordinarily refined jade objects and all from adult urn burials of the Longshan period. Fifteen of seventy-seven Longshan urn burials from the Xiaojiawuji locus south of the Shijiahe walls were furnished with jade objects, ranging from one to fifty-six for each tomb (Shijiahe 1999:285). Inside the walled enclosure, five Longshan urn burials excavated in the central terrace mound of Tanjialing were furnished with more than 250 finished jade goods, along with jade raw material and semi-finished objects, suggesting the presence of jade-working activities at the site (Hubeisheng 2016b). The jade forms included human heads, anthropomorphic masks with protruding fangs, cicadas, tigers, eagles, coiled dragons, phoenixes, openwork pendants, hairpins, beads, and various body ornaments. These forms have been observed in major Longshan centers from the Huai River Basin to Ordos, e.g. Wadian, Taosi, and Shimao. The jade masks from urn burial w6 (w6:1, 15, and 60) of the Xiaojiawuji cemetery, for example, closely resemble the examples from Taosi elite tomb m22, suggesting the emergence of an interregional style shared through the Longshan elite exchange network (Shijiahe 1999:327) (Figure 4.27). Beyond the central settlement of Shijiahe, jade finds in the middle Yangzi also reveal a florescence of jade working during the Longshan period. Urn burials from the Zaolingang and Liuhe cemeteries produced both finished jade objects and small jade pieces left from jade working (Jingzhou 2008:4; Liu Deyin 2009:29). Several Longshan cong cylinders found at the Dujiagang site in Anxiang and the Zaolingang cemetery in Jingzhou, as well as a pair of black jade scepters found at the Wangjiawuchang site in Shashi, all fall within the general repertoire of Longshan tradition observed from Ordos to Shandong (Jingzhou 2008:165–68). Further south, Longshan cong cylinders were found in association with the Fanchengdui material culture in Jiangxi. None of the cong cylinders from the middle Yangzi, however, suggest direct connection with the Liangzhu jade-working tradition. The design

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Shijiahe 1

Shijiahe 3

Shijiahe 2

Taosi M22

4.27. Shijiahe jade objects excavated from Longshan period urn burials at Tanjialing bear close resemblance to the jade find at Taosi (images 1–3 after Hubeisheng 2016b:28–29; image 4 the Longshan jade mask from Taosi m22 after Zhongguo et al. 2003:5 Figure 3).

and technique of Longshan jades from Shijiahe suggests artisans from the Shandong Longshan society made significant contribution to the newly emerged jade-working centers in the middle Yangzi (Jingzhou 2008). Instead of a single center producing all these jade works, the Longshan interregional style may have been adopted by multiple production centers, whose products were exchanged widely across Longshan world. The jade source for these Longshan jade objects from the middle Yangzi remains unknown. Jade objects produced by Longshan settlers in the middle Yangzi not only circulated widely among Longshan elite, but were also curated for generations through the second millennium bce. Later, these Longshan jades were frequently incorporated into Shang and Zhou elite tombs as heirlooms, exchange items, or tribute goods (Jingzhou 2008:7–8). These jade objects and their design elements provided tangible connections between Longshan and Bronze Age China, around which social memories of the Longshan period could

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be transmitted in the form of storytelling and folklore in the post-Longshan world. I will elaborate on this point in the following chapters. It is unclear why Shijiahe experienced this brief florescence during the Longshan period. The construction of cemeteries by jade-bearing Longshan elite at key locations of Shijiahe suggests that the place retained its aura as a pilgrimage designation even after the collapse of Qujialing-Shijiahe society. In the case of elite burial w6 at Xiaojiawuji, a red clay cup was interred alongside fifty-six jade objects, which highlights the resilience of a drinking tradition associated with Shijiahe. These Longshan urn burials in the middle Yangzi, therefore, connected the great Longshan centers in the north and the legacy of the middle Yangzi from the early to mid-third millennium bce. Metal prospecting and metalworking in the middle Yangzi was of critical importance for understanding the shift of the political landscape leading up to the rise of Bronze Age society in early China. Excavations at Shijiahe reported numerous malachite fragments and a copper or bronze fragment (Shijiahe 2003:243; Liu Deyin 2009:29). While many Longshan urn burials at Shijiahe were furnished with jade objects, one (w49) was furnished with a piece of copper ore (Shijiahe 1999:296). It may have been brought in from copperrich regions along the south bank of the middle Yangzi. In the Daye Region further downstream along the middle Yangzi, slags from copper working were found in association with the thinly painted wares of the QujialingShijiahe cultural tradition at the Xianglushan site in Daye (Li Yanxiang 2014). As the distribution of jade objects connected Longshan societies in the middle Yangzi and the highlands, these signs of metal prospecting could be characterized as a lowland extension of the Eurasian metallurgical network. The most important discovery came from the Xiawanggang site at the southern end of the Shangluo Corridor, which connected the highland basin of Guanzhong and the copper-rich middle Yangzi. Its Longshan component yielded a significant number of highland-style vessels, e.g. double-handled beakers diagnostic of the Qijia material culture of the western highlands, which appeared in the Guanzhong Basin on the northern end of the corridor around the same time (Henansheng and Changjiang 1989:251; Zhang Tian’en 2009). Excavations at Xiawanggang also recovered a bundle of four North Asian-style arsenical bronze spears deposited at the bottom of a pit (h181) (Figure  4.28). Their stratigraphic context indicates that these spears were buried during the early second millennium bce in association with the Qijia material culture at the site, which represents the final phase of Longshan occupation at Xiawanggang (Gao 2009, 2015). The discovery of slags, furnace fragments, and fragments of bronze objects from the Longshan component at Xiawanggang is consistent with the discovery of metal objects and ore at Shijiahe downstream in the middle Yangzi (Shijiahe 2003).

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4.28. Part of a bundle of four Seima-Turbino style arsenical bronze spears from Xiawanggang hoard h181 (image courtesy of Gao Jiangtao).

Several unprovenanced finds of Seima-Turbino style copper and bronze spears were also reported from the Guanzhong Basin and the Nanyang Basin at two ends of the Shangluo Corridor, Shanxi and Anyang on both sides of Taihang mountain range, and Chaoyang in the northeastern highlands (Gao 2015; Liu and Liu 2016). X-ray fluorescence analysis of these spears reveals that the majority of them were made of copper and arsenical bronze (Liu et al. 2015). While some may have been brought in from the Altai region, the majority of these spears were probably made in Longshan communities within the North Asian technological and stylistic tradition. For this study’s purposes, the distribution of North Asian style spears in early China is significant for three reasons. First, they present compelling evidence for the connection between the Longshan-Erlitou society and the North Asian metalworking tradition with sophisticated bivalve mold-casting technology. This connection contributed to the technological choices and innovations of piece-mold technology in the Luoyang Basin during the second quarter of the second millennium bce. Second, these important discoveries along the Shangluo Corridor linked the emerging highland Longshan metalworking industry with the rich copper deposits in the middle Yangzi. The distribution of copper/bronze objects highlights the critical importance of the Hexi Corridor and the Shangluo Corridor as the major conduits of Longshan interactions. As the

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4.29. The loop handle beakers discovered in Longshan sites in the highlands, the Shangluo Corridor, and the middle Yangzi (Naimatai, after Qinghaisheng and Beijing 2016: Plate 22–3; Liuwan, after Qinghaisheng and Zhongguo 1984: Plate 183; Donglongshan, after Shaanxisheng and Shangluoshi 2011:  Plate 16; Taosi, after Zhongguo and Shanxisheng 2015:  Plate 2554; Xiawanggang, photo by Shi Tao at the Anyang Museum; Liaowadianzi, after Hubeisheng 2014: Plate 23).

southern extension of the Qijia material culture, the Longshan community at Xiawanggang connected the Guangzhong Basin, the Yi-Luo River tributary valley, and the middle Yangzi (Figure 4.29). It also provided highland Longshan communities with access to rich deposits of turquoise in the Yunxian region at the southern end of the Shangluo Corridor (Ye et al. 2014). As I will argue in the next chapter, the presence of highland communities in the Shangluo Corridor and in the middle Yangzi explains the revival of middle Yangzi society in the Erlitou and Erligang periods as provider of metal ores for Sandai states from the Central Plains. Third, the Xiawanggang hoard produced early signs of the ritualization of metals in early China. The spear bundle appears to have been intentionally buried as a ritual dedication in a specially prepared pit, which was sealed with burnt clay and compact chunks of soil.The ritual deposit closely resembles the contexts of other Serma-Turbino finds, e.g. the ritual offering

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of metals at Shaitanskoye Ozero II (approximately nineteenth to eighteenth century bce ) in Sverdlovsk Oblast in the Urals (Korochkova et  al. 2010). Soon, it became elaborated to an impressive scale during the second half of the second millennium bce, e.g. the bronze hoards in Zhengzhou, Pinglu, Huangcai, Kazuo, Hanzhong, and Sanxingdui, and often as dedications to a sacred landscape (Li Ling 2004). Such practice involving ritual deposit of metals was previously unknown to pre-Longshan society in early China. The symbolic connection between metal ores and landscape, however, was integral to the cultural assumptions of the wen ding story, for which the discovery at Xiawanggang marks a major threshold. During the late third millennium bce, the lower Yangzi was undergoing significant changes. The mechanism that held society together for almost one thousand years failed, and the impressive mound centers were abandoned. The Liangzhu diaspora may have facilitated movement of Liangzhu jade objects and jade-working knowledge to the rest of the Longshan world through the Huai River Basin (Huang 1992, 2010; Deng 1993; Fang 2015). The great Liangzhu mound center at Pingyao was deserted after this social collapse, and was not reoccupied until the early imperial period. The general region of lower Yangzi, however, was settled by migrants from the Huai River Basin (Jiao 2013; Zhongguo and Bengbushi 2013:28–29). The Guangfulin material culture associated with these Longshan communities included jade objects in Liangzhu form, but of a greatly simplified design (Deng 2014). Unlike the limited production and distribution of the Liangzhu originals, these Longshan products were found from the east coast to the western highlands, and were made by many jade workshops across the Longshan world. The brief occupation by Longshan communities, however, did not lead to a regeneration of coastal society. The density of Longshan sites was significantly lower than in the Liangzhu period (Zhang Chi 2017:51). The region faced some serious ecological crises at the end of the third millennium bce. Longshan settlers eventually abandoned the region after their rice paddies were inundated by floodwater at the turn of the second millennium bce (Shanghaishi 2002; Zhejiangsheng 2008). The expansion of brackish wetlands following marine invasion may have severely depressed human activities in the region (Stanley et al. 1999; Liu Yan 2014; Liu et al. 2015). Some Liangzhu communities retreated into the mountainous regions south of the Liangzhu heartland. In the Haochuan cemetery in southern Zhejiang, for example, elite tombs produced Liangzhu-style ceramic assemblages and jade objects, alongside stamped ceramics from the mountainous region of coastal Fujian  (Zhengjiangsheng and Suichangxian 2001). Intriguingly, cong cylinders and the deity iconography, both hallmarks of Liangzhu ritual tradition, were absent. This marks the beginning of a cultural change in postLiangzhu society, in which Liangzhu forms were found across vast regions

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except in its homeland. From the Haochuan cemetery onwards, elite cemeteries in the lower Yangzi River Basin moved to hilltops, indicating a shift in the conception of the mortuary landscape. The social decline in the middle and lower Yangzi River Basin had important consequences for the reconfiguration of the political landscape in the Longshan period. When societal collapse and population displacement became lived experiences for lowland communities, these crises could lead to a breakdown of the social, political, and religious order that had been established in periods of relative stability. The collapse of Liangzhu society and the severe flooding in the area during the Longshan period undermined the foundation of a religious tradition built on the prosperity of the lower Yangzi. As seen in the rise of Taosi, Shimao, Erlitou, Zhengzhou, and Anyang, the middle Yellow River Basin took over the central stage for political development through the second millennium bce.This decline of the south, therefore, gave rise to the emergence of political powers within the region historically known as the Central Plains. Although demands for copper and stoneware from the middle and lower Yangzi by Sandai states in the Central Plains led to an industrial florescence in these two regions during the second millennium bce, the middle and lower Yangzi River Basin never achieved a full revival until well into the imperial period.

The Longshan Perspective on Landscape The ecological, technological, and political changes in Longshan society ushered in new notions of the landscape, characterized by ecological instability, a metal-based perspective, and new configurations of political landscape associated with emerging kingship in numerous episodes of political experimentation. First, Longshan society experienced some of the worst climatic and ecological conditions in early China. In contrast to the relative stability during the Holocene Climatic Optimum, climate and landscape became active players, rather than passive backdrops, in the social transformation of Longshan society. Crises affected multiple regions across the Longshan world and throughout the Longshan period. On the highlands, the combined forces of earthquakes, mudslides, and flooding, for example, destroyed a jade-working community at the western highland site of Lajia (20 hectares) in the Guanting Basin of the upper Yellow River. It provided the most compelling evidence for geological instability during the late third millennium bce (Ye and He 2002; Zhongguo and Qinghaisheng 2002; Yang et  al. 2003; Zhang Xuelian et  al. 2014; Wu et al. 2016). As traditional rituals and beliefs lost their efficacy, new ideologies and religious movements could rapidly spread in response to social crisis. We could

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expect that religious performances aimed at harnessing the forces of the landscape would have been particularly active and elaborate as responses to the ecological catastrophe (Rosen 2008a). These rituals would be most prevalent at loci where these natural forces were perceived to be present, e.g. spectacular places in the landscape. Religious responses to ecological crisis in turn carry the potential to foster new transregional networks and present opportunities for social mobilization. I will elaborate on this point in Chapter 8 in relation to the legend of flood mitigation by the Great Yu in Sandai religious tradition. Second, the expanding range of stockbreeding contributed to the formation of a metallurgist’s perspective on the landscape. Since the knowledge of herding, prospecting, and metalworking was closely linked in the Longshan cultural context, it became possible to envision the landscape of early China as dotted with jade sources, metal deposits, animal herds, pastures, dry fields, rice paddies, towns, and villages. It also assumes the rise of a new conceptual framework to name and classify the expanding repertoire of geographic knowledge, technologies, and material culture. The Longshan period, therefore, marks an important transition in the history and archaeology of knowledge in China. Unlike jade and pottery production, bronze production involved the contribution of raw materials from different sources, which were often spatially separated. The copper-rich regions of the Hexi Corridor in the western highlands, the Zhongtiao mountain in the Jinnan Basin, and the Daye Region in the middle Yangzi, for example, would figure prominently in this new geography. Although understudied, sources of tin would also have been prospected during the Longshan period. These mining regions were associated with very different archaeological cultures and political domains in the Longshan period and earlier. The knowledge of their distribution and the logistics of their procurement would be fundamental to the ideology of the political landscape associated with the emerging kinship, e.g. prioritizing mineral-rich regions for state expansion. It is within this cultural framework that the legend of casting bronze vessels with tribute ore from different regions became a shared symbol of political representation. If the source of political power of Sandai states involved the monopoly of bronze vessels and their raw materials, as proposed by K. C. Chang (1983), then Longshan society laid the foundation for this metal-based conception of political landscape. Although metal objects did not become primary symbols in Longshan notions of political authority, they were associated with important Longshan political and/or ritual centers, and displayed signs of ritual significance, e.g. bells, mirrors, and disk-shaped pendants. Their ritual and political association foreshadowed the elaborate use of metal in Erlitou and the later Sandai elite tradition.The Longshan period, therefore, represents a major threshold for bronze to become part of the core symbols of religious and political representation in early China.

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As a technological and ritual transformation, the extraction of metal ores through mining always involved some religious engagement with the powers of the landscape (Gose 1994). From Shaitanskoye Ozero in the Urals to Xiawanggang and Zhengzhou in early China, the ritual deposits of metal objects marked a shared tradition of religious dedication from the late third millennium bce (Korochkova et al. 2010: 497; Gao 2009, 2016; Henansheng and Zhengzhoushi 1999). In addition to jades, humans, and livestock, metals became a new category of goods for engaging with the powers of landscape and ancestors. Using the movement of jade and metal in the Longshan world as a proxy, we can visualize the emergence of a new conception of landscape based on the distribution of jade and copper ore, which became the geographic and technological foundation for the cultural assumptions shared by the Zhou elite in the wen ding story. Third, the knowledge of technologies, material culture, and landscape figured into an ideology of emerging kingship associated with the multiple episodes of political experimentation. As successful state formation took place in the context of multiple “closely spaced, intensely competing centers” (Wright 2006:314), Longshan society had the potential to foster numerous claims to political authority associated with competing powers, each projecting an ideology of world order revolving around its own definition of axis mundi. Based on the archaeological patterns, therefore, we could potentially compile visions of world order from the perspectives of the Jinnan Basin, Ordos, the Huai River Basin, the Shandong Peninsula, and the Chengdu Plain – each with its own political ideology and cultural assumptions. The concentration of emerging centers in the middle Yellow River Basin made the macro-region a great nexus for syncretic development during the Longshan period. This perspective partially overlapped with the notion of the historical Central Plains in the wen ding narrative. The archaeological inventory presented in this chapter has provided compelling evidence that the full scope of the Longshan exchange networks stretches far beyond the domain of any political powers in Longshan society. The expanded interactions beyond continental East Asia also contributed to the rich diversity of material culture and knowledge observed archaeologically in Longshan society. An ideology of kingship, therefore, involves imagining and defining a political domain from the infinitely expanding world created by the convergence of the East, North, and Middle Asian Interaction Spheres at the end of the third millennium bce. Knowledge of kingship would also include ways to represent the political domain and its subdivisions, over which an elementary form of political dominance could be claimed and exercised by emerging leaders.This would involve classification schemes to make the domain legible, e.g. ordering the people, surveying the fields, registering resources, opening communication routes, and

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collecting stories about the powers of gods, ancestors, past regimes, and historical places, which provided the imagined domain its cultural, geographic, and historical references.Within the context of these intensely competitive centers in the Longshan world, emerging political authority in early China would likely be accompanied by multiple traditions of landscape representations and classification schemes.This helps us understand the geographic perspective and landscape classification in early China as exemplified in the wen ding narrative, which I will elaborate in Chapter 8.

CONCLUSION

The Longshan transition involved climatic fluctuation, expanding interregional interaction, and political evolution operating at various spatial scales.At a global scale, the sociopolitical development of Longshan society was part of the big picture of urban florescence during the late third millennium bce: By 2230 bce the twin Western cores in Sumer and Egypt had massively eclipsed the original core in the Hilly Flanks. Responding to ecological problems, people had created cities; responding to competition between cities, they had created million-strong states, ruled by gods or godlike kings and managed by bureaucracies. As struggles in the core drove social development upward, a network of cities spread over the simpler farming villages of Syria and the Levant and through Iran to the borders of modern Turkmenistan. (Morris 2010:189)

The connections between Central Asia and the Indus Valley, between Central Asia and the steppes, as well as between steppes and highland Longshan society, created an exchange network stretching from the Indian Ocean to the coast of East China. Expanded interaction with North and Middle Asian societies made highland Longshan society the great converging place for networks connecting the coast, Siberia, Altai, and Central Asia. Through the convergence of three interaction spheres, millennia-old multi-metallic metallurgy, animal and botanical sets, concepts of writing, techniques of religious communication, and storytelling about distant places were part of the repertoire of knowledge available to the Longshan world. From the Longshan period onwards, these goods and technologies were selectively incorporated and reinterpreted through the second millennium bce, contributing to the formation of a repertoire of core symbols in Bronze Age China. At an interregional scale, the landscape of early China had never been so dynamic and unstable as in the Longshan period, which brought crises and opportunities to Longshan society.The collapse of the lower and middle Yangzi society had profound consequences for the reconfiguration of the political

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landscape leading up to the rise of the Sandai political tradition. The emergence of political authority in the Jinnan Basin represents the first episode of major political development unfolding within the geographic extent of the historical Central Plains. Highland Longshan society saw the emergence of a repertoire of high culture that later defined the Sandai tradition, i.e. bronze bells, chimestones, alligator skin drums, and ritual jade sets. The Longshan period, therefore, represents the formative phase for Sandai civilization. At a regional scale, early cities played a significant role as nexuses of social interaction and arenas for political change in many places of the Longshan world. As Yoffee and Terrenato (2015:3) put it, “Cities evolved as ‘collecting basins’ in which long-term trends towards social differentiation and stratification crystallized.” Major Longshan centers at Taosi, Shimao, Wadian, Yaowangcheng, Liangchengzhen, and Baodun served as crucibles for political development, in which objects, technologies, and stories from faraway places found new contexts for political elaboration. Although none of these great prehistoric centers outlasted the end of the Longshan period in the eighteenth century bce, the size of these Longshan cities was comparable to that of Erlitou during the second quarter of the second millennium bce. It helps understand the process of state formation in early China as “a long-term trajectory” (Shelach and Jaffe 2014). The Longshan period overlaps with the beginning of the Sandai time frame commemorated in the wen ding narrative. Remarkable social changes and spectacular landscapes provide the armature for socially meaningful legends to evolve. Many Longshan centers bear place names associated with the legendary landscape attributed to the late third millennium bce, e.g.Yuhui (Yu’s symposium) and Yaowangcheng (the royal city of Yao), or were located in areas that can be characterized as hotspots for legendary narratives in historiography, e.g. the Jinnan Basin and the Ying River Valley along the southern slope of Mt. Song (Xu 1960). Failed attempts, diverse choices, and multiple trajectories of political experimentation often left behind a complex legacy of stories, subject to different interpretations and manipulations by stakeholders in later societies.The lingering social memory associated with these great places guided archaeological inquiry in these regions. The archaeological research at Taosi and Erlitou, for example, was led by clues from legendary narratives, while recent systematic surveys in the Jinnan Basin and the Luoyang Basin confirmed their central place in the archaeological landscape (Xu 1959; Liu et al. 2004; Drennan and Dai 2010; He 2013; Xu 2009, 2013). This was not the case for the Peiligang,Yangshao, and Liangzhu periods, which left few clues in the legendary landscape to guide archaeological research.The increasing convergence of archaeological and legendary landscapes during the late third millennium bce was critical in approaching the question of social memory in early China.

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During the second millennium bce, Bronze Age society in early China inherited different aspects of the highland Longshan legacy associated with Taosi in the Jinnan Basin and Shimao in Ordos. The central stage of Bronze Age political developments, however, had shifted from these great Longshan centers to newly emerging political theaters, namely the Luoyang Basin, the Zhengzhou region, the Henei Basin, and the Guanzhong Basin. None of these great places played a key role during the Longshan period. Meanwhile, the resilience in material culture informs us of the presence of memory communities associated with the legacies of those great Longshan centers. By the time Zhou emerged from the Guanzhong Basin at the end of the second millennium bce, the Jinnan Basin had become a virtually deserted place for nearly two centuries. As I will argue in Chapter 7, the Zhou state founders rebuilt the society of the Jinnan Basin around the legacy of the great legendary regimes from a thousand years before. Although the Jinnan Basin falls within the geographic area of the historical Central Plains, the Luoyang Basin remained relatively peripheral during the Longshan period (Luoyang 1978; Beijing 2002). The rise of a Luoyangcentered political order took place after the collapse of Longshan society in the Jinnan Basin, when the emergence of Erlitou in the Luoyang Basin during the early second millennium bce brought critical change to the political landscape of early China. The rise of Erlitou also started a political tradition in which bronze vessels became the foci of state ritual and political economy.This major transformation is the subject of the next chapter.

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CHAPTER FIVE

THE RISE OF THE LUOYANG BASIN AND THE PRODUCTION OF THE FIRST BRONZE DING VESSELS

The rapid rise of the great Longshan centers during the late third millennium bce was followed by an equally dramatic decline during the early second. Against the backdrop of decline and collapse of major Longshan centers in the Jinnan Basin, coastal Shandong, and the middle and lower Yangzi, the Luoyang Basin on the northern slope of Mt. Song became the central stage of political development in early China (Liu Li et al. 2004; Zhang Hai 2007; Zhang Xuelian et al. 2007; Zhang Li 2012). During the second quarter of the second millennium bce, Erlitou represents the central site for this post-Longshan development. For the genealogy of knowledge of the wen ding narrative, the emergence of Erlitou contributed the first bronze workshop in the Central Plains, the first Luoyang-centric political network, the production of bronze ding tripod vessels, and the first appearance of tetrapod vessel design that included surface décor. This chapter investigates these critical transformations during the early second millennium bce, leading up to the rise of the Sandai political tradition. While Chapter 3 starts from the east coast and Chapter 4 starts from the western highlands, this chapter takes yet another kaleidoscopical shift in perspective by focusing on the Circum-Songshan region in the middle. The dynamic changes in this gateway region made critical contributions to the notion of the Central Plains as an imagined geopolitical space centered in the Luoyang Basin. The chapter also investigates the critical transition toward the emergence of a major metalworking center at Erlitou based on 175

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the increasing control and exploitation of copper mines in Jinnan and in middle Yangzi – a defining attribute of the technological and political landscape of the Sandai tradition, and thus of the cultural assumptions for the wen ding narrative. THE COLLAPSE OF LONGSHAN SOCIETY AND THE RISE OF ERLITOU

The Collapse of Longshan Society The crisis at the turn of the second millennium bce did not halt population growth in the Jinnan Basin. Taosi and Fangcheng-Nanshi at the foot of Mt. Chong and the Zhoujiazhuang site further south remain some of the largest sites in the Longshan world during the Late Taosi Phase. From Ordos to Jinnan, a cultural continuum developed among the agropastoral and farming communities in the highlands, for which the pouch-legged li tripod vessels served as the diagnostic vessels. Late Taosi society eventually collapsed in the nineteenth century bce, which saw the end of the enormous population concentration in the Jinnan Basin (Liu and Chen 2012:227). Residents appear to have abandoned the great Longshan centers in the basin and scattered into the loess highlands. The magnitude and geographic scope of the collapse of Longshan society during early second millennium bce appear to be greater than the fall of Liangzhu and Shijiahe society in the middle and lower Yangzi, thus making it one of the most significant events (or processes) in the social history of early  China. The dramatic decline in population can be seen in contrast with settlement size during the second quarter of the second millennium bce. Few sites in the Jinnan Basin had continuous occupation into the Erlitou period (Chang 2010:126). The Erlitou outpost at Dongxiafeng (approximately 4 hectares within the double moat enclosures constructed during the Erlitou Phase) on the southern edge of the Jinnan Basin was disproportionally smaller than those great Longshan settlements in the region, which often extend to more than 100 hectares in size (Zhongguo et al. 1988:50–51).1 Even after the expansion of the Dongxiafeng settlement to a fortified site of 13 hectares during the Erligang Phase of the middle second millennium bce, it is still well below the figures for major Longshan centers in Jinnan (Zhongguo et  al. 2012). Dongxiafeng’s ceramic assemblage displays little direct connection with the Late Taosi assemblage (Ji 1995). Instead, the Erlitou outpost appears to have moved into a vacuum created by the collapse of Longshan society (Zhongguo and Shanxisheng 2015:1115). Previous research on state formation centered on Erlitou has often failed to address the consequences of a deep collapse of Longshan

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society, which made vast territories available for the Erlitou reconfiguration of the political landscape. Depopulation of the Jinnan Basin was part of a general trend of social decline at the end of the Longshan period, when site numbers significantly dropped in many regions. Based on her analysis of the second national survey data published in the archaeological atlas, Pauline Sebillaud (2014:94) estimated that Erlitou sites totaled only a quarter of the number of Longshan sites in the area within the historical Central Plains.2 Demographic decline and social reconfiguration may have been caused by a variety of factors, e.g. concentration of population at certain sites, emigration, intensification of war and conflicts, ecological crisis, fatal epidemics, or resource depletion (Zhang Li 2012:67). Sebillaud (2014:104) highlights the critical threat of flooding at the turn of the second millennium bce, which significantly reduced the Longshan population. The full spectrum of ecological and political factors responsible for the collapse of Longshan society, however, remains understudied (Zhang Chi 2017). In the Sichuan Basin, three flood channels from the Minshan mountain range destroyed the walled enclosure at Baodun during approximately 1900– 1700 bce (Huang et al. 2017). Settlement survey reveals a decline of population density after Baodun Phase II when the flooding took place, and the Longshan population at Baodun dispersed. The next major episode of political development did not take place in the Sichuan Basin until the second half of the second millennium bce. On the east coast, Late Longshan society in Shandong suffered a deep decline after the collapse of its great Longshan centers in the Rizhao Basin and coastal plains around the Bohai Gulf. The systematic survey in the Rizhao Basin identified only eighteen sites with diagnostic shards associated with the Yueshi (post-Longshan) material culture in a survey region of 1,120 square kilometers, compared with more than four hundred sites from the Longshan period (Underhill et al. 2008). In contrast to the enormous size of the Longshan centers in Shandong, the largest Yueshi site at Xisi was 9 hectares (Zhang Chi 2017:51). Shandong society did not recover until the late second millennium bce, and only surpassed the Longshan figures during the East Zhou period. Decrease in population in the coastal region was followed by significant changes in material culture. The highly sophisticated Longshan ceramic technology based on the use of fast wheels was lost. The range and quality of the Yueshi ceramic assemblage were significantly reduced. A rather homogeneous Yueshi material culture, with few signs of social hierarchy, is found sparsely distributed across a vast region spanning from the Liaodong Peninsula to the eastern Huai River Basin (Fang 1998; Cohen 2001).

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Some of the new inhabitants in Shandong appear to be immigrants from the Liaodong Peninsula north of the Bohai Gulf, who brought post-firing painted polychrome vessels and occasional copper and arsenical bronze objects into the region (Zhang Guoshuo 1994; Gao and Pang 2009).The collapse of Shandong Longshan society, therefore, brought a major rupture in the millennia-long Peiligang cultural tradition in the region, which was the source of Hougang I, Beixin, Dawenkou, and Longshan material cultures (Zhang and Qiao 1992; Gao and Shao 2005). Dramatic ecological changes at the end of the Longshan period are also observed in the upper and middle Yellow River (Yang et al. 2005; Rosen 2007, 2008b). The population decline in the Yi-Luo River Basin at the end of the Longshan period coincided with dramatic landscape change and shift in settlement pattern. Sediment record from the Huizui site in the Luoyang Basin reveals that extensive flooding washed away thick soil deposits in the upper Yi-Luo, accumulated after millennia of farming activities since the Peiligang period, and resulted in active gully formation from erosion on the loess landscape, some time between 2100 and 1600 bce (Rosen 2008b:298–306). Erlitou settlements were established after this enormous transformation, and their preference for high elevation locations and ridge tops deviated from the longestablished patterns in the lower valley locations. This trend lasted through the Erlitou period, and the occupation of low elevation alluvial plains only became widespread after the middle second millennium bce, probably resulting from ecological stabilization. Sebillaud’s (2014:120–29) statistical analysis of site elevation also supports a dramatic shift toward high elevation locations within the historical Central Plains, for which flood and warfare might be the potential cause.3 The collapse of major Longshan centers in early China was part of a broad trend of political collapse and de-urbanization in the Middle Asian Interaction Sphere during the early second millennium bce. After the nineteenth century bce, Bronze Age urban centers in Central Asia, the Iranian Plateau, and the Indus Valley dissolved into a world of pastoral communities; the next urban episode in many of these regions came more than one millennium later (Hiebert 1994:151; Anthony 2007:452–4; Kohl 2007:218). The synchronicity of the collapse of Bronze Age society at a continental scale may be related to climatic fluctuations after the late third millennium bce, when drought significantly altered the hydraulic regime and undermined the intensive agricultural system, leading to decreased agricultural yield (Staubwasser and Weiss 2006; Rosen 2008a). The collapse of Bronze Age cities did not necessarily put an end to trade connections to North and East Asia in the post-Longshan period. The steady flow of cowrie shells into the communities in northern China during the second and first millennia bce suggests that Eurasian trade carried on with

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established trade patterns. De-urbanization in Central and Southwest Asia, however, would potentially reduce the range of goods and social knowledge transmitted through the exchange network into post-Longshan society. The brief florescence of urban centers linking Mesopotamia, the Iranian Plateau, Indus Valley, Central Asia, and the steppes during the Longshan period, therefore, represents a unique window of extraordinary cultural diversity in transEurasian interaction.

Intensified Political Development around the Luoyang Basin In the aftermath of social collapse, intensified interactions in river valleys around Mt. Song increasingly drew communities from the upper Huai River, the middle Yangzi, and the middle Yellow River basins into this central hub (Liu Li et al. 2004; Zhang Hai 2007; Zhang Li 2012). This process contributed to the emergence of a new political center in the Luoyang Basin, which forged diverse traditions from surrounding regions into a new cultural tradition that came to define the early Sandai tradition at the heartland of the Central Plains. The Luoyang Basin extends approximately 50 kilometers from east to west and 5 to 10 kilometers from north to south. The Yi-Luo River tributary network framed the social interactions in and around the Luoyang Basin (Figure 5.1). Both originating from the mountain valleys northwest of Luoyang, the Yi River and the Luo River flow toward the Luoyang Basin as separate waterways. Geographic configuration of their tributary valleys provided different connections with their adjacent drainage basins. The Luo River and its tributaries fostered highland interactions with the Guanzhong Basin to the west, while the Yi River facilitated lowland interactions with the upper Huai River Basin to the east. In the following section, I will elaborate on the dynamics of these cultural connections, first in the west and then in the east. Originating from the mountain ranges northwest of the Luoyang Basin, the two major tributaries of the Luo River, namely the Jian River and the Chan River, join the lower Luo River at Luoyang in the western end of the basin. The Xiaoshan mountain range, where the Jian River originated, serves as the major conduit connecting the Guanzhong Basin to its west, the Jinnan Basin to its north, and the Luoyang Basin to its east. The Longshan assemblage from the Xiaopangou site in Mengjin along the Chan River reveals the local production of highland forms alongside lowland vessel forms local to the Yi-Luo River drainage basin (Luoyang 1978). On the eastern side of the Xiaoshan watershed, the Jian River Valley served as a northern gateway for highland connections with the Luoyang Basin. The Longshan culinary assemblage from the Wangwan site in the Jian River Valley was dominated by deep pots with an impressed checkered design and basket design, as well as ding tripod vessels from the upper Huai River Basin

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5.1. The configuration of physical landscape and the distribution of major sites around the Luoyang Basin (redrawn by Li Min from Zhongguo 1999b:3 Figure 1).

(Beijing 2002).The occasional presence of pouch-legged li vessels with double knob handles at Wangwan suggests exchange with highland communities. Approximately 400 kilometers northwest of the Luoyang Basin, the headwater of the Luo River in the eastern Qinling mountain range was within a short distance from the Dan River Valley in the Shangluo Corridor and the Wei River Valley in the Guanzhong Basin. On the north slope of the Qinling mountain range, highland Longshan communities associated with the Keshengzhuang Phase II material culture had settled the Guanzhong Basin (Zhongguo 1962). Unlike the adjacent Jinnan Basin, however, the Guanzhong Basin did not experience major population expansion in the Longshan period. During the Late Longshan period, western highland communities associated with the Qijia material culture infiltrated the Guanzhong Basin. Red and buff wares diagnostic of the western highlands spread widely in the highland basin previously dominated by the grey ware li tripod vessels. High frequency of round pots with appliqué rims, double loop handled beakers, and singlehandled jugs from these sites suggests the development of a cultural continuum with the highland communities as far west as the upper Yellow River Valley (Ningxia and Zhongguo 2003; Zhang Tian’en 2009). Interactions with highland

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5.2. The highland Longshan ceramic assemblages from the Guanzhong Basin (1–15) and the Shangluo Corridor (16–23) at the turn of the second millennium bce (after Zhang Tian’en 2009:19 Figure 1; Shaanxisheng and Shangluoshi 2011:50–59, Figures 29, 30, 34).

communities in Jinnan and the loess highlands also account for the occasional presence of grey ware pouch-legged li tripod vessels (Zhongguo 1962). To the south of the Qinling mountain range, the Donglongshan site (10 hectares) in the Shangluo Corridor served as a converging point for the exchange networks connecting the Guanzhong Basin (approximately 80 kilometers to the northwest), the Nanyang Basin (approximately 200 kilometers to the southeast), and the Yi-Luo River Basin (approximately 40 kilometers to the northeast). The ceramic wares from early second millennium components at Donglongshan were consistent with the Qijia ceramic assemblage found in the Guanzhong Basin and western highlands, e.g. double or triple loop handled beakers, round pots with appliqué rims, and various pouch-legged tripod vessels, indicating a southeastern extension of the highland network toward the lowland gateways (Shaanxisheng and Shangluoshi 2011) (Figure 5.2). Besides pottery, other classes of archaeological inventory from Donglongshan also display highland attributes, e.g. the presence of a Shimao-style black jade scepter, thin turquoise tesserae  tiles, and oracle bones (Shaanxisheng and Shangluoshi 2011:129, 134). The extensive use of stone and jade disks in Donglongshan burials also closely resembles the Qijia material culture observed in the Guanzhong Basin and the western highlands, e.g. the Laoniupo cemetery in Xi’an and the Huangniangniangtai cemetery in Gansu. Further south of Donglongshan, the distribution of double loop handled beakers among Longshan assemblages in the Shangluo Corridor and the

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discovery of a group of Seima-Turbino spears at the Xiawanggang site at the southern end of the corridor suggest that this important highland gateway to the copper-rich middle Yangzi River Basin had been prospected by highlanders associated with the Eurasian metallurgical tradition by the early second millennium bce (Chapter 4 Gao 2009, 2015). The discovery of this Qijia assemblage at Liaowadianzi in Yunxian indicates that these highland communities had reached the major turquoise deposit in Shiyan. Like Donglongshan, Xiawanggang also produced dark jade scepters as seen at Shimao, Huadizui, Erlitou, and Shandong, indicating the significance of the Shangluo Corridor in the highland Longshan-Erlitou network (Deng et al. 2014). This connection also helps account for the distribution of pottery he pitchers from the middle Yangzi in the western highlands (Zhang Tian’en 2009; Pang and Gao 2013). In this regard, the highland settlements in the eastern Guanzhong Basin and the Shangluo Corridor represent the eastern frontier of a vast highland cultural horizon extending to the upper Yellow River Valley on the Tibetan Plateau. Approximately 40 kilometers northeast of Donglongshan, the presence of the Qijia assemblage at the Longtouliang site in the upper Luo River Valley indicates that this highland expansion had crossed the Mangling mountain range, the watershed between the Dan River drainage basin and the Yi-Luo River drainage basin (Shaanxisheng and Shangluoshi 2011:278). This highland expansion coincided with the exploitation of turquoise mines at the Hekou site in the upper Luo River Valley, which had started its operation by the turn of the second millennium bce (Beijing and Shaanxisheng 2016). From the perspective of Hekou, the Luoyang Basin is approximately 300 kilometers downstream along the Luo River Valley. With the infiltration of highland communities into the upper Luo River Valley, the Yi-Luo River Basin became the gateway for interactions between highland communities from the Guanzhong Basin and the communities of the upper Huai River Basin. To its east, the Luoyang Basin opens up to the vast lowland plains through the tributary valleys of the upper Huai River, where the major Longshan centers of Wadian, Wangchenggang, and Guchengzhai once flourished. After their decline at the end of the Longshan period, a new center emerged in the upper Huai River Basin east of Mt. Song. Enclosed by three concentric moats, either for defensive purposes or delineating ritual spaces, Xinzhai (100 hectares) became the largest settlement in the upper Huai River Basin during the nineteenth and eighteenth centuries bce (Beijing and Zhengzhoushi 2008). The ritual activities at Xinzhai were organized around a 50-meterlong “sunken plaza,” which had whole pigs buried in numerous offering pits dug into the semi-subterranean plaza floor and fl ames lit in a series

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5.3. The layout of the Xinzhai site and its sunken plaza (after Zhongguo and Zhengzhoushi 2009b:33 Figure 1 and Color Plate 8-1).

of hearths (Beijing and Zhengzhoushi 2008; Zhongguo and Zhengzhoushi 2006, 2009a, 2009b) (Figure 5.3). The configuration of this ceremonial structure bears resemblance to the Longshan ritual platform at the Yuhui site in the central Huai River Basin (Zhongguo and Bengbushi 2013). It was also a forerunner of the sunken plazas observed at the ritual precinct at Erlitou. Their general resemblance to structures described in later ritual texts suggests that these sunken features

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may have served as the ritual pathway to the underworld, used in tandem with mound features as the ritual loci for the high and elevated realm (Du 2010). During the historical period, they were often used in religious ceremonies sponsored by the ruling elite. The high frequency of various types of solid legged ding tripod vessels suggests strong ties with the lowland culinary traditions, particularly the Longshan tradition in the upper Huai River Basin (Beijing and Zhengzhoushi 2008). The diverse ceramic assemblage from the post-Longshan center, however, also incorporates vessel forms from a broad network of interregional interactions. Differences in the range of material culture at Xinzhai vis-àvis villages highlight the political underpinning of cultural transformation at major centers (Zhang Hai 2007). The rich diversity of prestige goods and feasting vessels suggests that Xinzhai played a significant role in social changes during the critical period leading up to the rise of Erlitou (Qiu et al. 2006; Zhang Xuelian et al. 2007). The inventory of prestige objects includes elegantly made pottery cups, goblets, he tripod vessels, white pottery vessels, and a Longshan-style jade cong cylinder (Beijing and Zhengzhoushi 2008). The iconography on a fine ceramic vessel closely resembles the supreme deity engraved on Longshan jades and later on Sandai bronzes. Metal finds at Xinzhai include a fragment of spout from a copper pitcher, a bronze awl, and a bronze knife, which falls within the general inventory of the Longshan assemblage. This familiar inventory reveals the extent to which the Longshan legacy figured in the political development at Xinzhai and Erlitou.

The Rise of Erlitou Inside the Luoyang Basin, the lower Luo River and the lower Yi River ran parallel to each other through the Luoyang Basin and converged in the eastern half of the basin. Three confluence points became historical landmarks for the Luoyang Basin, namely Jianrui at the west end of the basin, where the Jian River joins the Luo River, Yirui in the middle of the basin, where the Yi River and the Luo River converge, and Luorui at the eastern end of the basin, where the Yi-Luo River joins the Yellow River.4 As the Luoyang Basin served as the event place for the wen ding narrative and the center of the historical Central Plains, these three landmarks provide the touchstones for understanding the political developments in this chapter and the rest of the book. The Luoyang Basin was peripheral for major Longshan centers in the upper Huai River tributary valley. The early Longshan component from Erlitou, for example, produced many ding tripod vessels diagnostic of the vast Huai River

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Basin. None of these Longshan sites inside the basin, however, displays signs of political development that set them apart from the rest of the Longshan communities in the region. Instead, the basin seems to experience some serious ecological challenges during the Longshan period. Geomorphological investigations conducted at different loci in the basin reveal dramatic landscape changes during the Longshan period. Rosen’s (2007, 2008b) study of the Huizui section along a small tributary of the Yi-Luo River, approximately 20 kilometers southeast of Erlitou, reveals significant stream incision, likely resulting from an increase in extreme rainfall events in a landscape deprived of its vegetation by extended drought. The evidence from Huizui was part of the big picture of hydrological change induced by the significantly cooler and drier climatic conditions of the Longshan period, as discussed in the opening section of Chapter 4. All the sediment being cut and eroded from the upper catchment of the Yi-Luo River appears to have been washed downstream and deposited in the flat alluvial plains at the bottom of the Luoyang Basin. With a catchment of approximately 19,000 square kilometers, all four major tributaries of the Yi-Luo drainage basin converged in the Luoyang Basin, thus amplifying the threat of severe flooding from extreme rainfall in a small basin of approximately 1,300 square kilometers. Xia Zhengkai’s (Zhongguo 2014:1247–63) geomorphological study concurs with the basin-wide pattern predicted by the Huizui section. The distribution of slackwater deposit in the Luoyang Basin suggests that extraordinary flood episodes dating to approximately 2000–1800 bce inundated much of the alluvial plain of the lower Yi-Luo River and caused significant changes in river channels (Figure 5.4). Before these devastating floods occurred at the turn of the second millennium bce, the area of Erlitou was part of the interfluve between the Yi River and the Luo River, which converged to the east of the site. At the peak of these extraordinary floods, the area of Erlitou became an island at the bottom of the basin. As floodwater receded during the Late Longshan period, the Luo River shifted its course and converged with the Yi River west of Erlitou, thus connecting the area of Erlitou with the alluvial plain on the north bank of the Yi-Luo (Zhongguo 2014:1247–63). The stabilization of this reemerged alluvial plain in the basin took place not long before the emergence of Erlitou. As the dynamic cultural interactions and landscape changes unfolded around the Yi-Luo River Valley, the first major post-Longshan site emerged at Luorui during the nineteenth century bce. Located on the ridge overlooking the confluence of the Yi-Luo River and the Yellow River, the Huadizui site (approximately 90 hectares) was enclosed by four concentric moats.While the deposit at the site suffered extensive loss in the modern era, the remaining features attest to scenes of important feasting episodes and ritual dedication associated with congregations of communities exhibiting

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5.4. The shifting Yi-Luo River channels in the Luoyang Basin through geomorphological survey. Top:  Middle Holocene (5000–2000 bce) and modern positions of the Yi-Luo River. Middle: the maximum extent of Longshan flooding during the Holocene 3 Climatic Anomaly. Bottom:  the position of Yi-Luo River during the Erlitou period (redrawn by Li Min after Zhongguo 2014:1255 Figure 8-1-3-1).

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significant cultural diversity (Zhang Li 2012:163–70). Deposits of animal and human skeletons, grains, oracle bones, copper fragments, and many elaborate ceramic feasting vessels in at least three offering pits attest to multiple episodes of ritual dedications that took place at the site (Gu and Zhang 2003) (Figure 5.5). The centerpiece of feasting vessels at Huadizui is the burnished black pottery of fine clay fabric, often with lids featuring elaborate knob handles designed to reveal the food content. A pair of large urns with mask motifs painted in vermillion was found broken and scattered in two ritual offering pits (Gu and Zhang 2003). The technique of painting vermillion on a black surface is reminiscent of highland Longshan tradition, wherein the motif closely resembles the taotie mask design on Sandai bronze vessels. The fine clay body and refined shape indicate that these impressive containers were associated with elaborate ritual offering events at this place. Besides this pair of large urns, many other presentation vessels from the two important ritual dedication pits at Huadizui (h144 and h45) were discovered in pairs, which were deposited in pits after ritual gatherings (Zhang Li 2012:165). The ritual congregation at Huadizui appears to involve the participation of people from distant places. Like that at Xinzhai, the ceramic assemblage from Huadizui consisted of styles and forms from regions extending from the loess highlands to the middle Yangzi. Vessel forms representing different regional traditions were locally produced for ritual dedication at Huadizui, a pattern already observed at the Yuhui site during the Longshan period (Zhang Li 2012:16–39; Zhongguo and Bengbushi 2013:30). The inventory of highland material culture and technologies included pouchlegged jia tripod vessels, microliths, sheep and cattle bones, as well as oracle bones made from deer, cattle, and pig scapulae (Zhang Li 2012:170). The highland attributes included coarse construction, low firing temperature, thickened body, and cord-mark and appliqué surface treatments. Some vessels were manufactured with a combination of techniques from these different regions, suggesting an influx of potters into the basin (Zhang Li 2012:165–84). Besides ceramics, the excavation at Huadizui also yielded a black jade zhang scepter, a jade blade, a jade axe, and fragments from a Longshan-style jade cong cylinder, all tokens of the Longshan elite exchange network. With its forked end pointing upwards, the black jade zhang scepter was set vertically next to a human skeleton in a sacrificial pit, probably used as a ritual offering at the sacred place. The pit was then filled with alternating layers of brown and white colored soil, resembling the ritual techniques seen in earthen features at Yuhui and Xinzhai. During the Longshan period, similar black jade scepters were found from Shimao in Ordos to coastal sites in Shandong (Chapter 4). Their discovery at Huadizui, and later at Erlitou and Sanxingdui, defines the

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5.5. Ritual objects deposited in the Huadizui sacrificial pits and the sacred landscape of Luorui at the confluence of the Yi-Luo River and the Yellow River (a pair of large vermillion painted urns and a black jade zhang scepter, after Gu and Zhang 2003:8 Plate 1–2; USGS ds11082135df030_30_a; photo by Li Min).

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legacy of a new ritual network that emerged in highland Longshan society during the late third millennium bce. I will return to this point in Chapter 8. The Huadizui site was part of the culturally significant natural place at Luorui. As at the Longshan site of Yuhui in the Huai River Basin, the locations of river streams cutting through natural barriers presented ideal places for evoking the powers associated with natural spectacle. When major floods inundated the Luoyang Basin, the view from the ridge at Luorui would resemble that from a ship in the ocean, flanked by vast bodies of water on both sides. At a time of extraordinarily unstable climatic conditions, this would be the type of place to engage with the supernatural forces responsible for these violent floods. Similarity in the techniques of ritual engagement among these sites suggests that the ritual activities that took place here were likely part of a widespread religious phenomenon in the Longshan world. Ritual performances, dedications of important offerings, and large gatherings observed at Huadizui collectively indicate elite sponsorship, together with the creation, transmission, and institutionalization of ritual knowledge well beyond the confines of local communities. Religious or political congregations like this had the potential to allow paramount leaders to weld landscape and power together into more permanent forms of political authority. The brief florescence of Xinzhai and Huadizui was soon eclipsed by the rise of Erlitou on the floodplains inside the Luoyang Basin, close to Yirui, at the convergence of the Yi-Luo River. Arising in an area without significant Longshan settlement, the emergence of Erlitou can be characterized as a syncretic development, involving an influx of population from numerous adjacent highland basins, as well as from communities in the upper Huai River Basin south of Mt. Song, likely encouraged by deliberate state-building efforts (Zhang Tian’en 2009; Zhang Li 2012). The impetus for a rapid population influx may have involved a complex interplay of economic, political, and environmental factors (Zhang Hai 2007; Zhang Li 2012; Sebillaud 2014). Systematic survey in the Luoyang Basin has established the regional settlement pattern for population nucleation in the basin (Liu Li et  al 2004; Zhongguo 2004). During the late eighteenth century bce, the settlement at Erlitou grew from 100 hectares during Phase I, to approximately 300 hectares during Phase II, at approximately the same scale as Taosi and Shimao.5 Its growth and expansion coincided with the decline of Xinzhai and Huadizui in the Circum-Songshan region (Zhongguo 1999b, 2014; Han 2009, 2010; Xu 2009, 2012, 2013; Liu and Chen 2012:266; Zhang Li 2012). The rise of Erlitou represents a new episode of urban expansion after the collapse of the great Longshan centers. Its urban occupation spanned four phases, approximately half a century for each phase (Qiu et  al. 2006).6 Its urban core was located in the southeast section of Erlitou, where the palatial precinct, ceremonial ground, craft workshops, and elite residences have been

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located through excavation over the past six decades. The residential quarter and scattered cemeteries for commoners were located in the lower areas to the west (Zhongguo 1999b, 2014; Xu et al. 2004; Liu and Xu 2007). The construction and elaboration of palatial structures attest to the consolidation of political authority at Erlitou through the second quarter of the second millennium bce. The rectangular shaped palatial compound spread over an area of approximately 12 hectares. Its construction was already underway during the eighteenth century bce and lasted approximately two centuries to the end of Erlitou occupation in Phase IV. These roads and building foundations form the armature of Erlitou’s urban core (Zhongguo 2014). Within the palatial precinct, nine large rammed earth foundations, all facing south, belonged to two separate palatial compounds, each with its own axis oriented 4–6 degrees west of magnetic north (Figure  5.6). The functional differences of the two compounds are not yet known (Zhongguo 2014). Unlike at Taosi, the palatial structures constructed during various urban phases at Erlitou did not suffer deliberate destructions, thus offering a rare glimpse of the architectural plans of the early city. The building of the two temple–palatial structures (No. 3 and No. 5) in the eastern compound during Erlitou Phase II represents an early episode of palatial construction (Zhongguo 2014:700). Consisting of three courtyards, the No. 3 palace extends to an area 150 meters long and 50 meters wide. Two courtyards included elite burials lined up in formation, highlighting the role of commemoration for these impressive structures. The palatial construction activities left a large barrow pit of more than 2,000 square meters and up to 5 meters deep behind the palace compound, which was converted to a ritual locus containing buildings, extensive trampling, and pig offerings. During Erlitou Phase III, a rammed wall was added to the palatial precinct outlined by the four intersecting roads (Zhongguo 2014:700).Within the walled palatial precinct, new development took place at two compounds, whereas palatial structures were added to the existing complex or replaced earlier ones. These palace foundations shared the same architectural layout, orientation, and construction techniques, indicating well-planned and coordinated efforts. Previously seen in the Longshan period, the combination of enclosed courtyard and main audience hall became part of a long architectural tradition in early China (Zou 1980:157). In the eastern compound, the earlier palatial structures were leveled and two new complexes (No. 2 and No. 4)  were built in their place. Spanning an area of 4,000 square meters, the No. 2 palace had a courtyard surrounded by a roofed corridor, with a main gate for restricting access into the social and ritual space. The discovery of two large pits filled with burnt debris in the courtyard was likely associated with burning ritual offerings or bonfires.

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5.6. The layout and orientation of Palatial Compound No. 1 and No. 2 at Erlitou (after Zhongguo 2014:152 Figure 93, 1656 Figure 11-2-1-1).

A well or ritual dedication pit behind the No. 2 palatial complex has been previously characterized as the remaining part of a major elite tomb (Zhongguo 2003:129). A large rammed earth foundation (No. 1) four times the size of the No. 2 palace was built in the western compound (Zhongguo 1999b:138–51). The rammed earth foundation for its central palace measures 1,500 square meters in size and was consolidated with seven layers of pebbles (Zhongguo 2014:701). Up to a thousand participants could have gathered in the courtyard surrounded by a roofed corridor (Xu 2009:89). Several offering pits with animal and human remains were also found inside the No. 1 compound. Signs of mutilation on human skeletons indicate that the ritual activities that took place here may have included human sacrifice (Zhongguo 1999b:149). Residential areas, bronze foundries, ceramic kilns, and bone workshops were located beyond the palatial precinct (Zhongguo 2003:65, 116–21). Large quantities of animal bones were processed at the bone workshop using standardized techniques that were later inherited by the massive bone workshops in Zhengzhou and Anyang. Erlitou bone workshops saw the first intensive use

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of cattle bones as raw material for craft production, which involved the effective use of bronze saws (Zhongguo 2003:121–22).The presence of copper and jade spindle whorls, in addition to the conventional pottery ones, indicates that the city had a rather elaborate textile industry (Zhongguo 2003:121). The ceremonial precinct in the northern part of Erlitou served as its focus for ritual performances and ceremonial congregations, which were carried out around distinctive earthen features (Zhongguo 2003:129). The area consists of numerous raised platform mounds and sunken plazas, extending as much as 200–300 meters from east to west. These platform mounds measure up to 9 meters in diameter, with many round pits dug in from the top and filled in with soil of different colors to form small mounds of approximately 1 meter in diameter. Some of these platform mounds comprised one small mound built in the center, surrounded by six mounds, which were in turn surrounded by twelve mounds, creating a constellation of small mound features in concentric circles. Ritual offerings in the form of human and animal sacrifices were deposited around these mound features. Elite burials furnished with bronze and lacquer vessels were also found in association with these mounds. Ranging from a few meters to 30 meters in length, the sunken plazas were created by depositing layers of fine soil in rectangular pits. The surface of each layer had extensive evidence of human trampling and large areas of burning left by multiple episodes of ritual activity.The layout and orientation of the sunken plazas in the ritual area closely resemble the sunken plaza feature reported in Xinzhai, highlighting continuity in their ritual function. Lines of burials in formation were dug into the surface of these sunken plazas, which were then paved over with a new layer of soil with extensive trampling activities on top. Some of the deceased were furnished with bronze vessels, jade, lacquer, cowrie shells, elaborate ceramics, and layers of cinnabar (Zhongguo 2003:103, 129; Li Zhipeng 2008; Zhongguo 2014). This distinctive connection between elite burial and human movement in the ritual precinct appears to replicate the pattern observed in the Erlitou palatial compounds, where elite burials were interred in palatial courtyards that were in active use and were covered with a new layer of soil. Such close association between burials and trampling activities suggests that ancestral remembrance in the form of ritual dance took place at these specially delineated ritual spaces. In historical China, such dances were performed “in some natural spot known to be sacred or, at other times, in a temple – [and] consisted of twirling, arms outstretched” (McCurley 2005:135). This ritual focus on polychrome soil, sculpted earthen features, and ritual dance on sunken plazas resembles the features seen in Yuhui, Xinzhai, and Huadizui, which, in turn, worked into the Sandai ritual traditions. In Zhou ritual texts, the construction of these features, particularly earthen mounds and sunken plazas, was an important technique of place-making and religious

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communication, which highlights the symbolic connections between the royal centers and their outposts, as well as the connections between the practitioners and their ancestors and the supernatural world (Zhongguo 2003:129). Whether such symbolism was associated with these features at Erlitou remains unclear. The continuity in ritual techniques, however, suggests a strong cultural connection with later historical practices. I will return to this point in Chapters 7 and 8. Approximately four hundred burials from the Erlitou period have been excavated at the site, which marks a departure from the general absence of burials in the Circum-Songshan region during the fourth and third millennia bce. Given the scale and duration of Erlitou, however, a significant portion of its population remains unaccounted for. Unlike the extraordinarily large cemetery at Taosi, the tombs in Erlitou were found in small groups dispersed throughout the settlement through the duration of the urban occupation. Approximately half of the burials have a northern orientation, the rest were only consistent within each cemetery. This greatly differs from the cemeteries in Taosi, where all burials were oriented to the central peaks of Mt. Chong. The basic mortuary syntax for the Erlitou elite remained consistent through the history of the city. These elites in lacquered wooden coffins rested on a thick layer of cinnabar and were richly furnished with jades, bronze objects, bronze/copper bells, chimestones, lacquer drums, glazed stoneware from the lower Yangzi, turquoise beads, freshwater and marine shells, as well as culinary vessels of lacquered wood and pottery. Fine lacquer wares were painted in red, black, brown, and white, some with intricate taotie-mask iconography (Zhongguo 2003:117). Fine clay deep bowls, plates, and mounted dishes with burnished surfaces were used as presentation vessels for food consumption.This inventory reveals both a diachronic connection with the Longshan tradition and a synchronic connection with far-flung regions in the broadly defined Erlitou world. FORGING A NEW CULTURAL TRADITION

While the syncretic development at Erlitou involved contributions from many regional societies around the Luoyang Basin, the major aspects of Erlitou urban experience elaborated on the highland Longshan tradition, e.g. stockbreeding, the expansion of metalworking, the elaboration of turquoise-inlay technique, the inventory of jade forms, and the use of cowrie ornaments. The ritual incorporation of these elements into its mortuary syntax highlights the highland Longshan contribution to the realms of political representation, aesthetic sensibilities, and religious traditions at Erlitou.

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Expansion of Stockbreeding The analysis of archaeological fauna from Erlitou and its surrounding sites reveals a well-developed stockbreeding component in a local agricultural economy that grew millet, rice, and wheat. After their initial introduction during the Longshan period, cattle, sheep, and goats were present through the Erlitou urban phases, and supplemented the traditional inventory of pigs as major domesticates (Yang 2008). During Erlitou Phase IV, when the faunal record is most abundant, cattle account for a quarter of the total number of identifiable specimens (NISP), a common ratio consistently observed in Shang sites during the second half of the second millennium bce (Yang 2008:505; Li Min 2008). A fully articulated cattle skeleton appeared in at least one Erlitou tomb (m62) (Yang 2008:506). Strontium isotope analysis of teeth enamel from sheep and cattle at Erlitou reveals significant deviations from the local signature established from pig remains, indicating that at least some livestock were brought into Erlitou from different sources. At the same time, the increase in livestock with the local strontium isotope signature suggests a gradual increase in local herding activities over time (Zhao et  al. 2011). The absence of sheep from Zaojiaoshu, only 30 kilometers away from Erlitou, indicates an uneven distribution of herding activity in the basin (Luoyangshi 2002; Yang 2008:509). Following its introduction during the Longshan period, scapulimancy spread with increasing herding activities in Erlitou society. Oracle bones fashioned from bovine scapulae have been identified in all phases of Erlitou occupation, and sheep scapulae were also extensively used for divination (Yang Jie 2008:508–15). Experimentation on pig scapulae, and occasionally deer scapulae, indicates signs of adaptation to locally available fauna (Zhongguo 2014:146). In general, the Erlitou faunal assemblage displays a continuum from highland Longshan patterns of animal use, leading to eventual integration of herding, as well as the ritual practice associated with it, into the farming economy of early China (Okamura 2005; Miyamoto 2014).

Sound and Color The distinctive set configuration of Erlitou grave goods offers information on the social definition of elite personas and the performative aspects of this society. Like the elite burials in the sunken plaza, the small cemetery in a courtyard of the No. 3 palatial compound again reveals a close connection between the dead and the important ceremonial space. Dating to Erlitou Phase II, these tombs were buried in the palatial courtyard in an orderly fashion. Although they were small in size by Longshan standards (approximately 2 meters long),

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5.7. The mortuary context and ceramic assemblage of Tomb 2002vm3 in the courtyard of the No. 3 palatial compound at Erlitou (after Zhongguo 2014:999–1003 Figures 6-4-3-4-1b, 2a, 2b, and Color Plate 120). The body ornaments include three spiral-shaped white ware finials (1–3) with suspended turquoise beads (4, 31–33, 37) as part of the headdress, a strung cowrie collar (28), a turquoise mosaic serpent scepter (5) with a bell (22) with jade bell clapper (23) attached, a Longshan jade bird (13), and some lose turquoise tesserae tiles (35). Ceramic wares include a ding tripod vessel (12), a jue tripod beaker (24), three dou mounted dishes (6, 26, 29), three he tripod vessels with tubular extension (30, 8, 9), two basins (7, 25), three zun vases (10, 18, 19), and a vessel lid (17). Lacquer wares include a goblet (34), a ladle (36), a large bowl (15), and box (16). Other items include two conch shells (11, 27) and three round ceramic shards (14, 20, 21).

the rich furnishings and their prominent location in the palatial compound highlight the deceased as members of Erlitou’s inner elite, as ritual specialists or political leaders associated with the palatial compound. As part of this well-organized small cemetery, the richly furnished burial of an adult male (m3) near the central axis of the courtyard yields critical information on Erlitou’s high elite (Zhongguo 2014:998–1006). The deceased wore more than ninety strung cowries around the neck, possibly a necklace or accessories attached to the collar, three white ware finials resembling the whorl section of conch shells previous seen at damaged tombs in Shimao, and a bronze bell with a white jade clapper suspended on his waist. In his right hand, the deceased held a 65 cm long serpent scepter, which was inlaid with more than two thousand thin turquoise tesserae tiles, glued on to an organic backing of lacquered wood or leather (Zhongguo 2014:1005) (Figure 5.7). Its square-shaped head had eyes and nose made of inlaid white jade. Elaborate turquoise mosaic armbands with white jade insets were first documented in elite burials at Xiajin in the Jinnan Basin. As I have discussed in Chapter  4, the technique spread widely among major Longshan centers

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5.8. Two turquoise inlaid bronze plaques from Erlitou elite tombs (81ylvm4 and vim11, after Deng Cong 1998: Plates 257 and 258) and a bronze plaque with cross-shaped turquoise inlay from tomb vkm4 (after Zhongguo 1999b: Plate 124).

from the highlands to the east coast. The mask image closely resembles the serpent iconography seen on fine ceramics at Xinzhai, Huadizui, and Erlitou (Xu 2009:152–57). A  jade eagle from this tomb was probably produced by Longshan workshops, as similar eagles were also present at major Longshan sites at Shimao, Wadian, and Shijiahe. Another class of turquoise mosaic object is the inlaid bronze plaque worn by Erlitou elite, often together with a bronze waist bell.These plaques feature a mask design created with fine turquoise mosaic set on a bronze backing, which were attached to the garment with four small loops along the sides (Figure 5.8). In addition to the technique of turquoise mosaic inlay, the production of openwork bronze ware also had its root in the highland Longshan world (Chapter 4). Bronze openwork plaques with geometric designs were reported at Huoshaogou, an oasis site in the Hexi Corridor, and the Tianshanbeilu cemetery in Hami, the northwestern gateway between the Hexi Corridor and the Eurasian steppes (Li Shuicheng 2005). These openwork plaques were probably intended for turquoise mosaic inlay, or lost their inlaid work over time. Some bronze plaques at Erlitou were discovered with a layer of turquoise tiles suspended over them, as if they were once attached to the metal frame with an organic backing that had deteriorated over time. Perforated copper disks with turquoise inlaid cross-patterns arranged in concentric circles were also found in Erlitou Phase III elite tombs, and appear to have served the same function as the plaques (Zhongguo 1999b:255). The discovery of bronze plaques with or without turquoise mosaic in western highland regions of Gansu (Tianshui and Qijiaping) and Sichuan

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(Zhenwucangbaobao ritual dedication pits at Sanxingdui), all similar in style and technique to those from Erlitou, suggests this distinctive class of objects was part of a highland exchange network (Zhang Tian’en 2002; Chen Xiaosan 2013). Although Erlitou had both a bronze foundry and turquoise workshops, it may not have been the sole production center of these distinctive metal objects. Instead, the metal inlay technique appears to have been an innovation in the western highlands at the intersection of the North, Middle, and East Asia exchange networks. I will elaborate this point in relation to Erlitou’s metal production in the next section. As I  have discussed in Chapter  4, the use of copper waist bells in early China was first documented in a Late Taosi tomb. Their discovery in the same bodily positions in Erlitou burials highlights the cultural continuity in symbolic emphasis of sound and body movement from Taosi to Erlitou (Miyamoto 2014). The set configuration and placement of musical instruments in Erlitou burials also resemble the Taosi tradition. Elite burial 75ylvik3 (Erlitou Phase III), for example, yielded a large chimestone alongside bronze jue tripod beakers, pottery vessels, a dozen cowrie shells, numerous jade and bronze dagger axes, and turquoise mosaic inlay objects (Zhongguo 1976:259). The bells and the turquoise mosaic plaques in Erlitou elite tombs highlight the visual and acoustic aspects of ritual life. They were probably used as props for a well-orchestrated ritual performance involving a sizable group of elite participants wearing intricate plaques and costumes, as part of a cultural spectacle at Erlitou. Another important attribute of the Erlitou elite persona with Longshan connections was the use of cowrie shells and their imitations (fashioned from stone, bone, and freshwater shell) as body ornaments, either attached to their costume or worn as strung bands (Zhongguo 2003:123). Besides Tomb No. 3 in the No. 3 palatial compound, at least two elite tombs at Erlitou yielded similar quantities of cowries, i.e. seventy from tomb No. 9 and fiftyeight in tomb No. 11 in excavation zone VI, both elite burials also furnished with jades and bronzes from Erlitou Phase IV. Outside Erlitou, cowrie body ornaments also appeared at elite burials in smaller sites in its hinterland, e.g. Nanzhai (Tomb m16 , Erlitou Phase III) and Xishicun (Tomb m 1, Erlitou Phase III). From the Hexi Corridor in the west to the Chifeng region in the east, the distribution of cowries in the first half of the second millennium bce shows an expansion from that of the Longshan period. In this regard, Erlitou represents the second phase of the use of cowrie shells in elite material culture of early China, before their eventual rise to be the token of value in Sandai society. Altogether, the material representation of elite personhood commemorated in Erlitou burials displays strong connections to the highland Longshan centers and their exchange network. No coastal sites, however,

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5.9. Four jade zhang scepters excavated from Erlitou burials and the plan view of Erlitou tomb 1980vm3 (after Gu Fang 2005 vol. v:11 and 12, Zhongguo 1999b:  Plate 118-5; Zhongguo 1983:202 Figure 7).

reported cowrie finds during the Erlitou period, a pattern eventually changed during the Shang and Zhou period.

Jade Scepters The design repertoire and set configuration of jade objects at Erlitou closely resemble the Longshan jade assemblage observed at Shimao, Lushanmao, Donglongshan, and other highland sites at the turn of the second millennium bce, i.e. long perforated blades, zhang scepters, ceremonial axes, and cong cylinders (Zhongguo 2003:116).Three tombs at Erlitou have yielded four zhang scepters to date, with one tomb (1980vm3) containing a pair (Figure  5.9). Up to half a meter long, the distinctive jade scepters discovered at Erlitou elaborated upon the simple highland Longshan prototypes by adding parallel lines on the surface and delicate notches along their edges. Given the temporal overlap between Shimao and Erlitou as two great prehistoric centers of the early second millennium, these finds concur with the influx of highland material culture observed from other lines of evidence. Those elite figures buried with these jade scepters probably once bore them for ritual and political gatherings in Erlitou society. In contrast to the limited distribution of Erlitou bronze objects, the distribution of Longshan-Erlitou jade scepters outlines a broad network. These jade scepters were brought to the middle Yangzi River Basin along with the diagnostic Erlitou-style spouted he pottery vessels. The southern extent of their distribution reached the coast

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of the South China Sea, where both the simple and the elaborate forms were documented without the association of diagnostic Erlitou vessels. Continuity in form, material, and context for the ritual use of these jade scepters in and around Erlitou suggests an extension of the religious phenomenon developed in highland Longshan society during the late third millennium bce. During the second quarter of the second millennium bce, prehistoric communities at Erlitou, Shimao, Gansu, and Sanxingdui appear to share the symbolism and ritual protocols associated with these distinctive jade forms. The discovery of jade scepters in the Han River Basin (m 83 in Donglongshan and Wanjiangwuchang in Jingzhou) attests to close ties among metal prospecting, the spread of a religious network, and Erlitou expansion (Liu and Chen 2003; Shaangxisheng and Shangluoshi 2011; Jingzhou 2008).

A Hybrid Ceramic Assemblage The ceramic assemblage from Erlitou displays a convergence of vessel forms and technical traditions from both highlands and lowlands (Zheng 1995; Zhongguo 1999b, 2014; Zhang Tian’en 2009; Zhang Li 2012). Before the rise of Erlitou, the Longshan ceramic assemblages of the three macro-regional traditions adjacent to the Yi-Luo River Basin each had their diagnostic culinary wares, i.e. round pots with rim decorated in appliqué and double loop handled beakers from the Guanzhong Basin, the pouch-legged li tripod vessels from the Jinnan Basin and the loess highlands, and the deep olive-shaped pots and the solidlegged ding tripod vessel from local and lowland traditions of the upper Huai River Basin (Zhang Li 2012). The Longshan assemblages from each of these three macro-regional traditions would always include a significant number of ceramics from the neighboring regions, which would generally maintain the design and technical attributes of their source traditions.The rise of Erlitou, however, changed this pattern – its ceramic tradition suggests a deliberate effort to produce new, hybrid forms incorporating highland and lowland attributes. The presence of pottery ding tripod vessels with cord-mark décor and multiple bands of appliqué indicates the use of highland techniques in the production of lowland vessel forms (Zheng 1995). The high frequency of ceramic pots with notched appliqué rim and cord-mark surface treatment in the Erlitou ceramic assemblage suggests that the Guanzhong Basin and the Shangluo Corridor were major contributors of highland migrants during the early urban phases at Erlitou (Zhang Tian’en 2009; Shaanxisheng and Shangluoshi 2011). By adding three solid legs to these round pots with appliqué rims, Erlitou potters created new vessel forms that merged together design traditions from the Guanzhong Basin and the upper Huai River Basin (Figure 5.10).

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5.10. Part of the Erlitou ceramic assemblage from Phases I–III (hybrid-shaped ceramic vessels with highland construction techniques are marked with * symbol, after Zhongguo 1999b:52– 208, Figures 25, 38, 56, 131).

Such deliberate creation of hybrid forms was part of the cultural elaboration observed in multiple realms in Erlitou, particularly in bronze production, which I will elaborate later in this chapter. This syncretic development in the realms of production and consumption helps us understand the ways in which diverse political and cultural traditions were incorporated to forge a

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new tradition. Sustained interactions among immigrant craftsmen from these three macro-regions appear to  account for such innovations in the Erlitou ceramic assemblage. The Erlitou ceramic assemblage, therefore, consisted of lowland forms from the Luoyang Basin and  the upper Huai River Basin, highland forms from the Guanzhong Basin, and hybrid forms that merged the two macro-regional traditions. With the Erlitou expansion, this new assemblage was brought to Erlitou outposts in both highlands and lowlands. The process resembles the so-called X-factor proposed for the formation and expansion of Cahokia in the Mississippian society: Introduced and local cultural traits were quickly welded together to produce [Mississippian] traits that appear unlike the items from which they were derived … This is what we have designated as the X-factor, the contributions made by the culture to its own development. (Phillips, Ford, and Griffin 1951 in Pauketat 2007:107).

Some of these new designs became the first vessel forms produced in bronze by the Erlitou foundry. Understanding the nature of this process, therefore, is critically important for investigating the rise of Bronze Age society in early China. In contrast to the strong representations of ceramic traditions from the Guanzhong Basin to the west of the Luoyang Basin, the pouch-legged li tripod vessels from the Jinnan Basin and the loess highlands were absent in the ceramic assemblages from the early phases of Erlitou. This configuration changed during the final phases of Erlitou, when there was a steady increase of a distinctive type of pouch-legged li tripod vessel diagnostic of the highland communities settled along the eastern edge of the loess highlands, resulting in a major change in the ceramic assemblage of the Luoyang Basin right before the end of Erlitou’s urban phase. The changing configuration of the Erlitou ceramic assemblage, therefore, not only reveals the diversity of communities that contributed to the rise of Erlitou political power, but also offers clues for understanding its demise during the middle of the second millennium bce and the stakeholders of Erlitou’s legacy afterwards. I will return to this important transition in Chapter 6.

The Erlitou Bronze Industry Lynch (1960:2) argues that “[m]oving elements in a city, and in particular the people and their activities, are as important as the stationary physical parts,” wherein people are not simply “observers of this spectacle,” but themselves “part of it, on the stage with other participants.” Besides the sounds and colors created by the bronze waist bells, chimestones, drums, and elaborately inlaid

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turquoise mosaic plaques, an important aspect of Erlitou’s urban spectacle is the production of the first bronze vessels in early China and the consumption episodes associated with their use. A bronze foundry operated in the southeastern quarter of Erlitou, leaving behind a great concentration of furnace and crucible fragments, stone and clay mold fragments, malachite, charcoal, slags, and small metal objects (Zhongguo 2003:113). Furnace fragments were also documented in the central, northern, and northeastern parts of the city, indicating more than one metalworking locale (Zhongguo 2003:65). This modest production represents the first bronze industry in the heartland of the region which later came to be known as the Central Plains. Up to two hundred copper and bronze objects were excavated at Erlitou, including approximately twenty from burial contexts (Mei 2009:12). Copper and bronze objects appeared at Erlitou during Phase I, in the form of portable items (knives and tools) and slags from smelting (Liu and Chen 2012:266). The full inventory of portable objects produced in the Erlitou workshop includes: weapons (dagger axes, battleaxes, arrows), tools (knives, chisels, drills, adzes, fishhooks), and accessories (plaques for turquoise inlay and disks). This assemblage accounts for the bulk of the metal finds from Erlitou sites, demonstrating the limited scale of their production and distribution. Both newly invented forms and diagnostic Northern Asian forms from the steppes and/or taiga regions were cast at the Erlitou foundry. Metal objects with Northern and Central Asian traits include bronze mirrors and arsenical bronze knives, particularly the ring-pommelled knife with perforated grip, as well as a bronze disk decorated with a circle formed by turquoise inlaid cross patterns (Zhongguo 1976:260–61; Guo 2009) (Figure 5.8 right). Many of these forms and techniques had been observed in Qijia and later in Siba material culture in the western highlands. The production of metal objects expanded rapidly after Erlitou Phase II. The first bronze vessels appeared in Erlitou Phase III, in the form of the jue tripod beaker. Erlitou’s foundry produced bronze vessels with bivalve and piece-mold technology (Zhongguo 1999b, 2014:1501–43). The piece-molds used for the production of tripod vessels would range from five to twelve sections, which inaugurated the distinctive metalworking tradition evolving around “the sectionalism of the molds, the alternating levels of positive and negative décor, the coring and the casting-on” (Smith 1977:82). Some of these molds were inscribed with numbers and joints for precise installation (Zhongguo 2003:113). By the final phase of Erlitou, bronze vessels were discovered at Erlitou and half a dozen sites in the Luoyang Basin and beyond.The jia tripod pitchers and the he enclosed tripod pitchers with tubular extensions were added to the bronze assemblage during Erlitou Phase IV. These appear to be all heating apparatuses for the preparation and consumption of alcohol-based psychoactive beverages.

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5.11. Bronze ding tripod vessels from the Erlitou workshop (left: Henansheng 2013:22 Plate 2; right: after Zhongguo 2003:105 Figure 2–10) and a fragment of Erlitou clay mold for casting vessels with elaborate motif in relief (right: after Du and Xu 2005: Plate 7.1).

The repertoire of bronze vessel forms produced by the Erlitou workshop also expanded to include the ding tripod vessels for boiling meat and the gu goblets for drinking. These early vessels were cast with very thin walls, generally 1–3 millimeters in thickness, which demands high precision in the casting process by professional metallurgists. The largest vessel indicated by the mold fragments measures more than 30 cm in diameter (Zhongguo 2003:112–13). While these molds were for the production of vessels with round bodies, a few were designed for the production of square-shaped vessels, probably tetrapod ding vessels (Zhongguo 2003:113). Some mold fragments were used to create pieces with iconography (Figure 5.11). All the design and technical attributes for the bronze ding vessels implicated in the wen ding story, therefore, are present for the first time in an archaeological context, which marks an important threshold in the development of Sandai core symbols in early China. The Erlitou metal products displayed significant variation in metallurgical properties, consisting of pure copper, tin and/or lead bronze, and arsenical bronzes, which indicates the experimental character of the early metal production (Liang and Sun 2004:33; Chen Guoliang 2008; Mei 2009). Tin and

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lead ingots were reported from the site (Zhongguo 2003:  113). The workshop was probably supplied by metal ores mined from Mt. Zhongtiao, located between the Jinnan and Luoyang basins, and from the middle Yangzi River Valley (Liu and Chen 2003; Zhongguo 2014:1501). The discovery of wheel tracks at Erlitou, and later in Yanshi, indicates that wagon transport was probably utilized to bring in copper ore and fuel to the foundries (Zhongguo 2003:123). A sunken plaza (f 9) associated with the bronze foundry is reminiscent of those earthen features found in the ritual area north of the palace. A series of tombs arranged in formation were dug into the plaza floor after each episode of resurfacing, and these burials all shared the same orientation. The burials were either those of the artisans or the victims of human sacrifice dedicated to the casting’s success (Zhongguo 2003:103, 112–13). The continuous interment of burials in an active metalworking site highlights a strong ritual dimension to metallurgical production at Erlitou: it reinforces the cultural perception of metallurgy as magical transformation in ancient society (Wu 1995). As metallurgy and shamanism were closely linked in North Asia, this connection is significant for understanding the ritualization of metal in early China. Adjacent to the bronze foundry was a turquoise workshop for the production of turquoise beads and tesserae tiles for inlay work, which had been in operation from Phases II through IV (Zhongguo 2014:337–38). A  pit at the northeast corner of the workshop alone yielded more than three thousand fragments (Zhongguo 2014:125). The turquoise-inlay bronze plaques used by Erlitou elite could probably be traced to this workshop. The rapid increase in the exploitation of turquoise and malachite, both copper-based semiprecious stones with rich deposits in the middle Yangzi, may have developed in tandem with prospecting activities into the lowland regions during the Erlitou period if not earlier (Liu Shizhong 1995; Li Jinghua 2004; Fang 2006; Ye et al. 2014; Zhongguo 2014:1414–27). The close association with the palatial precinct suggests that Erlitou bronze and turquoise workshops were royal productions monopolized by the Erlitou leadership (Liu and Chen 2003). During the late Erlitou Phase IV, a 200-meter-long rammed earth wall was added to protect these workshops (Zhongguo 2014). Exclusive access to bronze casting became an important way to display wealth, because it required labor, access to raw materials, and specialized knowledge of the complex piece-mold production process (Chang 1983:101). Cross-culturally, such attached specialization can be identified in cases where production materials are concentrated in workshops or other spatially segregated production areas, in locations that produced prestige goods for elite

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patrons, and where there is evidence for political control (Arnold and Munns 1994). The restricted distribution of the Erlitou bronze workshop presents a sharp contrast with the communal access to metallurgy in steppe communities, where “the remains of processed minerals, mining and ore-processing tools, slags, ruins of furnaces and finished objects are encountered in almost all Sintashta settlements. Traces of metallurgical activity were registered in almost every house” (Koryakova and Epimakhov 2007:36–37). The contrast attests to the significant transformation of metallurgy from an integral component of a subsistence economy in North Asia to a technology of power in the political economy of early China, which is critical for the master narrative of this book. Current evidence suggests that Erlitou’s metal industry represents an extension of the Eurasian metallurgical tradition, with significant local innovations (Chernykh 1992, 2009; Fitzgerald-Huber 1995, 2003; Kohl 2007; Linduff and Mei 2009:277; Gao 2015). As North and Central Asian communities both had extensive experience in metalworking before the turn of the second millennium bce, the Seima-Turbino metalworking technology from the taiga forest of North Asia was not necessarily the sole source of Erlitou metallurgy. The cowrie trade and the sophisticated turquoise mosaic inlay technique at Erlitou highlights the potential contribution from the Middle Asian Interaction Sphere that connects Central Asia with the Hexi Corridor. The technological transmission and innovation of Erlitou’s bronze-working industry, therefore, must be investigated within the framework of intersecting East, Middle, and North Asian exchange networks, as laid out in Chapter 4. As I will elaborate in the next section, the design choices of the first bronze vessels produced at Erlitou also need to be investigated within this context of interactions across boundaries.

Innovations in Consumption Apparatus The formation of a highland exchange network extending to the Guanzhong, Jinnan, and Luoyang basins facilitated the movement of objects, raw materials, metallurgical knowledge, livestock, and people through the porous boundaries of the Longshan-Erlitou world. Significant innovation and local adaptations unfolded along the way, leading up to the rise of the first bronze workshop in the Luoyang Basin. The spread of the Erlitou ceramic assemblage, and the consumption experience associated with it, sets the terms for the culturally specific ways that bronze vessels came to be understood in the Erlitou world: Borrowed technical features are thus sometimes interpreted in a way that differs from that of their initial technical milieu, and, in turn, this new interpretation may give rise to important innovations. Results from the

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5.12. A ceramic tetrapod ding vessel with surface décor from Erlitou (Phase III, height 9.5 cm, image courtesy of Xu Hong).

introduction of external elements into a new set of social representations of technology, minimize the role of endogenous invention in the transformation of technical systems. In this case, what is invented is “only” a possible interpretation of a new, but borrowed element. (Lemonnier 1993:25–26)

The shift of focus from the production of tools, weapons, and accessories in the Eurasian metallurgical tradition, to the production of footed drinking and cooking vessels at Erlitou, highlights the nature of technological choices and the cultural transition leading up to the rise of Bronze Age society in China. Several pottery tetrapod ding vessels with incised iconography were discovered at Erlitou, presumably as prototypes or copies of actual bronze vessels (Zou 1980:136; Zhongguo 1999b:207) (Figure  5.12).7 These vessels presented three distinctive attributes of the bronze ding vessels that were previously absent in pottery forms, namely the double handle, the tetrapod form, and the surface décor (Yang and Liu 1991). Compared with the millennia-long history of ceramic tripod cooking vessels from the Peiligang tradition, these square-shaped vessels had no precedent in the pre-Longshan ceramic tradition, and the design defied the potter’s preference for a round shape for either the hand-coiling or wheel-turning technique.

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5.13. Square-shaped ceramic and stone censers from Erlitou and the Hexi Corridor (left, photo by Li Min at the Erlitou station; right, image courtesy of Wen Chenghao).

The shape, however, closely resembles a type of small square-shaped ceramic censer that was frequently encountered in Erlitou and Shang sites. These censers generally had simple incised iconography and signs of repeated heating, probably from burning aromatic or hallucinogenic substances. During the Longshan period, such square-shaped stone censers were widely used along the Hexi Corridor and in the contact zone between the North and East Asian Interaction Spheres (Figure 5.13). These ceramic prototypes and the square-shaped North Asian censers appear to be the source of this design innovation for the Sandai tradition.With the production of increasingly larger bronze vessels under elite patronage, the bronze workshops in the Central Plains eventually merged together the deeply rooted Peiligang tripod design and the Central Asian censer-inspired tetrapod design. By the middle of the second millennium bce, Zhengzhou workshops were already engaged in the production of large tetrapod ding vessels for ritual sacrifice and feasting, which became prominent symbols of political authority in the Sandai tradition. I will further elaborate on this development in the next chapter. A distinctive set of ceramic vessels consisting of the jue tripod beaker, the gu goblet, the he enclosed tripod vessel, and the gui tripod pitcher was frequently represented in the mortuary context at Erlitou and its outposts (Du 1992a). We can make inferences about the function of individual vessel forms on the basis of their design attributes. Either made of pottery or lacquer, the slender gu goblet represents a traditional shape for drinking vessels in the lowland regions in the third millennium bce. Fragments of a lacquered wood gu

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5.14. A bronze jue tripod beaker from the Erlitou workshop (upper left, image courtesy of the National Museum of China), a ceramic jue (lower left, photo by Li Min at the Luoyang Museum), and the potential technique for ritual use of the ceramic jue tripod beaker with a slender tube on the side and a wide opening on the top: it was probably designed for inhaling the fume from a heated substance, where the long spout was designed as an air intake to uplift the heated fume (I thank my colleague Professor Greg Schachner at UCLA for this observation).

goblet from Yangzhuang were decorated with white and red bands, which were essentially the same shape as the Liangzhu examples of the early third millennium bce. In the coastal regions, it was often used in combination with the gui tripod pitcher, presumably for serving rice wine. The tripod construction, an integral part of several vessel types, implies that heating was the key to bringing out the desired effect of their liquid content. The aim of the elaborate set probably involved heating, straining, and mixing different ingredients into an alcohol-based psychoactive beverage. The jue and he tripod vessel forms are two distinctive Erlitou innovations. The jue tripod beaker is a small cup with a long, pointed spout and three slender legs (Du 1990, 1994) (Figure  5.14). It was designed to heat and transfer a small stream of liquid, presumably for mixing. The small size and distinctive shape allow precise control of the temperature, volume, and

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5.15. Bronze and pottery tripod he vessels from Erlitou (bronze vessel after Zhongguo 2003:Color Plate 9-2; pottery vessel photo by Li Min at the Erlitou Research Station, Institute of Archaeology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences).

movement of its liquid content. Its invention in the Erlitou world suggests an elaboration in the techniques of mixing psychoactive ingredients for commensal or religious consumption. Unlike the open tops in jia or gui tripod pitchers, the he tripod pitcher has an enclosed top with its internal space accessible through a lid and a chimneyshaped tubular extension in the upright position (Du 1992a). It was probably designed for heating liquid content in its enclosed interior space in order to inhale the fume through the tube on the top (Figure 5.15). Although it is frequently presented as a derivative of the gui tripod pitcher from the DawenkouLongshan tradition on the coast, their design logic indicates very different functions:  the coastal gui vessel has a perfectly designed spout for pouring, whereas a tubular extension on top of the Erlitou he vessel points straight up, suggesting that the vessel was probably not designed to be used as a pouring device. “People do not add new ingredients or techniques into their cuisine or preparation technology randomly, but in structured, historically contextualized ways” (Hastorf 2017:11). The introduction of these new and distinctive forms to the traditional assemblage implies innovation in the ways in which the

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alcohol-based psychoactive beverages were prepared and served at Erlitou.The sophisticated design suggests that one had to acquire elaborate skills for making proper use of these vessels. Wide distribution of these vessel forms in Erlitou and its outposts indicates that such knowledge was part of the shared cultural tradition of Erlitou society. This, in turn, was incorporated into the high culture of Shang society during the latter half of the second millennium bce. While these vessels are generally labeled as drinking vessels, no ethnographic analogy, residue analysis, or experimental archaeology has been conducted to present any plausible explanation for how they were used, or what effects they were intended to deliver. Nevertheless, their design was consistent with the general trend for innovations in alcohol production: namely, the enhancement of flavor and/or psychoactive effects (Bao and Zhou 2007). Depending on circumstances and ideology, the consumption of psychoactive substances or stimulants could provide a medium for engaging with the sacred and ancestral, a form of prestige, and/or a means for social mobilization and building commensal relationships as part of feasting activities (Sherratt 1987, 1991). The innovation and rapid spread of new consumption techniques and apparatus often took place within the frame of dramatic sociopolitical changes, e.g. the spread of tobacco in the Old World as part of the Columbian Exchange. As seen in Chapter 4, interactions with North and Central Asian society potentially expanded the range of psychoactive substances associated with different religious and cultural traditions, e.g. ephedra in Central Asia and cannabis in North Asia, as well as the techniques of working with them, which were observed in extraordinarily well-preserved tombs in these regions (Rudenko 1970; Li Hui-lin 1974a, 1974b; Sherratt 1987, 1991, 2007; Chang 1995; Mallory and Mair 2000; Russo 2007; Russo et al. 2008; Long et al. 2017). All of these substances could potentially contribute to the existing technologies of ecstasy revolving around the rice- and millet-based alcoholic beverages. Since ritual consumption of psychoactive substances, religious communication, and healing rituals were frequently entangled in traditional societies, it is possible that some of these ingredients were also selected for their perceived medical property. The unprecedented Eurasian encounter expanded the range of possibilities for experimentation with new ways of religious communication. How did such religious views and techniques become an integral part of Erlitou life? The answer appears to rest in the experience delivered by the consumption of the intricately mixed beverage using the elaborate vessel set produced by the first bronze foundry in early China. Whether the substances were poured or inhaled, the elaboration of vessel forms and associated techniques manifested efforts to create a “cosmopolitan” mix of various new ingredients that became available from intensified exchanges between East, Middle, and North Asian Interaction Spheres. As societies came together in such critical moments,

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new techniques of religious communication and ecstasy helped to invent new traditions and extraordinary visions for social integration. Cross-culturally, the consumption of psychoactive material alters people’s experience of time and space, and enhances endurance, eyesight, and strength. Besides inducing hallucination for religious communication, plant stimulants could also artificially trip the brain’s chemical reward system, creating exaggerated imagination and feelings of achievement (Pollan 2001). Their consumption highlights the experience of communion  – with followers, allies, ancestors, and deities. The altered state of consciousness induced by the consumption of psychoactive beverages was probably connected with other aspects of ritual life observed at Erlitou. The repeated episodes of trampling associated with the sunken plazas, drumming, and dancing with waist bells could be associated with the state of trance, “in which the relationship of mind and body can become momentarily freed from habit and realigned to startling physical and psychological effect” (Levin 2006:176). Such religious tradition is often characterized as shamanism in the ethnographic record (Eliade 1964; Chang 1983, 1995; Sherratt 1987, 1991, 2007; Znamenski 2003). The prominent place of these distinctive apparatuses in Erlitou material culture attests to the importance of the commensal experience in the constitution of social relationships within a newly forged network of communities centered in the Luoyang Basin. Centered around the he and jue tripod vessels, the Erlitou ceramic assemblage found its way to the upper Huai River, the middle and lower Yangzi, the Sichuan and Henei basins, and the Chifeng region on the eastern Mongolian Plateau (Du 1992a; Jia 1998). The great abundance of jue tripod beakers in burials suggests that they were not for the exclusive use of the inner elite and high priests in Erlitou (Du 1992a:23). Instead, access to the knowledge, ingredients, and consumption techniques associated with these vessels crossed social strata in the first Bronze Age city in early China. In the broadly defined Erlitou world, the elaborate consumption techniques associated with them offer us the critical insight for understanding the production of the first bronze vessels at Erlitou, which defined the Sandai ritual tradition and sensory experience.

The Magical Aura of Metal The design repertoire for the first bronze vessels produced at Erlitou provides information on the impetus for technological innovation and their eventual ritualization in the Sandai tradition. Scholars have highlighted the connection between the technological choices made as part of the first metal production and existing ritual and cultural traditions in a society (Sherratt 2006; Mei 2009). While these vessels were later used in ancestral rituals, and thus named ritual vessels, they were not necessarily invented for that purpose. Instead, the

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first metal objects were culturally assimilated into early Bronze Age society in early China on the basis of their physical properties, function, and relationship with existing technological traditions. Before the introduction of bronze vessels, elaborate lowland ceramic wares shared the aesthetic appeal of lacquer wares, in which thinness and shiny surface were desired (Wu 1995). In Dawenkou-Longshan society, competitive feasting among the elite fueled the production of burnished black wares made of fine clay fabric with extraordinarily thin walls (Underhill 2002). There are constraints on the physical properties of these Neolithic materials – lacquer ware cannot be heated, while fine clay fabric was prone to fracturing under rapid fluctuations in temperatures. The tripod construction of coastal ceramic pitchers, and evidence of burning under them, indicates a demand for direct heating of their liquid content, which was a common practice for the consumption of rice wine and sake in traditional East Asian society. The existing repertoire of technology in Neolithic society, therefore, cannot reconcile these competing demands for aesthetics and function. Compared with their ceramic and lacquer counterparts, bronze vessels have the distinct advantages of fracture resistance and thermal conductivity. The choices of the earliest bronze vessel forms at Erlitou suggest that elite patrons and their attached artisans took advantage of the fracture-resistant property of cast bronze to achieve their primary goal – heating alcoholic beverages for communion with their gods, ancestors, allies, and fellow elite.These vessels can be made very thin and large, which defied the technological logic of Neolithic society: The late Xia plain cups from Erlitou – the earliest known Chinese bronze vessels  – have been considered “primitive” because they lack surface decoration. But in my view they represented a major advance in ritual symbols by transforming ceremonial pottery into metal: their meaning, or monumentality, was conveyed primarily by the newly discovered art medium. (Wu 1995:11)

The metallic quality of these bronze vessels, therefore, presented a cultural spectacle for a Neolithic society accustomed to the manufacturing technology, aesthetics, and physical properties of ceramics and lacquer ware. The employment of piece-molds signaled an important change in the social configuration of technology in early China (Chang 1983; Mei 2003a). Metal objects can be melted down and recast to original or other forms with nothing lost (Wengrow 2010). For those acquainted with the production and use of wooden and ceramic vessels, this metallurgical process amounts to a magical transformation, which may thus have contributed to the ritualization of metal in early China (Wu 1995:69). In many traditional societies, metallurgists were often seen as people with magical powers: the awe-inspiring process of bronze

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manufacturing and the metallic property of these vessels are reminiscent of alchemy (Mauss 2006; Sherratt 2006; Wengrow 2010). Metalworking, for example, was deeply involved with religion in North Asia, which was the close source for the bivalve mold casting at Erlitou: The exceptional quality of Seima-Turbino metalworks, in which many examples are individual masterpieces, argues for a special role for this kind of metalworking – which in this region might properly be called shamanic. These magnificent weapons were undoubtedly of ritual significance as well as superbly efficient items of technology (a word that, with its modern connotations, is inadequate to convey their role, deeply embedded in local beliefs).Whatever its origins, however, the existence of this set of production methods informs the developing bronze industries of China and its southern neighbors, presenting them, from the beginning of the second millennium with a tradition of hollow casting which was to form the starting point for the flowering of a craft that they made entirely their own. (Sherratt 2006:48)

Once bronze was used for the production of these ritual apparatuses, the magical aspect of transformation, juxtaposed with these vessels’ traditional association with rituals, made bronze casting a significant religious endeavor in early Bronze Age China.The exclusive control of technological know-how, raw materials, and production apparatus would have real political consequences for communities claiming political and religious supremacy (Liu and Chen 2003). Besides the production process, the visual perception of metallic surfaces constitutes an important dimension for the cultural construction of value (Lechtman 1977, 1988, 2014).8 The growth of turquoise-like patina on a metallic surface over time is transformative, and potentially gives the vessels a life-like quality. Sherratt (2006:39) places the technological transition within the cultural conceptions of materiality and aesthetics that have been centered on jade: [The Chinese bronze vessels] continued a set of existing vessel shapes in fine pottery already used in the elaborate presentation of food and drink. Hollow-cast bronzework thus allowed the combination of two existing elements: elaborate containers with traditional shapes and usages, and a rare material whose patinated surface evoked the values associated with jade. While participating in a transcontinental Bronze Age encompassing the entire breadth of Eurasia, the Chinese received and interpreted this material in their own particular way and within a local symbolism and set of meanings.

In the cultural schemes of Longshan and Erlitou society, turquoise was likely considered part of a broad range of semiprecious stones classified as jade. The elaboration of turquoise and jade mosaic inlay took place in Longshan society around the same time as the first appearance of copper and bronze objects.The close association of the turquoise workshop and bronze foundry at Erlitou, as

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well as the elaboration of fine turquoise inlay on metal backing, attests to the concurrent development of the two new artistic mediums. The metallic acoustics of bronze bells and bronze vessels presents another reason for the ritualization of metal. For those without experience with metals, the metallic sound of copper bells delivers a spectacular experience.The introduction of trade porcelain into the Philippines after the tenth century CE provides an ethnographic analogy for the religious response to metal (Li Min 2013). Because of their ringing sound, the glazed wares were treated as ritual objects, instead of food containers, in religious communication. The dazzling color of turquoise mosaics and the sound from chimestones, alligator skin drums, and metal bells with jade clappers contributed to the creation of a visual and audio spectacle at Erlitou. In ethnographic records from North Asia, religious figures among hunter-gathering communities wore waist bells in their ritual dances to evoke supernatural responses (Liu Guiteng 2007). In Erlitou, these dances were probably associated with trance, drum playing, the reflection of bronze plaques, and costumes decorated with cowrie shells. These performances likely took place at the sunken plazas, leaving layers of trampled surface associated with each ritual occasion. Through the performance of these instruments, the ritual activities at Erlitou became “part of a larger, dynamic process inscribed in time, space, soundscape, social relationships, and the material world” (Moore 2005:173). Taken together, the visual, thermal, and acoustic properties of Erlitou metal objects, in addition to the alcoholic beverages served in them, contributed to the expansion of conceptual horizons in this spectacular place in the Luoyang Basin. Being part of the Erlitou world meant sharing the spectacle and powers associated with it. Given the low production volume and limited distribution of these metal items in very few Erlitou centers, only the inner elite circle would have the privilege of experiencing the awe-inspiring property of bronze vessels, through their participation in the feasting events or ritual occasions where these items were featured. For most people in the Erlitou world, however, the sheer presence of these magical vessels amounted to a legend associated with the great city, thus further mystifying these objects and the political and religious authority associated with their production. Placing metalworking back into the social milieu of early China during the early second millennium, the claim that bronze vessels were magical, as seen in the wen ding narrative, would not seem extravagant. The beginning of the Bronze Age in early China, therefore, does not represent an epoch in which metals were commonly used for subsistence production or military hardware, as few bronze agricultural implements or combat weapons were found in Erlitou and its outposts. Instead, the transformative process and physical properties of metallurgy and the consumption

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episodes associated with these bronzes vessels made “spectacle as a generative force” in the creation of a new social order (Moore 2005:124). Through this process, bronze vessels, instead of weapons or tools, became core symbols of political and religious authority in early China. BECOMING THE CENTRAL PLAINS: A LUOYANG- CENTERED POLITICAL LANDSCAPE

Erlitou rose after the collapse of Longshan society in the Jinnan Basin, Shandong, and many other regions. The ceramic assemblage from Erlitou suggests that immigrants from the neighboring regions contributed to its urban expansion. The rise of Erlitou, however, was not necessarily the cause of the depopulation of Longshan centers. Instead, we could assert that the rise and expansion of Erlitou unfolded in the aftermath of a widespread social crisis at the end of the Longshan period. Its success likely took advantage of this extraordinary circumstance. The collapse of Longshan society in Jinnan and the lowlands and the rise of Erlitou, therefore, are two interrelated processes resulting in a reconfiguration of the political landscape in postLongshan society.

The Erlitou Political Network Multiple categories of material culture add up to a general picture of significant highland contribution to the repertoire of political and religious symbols at Erlitou. The Luoyang Basin, however, was not merely a forward station of highland infiltration into the lowland plains. Erlitou established a new configuration of political network that straddled both the highlands and the lowlands, thus transforming the Luoyang Basin from a highland gateway into a new political center, which turned the Guanzhong Basin, the Huai River Basin, and the depopulated Jinnan Basin into its hinterland and periphery. This is a significant shift in the configuration of the political landscape in early China, the legacy of which was later incorporated into the wen ding narrative – a major point I will elaborate in Chapters 7 and 8. With the concentration of population in the Luoyang Basin, the numbers and size of settlements around of the Luoyang Basin decreased during the nineteenth and eighteenth centuries bce, as seen in the decline of Xinzhai. After the full consolidation of its urban occupation during Phase II, the distribution of Erlitou material culture reveals a rapid expansion beyond the basin (Zhongguo 2003:97; Zhang Li 2012:172). The urban expansion in Erlitou and the expansion of Erlitou material culture over broad regions during Phase II established a Luoyang-based political framework during the second quarter of the second millennium bce (Figure 5.16).

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5.16. The Erlitiou-centered exchange network during the early second millennium bce (modified from figure 8.13 of Liu and Chen 2012:289).

Archaeological sites associated with Erlitou material culture consisted of three types, which defined the framework for Erlitou to interact with its surrounding communities. The first type represents major fortified centers securing the hinterland of Erlitou. Inside the Luoyang Basin, the Shaochai site (100 hectares) appears to have served as a secondary center situated at the eastern end of the Luoyang Basin (Liu Li et al. 2004). To the east of the basin, three fortified towns of Dashigu (51 hectares), Wangjinglou (168 hectares), and Dongzhao (7 hectares) provided defense against potential  invasions coming from the lowland plains (Zhengzhoushi 2004; Zhengzhoushi 2011; Liu and Chen 2012:263). The discovery of jade scepters, bronze ceremonial weapons, and bronze ritual vessels from elite burials at Wangjinglou indicates that its leadership maintained close ties with Erlitou. The second type represents a chain of Erlitou outposts distributed along major river valleys, mountain corridors, and trade routes. Erlitou outposts were established along major trade routes to the middle Yangzi and the Jinnan Basin, presumably to secure access to metal ores, turquoise, salt, cinnabar, and other resources critical to the political and ritual economy at Erlitou (Liu and Chen 2003). In several key sites, the ceramic assemblage experienced an abrupt shift from local tradition to Erlitou assemblage. The change in material culture is reminiscent of Uruk expansion, where “much of the individuality of southern

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Mesopotamian settlements, pottery styles, and daily life that had characterized the Ubaid period seems to have been lost, replaced by more monolithic religious and community identities” (Paukatet 2007:190). In all these sites, the presence of the Erlitou ceramic assemblage revolving around the distinctive culinary set and jade scepters, instead of administrative apparatus and means of coercion, defined the footprints of Erlitou expansion. Some of these sites on the orbit of Erlitou displayed evidence for incipient metalworking, e.g. Dongxiafeng and Yuanqu along the Zhiguan Corridor connecting the Luoyang Basin and the Jinnan Basin. The third type consisted of the occasional presence of diagnostic Erlitou material culture in local sites that may have engaged in trade, diplomatic visits, religious pilgrimage, mine prospecting, and other forms of interactions with Erlitou. The rapid spread of Erlitou material culture during Phase II predates or concurs with its significant development of bronze industry. Knowledge of the mineral distribution and techniques of ore smelting is the prerequisite for any strategy of political control over these resources (Chang 1983; Liu and Chen 2003; Liu Li 2004). As metal resources, especially copper and tin, are unevenly distributed geographically (Kohl 2007:29), the distribution pattern of metal ore differs from that of the resources known to the pre-Longshan world. To secure the flow of these raw materials into the Luoyang Basin, the rulers of Erlitou would have built on knowledge of the landscape on the basis of prospecting activities, and secured access to the ore by tribute obligation or trade arrangement. These options involved the dispatch of diplomatic envoys, gifts exchange, marriage alliance, and, if the coercion was warranted, organized expeditions to establish military strongholds. Securing access to resources demanded by the early Bronze Age city appears to be the central concern connecting these three types of sites. Prospecting activities since the Longshan period had added information about the deposits of metal ores to the existing repertoire of knowledge developed through interregional exchange. Formerly marginal regions could become central in a new political economy focused on metal, and the movement of metal from different mining sources could change the configuration of the interregional exchange network (Kohl 2007:33). The locations of major Erlitou outposts outlined the framework of Erlitou’s state-building enterprise and the geographic patterns for flow of resources into the Luoyang Basin. As a major trade route connecting the Luoyang Basin and the Jinnan Basin, the Zhiguan Corridor through the Zhongtiao mountain range was economically and symbolically important for Erlitou to forge a strong tie between the two basins. The establishment of Erlitou outposts at Yuanqu and Dongxiafeng along the Zhiguan Corridor provided vital access to salt lakes in Yuncheng and copper mines in Mt. Zhongtiao (Liu Xu 1992; Zhongguo et al. 1988; Zhongguo 2003:111; 2007; Liu and Chen 2003).

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5.17. Chimestones discovered at Taosi and Dongxiafeng (after Zhongguo and Shanxisheng 2015: Plate 298 and Zhongguo et al. 1988:98–99, image courtesy of National Museum of China).

The Jinnan connection also allowed Erlitou to tap into the historical legacy associated with the great Longshan settlements in the basin from the recent past. The large chipped chimestone found at Dongxiafeng, for example, is virtually undistinguishable from early Longshan chimetones at Taosi (Figure 5.17). In contrast to the early phases of Erlitou, the Dongxiafeng assemblage displayed a high frequency of pouch-legged li vessels associated with communities from the loess highlands around the Jinnan Basin (Zhongguo 2003:92). Further west, the influence of Erlitou can be observed in changes in the material cultures of the Guanzhong Basin (Jing 2003; Zhang Tian’en 2009). The changes in archaeological assemblage from Donglongshan in the first half of the second millennium bce provide an example of the transformation experienced by communities in the Shangluo Corridor. As stated earlier in this chapter, the Late Longshan ceramic assemblage from Donglongshan reveals an eastern extension of the Qijia material culture from the western highlands,

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which contributed to the rise of Erlitou material culture (Shaanxisheng and Shangluoshi 2011:277). After Erlitou Phase II, Donglongshan saw an expansion of the Erlitou assemblage from the Luoyang Basin: some were hybrid forms newly created at Erlitou, and others were vessel forms derived from the lowland traditions (Shaanxisheng and Shangluoshi 2011:280). Double and triple loop handle beakers and single loop handle jugs were dropped from the local assemblage, which concurs with the rise of a new set of drinking vessels from Erlitou. Donglongshan and Xiawanggang served as important relay stations for copper ore, turquoise, cinnabar, and other goods from the middle Yangzi to be transported across the watershed into the Luoyang Basin (Huo 1993; Liu and Chen 2003). Excavations at the Liying site in Yunxian yielded furnace fragments for copper smelting activities during the Erlitou period, which help link the turquoise-rich region with the copper mining regions downstream (Zhang and Chen 2016). In the middle Yangzi, Erlitou expansion followed the route established by metal prospecting activities and the expansion of the highland Longshan exchange network (Chapter 4). From Qiaomailing in Jiujiang to Shigudun in Tongling, Erlitou-style ceramics were part of the material culture associated with the first metalworking operations in two major mining regions along the Middle Yangzi (Li Yanxiang 2014; Liu Xu 2014; Yu et al. 2015:103–4). Located approximately 550 kilometers south of the Luoyang Basin, the presence of the Erlitou ceramic assemblage alongside local ones at Panlongcheng in the middle Yangzi River Basin was likely linked to Erlitou’s involvement in copper prospecting, mining, and transport (Zhongguo 2003:88). With the extraction and exchange of these minerals, middle Yangzi society experienced a revival after the collapse of its prehistoric centers.The copper ore or ingots produced in these regions were likely brought into the Luoyang Basin along the upper Huai River tributary valleys south of Mt. Song.The widespread distribution of Erlitou-style ceramics amidst the Doujitai material culture of the central Huai River Basin indicates a significant Erlitou presence in this vast basin lying between the Luoyang Basin and the coast (Xiang 2011).9 Further upstream along the middle Yangzi, the Wanshan region of Guizhou was the major source for cinnabar in China, whereas the Chenxi region along the Yuan River served as its trade center, thus giving cinnabar its historical name of Chen-sha (Fang 2015).10 The mercury-based mineral was critical for elite mortuary ritual, lacquer production, and red pigment in Erlitou society. Located approximately 560 kilometers south of Erlitou, the Jingnansi site appears to have served as a major outpost in the Jingzhou region for securing access to the trade in cinnabar and other resources from the upper middle Yangzi (Jingzhou 2009). Given the large volume of cinnabar required for elite mortuary use in Taosi and Erlitou, the exchange networks through tributary valleys of the upper middle Yangzi may have been established during the Longshan period.

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The lower Yangzi was undergoing a revival in settlement by communities associated with the Maqiao material culture from the southeast coast, filling in the vacuum left by the abandonment of Longshan settlement associated with the Guangfulin material culture from the Huai River Basin. This transition took place after major flood episodes inundated the rice paddies of the Longshan occupation around the turn of the second millennium bce. After a brief hiatus, immigrants from the hilly regions of southeast coast settled the region and brought with them techniques for producing stamped and glazed stone wares in dragon kilns. From the early second millennium bce onwards, the region supplied the Erlitou, Shang, and Zhou political centers in the Central Plains with stone wares through the tributary valleys of the Huai River (Zheng et al. 2011; Zhejiangsheng and Huzhoushi 2012). Some of these products found at Erlitou were even found in Erlitou-Shang-Zhou shapes (Zhongguo 2003:119). The Lower Yangzi  region, however, did not regain the glory of the Liangzhu era or revive the Liangzhu jade-working industry. In light of current archaeological data, political structure in the region appears to be decentralized and no major ritual center can be identified either. The Erlitou exchange network, therefore, covered the full span of the middle and lower Yangzi, which spread for more than 1,000 kilometers. Unprecedented in early China, this configuration of a Luoyang-centered exchange network, drawing resources from different sections of the Yangzi River drainage basin, marks a tectonic shift in the political landscape from that of the Liangzhu and Shijiahe patterns of the third millennium bce. For the first time, the middle and lower Yangzi became resource-providing regions for political centers located in the region later known as the Central Plains. During the middle of the second millennium bce, the Erlitou framework became the blueprint for Erligang expansion out of Zhengzhou, which consolidated the Central Plains-centered political framework established by Erlitou. This shift in political landscape laid the foundation for the geopolitical dynamics of the wen ding story, which involved King Zhuang of Chu from the middle Yangzi coveting the primary symbol of Sandai kingship in the suburb of the Luoyang Basin. I will elaborate on this point in Chapters 6 and 7.

Erlitou’s Peers The process of emergence and invention of new traditions in the Luoyang Basin involved interactions with communities well beyond the network of Erlitou’s outposts. As stated earlier in this chapter, major contributions came from the highland regions unfolding within the frame of converging Middle, North, and East Asian Interaction Spheres. Out of the infinite web of indirect

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connections, the distribution of Erlitou outposts and Erlitou material culture defined the limit of its direct influence. The florescence of Erlitou and its peer polities collectively defined the full extent of the Erlitou world. The political autonomy of Erlitou’s neighbors beyond the Central Plains attests to the limit of Erlitou’s political power. Their presence also helped ensure plurality in cultural and religious traditions, as well as the transmission of social memory during the first half of the second millennium bce. To the north of the Luoyang Basin, several Erlitou fortresses were established on the plains along the north bank of the Yellow River, e.g. Mengzhuang and Fucheng along the southern foothills of the Taihang mountain range. Further to the northeast, however, no major Erlitou centers were located in the Henei Basin between Taihang and the archaic lower Yellow River. Instead, the region was occupied by highland communities who migrated down the trans-Taihang corridors from highland basins to west of Taihang. These highland communities maintained frequent interactions with Erlitou. Erlitou ceramic vessels had been incorporated into the ceramic assemblage of the Xiaqiyuan material culture associated with these highland inhabitants of the Henei Basin. At the same time, the pouch-legged li vessels brought down to the Henei Basin from the loess highlands became increasingly common in the Luoyang Basin during the late phases of Erlitou. From the archaeological perspective, these communities were responsible for the demise of Erlitou and a critical shift in its material culture during the middle of the second millennium bce, which I will elaborate in Chapter 6. Located along the border of Ordos and the loess highlands, Shimao remained the most prominent highland ritual center. As discussed in Chapter 4, many jade pieces from the Longshan world were brought here and contributed to the construction of a sacred landscape in the form of massive ritual caches of jades in and around the fortified ritual precinct. The discovery of jade zhang scepters from Huadizui, Erlitou, and several Erlitou outposts suggests that these sites had close ties with the ritual tradition associated with the great highland Longshan center. Shimao eventually declined some time before the middle of the second millennium bce, and northeastern highland regions on the eastern edge of the Mongolian Plateau emerged as the most active region during the Erlitou period. With the decline of the great Longshan centers in the Jinnan Basin, and the subsequent rise of the Luoyang Basin as a political center, highland Longshan society diverged into a northern network of stone fortresses on the loess highlands and Ordos, and a southern network of settlements centered on the Luoyang Basin. This dichotomy not only transformed the Jinnan Basin from a great political center to a contact zone between two

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political networks, but also created the framework for an increasing antagonism between the Sandai political tradition based in the Central Plains and its highland rivals. The highland Longshan legacy, therefore, was the shared legacy potentially claimed by these competing groups on both sides of the Jinnan Basin during the Shang and Zhou period. It is also with this divergence of highland legacy that we speak of a Northern Zone as the antithesis to the Central Plains. A network of hilltop stone fortresses associated with the Lower Xiajiadian material culture flourished along the upper tributary valleys of the Western Liao River during the early to mid-second millennium bce. Many were located on top of the ridges overlooking the river valley below (Shelach 1999, 2015; Shelach et al. 2011). Many traits in architectural design and material culture suggest ties with the Shimao legacy. The walls of the Sanzuodianzi stone fortress, for example, were studded with bastions, a distinctive architectural feature previously documented at Shimao (Neimenggu 2007). Like the East Gate in Shimao, the entrances of these hilltop fortresses were divided into multiple chambers with a right-turning L-shaped wall to channel the movement inside the gate (Kaogu 2012:111). No single site in Chifeng, however, was comparable to Shimao in scale, which might indicate political fragmentation in postShimao highland society. The inventory of the Lower Xiajiadian material culture displayed great diversity, resulting from interactions with steppes, forests, and highland communities, e.g. copper mace heads, carnelian beads, trumpet-shaped earrings, gold jewelry, and fine turquoise mosaic tiles. The presence of metal objects in gold, copper, tin, and lead from the Dadianzi cemetery, the discovery of mining shafts and tunnels for mining copper and tin at Dajing in Linxi, and numerous copper workshops in Chifeng, e.g. Niuheliang and Dongshanzui, suggest that the Lower Xiajiadian metalworking industry was an extension of the Eurasian multi-metallic tradition (Zhongguo 1998; Li Yanxiang et al. 1999; Li Yanxiang 2014). The undisturbed burials at the Dadianzi cemetery present rich contextual information on the highland use of cowrie shells roughly contemporaneous with Erlitou. Of approximately 800 tombs excavated at the Dadianzi cemetery, 43 produced 659 marine cowrie shells and 552 imitations fashioned from freshwater shells (Zhongguo 1998:183). At Dadianzi, these shells were mostly placed in niches, up to a dozen, along with other grave goods. Some still had cordage remains attached to them.The shells were often painted in red to highlight their symbolic potency. Their use as body ornaments closely resembles the mortuary context at Erlitou, where strung cowrie shells were worn as headbands, or attached to hats, collars, waist belts, or frontlets of a costume like beadwork. Two male burials (m726 and m672) each produced more than

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5.18. The cowrie frontlet worn by the deceased in tomb m672 at the Dadianzi cemetery, a painted li tripod vessel of the Lower Xiajiadian material culture from Dadianzi, and the hilltop fortress with bastions at Sanzuodian in Chifeng (Zhongguo 1998: Color Plates 1 and 20–2 Inner Mongolian Institute of Archaeology).

two hundred cowrie shells used for such purposes (Figure 5.18). The artisans at Dadianzi also experimented with setting cowrie shells into the rims of their pouch-legged li tripod vessels, a practice also observed at Mogou in the upper Yellow River Valley and Shimao in Ordos. As an indication of interregional trade, cowrie shells and their imitations had been widely circulated in the highland regions since the late third millennium bce. They were frequently found in contexts with incipient metal use, e.g. Taosi and Liuwan (Qinghaisheng and Zhongguo 1984; Qinghaisheng and Jilin 1994; He et  al. 2008; Zhongguo 2010). The jade cowrie shell and copper ring associated with stone cist tombs in the Niuheliang cemetery and the Dadianzi cemetery in the Chifeng region appear to be part of this tradition (Liaoningsheng 2012).11 The niche construction and associated offerings in many tombs at the Dadianzi cemetery indicate shared mortuary traditions with Taosi and Shimao. The extensive use of post-firing polychrome painted vessels with elaborate mask iconography, polychrome lacquer wares, cowrie shells, and turquoise beads in the Lower Xiajiadian material culture suggests a hybrid tradition

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incorporating different aspects of highland Longshan traditions and beyond (Zhongguo 1998). The combed geometric patterns on the tripod beakers at Dadianzi cemetery display stylistic connection with the Andronovo ceramic tradition of North Asia (Liu and Chen 2012:310). The consistent presence of this northern design on the tripod jue beakers, and its general absence in the culinary wares from Erlitou, suggests that this distinctive form was invented by these Lower Xiajiadian communities, and was later incorporated into the repertoire of ceramic and bronze vessels by Erlitou artisans. This innovation appears to have taken place in the context of North and East Asian interactions that involved experimentation with alcohol and other psychoactive mediums used for religious communication and commensality. Positioned along the southern edge of the steppes, these agropastoral highland communities served as the intermediaries between Erlitou in the Central Plains and steppe and forest communities in North Asia. The interaction networks connecting East, Middle, and North Asia, therefore, remained in operation despite the collapse of the major Longshan centers in East Asia and the Bronze Age cities in Central Asia. The rich diversity of economies, technologies, and knowledge occurring within this broadly defined interaction framework formed the basis for cultural innovation and syncretic development. This diversity has important implications for communities in the Henei Basin, sandwiched between Erlitou to the south and Lower Xiajiadian communities to the north, which became the political base for the predynastic Shang confederation. I will return to this point in Chapter 6. No Erlitou outposts were documented in the coastal region of Shandong. The post-Longshan occupation associated with the Yueshi material culture at the Longshan type-site of Chengziya (approximately 20 hectares) appears to be an important local center in the early and mid-second millennium bce (Fu et  al. 1934). It is still disproportionally smaller, however, than the great Longshan centers like Yaowangcheng (400 hectares) and Liangchengzhen (100 hectares). The occasional presence of Erlitou-style ceramics in the Yueshi assemblage indicates interactions with the Central Plains. At the same time, Yueshi-style ceramic wares were also documented in the Henei Basin and the Zhengzhou region east of the Luoyang Basin, particularly toward the final phases of Erlitou. The very low site density of the Yueshi sites in Shandong suggests the region did not recover from the deep collapse after the Middle Longshan period and the coastal region remained sparsely populated until the Late Shang period (Chapter 6). In the western highlands, the chronology of Qijia material culture spans from the Longshan to the Erlitou period, which indicates strong continuity in forms, technology, and cultural tradition. It also means that the chronology is not as refined as that of the Central Plains. The region appears to have remained a major jade-working center, where large quantities of jade objects

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in highland Longshan shapes were produced and used for ritual dedication and social exchange, often found in the same contexts with metal objects, cowrie shells, and turquoise beads.The movement of people, ideas, and objects through the highland corridors brought the Eurasian multi-metallic industry and the highland Longshan jade assemblage to the Sichuan Basin. The local incorporation of these highland Longshan forms contributed to the creation of a Bronze Age civilization in Sichuan as a peer polity to the Sandai tradition in the Central Plains (Bagley 1988, 1999; Falkenhausen 2003; Flad and Chen 2013). The discovery of jade scepters, cowrie shells, and turquoise inlaid plaques at ritual dedication sites in and around Sanxingdui suggests that the highland Longshan tradition was a shared legacy between major communities in the Chengdu Plain and in the Central Plains. CONCLUSION

The emergence of a political economy centered on bronze production marks the rise of Erlitou in the Luoyang Basin as an important threshold in the political and cultural history of early China. When Erlitou emerged from the Luoyang Basin during the nineteenth–eighteenth centuries bce, it was already five centuries after the rise of the great Longshan centers in Jinnan and Ordos. The stories of Taosi and Shimao would have become legends of the ancient places for the founders of Erlitou. The Longshan period, therefore, should not be regarded as the formative phase of Erlitou, but as a different era with its own sociopolitical circumstances. By the same token, the rise of Erlitou and the gathering of regional traditions in the Luoyang Basin should not be considered as the cause of the depopulation in the Longshan centers, as the collapse and demographic decline of Longshan society predated the rise of Erlitou. In many aspects, the rise of Erlitou displays traits of a regeneration after the collapse of Longshan society, where both the resilience of Longshan cultural traits and innovation of new traditions can be observed. From the perspective of either settlement size or organizational structure, Erlitou does not represent a political entity qualitatively and quantitatively different from major Longshan centers. The emergence of Erlitou took place at a critical time in the social history of early China, not based on Sandai historiography, but observed through the lens of prehistoric archaeology. Erlitou rose against the backdrop of a massive collapse of Longshan society, which created a special circumstance for its growth and expansion. Although Erlitou was approximately the same size as the great Longshan centers, and the population in the Luoyang Basin may not have been as high as in the CircumChongshan region in Jinnan during the Longshan period, from where it could control a significantly reduced population with a few  rather small outposts. There was no strong evidence for coercion and state apparatus in these Erlitou

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centers and outposts either. This is very different from a territorial expansion that incorporate large numbers of local communities with a strong military presence, an important distinction often overlooked by the prevailing research paradigm on state formation at Erlitou which characterizes it as a territorial state (Liu and Chen 2003, 2012). During this critical threshold in early China, Erlitou exhibited many traits that later became the defining attributes of the Sandai tradition, e.g. its elaborate bronze casting technology, its repertoire of vessel assemblage centered on tripod construction, and its Central Plains-based political landscape.While Erlitou metallurgy owes its origin to the interactions with Central and North Asian metalworking traditions, the innovation observed in the creation of the earliest repertoire of bronze vessels marks a clear departure from its Eurasian roots. The spread of consumption techniques centered on tripod forms, the production and spread of bronzes vessels with their distinctive forms and set configurations, and the sophisticated piece-mold technology for producing bronze vessels laid the foundation for the Sandai tradition in Bronze Age China. The distinctive characteristics of the bronze industry increased the reliance on specialized craft production and mineral supplies to the extent that the desire to exercise exclusive control over metal ores and technical knowledge by early rulers shaped the structure and distribution of early cities (Chang 1983; Liu and Chen 2003). The situation in Erlitou is reminiscent of Bronze Age Southwest Asia, wherein the great river valley civilizations relied on imported metal ore for production, which had to be procured from afar, often from less developed regions. Thus, trade involved not just luxuries, but also basic requirements, involving interaction between societies displaying contrasting levels of technology and social organization (Kohl 2007: 29, 178). State expansion propelled by the pursuit of metal ore presents a new way to envision the political landscape, as it involved a very different configuration of trade networks from the Neolithic society, where jade, lacquer, and other items were objects of value. The prospecting and mining activities carried the potential to generate a completely new kind of geographic knowledge as a basis for the elites of Bronze Age China to imagine their world. The emphasis on the production of bronze vessels at Erlitou, and the expansion toward metal-producing regions, therefore, attest to the rise of a metal-centric ideology of political landscape characteristic of the Sandai civilization (Chang 1983). State formation at Erlitou fostered the technological synthesis, ritual elaboration, and development of a metropolitan style along an interregional network centered in the Luoyang Basin. For the first time in early China, the Luoyang Basin became the seat of political authority with an expansive network of

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outposts and subsidiaries spanning both the highlands and the lowlands. As Erlitou consolidated its political hegemony in the basin, it was possible to imagine the rise of a Luoyang-centric spatial ideology that envisioned the area later known as the Central Plains as the center of its political landscape. Erlitou’s legacy, therefore, began a long-lasting geopolitical tradition in Chinese history, where successive regimes chose Luoyang as the royal center in their state-building efforts. Erlitou stood out from highland Longshan metalworking centers for its creation of a metalworking center supplied by metal ores from multiple sources across both the highlands and the lowlands. Access to copper in both the Zhongtiao mines along the southern edge of the Jinnan Basin and the middle Yangzi enhanced Erlitou’s claim to be the central place in the political and ritual economy of early Bronze Age China.The association of metal with the natural landscape and the contribution of metal ores from multiple sources made it possible to envision the bronze casting process as transforming different parts of the Erlitou world into tangible objects. This connection between political representation and the production process laid the knowledge foundation for the wen ding narrative, in which the Zhou storyteller argued that the legendary bronze vessels allegedly produced with tribute metals represented the political domain. As the tripod legend symbolizes the emergence of Sandai kingship, particularly the first dynastic power of Xia, the relationship between Erlitou and the dynastic regimes in historiography has significant bearing on the intersections of history, legend, and archaeology. Erlitou and its network of sites falls into the temporal and spatial frame of the Xia civilization in historiography, which described the Xia as a dynastic regime active in the Jinnan Basin and the Luoyang Basin during the first half of the second millennium bce. For this reason, the historical association of Erlitou with the Xia regime remains a subject of intense debate in the archaeology of early China (Xia 1978; Zou 1980; Yin 1986; Zhao 1986; Fitzgerald-Huber 1988; Liu Xu 1990–91; Zhou 1990; Thorp 1991, 2006; Xu 2000; Lee 2002; Okamura 2003, 2008; Du 2004; Allan 2007; Li Feng 2013). With the absence of epigraphic evidence from the archaeological record, spatial and temporal patterns for the distribution of the Erlitou assemblage were crucial for evaluating their association with the Sandai tradition. Upon his first discovery of this new assemblage at the Yucun site in Dengfeng, archaeologist Han Weizhou proposed that the Erlitou assemblage in the YiLuo River Basin probably represented the archaeological remains of the Xia tradition (Sun 2015:277). After his discovery of the Erlitou typesite itself in his search for the Xia civilization, however, Xu Xusheng (1959) identified the early urban site at Erlitou as the royal center of Early Shang on the basis of its

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similarity to the pre-Erligang assemblage at Zhengzhou. As the Middle Shang attribution of Erligang material culture was a general consensus of the time, Xu Xusheng’s view became widely accepted. Elaborating from Han Weizhou’s initial observation, however, Zou Heng (1980) systematically argued that the Erligang material culture at Zhengzhou dates to Early Shang, instead of Middle Shang, and the full duration of Erlitou’s urban occupation falls into the Xia political tradition. Zou’s radical challenge to the Early Shang attribution of Erlitou and Middle Shang attribution of Erligang was later supported by the first carbon-14 dating from Erlitou, which puts its urban occupation to approximately 1900–1600 bce, before the historical time span for the Shang civilization (ca. 1600–1046 bce) (Qiu et  al. 1983). Other scholars, however, argued for a regime change during the urban occupation of Erlitou, though their opinions differ as to what constitutes the benchmark for dynastic change and when this alleged change took place: the proposal has varied from the end of Phase I to the middle of Phase IV (see Sun 2015 for a comprehensive overview of major arguments and evidence). While the terms of debate have changed with the emergence of new archaeological evidence and the refinement of carbon-14 chronology, the Xia–Shang transition remains the prevailing paradigm in approaching Erlitou archaeology over the past three decades (see Liu and Xu 2007 for a critique against the historiographic orientation of this debate). The central issue of this debate is the potential contribution of Erlitou’s legacy to the successive efforts of political experimentation and the emergence of a historiographic tradition in early China, as argued by Li Feng (2013:53): “It is quite probable, from the perspective of anthropological study of other regions in the world, for such a society to have left deep impressions on the cultural memory of the people who thereafter continued to live in North China.” In this regard, the importance of Erlitou cannot be overstated, with or without its historical connection to the first dynasty. It is important to note that neither the date of 1900 bce from the initial carbon-14 dating nor that of 1750 bce from the most recent revision for the beginning of the Erlitou development was considered a major benchmark in Sandai historiography:  any attempt to integrate archaeology and textual history needs to address this discrepancy. Since much of the debate on the regime change rests on the archaeological definition of Shang material culture, the political dynamics of Shang state power, and, for the central theme of this book, the Sandai historical geography presented to us by Zhou storytellers from the first millennium bce, I  will address Erlitou’s critical role for understanding the rise of the Sandai tradition in the following chapters, particularly to address how the prehistoric legacy of Erlitou shaped the Zhou notion of Sandai civilization

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and Zhou definition of axis mundi. Among these issues, the rise of Erlitou had two enduring legacies: the emergence of a political economy focusing on bronze metallurgy and the establishment of a Luoyang-centered political order that privileged the Central Plains. In Chapter 7, I will approach these questions from the perspective of the Zhou storytellers, who presented us with the notion of the first dynasty as the fountainhead of Sandai political tradition.

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CHAPTER SIX

THE RISE OF THE HENEI BASIN AND THE LIMIT OF SHANG HEGEMONY

Several key developments unfolding during the second half of the second millennium bce defined the framework upon which we build an understanding of the Sandai historical tradition and the ritualization of bronze ding vessels in the wen ding narrative. As the second dynasty in Sandai historiography, the Shang (c.1600–1046 bce) immediately preceded the Zhou civilization. This chapter, therefore, investigates the rise and expansion of the Shang state and the political circumstances under which pre-Shang social memories were transmitted through the second half of the second millennium bce. An archaeological investigation of the configuration of the political landscape and social structure of the broadly defined Shang society will provide us critical insight on the sources of Zhou historical knowledge and the diverse ways in which the pre-Shang legacy figured in the Zhou notion of Sandai history. It was also under the Shang cultural tradition that the culinary set consisting of the bronze ding footed vessels as the foci of political and religious activities, and the pottery li tripods for domestic food practice, became a defining attribute of the Sandai cultural tradition, crosscutting previous regional divides between the highland and lowland culinary traditions. The deliberate choice by Shang state builders to adhere to the distinctive Erlitou ding tripod form and to make it the primary symbol of Shang kingship sets the Shang apart from its peers in Bronze Age China. After the Shang incorporation of the Erlitou bronze-working tradition, extraordinary elaboration in form, size, and décor took place in the production of ding and other 230

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bronze vessels in Shang royal centers. The presence of intricate iconography on these vessels highlighted the use of metal surfaces as a new arena for artistic representation, an important aspect in the assumptions of the wen ding narrative. The ritual use of bronze ding vessels in Shang royal divination, as represented in the oracle bone inscriptions from Yinxu, provides compelling evidence for the ritualization of the bronze ding vessel as a medium of religious communication in early China. THE RISE OF A HIGHLAND CONFEDERATION IN HENEI

The Hallmark of Shang Material Culture The interconnectedness of material culture and cultural identity provides the basis for archaeological inference, which laid the foundation for Shang archaeology through the twentieth century. While the Shang civilization is frequently represented by aspects of its high culture  from Yinxu  – e.g. its sophisticated bronze industry, oracle bone inscriptions, and royal tombs  – most archaeological sites have no trace of inscriptions identifying them as Shang. Instead, the archaeological remains of Shang communities are primarily identified by the spatial, typological, and technological patterns of a distinctive style of highland li tripod vessels with solid cones at the tips of their pouch-legs, which were used for everyday cooking (Han et  al. 1954; Zou 1980; see Sun 2015 for an overview of the history of research on Shang chronology and ceramic typology). Beyond the Late Shang royal center at Yinxu, this diagnostic vessel serves as the basis of Shang archaeology, however different the scholarly opinions may be on the Shang social structure and political history. Although pots do not necessarily reflect people, they are salient indicators of people’s craft traditions and choices in self-representation. From the first introduction of these distinctive pouch-legged tripod vessels among the highland Longshan communities to the west of the Taihang mountain range, through their spread to the Henei Basin to the east of Taihang, their increasing presence in the Luoyang Basin during the final phases of Erlitou, and finally to their rapid spread from Zhengzhou across a vast territory, the consistency in the production techniques, stylistic attributes, associated assemblage, and distribution of this highland culinary tradition marks it as the “index fossil” of the Shang state formation process. The pouch-legged li tripod vessel provides the empirical basis for us to link Yinxu, the only site with inscriptions identifying itself as the Late Shang royal center, with its outposts and with its predecessors in Zhengzhou and Henei. Its distribution pattern concurs with the descriptions in later textual sources of the Shang as a major cultural and political group active in the Central Plains during the second half of the second millennium bce.

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The vessels’ stylistic and technological consistency was created by the lineage-based craftsman tradition, in which techniques were transmitted within close-knit kin networks. Members of each lineage group shared ideas about elements of their technical process as part of their cultural identity: “raw materials, source of energy, tools, actors, where and when things should take place, etc. And these technical representations are part of wider symbolic systems” (Lemonnier 1993:4). Given the close-knit lineage organization and the social transmission of ceramic production techniques, the distribution and use of these distinctive cooking vessels reveal intriguing connections between a larger sociopolitical phenomenon characterized as Shang and domestic life at the household level.

A Highland Confederation in Henei Later textual narratives offer numerous, sometimes contradictory, clues as to the whereabouts of the predynastic Shang political base, generally suggesting that the Shang emerged from the plains extending from the eastern slope of Taihang to the Shangqiu region in the northern Huai River Basin (see Zhu 2005 for a survey of competing theories). Using the stylistic sequence of the pouch-legged li vessel and its associated ceramic assemblage as the typological index for Shang material culture, Zou Heng (1980) traces the predynastic Shang homeland to the Henei Basin, a 600-kilometer-long alluvial plain bracketed by the Taihang mountain range and the archaic lower Yellow River, which is also referred to as the “Taihang–Yellow River Belt” (Li Feng 2006:58). As discussed in Chapter 4, frequent interactions and population movements through the trans-Taihang river valleys created a network of communities with a mixed material culture during the Longshan period (Zou Heng 1980; Li Boqian 1998). As a contact zone for highland and lowland interactions, the Longshan ceramic assemblage in Henei sites shows a mixed assemblage, where highland pouch-legged tripod vessels, double-handled beakers and cord-marked grey wares from the loess highlands are found alongside solid-legged ding tripod vessels from the lowlands and the burnished black eggshell pottery from the coast (Figure 6.1). In contrast, the Xinghuacun site in the Taiyuan Basin west of Taihang displays a homogeneous highland Longshan assemblage of the Taosi-Shimao tradition. Although a series of small Longshan towns flourished in the floodplains of Henei, e.g. Baiying (3 hectares), Hougang (10 hectares), Mengzhuang (16 hectares), and Xijincheng (31 hectares), the region had no prominent Longshan centers of the scale of Taosi, Shimao, and Yaowangcheng. The Henei Basin experienced major changes in ceramic assemblage after the Longshan period. After a brief hiatus in the settlement record, the

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Early Longshan Phase

Middle Longshan Phase

Late Longshan Phase

Mixed Longshan Ceramic Asseblage from the Baiying site in the Henei Basin East of Taihang Mountain Range

Highland Ceramic Assemblage from the Xinghuacun site in the Taiyuan Basin West of Taihang

6.1. A comparison of Longshan ceramic assemblages from two sides of the Taihang mountain range (after Anyang 1980: Figures 7 and Guojia et al. 1998: Figures 105–114).

pouch-legged li tripod vessels from the loess highlands dominated the ceramic assemblage in the Henei region, thus creating a trans-Taihang cultural continuum during the second quarter of the second millennium bce. The close stylistic resemblance to ceramic assemblages from the Taiyuan Basin in central Shanxi indicates that the cultural change is likely associated with the downstream movement of highland settlers through the trans-Taihang corridors after the abandonment of Longshan towns in Henei (Zou 1980:272; Guojia et al. 1998) (Figure 6.2). These highland settlers from central Shanxi formed a confederation of village communities without large, permanent political centers. Known as the Xiaqiyuan material culture, the ceramic assemblage associated with these highland settlements in Henei was rather homogeneous when compared with Erlitou or Lower Xiajiadian material culture at either end of the basin (Hebeisheng 1979) (Figure 6.3). These communities used only two types of li tripod vessels, with little stylistic variation within each type (Liu Xu 2014). Stylistically, this new assemblage from Henei represents the direct source for the material culture observed in Yanshi and Zhengzhou during the middle of the second millennium bce, and later in Yinxu during the final quarter of

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Xiaqiyuan, Henei Basin

Xinghuacun Phase V

Nanguanwai, Zhengzhou

Erligang, Zhengzhou

Xinghuacun Phase VI, Taiyuan Basin West of the Taihang Mountain Range

6.2. Tripod vessels from two sides of the Taihang mountain range during the early to the midsecond millennium bce: the Xiaqiyuan material culture in the Henei Basin and in Nanguanwai, and Erligang material culture in Zhengzhou (upper group, after Zhongguo 2003:145 Figure 3-1, 166 Figure 3–7, and Henansheng 1959: Plates 1 and 2) and tripod vessels in Phase V and VI of the Xinghuacun material culture in the Taiyuan Basin (lower group, after Guojia et al. 1998:160–74, Figures 125, 130, 134).

the second millennium bce. Like the Longshan–Yueshi transition observed in Shandong, the number of Xiaqiyuan sites was significantly lower than that of the Longshan sites in the Henei region (Zhang Chi 2017:52). Characterized by its thin wall construction, solid conical tip at the end, and cord-mark surface treatment, the dominant type of li vessel in the Xiaqiyuan material culture was the prototype for the Lower Erligang li vessels used in Zhengzhou and Dongxiafeng (Liu Xu 1992:67). Several distinctive forms of mounted dishes from the Erligang assemblage in Zhengzhou also had exclusive connection with their counterparts in Xiaqiyuan material culture (Liu Xu 1992:66). Outside the Henei Basin, this distinctive type of highland li vessel has not been found in the lowland regions during the Longshan period or the first two phases of Erlitou. As I  will elaborate later, its rapid spread is part of the sociopolitical process that accounts for the end of Erlitou’s urban

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6.3. The distribution of archaeological sites associated with the Xiaqiyuan material culture in the Henei Basin, in relation to sites associated with the Erlitou material culture to the south, the Yueshi material culture to the east, and highland sites to the west of the Taihang mountain range (illustrated by Li Min based on Zhongguo 2003:145 Figure 3.1; Cao Dazhi 2014:390 Figure 2.8; Chang Huaiying 2010:245 Figure  2.36, 260 Figure  3.1, 274 Figure  3.10, 302 Figure  3.25, 317 Figure 4.1, 343 Figure 4.16).

phase, and the rise of Yanshi and Zhengzhou during the middle of the second millennium bce. If the rise of Erlitou can be described as a Yi-Luo phenomenon, then the Shang political landscape was structured by the drainage system of the archaic lower Yellow River. Henei was a relatively peripheral region in the political and technological arena of the Longshan-Erlitou period. In contrast to the contemporaneous political development in the Luoyang Basin south of the Yellow River, the agropastoral inhabitants of Henei displayed few signs of political authority, social differentiation, or sophisticated bronze industry. A small inventory of metal objects from Xiaqiyuan sites provided a limited range of functional types and simplicity of forms, e.g. knives, tools, and accessories, which were probably trade items (Liu and Chen 2012:275). No molds were found to indicate the presence of a major foundry in Henei. This would soon change after the rise of Zhengzhou and Anyang during the second half of the second millennium bce.

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Excavation at several Henei sites provides information on the social structure and cultural diversity of these communities on the margins of the Erlitou world. The double moated settlement in the Shulü site (approximately 2 hectares) likely represented one of their political bases (Hebeisheng et al. 2012). The scale of these communities and diversity of their highland material culture was not comparable to those Longshan towns flourishing in the region at the end of the third millennium bce. Although the majority of the more than three hundred tombs at the Liuzhuang cemetery in Hebi were minimally furnished commoners’ burials with only a single li vessel for food offering, their stylistic variation and spatial distribution patterns suggest diversity in the population (Henansheng 2012). Within three spatially defined groups, each group has its own orientation and ceramic style. All the li vessels from the eastern group, for example, were of a highland style associated with central Shanxi, while the li vessels from the western group were associated with the dominant type in the local Xiaqiyuan assemblage. In addition to finely constructed grey ware ding, gui, jue, and jia vessels brought in from Erlitou or produced in its style, elite status was marked with the presence of large stone battleaxes and turquoise beads, likely imported from Erlitou. During the early second millennium bce, these highland settlements bordered communities associated with the Lower Xiajiadian material culture to the north, communities associated with the Yueshi material culture to the east, and the communities associated with the Erlitou material culture south of the Yellow River. These represent the immediate neighbors who may have interacted with communities in the Henei Basin during the Erlitou period. The southern distribution of the Xiaqiyuan material culture reached the southern bank of the archaic lower Yellow River, where Xiaqiyuan material culture was found alongside the predominately Yueshi assemblage in a small walled settlement (3 hectares) at the Shilipu site in Heze (Gao 2016). Such a mixed assemblage is also observed at the Shangqiu region along northern edge of the Huai River Basin, approximately 80 kilometers south of Shilipu. Historically known as the Mound of Shang, Shangqiu was identified as the ancestral place of the Shang in Zhou texts. Archaeologically, the material culture from the Shangqiu region was not associated with a single cultural tradition during the early second millennium bce. Instead, sites associated with Erlitou, Xiaqiyuan, and Yueshi material culture intermingled in this region, suggesting that the region was a nexus for diverse traditions from the surrounding regions to gather and interact (Zhongguo 2003:18, 88). Such places of encounter and exchange often have the potential to foster new political networks and alliances. As discussed in Chapter 4, the discovery of an impressive cattle pit at the Shantaisi site attests to a major gathering in

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Shangqiu during the Late Longshan period, which was important enough to offer nine cattle for ritual dedication in a single episode.The historical narrative that the Shangqiu region was a place of symbolic significance to Shang cultural history, therefore, was not entirely unfounded (Zhang and Zhang 1997; Gao Tianlin 2010; Lü 2010). In general, the archaeological reconstruction concurs with the later historical narratives about the predynastic Shang society emerging from a confederation of cattle herders and farmers in the floodplains along the archaic lower Yellow River. The most famous of these stories is the account in Shanhaijing about raids on predynastic Shang communities perpetuated by the neighboring Youyi group, which resulted in the death of Shang leader Wang Hai and the loss of a large cattle herd (Shanhaijing 1985:150). These stories about raiding of people and livestock, as well as the threat of flooding, were consistent with the geopolitical circumstances archaeologically observed for the Henei Basin. The least we can infer from these historical lore is that the Shang did not claim a historical legacy of great power before its rise to prominence in the middle of the second millennium bce. This modest foundation in the Henei Basin presents a strong contrast to the mighty state built upon it during the second half of the second millennium bce. This could be accounted for by three factors. First, the mobility provided by the cattle herding economy allowed the Henei communities to build a broad political network that may not manifest in settlement records. Second, the combined threat from flooding and raids gave these agropastoral groups incentive to mobilize and conquer neighboring cities. Third, the neighboring center of Erlitou provided the primary source for Shang’s high culture and state apparatus after its conquest of the Luoyang Basin. With the Luoyang Basin to its south and highland society to its west, the emergent Shang political authority could potentially tap into the political legacies of the highland Longshan and Erlitou society. POLITICAL CHANGE IN THE LUOYANG BASIN AND THE EARLY SHANG EXPANSION

The Infiltration of the Luoyang Basin The decline of Erlitou and the rise of two new centers inYanshi and Zhengzhou were closely related events in the middle of the second millennium bce. During Phase III of its urban occupation, Erlitou saw a gradual increase of Xiaqiyuanstyle li vessels from Henei, in contrast to the overwhelming domination of deep pots and ding tripod vessels in the culinary assemblage of its early phases. The change suggests an increasing infiltration into the basin from Henei communities north of the Yellow River (Wang and Zhu 1995; Wang and Hu 2011).

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Highland vessels in Erlitou III Assemblage

Highland vessels in Erlitou IV Assemblage

Lower and Upper Erligang li tripod vessels from the Post-Urban Features at Erlitou

6.4. Highland tripod vessels among the Erlitou III, IV, and post-urban assemblages (after Zhongguo 1999c:211–377 Figures 133, 206, 251, 264).

At the same time, these vessels appeared in the Jinnan Basin, the Guanzhong Basin, and the Shangluo Corridor (Zhang Tian’en 2004; Zhongguo et al. 1988; Shaanxisheng and Shangluoshi 2011) (Figure 6.4). The Xiaqiyuan-style li vessels eventually dominated the ceramic assemblage in Erlitou Phase IV (c. 1560–1520 bce), the final phase of Erlitou’s urban occupation, and features associated with the post-urban phase at Erlitou (Zhongguo 1999c). This change in ceramic assemblage coincided with the abandonment of the Erlitou palaces during late Phase IV and the construction of a heavily fortified city in Yanshi, approximately 6 kilometers east of the undefended urban center at Erlitou. Built around the early sixteenth century bce, a walled enclosure (approximately 80 hectares) was first constructed to secure palatial foundations and several warehouses. It was subsequently expanded to 200 hectares with the construction of an outer wall that extended its protection to the craft production areas, i.e. the bronze foundries, pottery kilns, and bone workshops, and storage facilities (Zhongguo 2013). The layout of theYanshi palatial compound retained the Erlitou architectural tradition, where the main structure was attached to an enclosed courtyard (Gao et al. 1998; Zhongguo 2013). The design attributes suggest a possible division between the audience hall for political gatherings and the residential quarter of its rulers. Extensive remains from sacrificial offerings were documented in a walled compound for ritual activities, where pigs dominated the assemblage that also included human victims, cattle, sheep, dogs, fish, and grain. The walled city was probably built to provide military surveillance over the fallen political center at Erlitou. The Lower Erligang ceramic assemblage (c. 1565–1420 bce) from Yanshi and Zhengzhou displayed a remarkable resemblance to the Xiaqiyuan ceramic tradition in the Henei Basin (Gao et al. 1998;

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Zhongguo 2013, 2014:1222). In contrast to the hybrid characteristics of the Erlitou ceramic assemblage, the new assemblage brought in from the Henei Basin is highly homogeneous and revolved around the pouch-legged li tripod vessels. From Zhengzhou to Anyang, this homogeneous ceramic tradition from Henei remained intact through the second half of the second millennium bce, thus presenting a strong contrast with the Erlitou ceramic assemblage, which forged together a diverse range of traditions from the Huai River Basin to the Guanzhong Basin over a relatively short time (Chapter 5). The rapid spread of the highland li vessels in the lowlands marked a significant deviation from the Peiligang ceramic tradition established since the sixth millennium bce (Chapter 2). Although the political history of the Shang underwent many changes in the course of half a millennium, this distinctive ceramic tradition did not experience major disruptions, which highlights the resilience of this highland-derived culinary tradition.1 The rise of a new center and the change in material culture offer important clues for understanding the geopolitical changes in the second half of the second millennium bce, particularly the shift of new political centers to the east of the Luoyang Basin. The rise of the new center at Yanshi inside the Luoyang Basin and at Zhengzhou immediately east of the basin coincided with the deurbanization of Erlitou. By the end of Erlitou Phase IV, the great urban center at Erlitou was abandoned and its population appears to have been absorbed into the newly constructed walled city in Yanshi and in Zhengzhou. Three burials associated with the Lower Erligang material culture represent the remains of the last generation of residents at Erlitou (Zhongguo 1999c).With the construction of two well-defended cities associated with a ceramic assemblage from north of the Yellow River, the dramatic shift in the configuration of the political landscape and material culture in the Luoyang Basin strongly favors a scenario of military conquest from Henei. Current evidence suggests that Zhengzhou and Yanshi were both constructed toward the end of, or right after, the urban phase of Erlitou (Zhongguo 2003). Unlike at the Late Shang royal center in Yinxu, there are no archaeological inscriptions that identify Zhengzhou and Yanshi with specific early Shang capitals named in historiography. The shared design attributes, orientation of their architectural compounds, concurrence with the temporal and spatial framework in historical geography, and cultural continuity with the material culture in the Late Shang capital of Anyang, however, serve as compelling evidence that these fortified cities represented the early royal centers for the emerging Shang state (Zou 1980; Zhongguo 2003:230; Sun 2009) (Figure 6.5).2 The processes revolving around the regime change as a historical event were probably more complex and difficult to observe archaeologically. From the perspective of geopolitical configuration, however, the change in the

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Zijingshan Inner city wall

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Rammed-earth Bronze foundation workshop Concention of kilns, wells, and pits Small City

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Tiesanlu

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Miaopubeidi

Approximate extent of Yinxu archaeological locus Bone workshop Jade workshop Bronze foundry Tombs

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Habitation (settlement) Sacrificial burials

6.5. The layout and orientation of Shang royal centers at Yanshi, Zhengzhou, Huanbei, and Yinxu (redrawn by Li Min based on Liu and Chen 2012:280–357, Figures 8.8, 8.9, and 10.4; compare with the orientation of Erlitou palatial compounds in Figure 5.6).

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archaeological landscape of the middle of the second millennium bce can be characterized as a shift from a Luoyang-centered political framework to a Zhengzhou-centered framework, whereas Yanshi served as the critical link in the Luoyang Basin for the political transition. This broad shift generally concurs with the historical geography for the early Sandai dynastic regimes outlined in Zhou texts, a point made in relation to Zhou notions of Sandai historical geography in Chapter 7.

Zhengzhou as the New Pivot of the Central Plains Built approximately 85 kilometers to the east of Erlitou, the fortified city of Zhengzhou (approximately 15 square kilometers) had two rammed earth enclosures built over the site of an Erlitou settlement.3 The rectangular inner city (300 hectares) was roughly the same size as Taosi and Erlitou. At the northeast quarter, a palatial precinct consisting of dozens of rammed earth foundations extends across approximately 50 hectares (Zhongguo 2003:219), featuring an audience hall with a courtyard enclosed by roofed corridors. Located approximately one kilometer south of the inner city, an outer wall flanked the bronze foundries, pottery kilns, bone workshops, and other craft production facilities in the southern half of the city (Zhongguo 2003:222). Each pottery workshop produced only specific types of vessels, indicating an increasing specialization in craft production to meet the demands of a major political center. The great concentration of cattle bones and oracle bones observed at the Erligang locus in Zhengzhou suggests that the area was likely used as a ritual precinct for Zhengzhou’s rulers (Okamura 2004). The rapid rise of Zhengzhou as the new political center likely benefited from the transfer of technological expertise, manpower, and administrative apparatus from Erlitou. The production of bronze vessels took off in the new royal center.Two bronze foundry sites in Zhengzhou produced a large number of clay mold fragments for the production of bronze vessels, tools, and weapons (Henansheng 1959, 1989).The clay piece-mold production techniques and the functional assemblage of Zhengzhou bronzes strongly resembled the Erlitou bronze industry, which had ceased to operate around the time that Zhengzhou foundries started functioning. The Shang bronze working was consistent with the Eurasian multi-metallic tradition of working with copper, tin, lead, a small amount of gold, and occasional finds of meteorite iron. Bronze metallurgy and the production of bronze ding vessels took a prominent role in political representation at the onset of Shang state formation.With expertise from Erlitou artisans, the products from the Zhengzhou workshops reached an impressive size, highlighting the potential for the ritualization of bronze vessels. The tetrapod ding vessel was the centerpiece

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of the Zhengzhou bronze assemblage. The largest ding bronze tripod vessel reached more than 1 meter in height and 86 kilograms in weight (Henansheng 1999). While these vessels carry symbolic and religious significance in their own right, their role as culinary wares never faded. The fracture-resistant property of cast bronze cooking vessels could accommodate larger meat items and longer cooking time.This expansion of vessel size occurred in tandem with an increasing emphasis on cattle in elite feasting activities and royal rituals, which marks an important departure from the millennia-old Peiligang tradition based on pigs (Okamura 2005). With the combination of large animals and large vessels, meat cooking in these impressive tripod or tetrapod cauldrons allegedly lasted for days (Song 1994). The material culture of Zhengzhou, therefore, seems to have incorporated two cultural traditions. Daily cooking was performed using the pouch-legged li vessels brought into the Luoyang Basin and Zhengzhou from the Henei Basin north of the Yellow River, while elite feasting and ritual events were conducted with the bronze ding tripods and tetrapods first developed at Erlitou. This hybrid material culture characterizes the Shang metropolitan tradition, which defined the pinnacle of Sandai civilization in the archaeological record. After the conquest of the Shang by the highland-based Zhou state at the end of the second millennium bce, this culinary assemblage continued to characterize the late Sandai material culture that provided the backdrop for the wen ding story.

Forging a New Identity The incorporation of diversity under one political framework was a key feature of the early states (Emberling 1997:277; Pauketat 2007:196). Given the massive scale of political operations, the forces involved in the fall of Erlitou and the construction of Yanshi and Zhengzhou probably consisted of a political coalition of groups with diverse cultural backgrounds.The ceramic assemblage from the Yueshi material culture among the Phase IV assemblage at Erlitou and at Nanguanwai in Zhengzhou, for example, indicates the participation of a sizable group from the Shandong region southeast of the archaic lower Yellow River, possibly as Shang’s allies. State-building efforts at Zhengzhou, therefore, involved forging a new social identity that unified the Shang forces, their allies, and the newly subjugated populations. Commensal feasting, public constructions, standardized material culture, and communal rituals were some of the commonly observed means of forging group solidarity in Early Shang society. The excavation at Zhengzhou produced a large number of deep vats, some with traces of lime plaster, commonly used for disinfection in the production of alcoholic beverages (Bao 2005b, 2007b, Bao and Zhou 2007:18). Animal bones, elaborate ceramic

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assemblages for food and drinks, and plant remains from food consumption further illustrate scenes of urban feasting. The bone workshops in Zhengzhou and later in Anyang provided a variety of highly standardized hairpins in very large volumes, which were fashioned from cattle bones consumed in the royal center (Li Chi 1977; Campbell et al. 2011; Li Zhipeng et al. 2011; Zhongguo 2015). The uniformity in material culture and personal accessories suggests the presence of a state provisioning system for those participating in the Shang state-building enterprise. The construction of monumental rammed earth walls around Zhengzhou and Yanshi served as the effective social bond for participating communities. The labor forces for these public works appear to have been coordinated and supplied by Shang leaders. Their mobilization probably involved statesponsored feasting, rituals, and political incentives. The highly synchronized techniques of working with rammed earth also contributed to group solidarity. The collective labor participating in wall construction, therefore, had the potential to generate enduring social memories associated with the Shang royal cities. In contrast to Taosi, where the sacred peak was the focus of ritual attention, the cemeteries at Erlitou,Yanshi, and Zhengzhou highlighted the ritualization of the built urban landscape, e.g. palaces, city walls, and workshops. Zhengzhou, Yanshi, and Yinxu all have elite burials located inside the palatial compound, a pattern closely resembling Erlitou. Zhengzhou and Yinxu also continued the Erlitou practice of burying people in the surface of bronze or pottery workshops in active operation. Among nearly two hundred burials excavated at Zhengzhou and approximately one hundred burials at Yanshi, a significant number were deliberately dug into the interior side of the city wall (Zhongguo 2003:216, 227; Gao 2011:20, 56). These formidable walls of the Early Shang cities, therefore, served as both defense structures and monuments  as part of the newly built urban landscape. The unique intersection of mortuary space with the palatial precinct, spaces delineated for craft production, and city walls highlights the complex entanglement between the living and the dead, as well as the social life of buildings and objects. Through these entanglements, the palaces, city walls, and objects of bronze and pottery were all animated with the life history of the people involved in their creation, which invites us to approach these architectures or these things from a culturally nuanced perspective. This prepares the Shang inhabitants to consider their settlements as the central loci of the Shang world, whereas their cultural memory would be deeply informed by an awareness of their physical surroundings as highly ritualized space. Some traits of Shang mortuary practice share a strong resemblance with the Taosi-Erlitou tradition, indicating the importance of the highland Longshan legacy in the construction of social persona among the Shang elite (Gao

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2011). At least three tombs from the Early Shang component in Yanshi and Zhengzhou produced cowrie shells. The deceased in a Zhengzhou tomb (c8m7) was buried with more than a hundred cowries in two piles at the bottom of the tomb shaft, probably once attached to the frontlet, as seen at the Dadianzi cemetery in Chifeng. Another Zhengzhou elite (97t166m6) wore a necklace strung with ninety-three cowries and one turquoise bead. The deceased in Yanshi tomb 97ysivt53m16 and several tombs in Shang outposts wore cowries as part of their armbands, headbands, or as a trinket placed in their palms or mouth (Zhongguo 2003:243–44). These practices sketch out the portrait of a Shang elite within a ritual tradition first observed in highland Longshan society, and later in Erlitou and Dadianzi. They also attest to the continuous operation of the transregional exchange network of the marine shells established since the Longshan period (Peng and Zhu 1995). Within this general cultural milieu, some new practices were introduced into the construction of ritual space that eventually came to be identified with the Shang ritual tradition, e.g. the orientation of elite burials and the construction of a pit under the waist of the body of the deceased. Unlike the elite burials and major buildings in Erlitou sites, which were generally oriented to the southeast – a counter-clockwise deviation from the cardinal directions – the wall enclosures, major architectures, and elite burials at Yanshi, Zhengzhou, Panlongcheng, Dongxiafeng,Yuanqu, Fucheng, and Mengzhuang were all oriented approximately 10–20 degrees east of true north – a clockwise deviation from the cardinal direction (Sun 2009) (Figure 6.6; compare with Figure 5.6). This tradition remained consistent from Zhengzhou to Yinxu, as seen in the orientation of the Late Shang royal cemetery. The construction of a waist pit below the body of the deceased has not been identified in cemeteries associated with the Xiaqiyuan material culture in the Henei Basin. As a newly invented tradition, it spread rapidly with the Early Shang expansion associated with the Upper Erligang (c. 1434–1380 bce) material culture (Gao 2011:69–79). Its symbolic significance can be inferred from the great royal tombs in the Late Shang capital at Yinxu, Anyang, where the waist pits often contained the skeletal remains of an armed guard and a dog, presumably for guarding the ritual space. This helps to explain the symbolic role of a single dog interred in these pits in many lower elite tombs across the Shang domain. Ritual violence was an important source of urban spectacle that defined the Zhengzhou urban landscape. Large battleaxes were an integral part of the elite assemblage in Zhengzhou and its outposts. At the palatial precinct in Zhengzhou, a trophy pit was identified containing more than one hundred human skulls, which had been sawn at brow level, probably for the manufacture of trophy cups. Some of these skulls and human limb bones were used in bone tool production at Zhengzhou along with animal bones (Henansheng

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6.6. The orientation of Shang architecture and elite tombs in Shang royal centers and outposts (redrawn by Li Min based on Hou Weidong 2014: 167–69 Figures 2 and 3; Sun Hua 2009:188 Figure 5).

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2001:461–83). The massive slaughter of these human victims for sacrificial rituals would have been a horrific scene that defined the Shang social experience at Zhengzhou and, later, Anyang (Huang 1990; Fiskesjö 2001; Campbell 2007, 2009, 2014). Participation in the sacrificial rituals, the display of trophy heads, and the distribution of human bone products as utensils and accessories reinforced the warrior ethos in everyday Shang experience. In historical narratives about the Shang, the ritual altars and sacrificial activities provided the foci for Shang community life. Excavations at Zhengzhou produced many sacrificial pits filled with articulated cattle, dogs, sheep, and pigs, attesting to the frequency and scale of ritual sacrifice performed in the city. Archaeologists also excavated a ritual feature in the northeastern corner of the city, constructed using a large raised rock surrounded by a ring of smaller rocks. The context closely resembles the earthen altar described in later historical sources as an important locus for Shang religious gathering (Zhongguo 2003:352–53). The stone feature was associated with eight pits laid out on the same orientation as palaces, walls, and major elite tombs in the city. They were filled with the remains of ninety-two sacrificed dogs, between six and twenty-three to a pit, some mixed with human remains and gold fragments (Henansheng 2001:496–500). Many buildings in Zhengzhou and Yanshi also have evidence of ritual sacrifice using human victims, dogs, and pigs. Such practices of mixed human and animal sacrifice are found in major Shang strongholds across the domain. The rise of a warrior class and the promotion of a military ethos are observed in the mortuary rituals in Zhengzhou,Yanshi, and their outposts. Although the Early Shang  royal tombs have yet to be discovered, the small and medium elite burials from the Early Shang period greatly emphasized the display of weapons, while the performative sets consisting of bells and turquoise mosaic inlaid plaques in Erlitou elite mortuary tradition were absent. This emphasis on ritual violence and warfare may have propelled the rise and rapid expansion of the Early Shang state. The Erlitou tradition, however, did not entirely disappear. I will discuss the transmission of its legacy among memory communities in the later part of this chapter.

Consolidating the Central Plains-Based Political Landscape The distribution of highly diagnostic Erligang style li ceramic vessels defined the Shang political realm (Zou 1980; Liu and Chen 2003; Liu Xu 2014). The expansion from Zhengzhou was probably realized by combined efforts of alliance building and outright conquest. An archipelago of Erligang outposts was strategically placed along major routes radiating from the new royal center (Liu and Chen 2003; Steinke and Ching 2014). The choice of their

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6.7. The Early Shang expansion based on the distribution of the Erligang ceramic assemblage (redrawn by Li Min based on Zhongguo 2003:189 Figure 4-3).

locations suggests that the Erlitou political landscape was a major source of knowledge for the Shang expansion – many Shang garrison towns were built over or adjacent to Erlitou outposts, absorbing their land and people into the Shang domain (Liu Xu 2014:179). Given the close proximity of Zhengzhou and Erlitou, the Early Shang expansion did not lead to significant changes to the overall configuration of the political landscape laid out by the latter. By following the footsteps of Erlitou, Early Shang state expansion from Zhengzhou consolidated the Central Plainsbased political landscape forged through the Erlitou state formation process (Figure 6.7). From the Upper Erligang phase to Yinxu Phase I, Shang expansion reached the western Guanzhong Basin in the west, central Shanxi in the north, the coastal plains of the Shandong Peninsula in the east, and the Jiangxi region to the south of the middle Yangzi, approximately 600–700 kilometers in radius from Zhengzhou (Liu Xu 2014:168). Extending over vast regions, these sites display several shared traits, which help identify them as garrison towns ruled by Shang lords dispatched from Zhengzhou. First, their archaeological assemblage was highly consistent with the Erligang material culture from Zhengzhou, indicating a shared technological tradition among craftsman lineages. Lineages of elite warriors

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stationed in these Shang outposts brought with them the distinctive pouchlegged li tripod vessels to lowland regions. The difference between ding and li tripod vessels, therefore, ceased to represent a regional difference between highland and lowland culinary traditions, a radical change to the millennia-old Peiligang ceramic tradition in the lowlands. Instead, the ding and li tripod vessel set became part of the social configuration of Shang culinary tradition, merging the high culture of Erlitou with the deeply engrained cultural practice from the Shang political base in Henei, each associated with a different source of political power. Second, the bronze vessels from these elite tombs in Shang outposts were often indistinguishable from those produced and found at Zhengzhou. Consisting of the he tripod vessels, jue tripod beakers, jia tripod pitchers, you wine bottles, lei and zun vases, and dou ladles, a standard set of elaborate drinking apparatus served as the centerpiece for commensal and ritual consumption of alcohol-based psychoactive beverages (Zhongguo 2003:213–14). As most of them were elaborations of Erlitou forms by Zhengzhou workshops, commensal feasting and ritual offerings performed with these vessels suggest that the Erlitou high culture was shared among the Shang elite network. Bronze ding vessels commanded high prestige in this elite feasting and ritual context. The large bronze ding tripod vessel (approximately 60 cm high and 40 cm in diameter) from Tomb 2010m139 at Daxinzhuang, for example, was similar in size, décor, and casting technique to its counterparts in Zhengzhou (Zhang Changping 2012:262–71) (Figure 6.8). The presence of large bronze ceremonial battleaxes in elite burials at Daxinzhuang and Panlongcheng highlights the role of these lords as military leaders of Shang outposts. The distances from Daxinzhuang and Panlongcheng to Zhengzhou are both within the range of 450–500 kilometers, which may represent the perimeter of the Shang’s direct political control through these regional strongholds. Third, the construction techniques, architectural layout, and orientation of their rammed earth walls, palatial compounds, and elite tombs are nearly identical with those of Zhengzhou and Yanshi, indicating a well-organized state effort. The way that the elite burials from these sites were outfitted shows that these lords were steeped in Shang ritual knowledge, e.g. the practice of human sacrifice, the inclusion of a waist pit, as well as the configuration and inventory of grave goods. The exact replication of these ritual practices in these Shang outposts suggests intense interaction with Zhengzhou, and with each other (Liu and Chen 2003; Zhongguo 2003). Finally, these sites are significantly smaller than Zhengzhou,Yanshi, andYinxu, indicating their status as outposts, rather than as peers of the royal cities. Most of them covered less than 30 hectares, merely a tenth of Taosi,Yaowangcheng, Shimao, or Erlitou.With the exception of Shandong and Henei, these sites also had roughly the same duration – starting from the Upper Erligang phase and

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Duling Ritual Hoard, Zhengzhou Height 1 meter

Tomb 2010M139, Daxinzhuang, Jinan Height 60 cm

6.8. The Early Shang bronze ding vessels from Zhengzhou and Daxinzhuang (images courtesy of National Museum of China and Shandong University Museum).

abandoned after the early Yinxu period (Liu Xu 2014:173, 181). The comprehensive replication of the Shang civilizational style at these sites, rather than the mere presence of prestige objects from Zhengzhou, helps identify these cities as the loci of intermediate-level political authority in the Early Shang political hierarchy. These shared traits connect Zhengzhou, Panlongcheng, and Yinxu as part of the Shang ritual, cultural, and political tradition emerging from the Henei Basin.The same argument, however, cannot be made for Erlitou (Phases I to III), which had very different ceramic assemblages, despite sharing a high culture centered on bronze ritual vessels. The founding of the Shang outposts inherited and expanded upon the Erlitou framework. In the northwest direction, the Jinnan Basin still had not fully recovered from the deep collapse of the Longshan society. Early Shang expansion secured the Zhiguan Corridor linking the Jinnan Basin and the Luoyang Basin by taking over the Erlitou settlement at Yuanqu and expanding it into a walled garrison town (13 hectares) (Zhongguo 2007; Zhongguo et  al. 1996, 2015). Inside the Jinnan Basin, the Shang forces

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overtook the Erlitou outpost at Dongxiafeng and expanded it to 16 hectares (Zhongguo et  al. 1988; Liu and Chen 2003). The garrison town had four dozen large storage structures, suggesting that Dongxiafeng may have served as a redistribution center or a relay station for the shipment of copper ore, salt, and grain to Zhengzhou (Liu and Chen 2012:285). A group of important bronze vessels were discovered at Qianzhuang in Pinglu along the Yuban trans-Zhongtiao Corridor, including two impressive bronze tetrapod ding vessels almost identical in size and style to the ones from the Zhengzhou hoards, a pair of large tripod ding vessels, and a large chimestone. These vessels came from either the damaged burial of an important Early Shang lord dispatched to guard the salt and copper route, or a ritual deposit like the bronze hoards in Zhengzhou (Liu Xu 2014:169; Wei 1997, 2007). In either case, the bronze assemblage was likely related to the high elite residing at the Early Shang fortress in Liangsucun (6 hectares) in the close vicinity of Qianzhuang (Wei 2007). To the north of the Jinnan Basin, Erligang expansion appears to have stopped at the northern edge of the basin without further advance into the loess highlands (Cao 2014:169). To the west of Jinnan, Early to Middle Shang ceramic assemblages are documented at Yijiabao in Fufeng and Wangjiazui in Qishan, indicating that Shang state expansion had reached the western end of the Guanzhong Basin. The discovery of a group of Upper Erligang bronze vessels and weapons at the Jingdang site in Qishan attests to the presence of a Shang outpost in the region that later became the political base of Zhou power during the final centuries of the second millennium bce (Wang Guangyong 1977). The presence of slags and copper ingots in the Erligang deposit at the Huaizhenfang site in Lantian further indicates metalworking at the Shang outpost in the Guanzhong Basin (Shaanxisheng and Lantianxian 1981). These discoveries reveal not only the geographic extent of the Erligang expansion, but also the nature of Early Shang influence in the area before the rise of the Zhou (Chapter 7). To the south, the Shang garrisons secured access to the Huai River Basin and the middle Yangzi. The presence of diagnostic Erligang ceramic assemblages at Donglongshan in Shangluo and Dianzihe in Yunxian reveals that the Early Shang expansion also reached the Shangluo Corridor along the Han River Valley, the important pathway connecting the Guanzhong Basin, the middle Yangzi, and the Yi-Luo River Basin (Chapter 5). Again, the Early Shang expansion mapped on to the settlement pattern laid out by Erlitou during the early second millennium bce. Expansion into this region provided the Shang access to the rich turquoise deposit in Yunxian, Hubei at the southern end of the Shangluo Corridor. Located along an upper tributary valley of the Huai River Basin,Wangjinglou served as a major stronghold securing Zhengzhou’s southern gateway

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toward the lowlands. Approximately 35 kilometers south of Zhengzhou, the Wangjinglou garrison town (37 hectares) was built right on top of an Erlitou fortress with a nearly identical layout and orientation (Zhengzhoushi 2011). Early Shang features at Wangjinglou include a rammed earth fortification with a sophisticated gate structure, a rammed earth foundation for a palatial structure that included an enclosed courtyard and roofed corridor, extensive evidence for human and animal sacrifice, and elite tombs with Erlitou and Erligang-style bronze vessels, bronze weapons, and jade objects. The fortress was fl anked by an outer enclosure with a great abundance of Erligang material culture found in the area between the inner and outer enclosures. Further south, the material culture in the Huai River Basin was characterized by a mixture of the local post-Longshan tradition,Yueshi, and Erlitou traditions during the early second millennium bce. The arrival of the Upper Erligang assemblage from Zhengzhou added another component to the hybrid material culture.The distribution of Shang strongholds in the Huai River Basin and the middle Yangzi secured numerous trade routes connecting Shang royal centers in the Central Plains with copper ores from the middle Yangzi, and stoneware from the middle and lower Yangzi. Most of them expanded upon exchange networks established by Erlitou, and were secured by Shang elite warriors and their lineages. Located approximately 500 kilometers south of Zhengzhou, Panlongcheng represents the most important Early Shang outpost in the middle Yangzi. Built over an Erlitou outpost at the site, the Early Shang settlement at Panlongcheng extends to approximately 300 hectares, making it almost the size of Erlitou (Hubeisheng 2001; Liu and Chen 2012:288). Since part of the site is submerged under a modern lake, Zhang Changping and Sun Zhuo (2017) estimates that the full extent of the site reaches up to 500 hectares. The community at Panlongcheng represents an intrusive population from Zhengzhou (Bagley 1999, 2014; Hubeisheng 2001; Xu 2014; Dou 2014). The center of this large settlement is a rammed earth fortress (approximately 7.5 hectares) built using the same construction techniques and orientation seen in Zhengzhou and Yanshi (Zhang Changping 2014:53). The orientation and the layout of the palatial foundations inside the fortress closely resemble the architectural traditions of Erlitou, Zhengzhou, and Yanshi. Bronze and pottery workshops, as well as residential areas and cemeteries, were scattered outside the fortress, protected by another irregularly shaped wall or barricade enclosing an area of 64 hectares. The excavation of elite Tomb m2 from the Lijiazui cemetery and Tombs m11, m17, and m19 from the Yangjiawan cemetery produced ritual bronzes, bronze masks, weapons, jade, lacquer, turquoise and gold inlaid animal masks, and glazed stone ware, which are consistent with the inventory of Early Shang

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elite tombs (Hubeisheng 2001; Zhang and Sun 2017). These tombs shared the same orientation as the architecture and tombs in the Shang world, deviating 10–20 degrees clockwise from the cardinal directions (Sun Hua 2009). While some of the jade objects from these tombs were Shang productions, others were archaic jades from the Longshan workshops at Shijiahe approximately 250 kilometers west of Panlongcheng (Hubeisheng 2001). The deceased in Lijiazui tomb m2 probably represents the ruler of this important Shang outpost. The Shang elite were buried in lacquered coffins carved and painted with elaborate designs in red and black, which closely resemble motifs on bronze vessels. This ruler was buried with three retainers, two dozen bronze vessels, and forty weapons. The large bronze ding vessel (55 cm high) and large bronze battleaxes in the grave attest to the prominent stature of the Shang lord in this southern stronghold. Aside from Erligang and local style ceramics, the great tomb was also furnished with glazed stoneware cauldrons produced in the middle and lower Yangzi, which are identical to those shipped north to Zhengzhou and Wangjinglou in the Central Plains (Zhang Changping 2014:53–57). As in Shang elite tombs across the domain, a waist pit was dug under the coffin. Although the skeleton inside the waist pit had completely deteriorated, the presence of a broken jade dagger axe in the pit resembles the ritual syntax of well-preserved Shang elite tombs in the north. With the shortest distance from Zhengzhou to the middle Yangzi, Panlongcheng appears to have served as the hub of Shang’s southern exchange networks.The Panlongcheng outpost was likely responsible for securing access to the Daye-Jiujiang-Huangmei copper mining belt along both banks of the middle Yangzi, within a range of approximately 250 kilometers from the Shang stronghold. Excavations at the Qiaomailing site (5 hectares) in Jiujiang, for example, yielded Early and Middle Shang foundry remains consisting of wells, copper ore, slugs, furnaces, as well as residential remains and burials furnished with bronze vessels, jade, pottery, and lithic tools. The presence of cultural deposits from the Erlitou period indicates that the mining operation likely started with the Erlitou expansion into the middle Yangzi. These workshops in the middle Yangzi appear to have been supplied by the Tonglüshan mines in Daye and the Tongling mines in Ruichang, where mining remains from the Early and Middle Shang period have been documented (Li Yanxiang 2014; Steinke 2014:167). Approximately 200 kilometers upstream from Panlongcheng and 550 kilometers southwest of Zhengzhou, the fertile Jingzhou region of the upper middle Yangzi was connected with the royal center in Zhengzhou through the Nanyang Basin and through Panlongcheng. Upper Erligang expansion reached the Jingnansi site, a community with significant presence of Erlitou material culture (Jingzhou 2009; Dou 2014). The discovery of an Upper Earligang

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assemblage at Yueyang and Changde suggests that Early Shang expansion from Zhengzhou reached the banks of Lake Tongting and the Li River south of Yangzi, which would be considered remote even by the standard of imperial China (McNeal 2014). The discovery of stone and ceramic mold fragments and bronze tools from Zaoshi indicates that these settlements were engaged in metalworking by the Early Shang period, which coincides with the expansion of prospecting and mining activities in the middle Yangzi during the Erlitou and Erligang period (Dou 2014). Shang expansion into western Hunan put the Early Shang exchange network within only 300 kilometers range of Chenxi, the central hub for the cinnabar trade, where a prehistoric exchange network was probably in place well before the second millennium bce (Fang 2015). Approximately 500 kilometers downstream from Panlongcheng and 700 kilometers southeast of Zhengzhou, Early Shang mining operations took place in the Tongling-Nanling-Fanchang copper mining belt south of Yangzi. Foundry remains with mold fragments have been recovered along both banks of the Yangzi River, indicating that at least some of the Early to Middle Shang style bronze products found in the region were produced locally by Shang artisans arrived through the Upper Erligang expansion (Yu et al. 2015; Anhuisheng and Tonglingshi 1993; Anhuisheng and Nanglingshi 2002). The Shigudun foundry in Tongling started its production of lead bronze, arsenical bronze, tin-bronze, and copper wares during Erlitou Phases III and IV, whereas its Early and Middle Shang deposits produced mine shafts, copper ore, slags, furnace remains, lead ingots, stone mold fragments, and tools (Anhuisheng 2013; Wang Kai et al. 2013;Yu et al. 2015). The ceramic assemblage from southern Anhui contains the ding and the li tripod vessel forms, as well as the locally produced stamped and glazed stonewares, suggesting that these middle Yangzi mining regions became the converging place for diverse cultural traditions (Hou 2014).The wide distribution of stamped stoneware and glazed stoneware in Shang sites in and around Zhengzhou offers important clues to active exchanges or tribute extraction from the middle and lower Yangzi, along with copper ingots, via the extensive waterways of the Huai River Basin. This contributed to the dissemination of bronze metallurgy among local polities in middle Yangzi during the Late Shang period. The Early to Middle Shang settlements in the Huai River Basin served as relay stations between Zhengzhou and the middle Yangzi. Located halfway between Zhengzhou and the Tongling mines, the Taijiasi site in Funan represents a key Shang stronghold in the central Huai River Basin. Consisting of five mounds, Taijiasi featured palatial architecture, large storage facilities, and a bronze foundry. The layout of its palatial foundation (400 square meters) closely resembles that of the palatial complex at Panlongcheng (Anhuisheng and Wuhan 2017).

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6.9. The dragon-and-tiger zun vessels from Taijiasi in Anhui (image courtesy of the National Museum of China).

Approximately 200 meters west of Taijiasi, a group of eight Shang bronze vessels recovered from the riverbed featured jue tripod beakers, jia tripod beakers, gu goblets in pairs, and two great zun vessels, presumably from a damaged elite tomb associated with this Shang outpost. The so-called dragonand-tiger zun vessel (measuring 55  cm tall, 45  cm in rim diameter, and weighing 26 kg) represents a significant elaboration in surface décor from the early bronze-working tradition seen at Erlitou and Zhengzhou: this is critical for understanding the increasing ritualization of bronze iconography in early China (Figure 6.9). Like many Shang sites in the middle Yangzi and the Huai River Basin, the Shang settlement at Taijiasi flourished from the Upper Erligang to Yinxu Phase II, reaching its peak during the Middle Shang period when the Shang royal center at Huanbei, Anyang was at the height of its power. With more than a thousand clay mold fragments excavated in situ, the discovery of a bronze workshop at Taijiasi filled the gap in bronze production between Zhengzhou and Yinxu (Anhuisheng and Wuhan 2017). Similarity between motifs on clay mold fragments and the décor on bronze vessels found at the site suggests that the bronze assemblage discovered at Taijiasi was probably locally made and the workshop may have supplied other Shang communities. Approximately 200 kilometers south of Taijiasi, a major Shang stronghold at the Dachengdun site in Hanshan flourished during the Upper Erligang to Early Yinxu period (Hou 2014). A collection of important bronze vessels

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of the Middle Shang period was discovered near the site, including a pair of large jia tripod vessels and a pair of large jue tripod beakers (Bagley 1999:175). The context of the find closely resembles Taijiasi, and it probably represents the bronze assemblage associated with the damaged burial of a Shang lord. The conquest was successful enough that it is difficult to identify sites exclusively associated with local assemblages during the Early Shang period (Hou 2014). In response to the expansions from Erlitou and Zhengzhou, a Bronze Age society developed in the middle Yangzi for the first time, approximately five centuries after the highland Longshan prospectors reached this area through the Shangluo Corridor (Chapter  4). By exploiting copper minerals and supplying the great centers in Erlitou and Zhengzhou, the southern society was recovering from the deep collapse of the late third millennium bce. The south, however, had no great centers comparable to those in the Central Plains.4 Nor did it possess any technological advantage of working with the metals extracted from this region. Although communities of the lower Yangzi developed sophisticated technology for the production of high-fired glazed stoneware and stamped stoneware  – luxury objects for elite life in Erlitou, Zhengzhou, Yinxu, and their outposts  – these items never became  the exclusive symbol of political and ritual authority in early China like the bronze vessels were (Zheng et al. 2011). Their production did not contribute to the rise of any urban centers in the lower Yangzi like Erlitou and Zhengzhou. In general, the middle and lower Yangzi region was rendered peripheral in the emerging constellation of power of powerful Bronze Age states based in the Central Plains, to which it supplied stoneware, metal ore, and likely many other organic goods. The presence of Shang outposts in Henei and Shandong represents a major expansion of the political landscape laid out by Erlitou. As stated in Chapter 5, the post-Longshan occupation associated with the Yueshi material culture had considerably fewer sites and a significantly reduced ceramic assemblage in both functional type and quality (Kikawada 2005). Erligang expansion into Shandong started a new episode of political development in the coastal region after the collapse of its Longshan society. Approximately 450 kilometers northeast of Zhengzhou, the Daxinzhuang site in Jinan represents a major Shang stronghold in Shandong, where the ceramic assemblage and mortuary practices replicated those of Zhengzhou and its outposts (Fang et al. 2004; Fang 2013).5 The size, grave goods, patterns of human and animal sacrifice, and mortuary syntax of major elite tombs in Daxinzhuang (2003m106 and 2010m139) resemble those of Lijiazui m2 at Panlongcheng, indicating that the deceased were likely Shang lords of similar rank (Zhang Changping 2012). The site remained a Shang military stronghold through the Erligang and Yinxu periods.

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The Daxinzhuang ceramic assemblage consists of two components: the classical Shang tradition and Shang-style vessels produced with Yueshi techniques local to the Shandong region, indicating the subjugation of the native population associated with the Yueshi material culture (Xu 1995, 2000). The very low density of Yueshi remains in the regional survey data indicate that the Shang moved into a sparsely populated region after the collapse of Longshan society in the early second millennium bce (Li Min 2008). This population dynamic made the presence of a major fortress associated with the Yueshi material culture at Chengziya stand out as an anomaly against the backdrop of regional decline (Fu et al. 1934; Fang 2000:36; Li Min 2008). First built during the Longshan period, the fortification at the Longshan typesite seems to have been strengthened with a new episode of wall construction using a rammed earth technique similar to the one found at Zhengzhou. Recent excavations at the site yielded rammed earth foundations associated with the Yueshi material culture and burials with Shang-style ceramics produced with Yueshi techniques. Given the comparable size of Daxinzhuang (30 hectares) and Chengziya (20 hectares), and the close proximity of these two centers (20 kilometers), it is possible that the late phases of Yueshi occupation at Chengziya were contemporaneous with the Upper Erligang settlement at Daxinzhuang for some time, likely representing a process of Shang incorporation of local communities. To the north of Zhengzhou, a chain of Shang garrison towns was established along the foot of Taihang, e.g. Fucheng (9 hectares) and Mengzhuang (25 hectares), extending toward the Shang homeland in the Henei Basin (Yang and Zhang 1994; Yuan and Qin 2000; Henansheng 2003). Again, most of them were built on, or adjacent to, Erlitou settlements. Their construction was probably aimed at monitoring the movement of highland communities through the trans-Taihang corridors, whereas Erligang strongholds had settled in the Changzhi Basin and the Taiyuan Basin west of Taihang (Cao 2014:179). Further north, Liujiahe and Taixi represent the Shang strongholds securing the northern gateway of the Shang heartland. Located at the foot of Yanshan mountain range, the elite tomb at Liujiahe presents a hybrid material culture assemblage consisting of bronze vessels and jade objects characteristic of Shang tradition, and gold jewelry associated with highland tradition further north (Beijingshi 1977). The deceased was likely a Shang lord responsible for securing the trans-Yanshan passage, through which communities associated with the Lower Xiajiadian material culture in the Chifeng region and Shang communities in the Henei Basin interacted. As seen in Chapter 7, such a mixed assemblage represents a recurrent pattern for Shang and Zhou elites active in this strategic northern gateway.

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Approximately halfway between Liujiahe and Zhengzhou, the Taixi site (90 hectares) at the east end of the Jingxing Corridor overlooked the highland gateway to the Henei Basin. The bronze and ceramic assemblage from elites buried in Taixi is characteristic of Shang tradition. The discovery of a half-dozen human skulls suspended under the roof a brewery offers clues to the close-knit relationship between military ethos and alcohol consumption (Hebeisheng 1985). Liujiahe and Taixi both produced cold-forged meteorite iron battleaxes mounted on bronze backing.6 The limited distribution of bimetallic battleaxes involving copper and meteoritic iron in the northern frontier of the Shang domain is consistent with the North Asian multi-metallic craft tradition already in operation since the late fourth millennium bce (Koryakova and Epimakhov 2007; Kohl 2007). Further south along the Henei Basin, the abandonment of the Erlitou-period town walls at Mengzhuang took place at the same time as a shift in material culture from the Erlitou tradition associated with the Yi-Luo River Basin to the Xiaqiyuan tradition from the Henei Basin (Miyamoto 2014:341). Military expansion likely accounts for the spread of a highly homogeneous cultural assemblage associated with Zhengzhou and related rituals and social practices to vast regions previously unaffected by the Erligang material culture (Bagley 1999:170).The distribution of the Erligang outposts, as reviewed here, highlights the critical role of Erlitou in defining the framework for Bronze Age states based in the Central Plains. Erligang expansion represents a renewed episode and a consolidation of this Central Plains-centered political order. As stated earlier in this chapter, the very archaeological attributes that connect Zhengzhou with its outposts like Panlongcheng serve to connect Zhengzhou with Yinxu and its outposts. There was no rupture in material culture to suggest the Erligang civilization represents anything other than the Early Shang material culture predating the Yinxu tradition of the Late Shang. THE RETURN TO HENEI AND THE ANYANG- CENTERED POLITICAL LANDSCAPE

The Abandonment of Zhengzhou and Luoyang The Early Shang consolidation of the Central Plains-based political order was short-lived. The rapid expansion from Zhengzhou reached its limit, and a series of crises weakened the Shang hegemony. The Yanshi fortress in the Luoyang Basin was abandoned at the end of the fifteenth century bce (Zhongguo 2003:218). The palatial buildings in Zhengzhou appear to have been abandoned a century later (Zhongguo 2003:228, 271; Henansheng 2012).

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6.10. The bronze assemblage from the Nanshunchengjie Hoard in Zhengzhou (after Henansheng 1999: Color Plate 2).

After the decline of the palatial quarter, the Zhengzhou bronze foundries operated for some time before the city was completely deserted by the turn of the thirteenth century bce. Three impressive hoards containing large bronze ding vessels were placed between the outer and inner wall enclosures at Zhengzhou, not long before the end of the Early Shang occupation in the city (Zhongguo 2003:255, 271–74). Two of these hoards were symmetrically placed near the two corners of the inner city, with cinnabar and charcoal layers deposited over the bronze vessels, suggesting that they were ritual dedications sponsored by the ruling elite in Zhengzhou, possibly to counter the forces making the city uninhabitable before its eventual abandonment (Henansheng 1999) (Figure 6.10).The event would have taken place with elaborate ritual protocols and contributed to the grandeur of Zhengzhou as an extraordinary place. These discoveries added bronze vessels to the existing repertoire of jade objects, humans, animals, and possibly textiles as valuable offerings for engaging with the supernatural, which marks the beginning of an important ritual tradition in Sandai society. These hoards also saw the ritual presentation of bronze ding vessels as a graded set (Henansheng and Zhengzhoushi 1999). Such a set configuration of bronze ding vessels eventually became the primary symbol of political authority in Zhou society, and thus is critical for the cultural assumptions of the wen ding narrative (Yu and Gao 1978–79). Located some 20 kilometers northwest of Zhengzhou, Xiaoshuangqiao (150 hectares) rose to be an important royal center during the Middle Shang period (Henansheng 2012). Partially overlapping with the late Upper Erligang

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Phase occupation in Zhengzhou, the discovery of palatial structures with rammed earth foundations, bronze foundries, and large-scale ritual sacrifices involving human victims and domestic animals defines the site as an important ceremonial and political center in the immediate hinterland of Zhengzhou (Zhongguo 2003:274–75). The discovery of a large cuboidal bronze cap (approximately 18 cm on each side) with elaborate iconography indicates that the roof ridge and other parts of the palatial structures at Xiaoshuangqiao and other royal centers were once outfitted with bronze fittings. These bronze architectural components were probably looted and melted down after the fall of these cities. The massive deposits of cattle for royal dedications at Xiaoshuangqiao mark the beginning of a focus on cattle in state ritual as seen in oracle bone inscriptions of the Late Shang period (Okamura 2005;Yuan and Flad 2005; Lü 2015). The nature of the Xiaoshuangqiao royal center remains debated  – it was either a ritual complex attached to the royal capital in Zhengzhou, or a new royal capital established after the decline of Zhengzhou (Henansheng 2012). These two hypotheses had very different implications for the role of Zhengzhou in the transitional period before the rise of Yinxu. In any case, the florescence of Xiaoshuangqiao as a Shang royal center was brief. Not long after its construction, its palaces were burnt down and the city was abandoned (Xia Shang Zhou 2000:70; Henansheng 2012:725). The political dynamics between the abandonment of Xiaoshuangqiao in Zhengzhou and the construction of the Huanbei city in Anyang remains understudied (Thorp 1985, 2006; Tang 1999). Later textual sources mention a period of chaos and disruption in the Shang political order, which may have been caused by a crisis in royal succession, as seen in irregularities in the king list from historical accounts (Liu and Chen 2003). The Shang may have moved its capitals around, as suggested by later textual sources. If this was the case, these crises were certainly not great enough to generate major disruption in Shang material culture at the magnitude seen in the Erlitou–Erligang transition. Instead, the ceramic typology of the pouchlegged li tripod vessels displays strong continuity from the Erligang to the Yinxu Phases.

The Late Shang Royal Centers in Anyang The Shang royal court eventually returned to Henei and settled in Anyang. The first royal center was established at Huanbei (470 hectares) on the northern bank of the Huan River (Zhongguo 2003:276).Within the walled city, there was an impressive palatial precinct (10 hectares) with dozens of rammed earth foundations. Both the city walls and the buildings are

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orientated about 13 degrees east of true north, characteristic of walled cities, palatial foundations, and royal burials in Yanshi, Zhengzhou, Panlongcheng, and Yinxu (Tang et al. 2000; Zhongguo 2003; Sun 2009; Jing et al. 2013). The No. 1 palatial complex extends to an impressive area of 1.6 hectares (Zhongguo 2003:276). Its main building features an 85-meter-wide structure subdivided into ten chambers. The main hall was attached to a courtyard enclosed by a roofed corridor, which closely resembles the layout of the Erlitou palatial compound. A  number of sacrificial pits were found inside the palatial compound, particularly under ramps leading to doorways, which also resemble the sacrificial dedications excavated inside Erlitou palatial buildings. After less than a century of occupation, the palatial precinct at Huanbei was burnt down, presumably as a result of civil wars or highland raids. An elaborate gatehouse of the main palatial complex collapsed in intense fire, filling its entranceway with burnt architectural debris. The walled city was abandoned after the crisis, and its residents were relocated to the south bank of the Huan River, where they established a new royal center in the area historically known as Yinxu (“the Ruins of Yin”; Yin has been the historical name for the Late Shang regime). The discoveries of palaces, cemeteries, and inscribed bronzes and oracle bones at Yinxu present compelling links with the twenty-first king Wu Ding to the twenty-ninth king Di Xin in historiography (Keightley 1978, 2000; Chang 1980). Based on the king list, the Huanbei city was probably established by the nineteenth king Pan Geng, who was responsible for relocating the Shang capital to the place of Yin in later historiography. The entries in the Bamboo Annuals describe King Pan Geng’s capital as being located 30 li south of the historical city of Ye for the next 273  years, until the regime fell to Zhou conquest (Guben 1997:9). This concurs with the geographic and historical frame of Yinxu, where the Late Shang royal capital was excavated in the early twentieth century. The late second millennium bce, therefore, presents the beginning of a convergence between textual and archaeological representations. Carbon-14 dating and ceramic typology collectively indicate that the Shang royal center in Yinxu was in operation from the mid-thirteenth to mid-eleventh century bce (Figure 6.11). This two-century period is divided into four phases, with Yinxu I corresponding to the early reigning period of King Wu Ding,Yinxu II to the later years of Wu Ding, King Zu Geng, and King Zu Jia,Yinxu III to Lin Xin, Kang Ding, Wu Yi, and Wen Ding, and Yinxu IV to the last two kings, Di Yi and Di Xin, and the early post-conquest period (Zhongguo 2003:294–95). The urban occupation eventually ended after the Zhou forcefully relocated its population to newly established Zhou royal centers and military colonies after its second conquest (Chapter 7).

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Yinxu Miaopu Phase I

Yinxu Miaopu Phase II

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6.11. The stylistic variation of Shang pottery li vessels at the Miaopu locus in Yinxu, Anyang (after Zhongguo 1987:133–34 Figures 99 and 100).

Unlike the Early Shang royal centers, the Late Shang royal center at Yinxu was not walled. Instead, it was a giant conglomerate of residential communities, craft workshops for bone, jade, bronze, and ceramic production, and cemeteries located around the royal compound at Xiaotun. It grew from approximately 12 square kilometers in Yinxu Phase I  (late thirteenth century bce) to 30 square kilometers in Phase III (late twelfth century bce), becoming the largest metropolis in early China during the second millennium bce (Zhongguo 1994:40–48; 2003:295–96). Located on the south bank of the Huan River, the palatial precinct at Xiaotun (70 hectares) was separated from the rest of the city by a large moat (Li Chi 1977; Chang 1980; Zhongguo 1994, 2003). More than fifty rammed earth foundations were grouped into three clusters, consisting of residential compounds, main audience halls, and ancestral temples. Although the plan maps from the early Yinxu excavations did not provide any information on their layout, recent excavations and systematic probing at Yinxu have revealed that the architectural plan and orientation of these palatial compounds were similar to those of the No. 1 palatial complex in Huanbei, featuring a main hall and a courtyard enclosed by a roofed corridor and gates. Some foundations were associated with hundreds of sacrificial pits filled with humans, horses, cattle, sheep, and dogs, probably from ancestral dedications and foundation offerings (Zhongguo 2003:353–55). Other foundations were associated with charred cattle and sheep bones, presumably from burning sacrificial offerings. Large numbers of inscribed oracle bones used in Late Shang royal divination were excavated from the palatial precinct in Xiaotun.The inscriptions indicate that different techniques of ritual offerings, e.g. burying, burning, and sinking in the river, were associated with royal rituals taking place in the ancestral

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temple. The massive use of cattle scapulae for royal divination relied on a welldeveloped agropastoral economy, in which cattle herding rapidly expanded as part of the Shang ritual economy (Okamura 2004, 2005). An estimated 110,000 cattle were exploited during the lifespan of the Tiesanlu bone workshop in Anyang alone, approximately 700 a year (Campbell et al. 2011). With multiple bone workshops operating at this scale in Anyang, the intensive use of cattle marks a significant shift away from the traditional focus on pigs as the major domestic animal used for ritual offerings and feasting.The change coincides with the historical narrative of Shang ancestors as stockbreeders. From their initial introduction during the Longshan period to the enormous usage observed at Anyang, cattle and rituals associated with them evolved to become key components of the Sandai civilization during the Shang period (Okamura 2005; Flad 2008; Li Zhipeng et al. 2011). The emphasis on cattle for elite feasting and ritual dedication demanded longer cooking time and larger cooking vessels, a process paralleled by the increasing elaboration and ritualization of bronze vessels in Anyang foundries. By the early Yinxu period, the simu wu bronze tetrapod vessel made for offering sacrifice to a royal woman had reached a phenomenal 832 kilograms in weight and 1.33 meters in height. The size of mold fragments excavated from bronze foundries at Xiaomintun further indicates that the Anyang workshops were frequently engaged in the production of monumental bronze ding vessels up to 1.5 meters in diameter, which probably once furnished the looted royal tombs at Xibeigang north of the Huai River (Huang 2014:579). At least five large bronze foundries were in operation through the urban phases at Yinxu, producing tools, weapons, chariot accessories, and bronze vessels with some degree of specialization (Li Yung-ti 2003a, 2007;Yinxu 2007). Up to one hectare in size, these foundries left behind thousands of broken mold fragments, which reveal significant elaboration in bronze iconography. The latest production at Yinxu lasted until the Early Western Zhou period, when the Zhou relocation of Shang inhabitants resulted in the deurbanization of Yinxu (Chapter 7). In contrast to Erlitou and Zhengzhou, Yinxu produced a large number of burials representing all tiers of Shang society. More than 7,000 Late Shang burials have been excavated at Yinxu, of which 2,300 were published (Gao 2011). More than nine hundred tombs organized in ten clusters were excavated at the Yinxu West Locus, where junior lineages of the royal clan, low ranking elite, and commoners were buried (Zhongguo 1994:121–38). Ranging from a few to several dozen in number, each cemetery had its own space, organization, mortuary rituals, and emblems on bronze vessels (Zhu 1990; Zheng 1995). The inventory of grave goods and ritual configuration of the elite tombs in Yinxu closely resembled those of Early Shang lords dispatched to outlying

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6.12. The Late Shang royal cemetery at Xibeigang, north of Yinxu (after Zhongguo 1994:102 Figure 52).

garrison towns from Zhengzhou. The display of weapons and the practice of human sacrifice are also important shared traits of these elite burials. Approximately 2.5 kilometers from Xiaotun, the placement of the Late Shang royal necropolis at Xibeigang north of the Huan River marks a symbolic demarcation of the living from the dead (Li Chi 1977; Zhongguo 1994). Extending across an area of 11 hectares, the necropolis consisted of thirteen royal tombs spatially organized in two groups, all sharing the same orientation with Early Shang architecture and elite tombs (Zhongguo 2003:300–2). The western group had seven royal tombs, all with four access ramps, and one unfinished tomb, presumably intended for the last king.The eastern group had one royal tomb with four ramps, three with double ramps, and one with a single ramp (Figure 6.12). The royal tombs were accompanied by tombs of lesser elites and/or retainers, some buried in nested coffins and furnished with bronze vessels.

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Late Shang royal tombs feature access ramps spreading out from their central chambers, extending up to 50 meters in length (Zhongguo 2003:339–45). The ramp design was later adopted into the Zhou elite tradition, thus becoming a hallmark of Shang and Zhou elite mortuary privilege. Due to the absence of royal burials from Erlitou, Zhengzhou, and Xiaoshuangqiao, we do not know when and where the ramp design was invented, or how it became adopted as a royal mortuary ritual. It clearly differed from the niche construction in elite burials at Taosi and Shimao. This new royal tradition either derived from a source unknown to current archaeological record or represented an invented tradition in Shang high culture. The Xibeigang royal tombs were systematically looted in the Early Western Zhou period, likely by Zhou forces after its second conquest to suppress the pro-Shang rebellion (Chapter 7). Nevertheless, the burial configuration, sacrificial pits, and remaining materials still yield critical information on the mortuary ritual of Shang kingship. From the excavation of lesser elite tombs, e.g. Huayuanzhuang East m54 and Dasikong m303, we can infer that the Shang royal tombs probably featured lacquered coffins painted with red, black, and yellow pigments, some painted with taotie motifs and covered with gold foil, then covered with layers of elaborately painted tapestry, and draped with cowries, fish pendants carved from freshwater shells, and small bronze bells (Gao 2011:99–100). Many of these practices were later adopted by Zhou elite, highlighting the creation and continuity of Sandai tradition (Chapter 7). The projection of the military ethos, concentration of wealth, and practice of  ritual violence are the defining characteristics of these great tombs. A small portion of tomb m1004 survived the plunder, yielding hundreds of bronze spears and dagger axes in bundles, up to a hundred bronze helmets with emblems, as well as sets of leather armor, shields, and chariot fittings (Liang and Gao 1970). The sets probably represented actual military units in the Shang troops. Also surviving the plunder was a pair of large tetrapod ding bronze vessels, each decorated with bovid and deer motifs and inscribed as such, probably used for presenting different kinds of animal meat in sacrificial rituals. Ritual violence on a massive scale took place both at funeral events and at the successive episodes of commemoration in honor of the royal dead. Tomb m1550 alone interred 243 human skulls. The excavation of more than a thousand sacrificial pits and the inscriptions from royal oracle bones suggest massive human sacrifice associated with each episode of ancestral veneration during the Late Shang period, particularly in the Early Yinxu phases associated with King Wu Ding (r. c. 1250–1192). Based on the entries in oracle bone inscriptions, Hu Houxuan (1974) estimated that more than 13,000 human victims had been sacrificed during the Late Shang period, which lasted approximately a quarter of a millennium.

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Systematic probing and excavation around the eastern group alone revealed more than 2,500 sacrificial pits. Densely distributed in rows and clusters, each cluster probably represented a single episode of ritual dedication.The majority of these square-shaped pits were filled with skeletal remains of human sacrifice, presumably of war captives, who had often been decapitated, ranging in number from several dozen to several hundred in a single episode (Zhongguo 1987; Zhongguo 1994:112–21, 2003:355–57; Cheung et al. 2017). Besides human sacrifice, these pits also contained cattle, horses, pigs, sheep, and occasionally wild animals. The faunal remains from the sacrificial pits and royal tombs show that the Shang kings gathered animals from different ecological niches, e.g. whale bone, takin, elephant, monkey, rhino, tapir, eagle, and various exotic birds, to be brought to the royal center to represent the diversity of the imagined Shang domain (Shi 1953).Their large numbers provide an inkling of the spectacle of these royal ancestral rituals, which made Yinxu an extraordinary place in the Late Shang world. Beyond Xibeigang and Xiaotun, the discovery of elite burials with access ramps, associated horse chariot pits, hundreds of sacrificial pits, and rammed earth foundations in various loci of Yinxu attests to the presence of powerful lineages forming the inner elite of the Late Shang court. The types of wealth and prestige items from these Late Shang elite tombs highlight strong connection with the Longshan-Erlitou-Zhengzhou legacy.The Anyang workshops elaborated the Longshan-Erlitou lapidary technique of working with fine turquoise inlay (Chen 2009) (Figure  6.13). The early royal tomb m1001 alone, for example, produced more than five thousand tesserae tiles from mosaic work (Liang and Gao 1962).7 This decorative technique was used extensively on the surfaces of Anyang and highland bronzes through the late second millennium bce. The Late Shang elaboration of a musical set consisting of bells, alligator skin drums, and chimestones bridged the Longshan-Erlitou prototypes with the Zhou classical tradition (Chapter 7). Large chimestones from royal tombs at Yinxu were engraved with tiger or dragon designs, and then painted with vermillion (Figure 6.14). Chimestones, often in sets of three or five, were frequently displayed with a large alligator skin wooden drum in Shang elite tombs in Yinxu and its outposts (Zhongguo 1994:362, 2003:437). As described in Chapter 4, this set configuration in odd numbers was first documented in elite burials at Taosi, nearly one thousand years before Yinxu. The elaboration of bronze bells in the elite culture of the Shang and its peers also highlighted the ritual significance of the Longshan-Erlitou tradition. The discovery of a bronze bell and turquoise inlaid plaque set at a tomb in the Yanshi fortress presents the first evidence for the transfer of Erlitou tradition to the new royal center. The increase in size marks a major elaboration in Late Shang bells. Large bronze bells suspended on wooden frames were struck like

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6.13. Late Shang turquoise inlaid bronze vessel (image courtesy of National Museum of China).

6.14. A chimestone from the royal tombs of Xibeigang (image courtesy of the National Museum of China) and a large bronze nao bell of the Late Shang period unearthed at Nihequ, Anhui (height 49.5 cm, photo by Wang Yi at the Anhui Provincial Museum).

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chimestones in palatial settings or ancestral temples, also in graded sets of three or five. Up to half a meter in height, large stemmed bells reached an impressive size under the patronage of Shang elites and their peers in the middle Yangzi (Bagley 1999; Steinke 2014:160–68). Portable bells continued to be used in performative contexts, as seen in the Hougang sacrificial pit (hgh10), where one of the human victims (No. 16) wore an armband with a bronze bell and forty-five cowrie shells (Gao 2011:164). Although the Longshan-Erlitou forms figured prominently in Shang high culture, not all symbols from this tradition were incorporated. A  primary symbol of the Longshan-Erlitou ritual tradition, jade zhang scepters were present only at a few Early Shang elite tombs associated with the Upper Erligang material culture (Deng 1997; Zheng 1994). With the exception of some vermillion-inscribed stone zhang fragments found in a dozen tombs in Yinxu, the systematic absence of jade scepters in Shang elite tombs and residential settings suggests that this potent symbol of the Longshan-Erlitou tradition was no longer a central component of the Shang elite assemblage (Meng and Li 1987). This general absence of the prominant Longshan-Erlitou jade symbol in Shang material culture presents a significant contrast with the ritual use of these archaic jade forms among communities beyond the Shang political domain, e.g. Sanxingdui-Jinsha in Sichuan, which suggests the transmission of highland Longshan legacy among the Shang’s peers and/or rivals. I will elaborate on the ritual and political implication of this divergence in the latter part of this chapter and the next two chapters. The bronze and jade assemblage from tomb m89 excavated in a workshop area engaged in bronze, bone, pottery, and stone production, however, yielded critical information on the transmission of pre-Shang social memory among artisan lineages active in Yinxu. Located approximately one kilometer south of the palatial precinct at Yinxu, the tomb from Yinxu Phase II was furnished with a bronze drinking set consisting of a gu goblet and a jue tripod beaker, lapidary tools consisting of drills and grinding stones, and thirty-eight jade objects that included semi-finished pieces and waste fragments, suggesting that the deceased was an elite artisan specializing in jade working. The clan emblem cast on the bronze goblet represents the shape of a jade scepter with double flanges on each side (Zhongguo 2017) (Figure  6.15). The choice of this identity marker suggests that this artisan lineage probably descended from jade-working artisans of Longshan and Erlitou society, which was once actively engaged in the production and exchange of these jade scepters. Having been incorporated into the Shang royal centers, this artisan lineage offered their jade lapidary expertise to Shang royalty and elite by producing jade forms in demand by the Shang regime, e.g. dagger axes, battleaxes, spears, birds, as seen in the mortuary assemblage of m89 and in other Shang elite tombs. The ritual knowledge associated with these potent Longshan

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6.15. Zhang scepters discovered in Shang and Sanxingdui sites. 1.  Excavated from an Early Shang burial at Wangjinglou, Henan (Gu 2005 vol. v:19); 2. Excavated from an Early Shang elite burial at Yangzhuang in Zhengzhou, Henan (Gu 2005 vol. v:102); 3.  The zhang-shaped clan emblem cast on bronze vessels from tomb m89 at Yinxu (after Zhongguo 2017:35 Figure 38); 4. A small bronze figurine of a kneeing figure holding a zhang scepter, excavated from pit No. 2 at Sanxingdui (after Sichuansheng 1999:247 Plate 88); 5. A bronze zhang scepter excavated at Sanxingdui (after Sichuansheng 1999:285 Figure 158); 6. A jade zhang scepter with engraved iconography representing the ritual dedication of zhang scepters in mountain pilgrimage, excavated at Sanxingdui (after Sichuansheng 1999:361 Figure  197); 7.  A  jade zhang scepter engraved with the image of a jade zhang scepter, excavated at Sanxingdui (after Sichuansheng 1999:81 Figure 41).

symbols, therefore, could be transmitted within these artisan lineages alongside jade-working technology even though these forms were no longer part of the Shang high culture.

The Anyang-Centered Political Landscape The Late Shang’s return to the Henei Basin was particularly important for understanding the changing configuration of political landscape in the development of the Sandai historical tradition. The world order as imagined from the perspective of Anyang was very different from that of the Luoyang Basin or Zhengzhou. By declaring themselves the occupants of the central place, the Late Shang kings made Anyang the axis mundi of their world:

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The importance of the center is seen in the appellation Zhong Shang 中商,literally “Central Shang,” which some have taken as a reference to “the central city of Shang,” … Perhaps “Central Shang” was rarely specified because the centrality of the Xiaotun site – symbolized by the temple-palaces and their cult, by the presence of the royal dead to whom the ancestral cult was addressed, and by the presence of the king himself – was taken for granted. The Shang king conceived of himself as standing at the core of a series of grids  – familial, spiritual, geographical. His authority stemmed from his location at that core. (Keightley 2000:84–85)

The notion of Zhong Shang was supplemented by the name Dayishang大邑 商 (the great settlement of Shang),Tianyishang天邑商 (the celestial settlement of Shang), and Zishang 茲商 (this place of Shang), which all referred to the Shang royal center (Keightley 2000:82–86; Tang and Jing 2009). The definition of the axis mundi “was evidently no casual matter” for the Shang kings (Keightley 2000:86). It involves the practice of exacting science and ritual protocols under royal supervision: A series of Shang divination concerned the king’s engagement in an activity termed li zhong 立中 (y89.1, s31.4), which appears to have been a major ritual. The oracle-bone graph for “center” has pennants at top and bottom, but whether the reference was to a physical flag, so that li zhong means “to set up the standard of the center”(Lefeuvre 1976–78), or whether it referred to the setting up of a gnomon to measure the sun’s shadow (Lian Shaoming 1996:168), or whether li zhong meant “to set one’s self up in the center,” as a cosmological-ritual act, or whether it referred to some other activity entirely is not clear. Whatever the activity involved, its importance can be seen from the fact that some of the divinations about performing it were performed more than twenty or thirty days in advance. (Keightley 2000:85)

To situate the royal city at the center provided the spatial and symbolic definition of legitimacy for the Shang kingship, against which other perspectives and political traditions were rendered peripheral or excluded. From an archaeological or historiographic perspective, the Henei Basin had no great history other than being the predynastic Shang homeland. An integrated observation between archaeology and transmitted text, therefore, reveals that the Shang claimed no other tradition than its own past in its historical narratives and ideology of space. The notion of its center came with its perspectives on the four quarters, or the cosmology of sifang (meaning four directions), “the belief in a cosmos that extends throughout space, axially and diagonally in four directions” (ChildsJohnson 2014:167). According to the Baoxun manuscript from the late first millennium bce, the predynastic Shang leader Shang Jia Wei built a ritual mound for marking axis mundi at the place of He, which refers to the Yellow River in archaic context, presumably a place along the archaic lower Yellow

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River, around which he gathered troops to seek revenge on the Youyi groups in the north, who raided the Shang herds and killed a Shang leader (Li Xueqin 2010). After his success, he had another gathering around the ritual mound to present the victory to gods and ancestors. The Henei Basin, therefore, was both the Shang ancestral place and the location of its last royal center. In contrast to the Luoyang-based political order, which became the recurrent theme in the configuration of the political landscape, the Anyang-centered political order represents an anomaly in the history of the Chinese political landscape – few regimes chose to establish their political base in the Henei Basin.8 None did so to claim the Shang legacy in the region. As I will elaborate in Chapter 7, the Zhou elite were rather aware of this unique connection between the Shang legacy and the Henei Basin, which sets the Shang apart from other political traditions within the Sandai civilization. Yinxu oracle bone inscriptions reveal that the Late Shang kings still controlled a broad territory around the royal center in Anyang. The kings and their entourage were engaged in continuous tours within the royal domain, through which the Shang king “displayed his power by frequent travel, hunting, and inspecting along the pathways of his realm … the king in his travels would have moved through a landscape pregnant with symbolic meaning, sacrificing to the local spirits, giving and receiving power at each holy place, and thus renewing the religious and kin ties that bound the state together” (Keightley 1983:551–52). Although the Shang leaders did not emerge from an area endowed with a great historical legacy, they were certainly not unaware of the past, and even attempted to incorporate aspects of it in their conception of their political and historical landscape. The return to the Henei Basin did not necessarily mark an immediate decline of Shang royal power, especially under the leadership of King Wu Ding in the Early Yinxu period. On the contrary, the Late Shang royal center at Anyang remained unrivaled in its scale and complexity through the last quarter of the second millennium bce. In the broadly defined Bronze Age society of early China, however, the power of Shang kings and their state apparatus remained limited, even at the height of Shang expansion. The political dynamics between the Shang and the local communities displays significant regional variations. To the east of Anyang, the advance of Shang forces into the sparsely populated Shandong region generated a population revival during the late second millennium bce, whereas ceramic and bronze assemblages in these Shandong sites represent “a wholesale transplant of the Anyang culture” (Cao 2014:203). Daxinzhuang remained a Shang outpost during the Yinxu period, where Shang warrior elites were buried with a standard assemblage of bronze vessels, weapons, and pottery wares, often flanked with many dogs as companions in hunting and war (Li Min 2008). While the distribution of the he enclosed tripod vessel with a tubular outlet

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was restricted to a small circle of high elite in the Shang royal centers and their outposts, the bronze jue tripod beakers appear to have been widely available to the lower elite, resulting from the expansion of bronze production in Late Shang society (Du 1992a:25). Smaller elite tombs at Daxinzhuang are often furnished with a single jue tripod beaker and/or a dagger axe, which was tied to two important aspects of Shang life in its outposts: warfare and feasting. Outside Yinxu, Daxinzhuang is the only Shang site with an inscribed Shang oracle bone discovered in situ.The size of major Shang settlement in the region, however, was still less than a tenth of the size of large Longshan centers like Yaowangcheng. The excavation of the Sufutun cemetery in Qingzhou produced the tomb of a powerful coastal lord associated with the Late Shang cultural tradition. It featured four ramps like the royal tombs from Xibeigang, nearly one hundred human victims slain at the site, more than three thousand cowrie shells, and a rich inventory of bronze vessels with distinctive emblems (Shandongsheng 1972). Elite burials from other lineage cemeteries in the region, e.g. Xingfuhe and Qianzhangda, yielded bronze vessels with emblems identical to those of the junior lineages of the royal clan at Yinxu, which attest to their close affiliation with the royal center. The elite cemetery at Qianzhangda in southern Shandong also featured horse-drawn chariots, an important military innovation in Late Shang society (Zhongguo 2005). These findings suggest an increasing Shang presence in the coastal region, which strongly contrasts with their withdrawal on other fronts. Large-scale salt production flourished along the coast of the Bohai Gulf, probably as an alternative to the lake salt from the Jinnan Basin, which had been deserted in the Late Shang period (Fang 2004;Yan 2013). The discovery of Late Shang bronze assemblages and walled settlements at Chengzixiancun, approximately 7 kilometers from the copper mining site at Lükuangdong in Laiwu, indicates that the Shang mining operation had penetrated into the central mountain range in Shandong. The expansion of these coastal mining activities concurs with the decline of direct Shang control in other resourcerich regions, particularly in Jinnan. The Shang grip on the coast, however, was never fully consolidated. The Late Shang oracle bone inscriptions, bronze inscriptions, and later historiography all suggest that the Shang kings engaged in numerous campaigns against the coastal confederations collectively known as Renfang (Keightley 2000:78). The prolonged eastern campaigns in Shandong and the Huai River Basin conducted by the last Shang king Di Xin significantly weakened royal power, and may have contributed to the rise of the highland alliances led by the Zhou in the Guanzhong Basin (Chapter 7). Archaeologically, the eastern part of the peninsula was inhabited by communities associated with the Zhenzhumen material culture of the Yueshi tradition, who were not fully

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incorporated into the Sandai society until well into the first millennium bce (Beijing and Yantaishi 2000). To the west of Anyang, the abandonment of Shang outposts at Dongxiafeng, Yuanqu,Yanshi, and Zhengzhou after Yinxu Phase II marked the Shang withdrawal from the Jinnan and the Luoyang basins, the core area of the Central Plains. Unlike the middle Yangzi, the Huai River Basin, and the Guanzhong Basin, where the space left behind by the withdrawal of a Shang presence was filled by thriving local communities with their diverse material cultures, the Luoyang Basin and the Jinnan Basin became virtually uninhabited during the Late Shang period (Zhongguo 1989, 2004; Liu Xu 2014; Cao 2014). Intense investigation into these basins produced few remains associated with Yinxu or with local cultures contemporaneous with the Late Shang period (Liu and Chen 2003:105–6; Liu Li et al. 2004:92; Liu Xu 2014:173, 183, 220, 287; Sebillaud 2014:102–4, 116; Cao 2014:169–70, 182) (Figure 6.16). This may be a result of intense military conflicts with the highland communities, which were frequently documented in the Late Shang oracle bone inscriptions from Yinxu (Wang Guowei 1925(1994)). As I will elaborate in Chapter 7, this phenomenon has significant implications for the Zhou reconfiguration of the political landscape after its conquest of Shang. To the west of Jinnan, several elite lineages in the Guanzhong Basin maintained close connections with the Shang royal center by serving as its western allies (Zhongguo 2007). The excavation at Laoniupo (50 hectares) in the middle of the Guanzhong Basin revealed evidence of Shang occupation through the Early, Middle, and Late Shang phases (Liu Shi’e 2002; Jing 2003). The site yielded large rammed earth foundations resembling the palatial compound in other Shang outposts, clay molds for casting bronze vessels, and a Shang elite lineage cemetery furnished with horse pits and chariots. While the construction of ledges and waist pits in these tombs adheres to the Shang tradition, many tombs have niches dug into the tomb shaft, adhering to a mortuary practice associated with the architectural tradition of the loess highlands.With the withdrawal of the Shang military presence from the Jinnan Basin and the Luoyang-Zhengzhou region, these highland powers on the far western end of the Shang world became further removed from the Shang royal center, affording them increased autonomy within the Late Shang political framework. At the western end of the Guanzhong Basin, the Early Shang outposts were abandoned during the Late Yinxu phases (Zhongguo 2003:319). Communities associated with multiple highland traditions, e.g. Nianzipo, Liujia, and Zhengjiapo, were active in this region later known as Zhouyuan, from where the Zhou confederation emerged at the end of the second millennium bce (Lei 2010). Some of these groups displayed strong ties with communities on the loess highlands, while others were closely affiliated with

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350 Changing Settlement Patterns in the Gongyi Region, eastern Luoyang Basin 300

Frequency or size in ha.

Settlement area 250

Number of sites Size of largest site

200

150

100

50

0 Late PLG

Middle YS

Early LS

ELT

Late SH

Chronology

6.16. The regional systematic survey in the eastern Luoyang Basin documented a population increase and settlement nucleation during the Erlitou period followed by a sharp decline of population during the Late Shang (Late SH) period, in contrast to the Erlitou-Lower Erligang (ELT) period before, and the Eastern Zhou (E ZH) period after, the Late Shang (after Liu and Chen 2003:32 Figure 4).

the western highlands. This dynamic cultural landscape made the Guanzhong Basin a new syncretic place, where the founders of the Zhou state could develop a new political tradition by drawing on different sources of historical knowledge (Chapter 7). To the south, the highly homogeneous Upper Erligang ceramic assemblage gave way to increasingly local variations after Shang forces pulled out of their regional strongholds in the lowland plains and the copper-producing region of the middle Yangzi. This may have resulted in the rise of a local elite with greater autonomy than in the Early Shang period (Bagley 1999). The elite tombs at the Tianhu cemetery in Luoshan north of Mt. Dabie displayed mortuary arrangements and material culture closely associated with Yinxu, probably representing the lineage cemetery of a Shang lord stationed in the upper Huai River Basin (Henansheng and Henansheng 1986). These Shang strongholds, however, were scattered in a sea of local communities exhibiting increasing diversity in their material culture (Dou 2014). Further to the south, several local polities flourished south of the middle Yangzi after the abandonment of the Shang outpost at Panlongcheng, e.g. Wucheng (60 hectares) and Niucheng (50 hectares), which probably took

E. Zh

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over the control of copper mines in the Daye, Ruichang, and Jiujiang regions (Jiangxisheng and Tongling 1990; Liu and Lu 1997, 1998; Jiangxisheng and Zhangshushi 2005; Zhu 2005). These regional societies incorporated and transformed the Erligang style for prestige and status, resulting in regional variation in bronze styles (Kane 1974; Bagley 1999, 2014; Dou 2014). The set configuration of these vessels and the ways in which they were articulated into the local world increasingly deviated from the Shang tradition observed in its royal centers. Many post-Erligang assemblages in these regions bear resemblance to the local variations of the Longshan ceramic tradition, which made extensive use of the ding tripod vessels for cooking (Zhongguo 2003:478–80). The emergence of a hybrid material culture incorporating both Shang and local forms developed in tandem with the rise of new mortuary traditions among the local elite associated with these polities. While the elite burial at the Dayangzhou site in Xingan, approximately 450 kilometers south of Panlongcheng, was richly furnished with bronze, jade, lacquer, and stone ware objects of both classical Shang and local forms, the construction of a tomb mound on ground level without a deep tomb shaft and ledge would appear completely alien to any Shang elite from Zhengzhou or Anyang (Jiangxisheng et  al. 1997). Above-ground elite burial mounds are found across the major copper production regions of Nanling, Fanchang, and Tongling, which continued well into the early first millennium bce. None of these regional polities in the middle Yangzi, however, could rival Anyang in its scale and complexity to put their leaders in the position similar to that of the Chu king in the wen ding story. Copper mines were associated with local material culture in the Late Shang period, indicating a decrease in the Shang’s direct involvement in mining operations. The impressive scale of bronze production observed in the Anyang foundries, however, suggests that the Late Shang state probably continued to import copper from the major mining centers of the middle Yangzi. Changes in local material culture, therefore, may indicate changing trade arrangements, wherein the local polities provided copper ores in exchange for finished goods and other luxuries. Besides copper, the production of glazed stoneware with stamped geometric patterns in the middle and lower Yangzi continued to supply Shang elites in the Central Plains. RELIGIOUS COMMUNICATION AND THE RITUAL SIGNIFICANCE OF BRONZE DING VESSELS

Tenuous Claim to the Monopoly of Religious Communication During the Shang period, two new developments in the realm of religious communication took place, namely the elaboration in techniques of oracle

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bone divination and the incorporation of inscriptions into royal divinations at Yinxu. Scapulimancy first appeared in highland Longshan society during the late third millennium bce and had spread widely across the Longshan world by the end of the millennium. It was during the Late Shang period, however, that an elaborated form of scapulimancy was adopted as a state institution practiced by the Shang royalty and its inner elite. Unlike the random burns on unmodified bone used during the Longshan period, the Shang ritual specialists refined the technique of pyromantic divination by applying intensive heat to carefully prepared hollows carved into the back of a cattle scapula or a turtle shell (Keightley 1978; Flad 2008). The questions and answers were also arranged in a binary format. Under the supervision of kings, royal women, and professional diviners, it became a highly formalized technique of communicating with the otherworldly authority, e.g. natural powers and ancestors (Keightley 1978, 2000). Cracks resulting from the ritual performance produced sounds and writing-like signs simultaneously for interpretation by those with specialized ritual knowledge. Such knowledge included not only the ability to read the cracks, but also the correct rules by which to prepare the bones and bore the highly formalized hollows that produce legible signs. The numerical inscriptions on some oracle bone divinations display the same pattern as seen in Yijing, the Book of Changes, indicating that milfoil divination was practiced alongside scapulimancy in Shang society (Zhang Zhenglang 2011). A shift from divination using a diverse range of taxa (most frequently pig, deer, and sheep) during the Longshan period to a limited range of animals (almost exclusively cattle and turtles) in Shang society represents an important elaboration in the mediums of religious communication (Flad 2008). The increasing domination of cattle scapulae in Shang scapulimancy evolved in tandem with the increasing emphasis on cattle in elite feasting and ritual sacrifice (Okamura 2004, 2005; Yuan and Flad 2005; Campbell et  al. 2011). The incorporation of turtle shells into pyromantic divination represents an Early Shang synthesis of ritual techniques from different religious traditions (Henansheng 2001:136). The procurement of shells entails an expansion of geographic orientation toward the lowlands. The elaboration of divination techniques, the massive scale of ritual sacrifice, the enormous wealth invested in the production of ritual vessels, and the exclusive use of writing all presents an impression of royal monopoly of religious communication. Such monopoly, however, remains a political aspiration rather than a reality. The Shang royal court had better equipment and greater wealth than local lords, but no means to monopolize the channels of religious communication. The local lords had tribute obligations for presenting cattle scapulae and turtle shells to the royal court for divination use. This, however,

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was primarily a political obligation, and had no effect on the religious practice itself. The widespread use of oracle bones and the diverse techniques of divination practiced at these sites suggests that people in all sectors of Shang society maintained their own channels of religious communication, at least with their own ancestors. At the Shang outpost in Daxinzhuang, for example, different techniques of oracle bone divination associated with different ritual traditions were practiced side by side. Some adopted the metropolitan technique found at Shang royal centers, e.g. the use of the turtle shells for divination, the highly standardized methods of bone modification, and presumably the underlying knowledge system (Li Min 2008). Others, however, continued with the traditional techniques used since the Longshan period.While the metropolitan technique has a stylistic connection with the Shang royal practice, the techniques’ religious efficacy, however, remained a matter of perception by their practitioners in the broadly defined Shang society.The Shang kingship did not create a new, all-encompassing religious pantheon that excluded others from their engagement with the supernatural powers. Beneath the veneer of the Shang’s claim to religious authority, Shang hegemony was primarily achieved through intimidation and coercion. From the perspective of communities residing outside the Shang outposts, the massive capture of war prisoners for human sacrifice would suggest that the Shang were not particularly communicative in religious and political matters. Instead, they probably perceived the Shang as an aggressive military regime, rather than as a theocracy. One had to be on good terms with the Shang before any exchange of nuanced ideas about ritual and religion could take place.

The Proliferation of Literacy in the Late Shang Court Literacy is a central component of the Sandai classical culture and its systematic presence in the archaeological record at Yinxu represents an important indication of the development of this historical tradition. Systematic use of writing in contexts of religious communication within the royal household and its small circle of inner elite occurred during the Early Yinxu period. A total of 150,000 pieces of inscribed bone are known from Yinxu, of which 35,000 specimens came from controlled excavations (Zhongguo 2003:425). The proliferation of writing during King Wu Ding’s reign (r. c. 1250–1192 bce) left us with the greatest and richest repertoire of inscribed oracle bones. Two large collections from this repertoire are particularly important, i.e. pit 1936h127 at Xiaotun North (17,088 inscribed turtle shells and 8 inscribed bones) and pit h3 at Huayuanzhuang East (684 inscribed shells and 5 inscribed bones), covering the full span of Wu Ding’s life from a crown prince to a long-reigning ruler. Their subject matter was primarily concerned with

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the immediate religious, economic, military, political, and personal concerns of the royal household and its high elites. Although writing was used in the context of divination, it was not necessarily intended for religious communication with Shang royal ancestors. Instead, these inscriptions recorded the whole procedure in detail, including charges and verifications, informing us on the subject matter and context of these divination rituals in the Late Shang royal center (Keightley 1978). Their subject matter concerns harvests, bad omens, the capture of prisoners, child-bearing, the activities of Di (the high God) and other powers, dreams, floods, military strategy, the issuing of orders, rain and sunshine, wind, royal tours of inspection, sickness, sending men on a mission, settlement building, spiritual approval, assistance, harm, tribute payment, and so on (Keightley 1999:243). The nature of our historical observation, therefore, shifts from a coarsegrained archaeological reconstruction straight to a fine-textured account of diverse concerns of a royal court and elite persons in the first corpus of written records from early China without any gradual transition. This was also a relatively recent phenomenon within the temporal frame adopted for this book: oracle bone inscriptions appeared less than two centuries before the founders of the Zhou states took centerstage in the Sandai political tradition. For the purpose of this book, the importance of this repertoire of early written records cannot be overstated: It is only with the late Shang and its written records, however, that one can, for the first time begin to speak with confidence of a civilization that was incipiently Chinese in its values and institutions, a civilization characterized by its political and religious hierarchies, centralized management of resources, and complex, deeply rooted art forms. (Keightley 1999:232)9

The Late Shang oracle bone inscriptions from Yinxu provide the first epigraphic evidence for the Shang regime in the Sandai historical tradition known from received texts. Since epigraphic evidence is often given critical weight in the historicity (or lack of it) of the Sandai regimes, it is important to investigate the nature of literacy in Sandai society. Although discoveries at Taosi present evidence for possible experimentation with writing during the Longshan period (Chapter  4), their connections with and contribution to the Yinxu writing tradition remain to be fully investigated. First seen on the pottery bottle from Late Taosi, inscriptions in vermillion on the surface of pottery, jade, and occasionally oracle bones became more frequent during the Shang period, for which Xiaoshuangqiao and Taixi served as

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their predecessors. At the Xiaoshuangqiao site, characters written on pottery surfaces with vermillion closely resemble the characters used in oracle bone inscriptions in Late Shang Anyang (Song 2003; Zhongguo 2003:263; Henansheng 2012; Liu and Chen 2012:291–93). Characters of similar date and composition are also seen engraved on pottery at the Middle Shang site of Taixi in the Henei Basin.While the purpose of writing in these discoveries was not clear, the context of their use has been consistent. Given the current archaeological evidence from Taosi, writing appears to be a Longshan invention, as none of the signs engraved on Dawenkou-Shijiahe deep vats or on Liangzhu objects made it into the repertoire of Shang writing. A critical line of evidence for the Longshan invention of writing comes from the frame of knowledge underlying the early writing system. In Late Shang oracle bone inscriptions, cowrie, cattle, and sheep/goat were all represented as abstract signs in frontal perspective, in contrast to sketches of animals in profile or as compounds derived from existing signs. This indicates that these three taxa were integral to the cultural knowledge of the agropastoral communities responsible for inventing writing in early China (Figure 6.17). In contrast to these three taxa, which came with the expanded interactions of the Longshan world, the common taxa that had dominated the Neolithic faunal assemblage for millennia, namely pigs, deer, and dogs, were sketched out in profile perspective, suggesting their secondary role in the configuration of knowledge of designers. If we consider the pictographic representations of flora, fauna, and valuables as the foundation of a cultural tradition, then Longshan society was the first time that these taxa appeared within a single cultural system in early China and many of these taxa appeared at the time of expanded interactions involving indirect contacts with literate society in the Middle Asian Interaction Sphere (Chapter 4). Although writing could be invented independently, as seen in the New World, the Longshan period was by no means an age of cultural isolation. Instead, the scope of interregional interactions reached its peak during the late third millennium bce. By the Late Shang period, oracle bone divination had become an important religious activity involving the participation of the kings, royal women, nobles, and groups of diviners from prominent lineages in the Shang domain (Keightley 1978, 1999). Since the vast majority of oracle bones discovered from Longshan to Late Shang archaeological contexts were uninscribed, literacy was clearly not an essential component of religious communication through oracle bone divination (Li Min 2008). Instead, the choice by Late Shang kings and their inner elite to add inscriptions to the divination bones represents an exception rather than the norm in Shang divination practice. While scholars have presented numerous proposals for the origin of Chinese writing (Boltz 1994; Bagley 2004; Battéro 2004; Demattè 2010; Smith 2011, 2013; Wang Haicheng

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Frontal Representaton cowrie

cattle

Profile Sketch sheep goat

pig

dog

tiger

turtle

horse

deer

elephant

6.17. Characters related to the most common faunal taxa in Late Shang oracle bone inscriptions (after Gao Ming 1980). The left group assumes a frontal perspective in contrast to the right group where animals are sketched in profile.

2014), they have overlooked the unique circumstances of the proliferation of writing under Wu Ding’s royal patronage. In early Chinese classical writings, e.g. Shangshu, Guoyu, and Shiji, King Wu Ding was portrayed as the last great Shang leader before the corruption of his successors and the fall of the Shang regime. His restoration of Shang political order after an extended period of decline is attributed to his highland campaigns and good governance. Storytelling about the long-reigning Shang ruler never credited him with inventing writing. Instead, it highlighted the curious episode of a three-year silence after the death of his father, when he communicated with his concerned subjects only in writing. This story was incorporated into the “Shuo Ming” chapter in the Qinghua bamboo manuscript, Guoyu, Mengzi, Mozi, Liji, Shiji, and many other texts from the second half of the first millennium bce, indicating that the general storyline of the king’s silence had been shared widely in Eastern Zhou society, if not earlier (Li Xueqin 2011:121–31). Wu Ding’s reign ended less than 150 years before the Zhou conquest. Since many Shang elite lineages were incorporated into the service of the Zhou

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court as scribes and chroniclers, the founders of Zhou likely knew a good deal about the life and times of King Wu Ding through their Shang subjects (Chapter  7). Two royal addresses in transmitted texts were attributed to Wu Ding himself and two proclamations attributed to the Zhou state-founder the Duke of Zhou made reference to Wu Ding, which highlights the eminent stature of Wu Ding in the Zhou historical narratives. While the proclamation attributed to the Duke of Zhou in the “Wuyi” chapter of Shangshu made ideological elaborations on Wu Ding’s long silence, the proclamation was likely grounded in reliable historical knowledge of the Late Shang ruler, as these speeches were addressed to the Shang population and recorded by Shang scribes in the service of the Zhou court. Since concerns over speechlessness were indeed a subject matter of the oracle bone inscriptions of the Wu Ding period, we cannot attribute Zhou storytelling about Wu Ding’s long silence exclusively to later political fabrication. After all, few leaders in world history were ever described as being mute for an extended period of time and as only communicating in writing.10 A  psychological response, such as grief, may manifest itself in the form of silence. In this case, Wu Ding’s silence was attributed to his mourning the loss of his father. By the time that Analects was put into writing after the middle of the first millennium bce, the issue of his “three-year silence” mentioned in the Shangshu collection of venerated texts had already become such an archaic matter that the disciple would see the need to seek explanation from Confucius. Modern historians have offered various interpretations of the political symbolism of his long silence during the early part of his reign (Cen 1958:300–12; Li Min 1987;Yang 2005).While they focused on ideological elaborations about this extraordinary circumstance, they have overlooked the potential connection between it and the proliferation of writing in Wu Ding’s royal household. From this perspective, I argue that the proliferation of writing in the Late Shang royal divinations, particularly the practice of carving inscriptions on royal oracle bones, probably evolved from the special need generated by running a large royal household and complicated state affairs under a leader who suffered from a speech disability during the early part of his reign. Although this observation remains conjectural, it helps explain the comprehensive characteristics of the Wu Ding period inscriptions, especially those details concerning his personal life. This also explains the active role played by Shang royal women in supervising the preparation of divination bones and conducting divinations within Wu Ding’s household, as seen in the oracle bone inscriptions (Keightley 1978:12–21). The presence of literacy by the Early Yinxu period made it possible for Wu Ding to exercise kingship over his domain while coping with his extended silence.

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Royal patronage appears to have helped transform an early stage of writing into a fully developed writing system. During Wu Ding’s time, the use of bronze inscriptions containing clan emblems and names of the elite patron became widespread. Evidence of inscribed, and sometimes turquoise inlaid, bone objects, scribal training, and even bronze seals also appeared during this period (Chang 1980). These inscriptions on bronze and bone were often filled in in vermillion, putting them in the same tradition as that of Taosi and Xiaoshuangqiao. Many clan emblems appear to depict mythical stories related to the noble descent.The decapitated figure sporting a battleaxe, for example, resembles a visual representation of the stories of Xing Tian, a headless warrior hero described in the transmitted text Shanhaijing. Since Shanhaijing contains passages and wind names identical to those mentioned in Late Shang oracle bone inscriptions, its preservation of Shang or earlier myth is not at all unexpected (Hu 1944). The mythical stories associated with these emblems were probably recited by the storytellers and recorded in the Shang royal court, which helped make the diverse ethnoscape of the Shang realm legible to its rulers. As seen on the bronzes from Yinxu in Henei and the Jingjie cemetery in the Taiyuan Basin west of Taigang, some clan emblems depicted the outline of a li vessel or incorporated the image of li vessels in their design (Shanxisheng 2006a) (Figure 6.18).This indicates that this mundane food vessel was no less involved in the construction of the Shang subjects and their world. After Wu Ding’s reign, the information on the inscriptions became less detail-oriented and more routinized. While Keightley (1978, 1983) argues for a trajectory toward an emerging bureaucracy and rationalization in the Late Shang court, I argue that the lack of royal patronage from Wu Ding’s successors probably contributed to the decline of this Late Shang ritual institution and its disappearance after the Zhou conquest. This also explains the extraordinarily rare appearance of oracle bone inscriptions from Shang sites outside Anyang, in contrast to the widespread use of oracle bone divination in Shang society and the involvement of many diviner lineages at Wu Ding’s court. The royal oracle bone inscriptions from Anyang, therefore, present a rich but highly skewed perspective on Late Shang political history, particularly the royal household of King Wu Ding. They have little bearing on the Shang notion of history, certainly not the political history as seen from the perspective of Zhou leaders living approximately 800 kilometers west of Anyang. We have to rely on a comparative study of archaeological landscapes and the Zhou narratives of the past in historiography to develop a comprehensive understanding on the formation of the Sandai tradition, which is the central theme of Chapter 7.

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6.18. Bronzes featuring a clan emblem in the shape of a local pottery li tripod vessel (upper left) from the Jingjie cemetery in the Taiyuan Basin (after Shanxisheng 2006a:39–151 Figures 39, 116, 118, 152, 174).

The Presence of Bronze Ding Vessels in Royal Divination K. C.  Chang’s (1983) argument on bronze vessels being the mediums of religious communication and the path to political authority was critical in understanding the cultural assumptions of the wen ding narrative, where the Zhou founders allegedly divined the dynastic fortune with the legendary bronze vessels. Epigraphic evidence from the Late Shang oracle bone inscriptions highlights the ritual significance of the bronze ding vessels in the context of religious communication. The identical symbol used for the verb “to divine” and the noun “bronze ding vessel” in oracle bone inscriptions help us link the religious technique and the ritual device. The three verbs for divination practice include bu卜, the pictographic representation of the cracking sign from pyromantic divination, ding 鼎, the pictographic representation of a bronze ding vessel with double loop handles on the rim, and zhen貞, which places bu, the cracking sign, over a bronze ding vessel (Shaughnessy 1991:100–1) (Figure 6.19).11 The performance of Shang royal divination, therefore, involved the physical or symbolic presence of the bronze ding vessel.

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Modern Script

Ding tripod vessel

To divine

Oracle Bone Inscription

Bronze Inscription

Excavated Manuscript and Other Inscriptions

Qin Seal Script

6.19. The character bu卜, the pictographic representation of the cracking sign from pyromantic divination, ding 鼎, the pictographic representation of a bronze ding vessel with double loop handles on the rim, and zhen貞, which places bu, the cracking sign, over a bronze ding vessel (after Gao 1980:324).

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Unlike the pouch-legged li vessels used for everyday cooking in the highlands, the use of ding tripods was not embedded in the predynastic Shang culinary traditions. The two vessel forms manifested the two primary sources of the Shang cultural tradition – a Henei-based political force with a highland background coming to terms with the legacy of Erlitou from the Luoyang Basin. Instead of inventing their own symbols based on the highland culinary tradition, the Shang elite chose to appropriate the Erlitou tradition by incorporating the bronze ding vessel into the repertoire of core symbols for religious communication and political representation. A comprehensive observation on the configuration of full culinary assemblages, therefore, helps distinguish the deliberate act from entrenched cultural practice in the creation of the Sandai tradition.

The Nature of Bronze Iconography The wen ding story also concerns the meaning of the iconography, wherein the Zhou storyteller argued it depicted the various beings (wu) from the nine regions of the Xia political domain. This interpretation enhances the aura of the legendary vessels in the royal possession and highlights the legitimacy of Zhou kingship. As these vessels were allegedly used in the divination of the dynastic fortune of the Zhou regime, their iconographic representations were potentially important sources of religious power. An investigation into the connection between the bronze iconography and political representation, therefore, informs on the assumptions and manipulations involved in the wen ding narrative. In this section, I argue that refinement of metallurgical skill as a magical transformation, the power of imagination enhanced by the consumption of alcohol-based psychoactive content, and the creation of fantastic iconography on the bronze vessels are interconnected in Late Shang society. Clay piece-molds for casting bronze vessels with elaborate bronze iconography had already appeared in the Erlitou bronze workshop during the early second millennium bce. Surface décor became more elaborate on products from Zhengzhou workshops. It was during the Middle Shang and the Yinxu period, however, that the most fantastic iconography appeared on bronze vessels. Unlike the Liangzhu iconography, where the iconographic representation of a human-beast deity constitutes the dominant theme, the Late Shang bronze iconography offered endless variations of zoomorphic representations that cannot be traced to a single image. On the nature of Shang iconography, Max Loehr (1968:13) argues that bronze décor on the vessels served “to enhance their precious, luxurious, and awe-inspiring aura,” which had only “dubious allusions to reality.” This important observation encourages us to explore the ritual contexts that inspired this aesthetic among Shang elite patrons. Since these bronze vessels

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were used as ritual paraphernalia in Shang society, the key to understanding the fantastic character of Late Shang bronze iconography lies in the practice of “mediumistic communication with the ancestors” among the Shang elites (Falkenhausen 2006:47–48). K. C.  Chang (1995:320) argues that the elaboration of the drinking apparatus in the Shang bronze assemblage and the explosion of fantastic iconography in the Yinxu period were different manifestations of the same ritual tradition revolving around the consumption of mind-altering substances, whereby the motifs on the bronze vessels were to be experienced under altered states of consciousness: Marijuana has a mind-altering property, and in such a state it would be interesting to see what would happen if one were to look at the ancient Shang and Zhou vessels. The dragons might fly right off the surface! If your aim is to get into contact with the ancestors, a combination of mind-altering substances such as marijuana or mushrooms with wild dancing  – as we see depicted in the Eastern Zhou pictorial bronzes  – might do the job … One must remember that owning bronzes was a matter of the king’s life or death; they represented transcendent as well as earthly power. No expense was spared in producing or in obtaining them.

The elements of representational art on Shang bronzes, therefore, would be organized in a conceptual frame very different from the conventional perspective. The inspiration for the iconographic representation lies in the ritual consumption practice that gave these vessels their animating qualities. While few dispute the importance of alcohol in the ritual life of early China, the effect of the consumption of psychoactive beverages on religious communication has been understudied (Sherratt 2006:41). Given the general lack of residue analysis, our knowledge of Shang production of psychoactive beverages under the broad category of jiu (liquor) primarily derives from archaeological inferences, as the character itself is a pictographic representation of an Erlitou-style deep vat. Erlitou and Shang breweries produced a range of alcoholic beverages, as seen from two zun vessels from Erlitou  each with a wheat ear and rice plant carved on them before firing, presumably to mark the types of fermented products contained in them (Zhongguo 2003:122). Stable isotope analysis of the liquid in a lidded he from the Liujiazhuang Tomb at Yinxu indicated that a c4 plant, presumably millet, was used as a principal ingredient, which was supported by the textual evidence that flavored millet wine, known as chang 鬯, was a luxury beverage used on ritual occasions (McGovern et  al. 2004). Its contents and property could be inferred from the inventory of desiccated ingredients and brewing apparatus excavated from a Shang brewery at Taixi, approximately 125 kilometers north of Anyang (Hebeisheng 1985). Several storage jars from this brewery produced peach, plum, and Chinese date (jujube) pits, as well as seeds of sweet clover, jasmine,

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and cannabis, presumably used to prepare a fruit-flavored ale infused with cannabis to enhance its mind-altering properties (McGovern et al. 2004:17597). The presence of cannabis seeds among brewing ingredients indicates that some of the so-called spices or aromatics used in Shang alcoholic drinks may have psychoactive properties. The evidence from the Taixi brewery supports K.  C. Chang’s (1995) argument for experimentation with multiple psychoactive materials (alcohol included) in Shang religious communication and feasting scenes: Chang has speculated that the brews prepared in these elaborate sets of containers, traditionally described as (rice or millet) “wine,” may also have contained quantities of psychotropic plant products, for which an obvious candidate would have been cannabis. This is not implausible in view of the later medical uses of cannabis in China and the widespread ethnographic and ethnohistorical evidence for the ritual consumption of such substances in similar contexts (Sherratt 1995), frequently associated with divination  – in Shang China famously evidenced by the practice of scapulimancy – though this interpretation has been strongly disputed. (Sherratt 2006:41)

The exact purpose of the sophisticated drinking apparatus of the ErlitouErligang-Yinxu tradition has never been successfully explained or replicated, as many forms fell out of use in the early first millennium bce, and their associated techniques were presumably lost. We can expect, however, that mixing drinks was no less intricate than alloying metals in the Erlitou-Shang society. Different subspecies of the hemp plant were exploited in early China, some for its fully established textile industry and others for their medicinal and mystical attributes. The extraordinarily well-preserved tombs in the Tarim Basin and Turfan Basin yielded evidence for ritual use of psychoactive plants in Bronze Age society west of the Hexi Corridor, e.g. bundles of ephedra sticks in the Xiaohe cemetery in the eastern Tarim Basin (approximately 2000 bce), and the leaves and seeds of a psychoactive strain of cannabis in the so-called shaman’s burial (m90, c. 700 bce) at the Yanghai cemetery in Turfan, which were closely associated with religious communication in Central and North Asian tradition (Rudenko 1970; Mallory and Mair 2000; Xinjiang 2004; Russo et al. 2008). Given the unique preservation of organic materials in desert conditions, the ritual use of these psychoactive plants was likely widespread in central Eurasia through the second and first millennia bce. Some of these plants were probably native to China and could have been exploited for their psychoactive or herbal properties since great antiquity. The ephedra plant (Ephedra sinica, mahuang), for example, grows wild from Ordos to the Luoyang Basin. The interregional interactions, particularly the expansion of stockbreeding

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among farming communities since the Longshan period, however, presented a new cultural setting for syncretic development in different religious ideals, as well as new techniques and experiences for engaging with the sacred (Chapter 4). The Altai region of North Asia is particularly significant in this exchange, both as a major source of metallurgy and as a region with a long history in the ritual and commensal consumption of cannabis (Rudenko 1970). These substances shed light on the potential psychoactive ingredients available for ritual elaboration in the Sandai tradition via its highland and steppe neighbors. If we take shamanism as a religious technique, which “can be – and has been throughout history – employed in the service of the most diverse theologies” (Falkenhausen 2006:47), then the psychedelic characteristics of the Late Shang bronze iconography can be approached in terms of the potential effects of mind-altering substances (alcohol included) on cognition. Walter Benjamin (2006:81–82) described “the multivalence of the ornament” associated with opium (crock) consumption in his experiment: There is not one that cannot be considered from at least two different sides  – namely, as surface structure or else as linear configuration. In most cases, however, the individual forms, which can be united in very different groupings, allow for a plurality of configurations. This experience in itself already points to one of the innermost characteristics of crock:  its inexhaustible capacity for extracting from one and the same state of affairs – for example, a certain décor or the picture of a landscape  – a multiplicity of aspects, contents, meanings. It will be shown elsewhere that this manifold interpretability, the primal phenomenon of which is in the ornament, is only another side of the peculiar experience of identity disclosed by crock.

The altered state of consciousness from the consumption also manifests in the configuration of perceived objects. Benjamin (2006:82) went on to describe that: The other feature with which the ornament confronts the imagination of crock resides in its perseveration. It is highly characteristic that the imagination tends to present objects to the smoker  – and small objects especially  – in series. The endless sequences, in which always the same utensils, little animals, or plant forms rise up before them, represent, we might say, inchoate, barely formed designs for a primitive ornament.

Such endless sequences of inchoate ornaments may help explain the little raised animal forms along the edge of the BMAC cups in Central Asia, as well as the raised flanges on Longshan-Erlitou jades and the repetitive décor on Shang bronzes.12

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Hallucinogenic agents had their diverse impact on color perception and sensory distortion. The colors depicted in shamanic imagery, for example, may in fact be intrinsic to its spiritual meaning, but not in a conventional sense of visual representation of the subjects of the depictions themselves: The shaman hears and understands by means of color. These colors are not words or symbols in a linguistic sense – that is, they do not function as a symbolic language in which color x means one thing and color y means another. Rather, the colors themselves seem to be comprehended in a multisensory way that is meaningful to the shaman. (MacLean 2001:309 in VanPool 2009)

Entoptic images and colors could be perceived as means through which gods or ancestors communicated with the Shang elite as mind-altering substances expanded the realm of experience available to their conceptual awareness. The preference for iconography with dubious allusions to reality likely represents an aesthetic choice that requires a new conceptual frame to approach them. The aspiration to produce fantastic, explosive iconography with backgrounds filled with extraordinarily refined and highly repetitive spirals likely catered to the cognitive perceptions of the Late Shang elite intoxicated by alcoholic beverages infused with other mind-altering substances (Figure  6.20). The cognitive experience of synesthesia helps us connect the dots between the fantastic visual representations and the state of mind induced by the consumption of hallucinogens: Perceptions of the outer world can become sharper, more vivid, more “real” in all sense modalities: colours seem brighter, sounds have higher fidelity, touch becomes highly sensitised, smell and taste enhanced. Occasionally synesthesia can occur, so colours can be heard, sounds seen, and so forth … Interestingly, dissociation, the feeling of being outside of or otherwise distant from one’s body is also a surprisingly common experience under cannabis. (Devereux 1997:66)

In Shang religious rituals, such sensory distortions and transformation of individual consciousness had the potential to conjure the dead and allow communion with their ancestors, a religious objective frequently mentioned in Late Shang oracle bone inscriptions. An important experience associated with this rausch  – rush, intoxication, or trance induced by the consumption of hallucinogens  – was the spiritual flight taken by the shamans into different realms, a common practice observed cross-culturally (Harner 1973; Chang 1994, 1995).13 If these illusions referenced a special context of human interaction with art, then the significantly increased interregional exchange in the Longshan

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6.20. A comparison of the rhino-shaped vessel commissioned by a Late Shang elite Yu as an example of Late Shang representation art, with a bronze vase with fantastic designs and raised flanges of the Late Shang–Early Western Zhou tradition (images courtesy of Asian Art Museum of San Francisco and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston).

world had much to contribute to this expanding horizon in conceptual experience. Like the intoxicating volcanic vapor inhaled by the Pythia at the Oracle of Delphi, luminal states, mind-altering substances, and religious communication were closely related (Bowden 2005). As the convergence of the Middle, North, and East Asian exchange networks brought together diverse technologies, knowledge, and material culture, the increased interactions in the broadly defined Longshan world also created the potential for innovations in techniques and mediums of religious communication (Chapter 4). The Sandai bronze assemblage came at the end of a long path of elaboration in ritual techniques through the second millennium bce, representing a synthesis of different religious traditions and techniques of trance delivered with specifically designed apparatus. While the he and jue tripod vessels disappeared from the Late Shang ceramic assemblage, these Erlitou forms remained as the centerpieces of Shang bronze assemblage for elite consumption (Figure 6.21). The sophisticated composition and techniques involved in preparing these alcoholic beverages defined a special type of craftsmanship and religious knowledge with ritual significance.The potential of inducing ecstasy or altered states of consciousness made this special skill part of the technology of power, which draws our attention to “the ideological importance of ‘cosmogonic holism,’

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6.21. A pair of he bronze vessels from Daxinzhuang elite tomb  m109 (image courtesy of Shandong University Museum).

in which political leaders mediated between the living and the ancestors, the lower and upper worlds” (Sherratt 2006:41). Within this distinctive conceptual framework, these designs would not have mythical, cosmological, and religious meaning in reference to the textual corpus. Instead, these richly decorated vessels were associated with sacred meaning in their own right, manifesting a state of metamorphism (ChildsJohnson 1995, 1998). This argument directly contradicts the wen ding narrative in the Zuozhuan passage, which Loehr (1968:13) would characterize as the “literary definitions” of bronze iconography. In the next two chapters, I will argue that the Zhou prohibition of excessive alcoholic consumption led to changes in the aesthetics of the elite patrons during the early first millennium bce. The decline and loss of a ritual context for appreciating the psychedelic representations of Shang bronze iconography generated the opportunity for new interpretation to emerge, along the lines of literary interpretation based on the geographic knowledge associated with the legendary world of the Yu’s tracks (Chapter 8).

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THE LIMIT OF SHANG HEGEMONY

Highland Memory Communities The Shang political landscape can be characterized by the co-development of multiple political traditions of various scales and configurations. Although the Shang kings in Anyang attempted to dominate these diverse political powers, as seen in the royal oracle bone inscriptions, the political reality was more fluid. Keightley’s (1983, 2000) characterization of the Late Shang political structure as a honeycomb or Swiss cheese, with many non-Shang elements and political traditions operating in the spaces between Shang strongholds, is critical for understanding the transmission of pre-Shang social memory in the broadly defined Shang world. The loess highlands served as a hub linking multiple players in an active interregional trading network (Cao 2014:161). During the second half of the second millennium bce, extensive tributary valleys of the middle and lower Yellow River channeled the movement of the increasingly militarized and mobilized highland communities, organized into large confederations through their networks of ridge-top fortresses. Built in highly defensible locations along both banks of the southern flowing section of the middle Yellow River between Shaanxi and Shanxi, these highland centers were not as big or comprehensive as Zhengzhou and Anyang. Monumental architecture on rammed earth foundations built on terraced ridges served as the seats of political authority associated with these agropastoral groups (Liu and Chen 2012:384; Cao 2014:43). Instead of clustering around the political centers, settlements and craft workshops for metalworking and ceramic production were scattered along the river valleys, forming a dendritic settlement network. The Xinzhuang fortress (10 hectares) in Qingjian represents the largest and most elaborate highland center during the late second millennium bce. Protected by defensive ramparts, its central compound featured more than twenty rammed earth foundations, with a distinctive large rectangular sunken court or subterranean hall (770 square meters) surrounded by two tiers of roofed corridors enclosing a total area of 4200 square meters. This probably represents the palatial compound of an important highland polity or a sacred place for religious and political gatherings. The discovery of clay molds for casting bronze vessels at Xinzhuang and Xicha suggests the florescence of a highland metalworking industry during the late second millennium bce (Cao 2009; Neimenggu and Qingshuihe 2001; Zhong and Sun 2015). Highland fortresses with rammed earth foundations of similar date, size, and layout were also discovered at Gaohong (4 hectares) and Lijiaya (7 hectares),

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both built on a ridge-top terrace surrounded by a river on three sides and a steep slope or defensive rampart on the other (Zhang and Lü 1988; Shanxisheng 2006b, 2013). Each with its own rammed earth palatial compounds, these major highland settlements served as the centers for hundreds of stone fortresses spreading across the loess highlands (Cao 2014:40). To the northeast of the loess highlands, another group of several hundred stone fortresses associated with the Lower Xiajiadian material culture continued to flourish in the tributary valleys of the western Liao River in the Chifeng region during the Shang period (Chapter 5). Late Shang royal oracle bone inscriptions from Anyang frequently addressed these highland confederations as fang, e.g. Guifang, Gongfang, Tufang, and Qiangfang, which refers to various hostile groups active on its western frontier (Dai 1993; Lü 2002; Liu and Chen 2012:381–89; Cao 2014:185–95). Conflict with these highland groups was a recurrent theme throughout Late Shang political history. Many divination entries referenced Shang military campaigns in the northwestern direction against these highland rivals (Zheng 1994; Keightley 1999, 2000). Given the high mobility and intense interactions of these agropastoral communities on the loess highlands, however, it is difficult to identify the material culture associated with these highland sites with the specific cultural groups or political confederations mentioned in Late Shang oracle bone inscriptions. Their political and cultural influence extended rather far beyond the loess highlands, approaching the Jinnan Basin to the south, the Henei Basin to the east, and the Mongolian Plateau in the north. From Shimao to Xicha, the distribution of Zhukaigou-style pouch-legged li tripod vessels with snake-shaped appliqué in and around Ordos was linked with bivalve bronze casting of tools and weapons in stone or/and clay molds (Cao 2014:45) (Figure 6.22, compare with  Figures 4.3 and 6.1). The discovery of these vessel shapes in cist tombs in Mongolia and the Lake Baikal region suggests that the northern highland society maintained frequent interactions with communities of the North Asian Interaction Sphere, which involved the movement of goods and people (Tian and Guo 1988; Liu Guanmin 1989; Cao 2014).14 In contrast with thousands of Longshan settlements recorded for the region, the highland society experienced a demographic decline during the first half of the second millennium bce (Cao 2014:46). The ceramic assemblage, however, displayed a striking continuity with the highland Longshan tradition from the late third millennium bce, as seen in Zhukaigou and other sites (Neimenggu and E’erduosi 2000). Anthropomorphic representation in stone at Lijiaya also resembles the relief carvings of human statues at Shimao (Luo 2011:37). To adopt a term introduced into archaeology by Susan Alcock (2002), these highland powers could be described as “memory communities” of the highland

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6.22. Pottery li tripod vessels in the highland ceramic assemblage (after Cao 2014:45; Liu and Chen 2012:314 Figure 9.8).

Longshan legacy. For them, a shared ancestral knowledge and common legacy formed the basis for their collective resistance to Shang subjugation. The antagonism between the highlands polities and the newly emerged Bronze Age states in Luoyang, Zhengzhou, and Anyang along the southern edge of the highlands potentially contributes to increasingly divergent claims to the highland Longshan legacy. Some of these highland groups still resided in the area once occupied by the great highland Longshan centers, while others may have been displaced by Shang military expansion. Erlitou in the Luoyang Basin and Shang in the Henei Basin, however, had never fully incorporated these highland memory communities into their political framework. One of the primary military objectives of these highland campaigns was to capture people for human sacrifice in Anyang (Shelach 1996).The oracle bone inscriptions refer to these war captives as the Qiang, a highland-based ethnic collective that had enormous political influence in the history of China. In

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the early imperial period, the hallmark of the Qiang material culture was the double-handled beaker, a distinctive vessel shape of highland Longshan origin (Chapter  4). The sustained antagonism between these highland groups and the Shang ensured the transmission of multiple traditions of historical knowledge in the broadly defined Shang society, where the perspectives of both the Central Plains states and their highland rivals were represented through the second millennium bce. Both archaeological and historical evidence suggests that the Zhou state emerged in the western Guanzhong Basin from a context of intense interactions with these highland polities, including the Qiang. These memory communities in the highland regions were the major sources of political and historical knowledge for the Zhou leaders. The configuration of historical landscape in the loess highlands, therefore, has critical implications for understanding the Zhou representation of the past in its state-building process at the end of the second millennium bce. I will elaborate on this point in Chapter 7.

Highland Trade and Political Alliances The relationship between Shang kingship and the highland groups was fluid, shifting from allies to adversaries.15 Highland interactions contributed to the expansion of trade and technology in Late Shang society. The frequent discovery of diagnostic North Asian metal objects and typical Shang bronzes in these highland sites attests to their role as intermediaries between the Shang and North Asia, expanding upon the Longshan exchange network developed during the late third millennium bce. Their extensive involvement in trade and exchange with the Shang to the southeast, as well as the steppes and forest regions to the north, accounts for the flow of livestock, hides, metals, weapon assemblage, and cowrie shells into Anyang, its major outposts, and peers (Bunker 1993; Legrand 2004; Cao 2014). The bronze assemblage from these highland sites forms a broadly defined northern tradition, e.g. axes with sockets for hafting handles and daggers with bell pommels (Kohl 2007; Kuzmina 2008; Cao 2014). Besides tools, weapons, and accessories, the highland elite placed great emphasis on noise-making in their bronze assemblage for ritual dedication and commensal feasting, achieving this by attaching jingle bells and metal rings to various types of metal objects, including drinking and food vessels produced with piece-mold techniques (An 1987; Yang and Jiang 2008; Cao 2009; Chang 2010, 2014; Cao 2014). This focus on sound and movement appears to be associated with a highland religious tradition shared by Taosi and Erlitou, where bells, cowrie shells, and drums constituted the basic accessories for ritual life. Large quantities of cowrie shells continued to flow into the Shang cities via an extensive trade network through the intermediaries on the loess highlands

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and steppes. Gao (2011) reported a steady increase in cowrie use in thousands of Yinxu tombs, from a quarter of the tombs in early Yinxu to nearly half of the tombs in later phases. The quantity ranges from only a few to several hundred in a single tomb. Up to twenty inscriptions from Late Shang bronzes mentioned royal rewards of cowrie shells to Shang nobles (Zhongguo 2003:422). Outside Yinxu, widespread cowrie use is reported in Shang elite tombs across northern China. On the loess highlands, for example, the Linzheyu site in Baode produced a large number of bronze cowries (Chang 2010:567). In northern Shandong, 3,700 cowrie shells were found in Sufutun elite tomb m1 alone (Shandongsheng 1972). In southern Shandong, seventy-two tombs from the Qianzhangda cemeteries contained cowrie shells, with one tomb (bm4) producing more than 1,400 pieces (Zhongguo 2005). During the late second millennium bce, argillite imitations of cowrie shells were deposited in elite tombs associated with the Karasuk material culture in North Asia, reflecting the continuity of the trade patterns observed in the Longshan period (Kontonicolas 2014). In contrast to these northern finds, cowrie finds are extremely rare in the mortuary contexts of southern China, which supports the hypothesis of a trans-Eurasian trade route (Peng and Zhu 1995; Gao 2011). As strung cowrie shells were the major category of gifts distributed by the Zhou kings to their subjects, this highland trade network is critical for the political integration of Sandai states in the Central Plains. I will further elaborate on this point in Chapter 7. With a few enclaves left in their broadly defined domain, the Late Shang kings had to increasingly rely upon allies to maintain their claim to political supremacy. Along the southern edge of the loess highlands, the cemeteries associated with the elite lineages displayed evidence of close interactions with the Shang royal centers, e.g. the Xian lineage cemetery at Qiaobei in Fushan, the Laoniupo cemetery in the Guanzhong Basin, and the Jingjie cemetery in Lingshi (Liu Shi’e 2002; Zhang Tian’en 2004; Qiaobei 2006; Shanxisheng 2006a; Tian and Li 2008; Tian 2009). Complete with waist pits, bronze vessels, chariots, and human sacrifices, the material culture and the mortuary syntax in these elite tombs closely resembles the Shang ritual traditions. These elites were likely Shang lords dispatched from Yinxu to command its outposts or close allies with tribute obligations, trade arrangements, and military responsibilities within the Shang political order (Cao 2014:182). Political marriage with highland allies was an important strategy for maintaining pro-Shang coalitions. The undisturbed tomb of Fu Hao, an important royal woman in King Wu Ding’s court, offers clues to such arrangements. As the only Shang elite burial where the identity of the tomb occupant matched the name in royal oracle bone inscriptions, Fu Hao was mentioned in more than two hundred oracle bone inscriptions, particularly for leading large-scale campaigns against Qiangfang, Tufang, Bafang, and other

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highland confederations during the first half of Wu Ding’s reign (Wang Yuxin et  al. 1977). Divinations made after her death during the latter part of Wu Ding’s life were concerned with offering sacrifices to her cult (Li Zongkun 2012).This rich corpus of inscriptions and mortuary assemblage from the archaeological find presents a remarkable contrast to the absence of any reference to her political contribution in later historiography. While oracle bone inscriptions, enormous wealth, and use of tetrapod ding vessels highlight her eminent stature, the location, construction, and mortuary inventory of Fu Hao’s tomb displayed some distinctive traits that reveal the royal woman’s highland background. Unlike the majority of royal personages, who were buried in the royal cemetery at Xibeigang north of the Huan River, Fu Hao’s tomb was buried in a small cemetery on a low-rising mound inside the royal compound in Xiaotun, adjacent to buildings for sacrificial and residential purposes (Zhongguo 1980).These elite tombs were sparsely distributed and the function of the area went through significant changes through different phases of Yinxu urban occupation, shifting from residential area in Phase I to cemetery in Phase II, and back to residential area in Phase III.This pattern very much resembles the mortuary practice observed in Erlitou (Chapter 5). Some aspects of the grave construction are characteristic of Shang elite tombs, e.g. the presence of a waist pit guarded by a warrior and a dog (Zhongguo 2003:345). Unlike the Xibeigang royal tombs, however, Fu Hao’s tomb had no access ramps. At 5.7 meters long, 4 meters wide, and 7.5 meters deep, it was uniquely configured with the double niche design associated with the highland cemeteries along the southern edge of the Mongolian Plateau, e.g. Dadianzi and Zhukaigou (Figure 6.23). A retainer was placed in each niche flanking her nested coffin. Among thousands of Late Shang burials excavated at Yinxu, only a few dozen burials had niche construction (Gao 2011:79–82). The use of this distinctive mortuary tradition for the royal woman, therefore, was likely a deliberate choice to highlight her cultural identity as a highland elite woman. This supports Linduff ’s (2006) argument for a political marriage based on her analysis of northern bronzes among the mortuary goods in Fu Hao’s tomb. It was within this mortuary syntax that Fu Hao’s association with more than two hundred bronze vessels, over six hundred jades, nearly seven thousand cowrie shells, including six carved out of turquoise, a group of stone maceheads, a northern-style ring-handled knife with animal head design, chariot accessories, and four bronze mirrors of geometric design could be meaningfully interpreted. Many of them were probably tribute goods and funerary gifts from outlying polities of highland origin. A jade dagger axe and a chimestone, for example, were each inscribed with the name of its presenter. The dagger axe appears to be identical with those from Sanxingdui, indicating the presence of an exchange network connecting Sichuan and Anyang. Up to

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6.23. The mortuary context and the distinctive double niche construction of Fu Hao’s tomb (after Zhongguo 1980:8–14, Figures  3 and 7, photo of tomb reconstruction in the Beijing Capital Museum by Li Min).

72 cm in height, the huge ding tripod (m5:808) was commissioned by Ya Jiang, a Shang ally that was also mentioned in relation to tribute presentation and military campaigns in Shang oracle bone inscriptions. Cast with stone molds, the bronze mirrors from Fu Hao’s tomb were diagnostic of the workshops from Mt. Tianshan to the Hexi Corridor, which were in operation through the second millennium bce (Jaang 2011:39). As bronze mirrors were not fully adopted into the Sandai material culture in the Central Plains until the middle of the first millennium bce, these ones were likely brought to Yinxu through the highlands as foreign gifts. Many of the jades from Fu Hao’s tomb were archaic objects from the third millennium bce. Among fourteen cong jade cylinders, some were highland Longshan jades and at least one appears to have been modified from a Liangzhu original (m5:1050). Other archaic jades include a Longshan notched disk, a Niuheliang jade pendant, as well as a jade bird and a jade eagle previously seen at the Longshan urn burials at Shijiahe in the middle Yangzi, which could have been brought into Anyang as gifts, tributes, or war trophies (Figure 6.24). Their presence in Fu Hao’s tomb reveals a complex social life for these archaic jades spanning approximately one thousand years before her time.

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6.24. A Longshan jade bird and two bronze mirrors incorporated into the tomb of Fu Hao (upper) and an inscribed oracle bone from Yinxu concerning Fu Hao’s military campaign against the highland group of Tufang (lower) (image of the two mirrors, after Zhongguo 1989:  104 Figure 65; jade bird, image courtesy of the National Museum of China; inscribed oracle bone, photo by Li Min at the special exhibition in Shandong Provincial Museum).

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6.25. A bronze gui vessel from Jingjie m1 and its horse emblem (left, after Shanxisheng 2006a:30 Figure  29) and a chariot burial (m52) at Guojiazhuang in Yinxu (after Zhongguo 2003:413 Figure 7–10).

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Fu Hao’s impressive military career in Wu Ding’s court underscores the prominent role played by the Shang’s allies in coping with its increasingly mobilized rivals on the loess highlands. The most important contributions of these highland allies to the Late Shang court were probably horses and lightspoke-chariots, which appeared in Yinxu and major Late Shang sites during Wu Ding’s reign (Shaughnessy 1988; Piggott 1992; Barbieri-Low 2000; Linduff 2003;Wu 2011, 2012; Cao 2014) (Figure 6.25). In contrast to their absence from Early Shang elite tombs, e.g. Panlongcheng and Daxinzhuang, Late Shang marks the first time that domestic horses appeared in the faunal record in the Central Plains and lowland regions, along with remains of chariots, chariot gears, and even charioteers that appeared in royal and elite tombs in northern China (Gao 2011). These chariot horses were frequently decorated with bronze bells, turquoise mosaic inlaid fittings, and strung cowrie shells, indicating a northern origin (Cao 2014). The knowledge required to use chariots with broad-gauge and multispoked wheel construction first developed at Sintashta in the central Urals at the beginning of the second millennium bce (Sherratt 2006; Kohl 2007). These steppe innovations provided much improved mobility compared with the small vehicles that left their wheel tracks at Erlitou and Yanshi in the middle of the second millennium bce.The introduction of horses and chariots during the early Yinxu period represented a significant expansion of the Shang military apparatus. Wu Ding’s highland allies probably played a significant role in this technological transmission from North to East Asia. It may not be a coincidence that female warrior elites were part of the Eurasian cultural tradition (Linduff and Rubinson 2008). This helps explain the absence of any signs of significant cultural change associated with the arrival of horse chariots in the Central Plains. It also explains an influx of northern influence in the material culture of Yinxu during Wu Ding’s reign. Compared with the focus on military prowess in the Early Shang period, therefore,Wu Ding’s court in the early Yinxu period shifted its political strategy, involving, for example, the mobilization of ally troops, innovation in military technology, an ethnic mix at court, marriage alliances with diverse polities, and use of provincial auxiliaries in the Shang army.Yinxu oracle inscriptions indicate that more than three dozen royal women were active in Wu Ding’s court, many bearing place names of contemporaneous polities (Keightley 1978, 2000). Fu Bing and Fu Xi, for example, appear to have marriaged in from Jingjie on the loess highlands and Tianhu in the Huai River Basin (Henansheng 1986; Shanxisheng 2006a). Although their role in Late Shang politics may not have been as eminent as that of Fu Hao, their presence reveals the broad spectrum of political networks maintained by the Late Shang ruler.

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Coping with the cultural and potentially linguistic diversity generated by these political marriages would also have contributed to the proliferation of writing within Wu Ding’s royal household. While it is not clear whether these highland communities were sources of literacy in Yinxu, these marriage alliances between the Sandai states and their highland peers are important means for the transmission of social memory and political knowledge. In the next chapter, my analysis of mortuary goods from the tomb of a highland elite woman buried in the Zhou military colony of Qucun, approximately 20 kilometers south of Taosi, will reveal the Zhou adoption of this effective strategy in its state-building enterprise in the Jinnan Basin, which offers us a critical link for the transmission of the highland Longshan legacy and the development of the Sandai historical tradition in Zhou society.

Ritual Dedications at Liminal Places in the Shang World The resilience of Longshan tradition can be seen in many aspects of highland social life, particularly in sacred places for ritual engagement with supernatural forces, e.g. the bronze hoards at Chifeng, Hanzhong, Sichuan, and the middle Yangzi. These ritual dedications may have been associated with pilgrimage sites widely known in the pre-Shang and Shang world, where both religious leaders of local communities and representatives of the Shang and Zhou states as well as of other regional powers participated in ritual gatherings and offered their gifts and sacrifices. At these liminal places, participants would stand at the threshold between the conventional ways of defining group identity and a ritual order established by religious engagement with the sacred landscape.The social boundaries of different political groups became ambiguous and subject to negotiation – a sacred place could be taken as a pilgrimage destiny by different groups, each asserting their own claims to the ritual power associated with the site. While these practices appear regional from the perspective of the Shang metropolitan tradition, they display striking contextual similarity with each other across a vast landscape and shared the Longshan legacy of engaging with ritual landscape with jades and metals. We cannot discuss the ritual dedication of bronze bells and jade zhang scepters, for example, without recognizing their ritual significance as part of the highland Longshan-Erlitou legacy (Chapters 4 and 5). These liminal places span the vast landscape, therefore, connecting the regional powers and the Sandai states with a prehistoric way of structuring their ritual world. Approximately 850 kilometers northeast of Anyang, half a dozen extraordinary bronze hoards were found along a small section of the Daling River Valley. Located far from major settlements, these isolated pits were cut into

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bedrock on ridge tops or slopes overlooking the Daling River or its tributaries. The size of the impressive bronze vessels deposited in these hoards make them reminiscent of the bronze hoards in Zhengzhou. Their inscriptions indicate that Late Shang states, e.g. Guzhu and Ji, as well as the Western Zhou state of Yan, were major patrons of these pilgrimage offerings, and the ritual tradition remained uninterrupted by regime change (Chapter 7). The Daling River Basin was a hub for highland interactions with the eastern Mongolian Plateau and Northeast Asia.These hoards were distributed within a 30-kilometer radius of Niuheliang and Dongshanzui, both important ritual centers in northeastern China, indicating that the dedication of these major hoards probably represented ritual engagement with a sacred place defined in the prehistoric past (Li Ling 2004:33). As discussed in Chapter 5, evidence for metalworking dating to the second millennium bce, as well as the discovery of a copper ring and a jade cowrie shell in stone cist burials at numerous loci in Niuheliang, suggests ritual use of these complex ritual sites after the Longshan period (An 1993; Li Yanxiang et al 1999; Li Yanxiang 2014; Dong 2000; Xiong 2008; Liaoningsheng 2012:205–8). Since archaeological remains associated with the Lower Xiajiadian material culture displayed many traits of the highland Longshan tradition, e.g. stone fortresses, stone cist tombs, post-firing polychrome painted wares, pouch-legged li tripod vessel construction, jade use, extensive use of cowries and their imitations for body ornaments, and a multi-metallic assemblage consisting of copper, tin, lead, and gold, these Bronze Age activities at the ritual site help connect these impressive hoards from the late second millennium bce with the prehistoric legacy in the region. To the southwest of the Central Plains, two highland basins of Hanzhong and Sichuan both yielded impressive ritual hoards containing a mixed assemblage of local, Shang, Erlitou, and Longshan material culture. Approximately 950 kilometers southwest of Anyang, a 40-kilometer stretch of the Han River Valley produced a great concentration of thirty-three bronze hoards from fourteen sites over the past six decades (Zhao 1996; Cao 2006) (Figure 6.26). Chenggu bronze hoards are distributed overlooking the confluence of the Xu River and Han River, highlighting the significance of the ritual landscape in their dedication. While some hoards were buried in riverbanks, the majority of them were buried on top of high terraces overlooking the Han River, often associated with an earthen mound built on sterile soil or cultural deposit, approximately 5–6 meters high (Zhongguo 2003:516– 24). Some bronze hoards were buried in round or rectangular pits under the ground surface, while others were deposited inside the earthen mound. The arrangement of the vessels appears to correspond to the order of consecration rituals performed at the site. This association between earthen mound features and ritual dedication resembles the ritual features at Erlitou,

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6.26. The distribution of the bronze hoards in the Hanzhong Basin and their relationship with the trans-highland routes linking the Guanzhong Basin and the Sichuan Basin (illustrated by Li Min).

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indicating a shared religious tradition from the early second millennium bce if not earlier (Chapter 5). The bronze assemblage from these Chenggu hoards represents diverse regional traditions with connections reaching north to the Guanzhong Basin, south into the Sichuan Basin, east to Anyang, and southeast to the middle Yangzi (Chen et al. 2016). Typical Shang bronze vessels make up only a tenth of the 654 bronze objects discovered from these hoards, and the rest are either hybrid forms or distinctively local (Zhongguo 2003:517). While some date to Yinxu Phases III and IV, the majority of bronze vessels date to the Middle Shang and Early Yinxu period. The long timespan indicates that many bronze vessels were probably curated for generations before their ritual deposition. The mixed metallurgical properties and the functional types among the Hanzhong metal assemblage suggest that the objects from these hoards did not solely derive from the Shang bronze-working tradition (Chen et  al. 2012, 2016). Objects labeled as “indigenous metallurgical production” at Hanzhong actually preserve traits of the highland Longshan metalworking tradition. Zhang scepters and sickle-shaped objects, for example, were predominantly made of unalloyed copper and “natural” alloys that have not been identified in the other artifacts. Arsenic, antimony, and nickel are frequently detected as trace elements in sickle-shaped objects and zhang scepters, but they are much scarcer in other artifact categories (Chen et  al. 2016:669– 71). This close match between specific artifact types and particular metal compositions is consistent with the observation that the zhang scepter was an archaic shape connected with the highland Longshan tradition, particularly the Shimao tradition, which was preserved in Erlitou and the highland basins of Hanzhong and Sichuan, but not Yinxu. Zhang scepters made of copper and bronze were found only in the two highland basins of Hanzhong and Sichuan, indicating their shared roots in the highland Longshan tradition (Li Xueqin 1997). Historically, this section of the Han River Valley marks the starting point of the Tangluo Route, one of the four trans-Qinling corridors connecting the Guanzhong and Hanzhong basins. With a length of approximately 200 kilometers between the Hanzhong and Guanzhong basins, the Tangluo Route was the shortest and most dangerous of all four trans-Qinling corridors. The southern section of the Tangluo Route overlaps with the distribution of bronze hoards before turning north toward the Qinling mountain range at Longting, the eastern end of the bronze distribution. The linear deposition of the Chenggu hoards along an important section of this route, therefore, suggests that their ritual dedications were probably associated with the transQinling route that linked the three highland basins of Sichuan, Hanzhong, and Guanzhong.

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6.27. Part of the bronze assemblage from the two ritual dedication pits and the plan view of No. 2 pit at Sanxingdui, Sichuan (after Sichuansheng 1999:35 Figure 23, 161 Plate 56, 163 Figure 82, 197 Figure 110, 208 Figure 115).

The ritual deposits at Sanxingdui and Jinsha on the Chengdu Plain, approximately 1,500 kilometers southwest of Anyang, produced the most compelling evidence for the preservation of pre-Shang ritual tradition in the highland basin of Sichuan  during the late second millennium bce. The Bronze Age settlement at Sanxingdui spans an area of 12 square kilometers. After its initial occupation started in the late third millennium bce, the communities built large palatial complexes and left sacrificial pits at the Yueliangwan locus by the early second millennium bce. Later, the central area of the site (approximately 360 hectares) was enclosed by defensive walls built with a combination of mud brick and rammed earth techniques. At the northern section of the walled area, a rectangular-shaped rammed earth foundation (900 square meters) with a burnt clay pavement was found at Qingguanshan, possibly part of the palatial compound. Some extraordinarily important ritual events took place along the central axis of this walled settlement. During the thirteenth century bce, the elite community at the site left behind two spectacular sacrificial pits filled with charred animal bones, elephant tusks, cowrie shells, bronze and gold masks, fantastic bronze trees,

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life-sized bronze figures, bronze wheels, bronze eyes, stone statues, and a large variety of jade objects (Sichuansheng 1999; Bagley 2001; Falkenhausen 2003; Flad and Chen 2013; Sun 2013) (Figure  6.27). The production techniques of the Sanxingdui bronzes shared many characteristics with the Sandai bronze casting tradition focusing on piece-mold technology. The surface décor of a bronze dragon-and-tiger zun vessel from Sanxingdui, for example, closely resembles the Taijiasi vessel illustrated in Figure  6.9 (Sichuansheng 1999:35 Figure  23). The distinctive shapes of many bronze objects, however, had never been seen in the Yinxu repertoire. The bronze ding vessels, the symbol of Sandai kingship, were systematically absent from the Sanxingdui assemblage.  While some images might represent local aspirations, many of Sanxingdui’s fantastic representations were probably based on mythical themes of pre-Shang origins. The outline of the diamond-shaped bronze eyes in Sanxingdui and later on Jinsha gold masks, for example, closely resembles the lozenge images carved on stone walls of the central terrace mound at Shimao, approximately 1,100 kilometers northeast of Sanxingdui. Evidence for the strong resilience of the highland Longshan tradition is represented in Sanxingdui’s jade assemblage. The jade zhang scepters and cong cylinders from Sanxingdui display enough shared attributes with those discovered at Shimao and Erlitou to suggest a close-knit religious network linking the Longshan, Erlitou, and Sanxingdui ritual traditions. With a great variety of shapes, the sizes of these scepters range from 3 centimeters up to 1 meter. Many appeared to be locally made, indicating a florescence of the highland Longshan jade tradition in Sichuan during the late second millennium bce, many centuries after the decline of the great Longshan centers. The ritual specialists at Sanxingdui seem to have retained the religious knowledge associated with these Longshan jade objects. The discoveries at Sanxingdui of bronze statues depicting kneeling figures holding jade scepters, and of iconography engraved on the jade scepters depicting their ritual dedication by the hillside, highlight a close connection between these ritual objects and the landscape, as seen in the Longshan tradition (Figure 6.15). The ritual use of these objects at Sichuan concurs with the later textual description of their use as tokens of ritual presentation to the landscape by rulers on their royal tours (Chapter 8). Sanxingdui also produced several pits filled with hundreds of jade and stone scepters, disks, grinding stones, jade raw materials, and semi-finished products, indicating the presence of local workshops working within the Longshan tradition. The Zhenwubaobao hoard also yielded a turquoise mosaic inlaid plaque closely resembling the turquoise mosaic inlaid masks from the western highlands and Erlitou, attesting to the intensity of highland exchange on the periphery of the Shang heartland (Chen Xiaosan 2013).

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Approximately 40 kilometers south of Sanxingdui, excavations at the Jinsha site in Chengdu reveal evidence of riverside ritual dedications from the late second to the early first millennium bce (Chengdushi 2004). Spanning an area of two hectares, these pit deposits and surface dedications at the Meiyuan locus included in excess of 200 gold objects, 1,300 bronzes, 2,000 jades, several tons of elephant tusks, thousands of boar tusks and antlers, and tens of thousands of pottery vessels, many coated with cinnabar. Among the two dozen jade cong cylinders found at the site, one tall cylinder bears enough resemblance to Liangzhu originals to suggest that aspects of the Liangzhu religion may have been incorporated into the Longshan-Sanxingdui-Jinsha ritual tradition. The incised iconography added to this cylinder suggests that it may have been in the possession of communities of the Late Dawenkou and Longshan culture in the Huai River Basin, before it was brought to the highlands. The presence of Liangzhu objects in Jinsha suggests that some knowledge associated with the great mound center in the third millennium bce nearly 2,000 kilometers downstream may have survived in the highland basin through storytelling associated with them (Chengdushi 2004:64). Together, the repertoire of material culture from Sangxingdui and later Jinsha displays closer ties with the Longshan legacy than that of the Late Shang society in Yinxu. The highland basin of Sichuan was connected with the loess highlands and the western highlands via numerous trans-Daba and trans-Minshan corridors, which had been in use as early as the fourth millennium bce (Chen Wei 2012; Chen Xiaosan 2013; Zhao and Chen 2011; Flad 2013; Flad and Chen 2013; Sun 2013). The systematic absence of jade scepters in Shang assemblages in Zhengzhou and Yinxu and the complete absence of the bronze ding tripod vessels and other diagnostic forms of the Erlitou and Shang elite bronze assemblage in Sanxingdui and Jinsha suggest the refusal to borrow within contexts of interaction defined the cultural boundary between the Shang and their highland peers. This difference attests to the diversity of historical and ritual knowledge available to Zhou society at the end of the second millennium bce. If the rapid spread of the highland Longshan jade assemblage was associated with the emergence of a religious network in response to the ecological crisis of the late third millennium bce, then the landscape context for the impressive ritual deposits of jades and other precious objects in the Chengdu Plain was consistent with the established pattern discussed in Chapters 4 and 5. Before the construction of the Dujiangyan hydraulic project in the third century bce, the Min River gushing out of the mountainous valleys on the western edge of the highland basin was a rather unpredictable and destructive force. With frequent landslides in the geologically unstable highland valley, these downstream settlements on the Chengdu plain were prone to catastrophic flooding. The

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6.28. The physical terrain of the Wéi River Valley (dashed line indicates concentration of bronze finds) (image of four-rams zun bronze vessel courtesy of the National Museum of China).

extraordinary concentration of wealth in these spectacular hoards in the path of the alluvial fan attest to the symbolic significance of these sacred places in their geological context. The sacrificial pits at Sanxingdui and the riverside deposits at Jinsha were probably remains of ritual interventions aimed at altering the courses of these destructive forces. In this regard, it was the shared ecological and geological circumstances that accounted for the resilience and efficacy of the religious tradition. Such pilgrimage activities at sacred landscape places provided important arenas for religious and social interactions. Through the second millennium bce, the distribution of jade zhang scepters reached the north coast of the South China Sea, as represented by their discoveries in Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, and northern Vietnam, outlining an exchange network extending far beyond the distribution of Erlitou-Shang bronzes (Deng 1997). Approximately 1,000 kilometers south of Anyang, another major concentration of ritual dedications of bronzes in the Wéi River Valley of the middle Yangzi figured a similar landscape configuration to that of the finds in Sichuan and Hanzhong. High-class Shang bronze vessels and bells produced in Anyang and southern workshops were deposited in pits dug into the ridge top or slopes overlooking several small tributaries of the Wéi River; many pits also contained jades (Li Ling 2004:34). Some vessels were found in the river bottom, either washed out of their ridge-top pits or deliberately deposited in the river. The distribution of these hoards followed the tributaries of the Wéi River into the mountain valleys, reaching as far as the peak of Mt. Wéi (Xiang 2007:137,

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274) (Figure 6.28). Overall, these hoards clustered around the site of Tanheli (15 hectares), which was located at the confluence of multiple rivers coming from the steep mountain valleys. Although the remains of a circular earthen enclosure at Tanheli resembles the layout of a fortified settlement, its vulnerability to floodwater from surrounding mountain valleys makes it an unlikely choice for a regional center. Instead, the Tanheli enclosure may represent a ritual structure associated with the sacred landscape.The archaeological and historical landscape of the region, however, offers few clues to the ritual significance of the Wéi River and Mt. Wéi, which once attracted the ritual dedication of some of the most impressive bronze vessels that the Shang royal workshops were capable of producing. It may have been a pilgrimage site revered by the communities in the middle Yangzi, and regarded as its southern sacred mountain by the Shang state at the same time. The style of the bronze assemblages suggests that these activities of ritual dedication lasted well into the early first millennium bce, a pattern also observed at Kazuo, Chenggu, and Jinsha. Several bronze hoards containing locally manufactured bronze vessels discovered in the Jingzhou region north of the middle Yangzi indicate that the ritual dedications observed at the Wéi River Valley were part of a transregional phenomenon. At the Miaoxingcun site in Jiangling, for example, three large bronze zun vases were recovered from pits cut into lake-bed sediments, indicating that they were offered to rivers or lakes in landscape rituals (Wang Chongli 2009a:53–55). Up to 63.5  cm in height and without any signs of use, these large vessels appear to have been cast exclusively for the purpose of ritual dedication. The presence of slugs from copper working and bronze fragments in nearby sites suggests that they may have been locally cast. These large bronze zun vessels also closely resemble their counterparts in Sanxingdui, suggesting strong connections between the Sichuan Basin and the middle Yangzi. Again, the discovery of other pits with Western Zhou period style bells, tiger vessels, and spears in Jingzhou indicates that the ritual practice lasted well into the early first millennium bce (Wang Chongli 2009b:56–57). Other major Shang sites in the middle Yangzi shared the geographic configuration of Tanheli. The Zaoshi site, for example, was located immediately downstream from a narrow opening cut by the Xie River through two mountains, which accounts for a rise of elevation of more than 400 meters (McNeal 2014:180). Similarly, the Tonggushan site was located immediately downstream from a narrow opening where the Yangzi River cut through a low mountain ridge that ran perpendicular to the river channel (McNeal 2014:176). Confluences of rivers and places where rivers cut through ridges appear to be the recurrent pattern in the choice of these ritual sites, already observed in the Longshan-Erlitou period (Chapters 4 and 5).

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Approximately 1,000 kilometers from Anyang, Ningxiang, Jingzhou, Hanzhong, and Kazuo represent similar ritual phenomena on the edge of the Shang world.These ritual dedications and religious interactions connected the local polities and the Shang-Zhou states with the supernatural powers in their imagined domain. These nodes in their ritual network probably stretched far beyond the territories under direct state control. The cultural knowledge of the whereabouts of these sacred places and of the proper techniques of ritual engagement with the powers associated with them was an important part of the ideology of early kingship in the Sandai tradition. As I have demonstrated in Chapters 4 and 5, the Longshan period marks an important threshold in the formation of this knowledge, which was transmitted through the second millennium bce. I will return to this point in Chapter 8. CONCLUSION

Bronze Age society during the second half of the second millennium left legacies important for understanding the cultural assumptions in the wen ding narrative, namely the shifting configuration of the political landscape, the ritualization of bronze ding vessels as the symbol of political authority, and the multiple sources of historical knowledge. The archaic lower Yellow River drainage system provides the armature for understanding the pattern of interactions leading up to the rise and decline of Shang hegemony. This marks a significant departure from the major political theaters for the first half of the second millennium bce, namely the Jinnan Basin and the Luoyang Basin of the middle Yellow River Valley. The rapid expansion from Zhengzhou briefly consolidated the Central Plains-centered political structure laid out by Erlitou. This spatial configuration, however, did not survive through the final quarter of the second millennium bce.With its royal centers falling back to Anyang in the Henei Basin, the early Shang centers in Yanshi and Zhengzhou were gradually deserted. After its withdrawal from Luoyang, Zhengzhou, and Jinnan, the Late Shang royal center in Anyang became further removed from the geographically emplaced memories of the Longshan centers in the Jinnan Basin, Ordos, and the CircumSongshan region. This political landscape of divergent political traditions defined the historical circumstances during the final century of the second millennium bce, when the Zhou emerged from the western end of the Guanzhong Basin and started to plot their state-building enterprise through references to the legacy of past regimes.With the absence of a great political center between Zhouyuan and Yinxu, the political landscape of early China at the end of the second millennium bce can be characterized by a polarization between the Late Shang regime in the Henei Basin and the highland polities in Guanzhong. This

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apparent deviation from the heartland of Central Plains between Guanzhong and Henei helps us understand the Zhou rhetoric of returning to the Luoyang Basin as the site of axis mundi (Chapter 7). The most important legacy that the Shang incorporated from Erlitou was the bronze ding vessels and potentially the symbolism associated with them. While the ceramic li tripod vessels defined Shang social identity in daily culinary practices, bronze ding vessels became the standard paraphernalia for Shang elite in their religious and social scenes. From the Shang perspective, the bronze ding vessels would be associated with the high culture of a past regime, rather than a traditional Shang form intimately connected with everyday cooking. The Shang lords would bring these bronze ding vessels to the frontier colonies and place them in mortuary contexts as a defining piece of their social persona. This was important for these vessels to acquire an aura of history, as suggested in the wen ding story. During the Zhou period, elite lifestyles came to be characterized by intricate knowledge associated with the use of these vessels, as seen in the meticulous instructions on ritual protocols and culinary preferences in the ritual manuals. The Shang civilization also provided the critical context for the bronze vessels to become the mediums of religious communication and the path to political authority. The specific uses to which bronze and other copper alloys were put offer significant insight on the political and religious focus of Shang elite culture. The rapid increase in their size, décor, and technological sophistication suggests that the bronze ding vessels had become the primary symbols of political and religious authority (Chang 1983:108).The presence of a graded vessel set in the Nangshunchengjie bronze hoard in Zhengzhou and the ritual use of the ding vessels for royal divination in Anyang inscriptions shows that various assumptions of the wen ding narrative were already in place in Shang society. The distribution of the bronze ding vessels outlined the cultural boundaries among Bronze Age civilizations in early China.While many societies embraced bronze metallurgy during the second half of the second millennium bce, not all of them adopted the ding vessels.The Bronze Age civilization in the Sichuan Basin, for example, shared the highland Longshan legacy with the ErlitouShang tradition, but did not share the ritual focus on the bronze ding vessels. This refusal to borrow had a direct bearing on understanding the choices that the Zhou leaders made for claiming legitimacy from an existing repertoire of symbols. By aligning with the Erlitou-Zhengzhou-Anyang legacy, the Zhou placed themselves within the stream of tradition that was historically known as the Sandai civilization. From a historical perspective, Shang society and its peer polities represented the immediate sources of historical knowledge for the Zhou state emerging at the end of the second millennium bce. Keightley’s (1978, 2000) characterization

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of the Late Shang social structure as a honeycomb highlights the cultural diversity in the broadly defined Late Shang society and the potential for the transmission of social memory associated with the pre-Shang legacy. As Bagley (1999:230) puts it, “[t]he civilized world on the eve of the Zhou conquest was large, diverse, and intricately interconnected.” As Shang state power expanded and contracted, the pre-Shang legacy survived in highland memory communities beyond the Shang’s direct control. Later, these communities allied with the Zhou in the campaigns against the Shang. For the wen ding narrative, this offers information on the sources of Zhou historical knowledge and the political manipulation of past legacies (Chapter 7).

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CHAPTER SEVEN

THE RISE OF THE GUANZHONG BASIN AND THE BIRTH OF HISTORY

As the last dynastic regime of the Sandai historical tradition, Zhou civilization provided the cultural and political context for the wen ding story to unfold. The textual narrative about the transfer of nine bronze vessels through three dynastic regimes, and the political landscape they allegedly represented, fused together aspects of the Sandai civilization in historiography. In contrast to the previous chapters, which were exclusively devoted to archaeological reconstructions on the basis of culinary forms, technology, and spatial configurations, these two chapters will work between archaeology and historiography. Chapter 7 investigates the diverse sources of Zhou historical knowledge, the historical conception of the Zhou political landscape, and the notion of the Mandate of Heaven as the overarching social order of the Zhou states. Chapter  8 investigates the legendary world of Yu’s tracks as the geographic extent of the Sandai civilization, and the use of nine ding vessels to symbolize the Sandai historical tradition. As the temporal frame of the Sandai civilization straddles prehistory and history in early China, an archaeological approach is essential for understanding the rise and development of this tradition. As Collingwood pointed out in 1926, a transition into the historical period does not necessarily require a change in research methodology: It is thought that a reasonably complete and accurate narrative can only be constructed where we possess written documents out of which to 312

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construct it, and that where we have none we can only put together a loosely constructed assemblage of vague and ill-founded guesses. This is wholly untrue: written sources have no such monopoly of trustworthiness or of informativeness as is here implied, and there are very few types of problem which cannot be solved on the strength of unwritten evidence. (Collingwood 1993: 372 cited in Schaberg 2001: 505–6)

The presence of a textual tradition, however, offers us an opportunity to examine the historical narratives from an archaeological perspective, which redefines the relationship between history and archaeology. As history served as the blueprint for Zhou state building and its political philosophy centered on the Mandate of Heaven, I  devote Chapters  7 and 8 to these central questions: What were the sources of historical knowledge for the architects of the Zhou state? What did the Zhou leaders do with the diverse legacy of the past? Although these received texts were put into writing centuries after the events that they describe and the stories were subject to political manipulations in the course of their creation, transmission, and transcription, the narratives they provide about the past can be tested against the patterns established through archaeological analysis, which have been laid out in the past five chapters. In this regard, I  treat the received texts not as historical authorities or primary sources, but as layered texts containing stories about the past told by storytellers in Zhou society.1 Assuming the political and cultural developments covered in the past five chapters contributed to the formation of the classical tradition, my aim in these two chapters is to examine the convergence and divergence between the textual and archaeological representations, with focus on the “conscious formulation of patterns and principles to understand the past” by the storytellers in the past (Durrant et al. 2016:lxxvii). The critical touchstone for investigating the relationship between archaeology and historiography is the shifting constellation of political power in four great basins covered in previous chapters of this book, namely Jinnan, Luoyang, Henei, and Guanzhong. I will discuss Sandai historical geography and its archaeological foundation in this four-basin framework. A HIGHLAND CONFEDERATION IN THE GUANZHONG BASIN

The Zhou Ancestral Place-World The Zhou rose to political prominence during the Late Shang period, when Shang royal power receded to its ancestral place in Henei. The Shang’s claim to supremacy over its broad domain had been held together through a series of enclaves and highland subsidiaries that included the predynastic Zhou polity. As the Shang withdrawal from the Jinnan Basin and the Luoyang Basin created

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a vast political vacuum between Henei and Guanzhong, the relationships between the Zhou leaders and the Shang royal court became increasingly fluid, alternating between being allies and enemies. During good times, the Zhou rulers at Zhouyuan appear to have venerated the Shang royal ancestors, built marriage alliances, and conducted highland campaigns on behalf of the Shang king. When the Zhou became an emerging threat, the Shang king had Zhou leaders imprisoned or killed (Guben 1997:11). From an archaeological perspective, the Guanzhong Basin was a periphery in the third and second millennia bce. The highland basin did not have great Longshan centers as seen in Jinnan during the late third millennium bce and it was at the western end of the Erlitou and Shang political network based in the Central Plains during the early and mid-second millennium bce (Zhang Tian’en 2004; Lei 2010). During the final centuries of the second millennium bce, most Shang outposts in the Guanzhong Basin had disappeared or declined, whereas Laoniupo (50 hectares) near Xi’an served as the last stronghold (Liu Shi’e 2002). Around the same time, the Guanzhong Basin experienced an influx of migrants associated with the pouch-legged li tripod vessels diagnostic of the highland tradition along the Jing River Valley (Liu Xu 2014:283). Located in the western end of the Guanzhong Basin, the broadly defined Zhouyuan region was a stretch of fertile plains at the foot of Mt. Qi (Figure 7.1). As an important ally for royal power in Anyang, the ruling elite in Zhouyuan adopted trappings of Shang high culture, e.g. writing, formalized oracle bone divination, and the production of ritual bronze assemblages. Discoveries of inscribed oracle bones bearing names of the Zhou state founders, dozens of workshops for the production of bone, antler, jade, ceramics, shell, wood, lacquer, and bronzes, more than one hundred large rammed earth foundations for palaces and important architectures, and dozens of elite lineage cemeteries suggest that the great settlement conglomerate at Zhouyuan was the political base for the Zhou before and after its conquest of the Shang during the final century of the second millennium bce (Zhouyuan 2004) (Figure 7.2). The Zhou origin story provides important clues to how Zhou leaders manipulated the predynastic and the Xia legacy for their own claim to legitimacy. The Zhou origin stories in Shiji (“Zhou Benji” 4.111–12) and other sources suggest that Qi and Hou Ji, the legendary founders of the Zhou cultural group, were in charge of agriculture for the predynastic regimes in Jinnan during the late third millennium bce.The predynastic ruler Shun granted Hou Ji the land at Tai along the Qi River in the Guanzhong Basin as his fief. As Xia dynastic power declined, Hou Ji’s heir abandoned the post in the Xia court held by the Zhou lineage and fled from the Zhou ancestral place at Tai to the loess highlands, allegedly to escape from the tyranny of the last Xia king. During several generations of highland exodus in a hostile environment, the Zhou communities took up stockbreeding like their highland neighbors

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7.1. Archaeological landscapes of Zhouyuan in the Guanzhong Basin (illustrated by Li Min).

Guifang (400 km)

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7.2. The political landscape of early China imagined from the perspective of Zhouyuan at the turn of the first millennium bce, with the Jinnan Basin and the Luoyang Basin located between the Guanzhong Basin in the west and the Henei Basin in the east (base map from Worldwind © NASA) (illustrated by Li Min).

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(Shiji “Zhou Benji” 4.113–14). The Zhou eventually established a state in the highlands and later returned to the Guanzhong Basin, where it established city walls, residential buildings, and administrative apparatus at Zhouyuan, immediately west of its alleged ancestral home at Tai. After they settled in Zhouyuan, the Zhou leaders reportedly gave up the stockbreeding associated with the agropastoral highland groups and reverted to the sedentary life of farmers, for which their ancestor Hou Ji was best known. This origin story highlights several key attributes of Zhou political tradition, namely the Jinnan legacy of the late third millennium bce as an important source of legitimacy, an ancestral land in the highland basin of Guanzhong, intense interactions with the highland groups engaged in an agropastoral economy, and the attempt to project a social identity based on sedentary farming (Hsü and Linduff 1988:33–41; Li Feng 2006:143). It is impossible to determine whether the Zhou origin story had actual historical basis or was constructed by a highland agropastoral group working its way into a Sandai political tradition. The story, however, reveals that the Zhou state did not present itself as the direct heir of the Xia and Shang regimes. Instead, it identified itself as a highland-based political power at the western fringe of the Central Plains society, a geopolitical perspective that highlights the centrality of the Erlitou and Shang legacies.

Constructing the Zhou Identity through Material Culture Like the case for the Shang ceramic assemblages, the archaeological footprint for Zhou expansion was established on the typology and distribution of the pottery li vessels linked to the Zhou political base in the Guanzhong Basin.The diversity in culinary forms and techniques in the predynastic period concurs with the creation of a broad-based Zhou confederation. Compared with the predynastic Shang communities in the Henei Basin during the second quarter of the second millennium bce, Zhouyuan in the final century of the second millennium bce displayed a greater range of cultural diversity, which gave the architects of the Zhou state more choices for constructing and negotiating a Zhou identity. The ceramic assemblages from Zhouyuan and its surrounding regions represent the Shang ceramic tradition from the east, the loess highland traditions from the north, and the western highland traditions in Gansu from further west (Zou 1980; Lei 2010). The rapid increase of the high-collared li vessels and yan steamers with pouch legs coincided with the withdrawal of the Shang military presence in the Guanzhong Basin during Yinxu Phases III and IV. Characteristic of highland ceramc techniques, these vessels were produced by joining together three individually molded pouches with the cylinder body added on the top (Zou 1980; Falkenhausen 2006:194–95) (Figure 7.3). By the end of the Late Shang, this type of vessel was most abundant at Zhouyuan (Liu Xu 2014:283).

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Shang style li tripod in the Guanzhong Basin

Predynastic Phase I

Predynastic Phase III

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Predynastic Phase IV

Predynastic Phase II

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Predynastic Phase IV

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* 7.3. The chronological and stylistic differences of pottery li tripod vessels used by highland communities in the Guanzhong Basin during the second half of the second millennium bce and the chaîne opératoire of the construction of two major li tripod vessel types (after Zhongguo 2004:22– 33 Figures 1–2 to 1–10; vessels constructed with the folding-cylinder technique are marked with * symbol; Illustration of chaîne opératoire after Hu Qianying 2000: Figure 13).

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However, this dominant highland type did not appear in the ceramic assemblage associated with the Western Zhou period settlement in Zhouyuan and its military colonies to the east.2 Instead, the diagnostic Western Zhou pouchlegged li tripod vessel features a distinctive type of folding-cylinder construction technique, created by folding the wall of a cylinder from three sides to form the tripod legs of the li vessel (Zou 1980; Falkenhausen 2006:196). Before Zhou expansion, this distinctive technique was only found in the Zhengjiapo assemblage from the Wugong region on the eastern edge of Zhouyuan (Falkenhausen 2006:200; Liu Xu 2014:283). Wugong was the Zhou ancestral place Tai in the Zhou origin story, granted to the Zhou royal ancestor Hou Ji by the legendary rulers in Jinnan during the late third millennium bce (Maoshi, “Sheng min” 17a.1055–78; “Zhou benji” in Shiji 4.113–14). Since “social logics and ‘meaning’ permeate all techniques” (Lemonnier 1993:22), Zhou’s adoption of the folding-cylinder construction techniques for producing standardized ceramic assemblage reveals the economic and symbolic considerations associated with its technological choice. From an economic perspective, the folding-cylinder technique was significantly more efficient for mass production than the highland technique, because it only involved building one cylinder for body construction, instead of joining at least four pre-fabricated components (Liu Xu 2014:283). Once the potters mastered the technique, they could turn out a large number of vessels to supply the increasing demand resulting from the Zhou expansion. This significant simplification in production technique was well-suited for the state-building mission of the Zhou state, whose workshops needed to supply new communities established in far-flung places with mixed populations. From the symbolic perspective, the choice of the vessel type and construction technique associated with the alleged Zhou ancestral place in the Guanzhong Basin sets Zhou material culture apart from its highland peers (Han 2007:252–53). The rapid and systematic technological change in Zhou material culture from the high-collared li vessels with joint pouch technique, which were associated with the highland communities and the predynastic Zhou settlement at Zhouyuan, to the folding-cylinder technique from the Wugong region, likely represents a deliberate effort to erase the material footprint of the highland agropastoral life and to reinforce a Zhou cultural identity tied to its ancestral claim to the Guanzhong Basin. The reason for this technological choice, therefore, can be found in the symbolic value it attributed to these elements in addition to the economic necessity for mass production associated with Zhou military colonization of the eastern plains. Archaeological observation on Zhou standardization of ceramic vessels concurs with later textual references to state supervision of pottery production. In a Zuozhuan passage attributed to Zichan (d. 522 bce) in 548 bce, the Zheng statesman traced the ruling lineage of the Chen state to the office of

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Taozheng, the director of pottery production, under King Wu, the founding king of the Zhou dynasty: Long ago, Yu Efu became the Zhou director of pottery production so as to serve our former king. Commending the beneficial utility of his vessels and his descent from the sage-king Shun, our former king gave his eldest daughter, the Grand Lady Ji, in marriage to Yu Efu’s son, the Hu Lord, and put him in power in Chen to complete the honors due the “three respected lines.” Thus, Chen came from our Zhou house and to this day relies on its beneficence. (translated by Durrant et al. 2016: Lord Xiang 25.10a, pp.1150–51)

The word zheng, meaning standard, in the title of the directorship implies an emphasis on standardization in ceramic production.Yu Efu’s noble descent, his royal marriage, and the fiefdom granted to him all suggest that the directorship of pottery in the Zhou state was filled by people of status.3 The widespread use of the folding-cylinder technique for the production of li cooking vessels in the Zhou military colonies across the vast new territories suggests that the technological choice was indeed a state-implemented policy. Zhou manipulation of ceramic techniques set it apart from the Shang, which adhered to its Xiaqiyuan technological tradition of the Henei region through the second half of the second millennium bce. It allows the Zhou lineages to mark a cultural distinction with the subjugated Shang communities after the Zhou conquest. Both Shang and Zhou ceramic traditions, however, revolved around pouch-legged li tripod vessels, which fell into the broadly defined highland tradition, different from the culinary assemblage of Erlitou.

Sources of Zhou Historical Knowledge To understand the Zhou’s claim of the Sandai historical legacy, we need to account for contributions from political developments from various periods of the second millennium bce, and possibly earlier, as the foundation for Zhou historical knowledge. The construction of the Zhou political landscape was a geographically and historically guided enterprise (Li Feng 2006:30; Li Ling 2003). The Zhou political centers in the Guanzhong Basin were strategically located at the intersection of two major interregional networks – the Ordos-Sichuan highland network on the north–south axis and the Sandai political network on the east–west axis (Figure  7.4). The configuration and convergence of these two knowledge networks suggests that the highland Longshan legacy served as the foundation for the Zhou’s historical perspective. On the north–south axis, the highland groups from Ordos to Sichuan were never fully incorporated into the Central Plains-based political framework during the second millennium bce. The archaeological study in the previous

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7.4. The historical configuration of the Sandai landscape along the east–west axis in Zhou textual representations and the highland knowledge network along the north–south axis reconstructed from the archaeological evidence, e.g. the highland Longshan jade scepters and cowrie shells seen at both Ordos and the Sichuan Basin (illustrated by Li Min).

three chapters, however, firmly established that these highland groups active on the fringe of the Central Plains states  were memory communities of the highland Longshan tradition. Archaeological discoveries at Sanxingdui and Jinsha in the Sichuan Basin of the distinctive highland Longshan jade assemblage, previously seen at Shimao, Lushanmao, and other highland sites, provided compelling evidence for religious connections between Ordos and the Sichuan Basin during the second millennium bce (Peng 2002; Sun 2013). The consistency in the forms and ritual usage of these jades along the highland network spanning more than 1,400 kilometers in width and 1,000 years in time suggests the resilience of the highland ritual tradition through the second millennium bce. Zhouyuan was located in the middle of this highland network. Several generations of highland sojourn before settling in Zhouyuan would have brought the predynastic Zhou society even closer to the highland Longshan legacy. Interactions with the contemporaneous polities in the Sichuan Basin to the south of the Guanzhong Basin would put the Zhou elite in touch with the highland Longshan ritual tradition still active in Sanxingdui and Jinsha (Chapter 6).This geopolitical configuration defines the shared historical knowledge among the western alliances under the Zhou leadership during the final century of the second millennium bce.

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On the east–west axis, the Zhou leaders conceptualized the vast space between Zhouyuan and Anyang from a historical perspective. Based on the pioneering works of Wang Guowei (1917), Fu Sinian (1935), and K. C. Chang (1986), Li Ling (2003) argues that the Zhou leaders spatialized their cultural worlds and political landscape with a tripartite framework based on Sandai historical geography, namely the Zhou in the west, the Xia in the middle, and the Shang in the east. The passage attributed to Confucius (c. 551–479 bce) in the “Taibo” chapter of Lunyu suggests that this tripartite conception of the political landscape was an emic classification in Zhou society: 三分天下有其二, 以服事殷 “[the Zhou] held two thirds of the land under heaven, [yet] it still served the Yin [court].” The same expression is also seen in the “Wang Zi Jin” chapter in Yi Zhou shu, indicating that Sandai historical geography was part of the shared cultural milieu in Zhou society (64.1088). Li Ling’s observation offers a critical framework for the comparison made in this chapter between the Zhou historical narrative and the patterns in the spatial configuration of the archaeological landscape reconstructed in previous chapters. The Zhou notion of Sandai civilization embraced a “spatial conception of history,” as proposed by Vine Deloria Jr (1992) for the Native American notions of the past, wherein places and their names – and all that these may symbolize – are accorded central importance: For Indian men and women, the past lies embedded in features of the earth  – in canyons and lakes, mountains and arroyos, rocks and vacant fields – which together endow their lands with multiple forms of significance that reach into their lives and shape the way they think. Knowledge of places is therefore closely linked to knowledge of the self, to grasping one’s position in the larger scheme of things, including one’s own community, and to securing a confident sense of who one is as a person. (Basso 1996:34)

This historical conception of geography informs us on the ways in which the founders of the Zhou state construed their landscape and rendered it intelligible. The Zhou’s conquest of the Shang and subsequent consolidation of the eastern regions demonstrates this awareness by pursuing the consolidation of the two thirds in the west and the middle before taking on the eastern third, where the Late Shang political center was located (Li Ling 2003). This dynastic constellation of the historical landscape ran throughout the Zhou statebuilding enterprise, which served as the basis for investigating Zhou historical rhetoric, identity politics, and the archaeological landscapes of the pre-Zhou society. In this regard, the spatial conceptions of history in the Zhou historical tradition were as significant as temporal conception of the past. On the basis of archaeological observation, I argue in this chapter that the Zhou’s founders constructed their geopolitical space based on historical stories about the society

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of the second millennium bce, which were shared and transmitted among memory communities present in the honeycomb of Shang social structure. SANDAI HISTORICAL LANDSCAPE IN THE ZHOU STATE FORMATION PROCESS

The Conquest of Shang and the Capture of the Legendary Ding Vessels As a western ally of Shang royal power in a region, the Zhou was positioned within a mixed group of highland polities on different terms with the Shang. Under the leadership of King Wen, known to the Shang court by his title Xibo, the Lord of the West, the predynastic Zhou state launched numerous eastern campaigns against the polities to the west and south of Taihang (Liu Xu 2014:319).4 Zhou campaigns were launched in the name of suppressing the rebellion of Jiubang, meaning nine or numerous states, attempting to break away from Shang dominance. The Jiubang campaign, therefore, was endorsed by the Shang king, who had committed his forces to eastern campaigns against the coastal Renfang confederation (Li Ling 2003). The Rong Cheng shi manuscript listed the names of these targeted states, which were primarily located in the region between Guanzhong and Henei, or the Xia homeland from the Zhou perspective (Li Ling 2003). Through these campaigns, the predynastic Zhou state asserted its influence on the loess highlands west of Taihang and the Circum-Songshan region.The Zhou attacks on the states of Li in Licheng and Yu in Qinyang indicate that the Zhou forces had already approached the strategic places guarding the trans-Taihang corridors to the Shang royal domain (Shiji “Zhou benji” 4.113–14; Hsü and Linduff 1988:91–92; Liu Xu 2014:318–19) (Figure 7.5). According to the Zhou textual narrative, King Wu completed the conquest in two campaigns. Both of his campaigns took the same route – going through the Luoyang Basin before turning north along the southern edge of Taihang. For the first campaign, he turned back after organizing a grand muster of the coalition troops at the Mengjin river-crossing north of the Luoyang Basin.Two years later, the western coalition troops crossed the Yellow River into Henei from Mengjin, defeated the approaching Shang army at Muye, and conquered the Shang royal center at Yinxu around 1046 bce. The inscription of the Li gui vessel recounting the conquest of Shang on the morning of the Jiazi day reveals that the story of the Zhou victory in transmitted texts of Yi Zhou Shu could be traced to accounts developed soon after the historical event (Shaughnessy 1991:31–67, 89) (Figure 7.6).5 The ease with which Zhou troops traversed the vast regions between the Zhou political base in Guanzhong and the Shang royal domain in Henei attests to the success of previous Zhou campaigns and the shifting political alliances in the final

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7.5. The routes of eastern campaigns led by predynastic Zhou kings, where the northern route represents King Wen’s campaign through the Jinnan Basin and the southern route represents King Wu’s campaign through the Luoyang Basin (illustrated by Li Min).

7.6. The inscriptions on the Li gui vessel commemorating the conquest of Shang by its patron, who participated in the military campaign (image courtesy of National Museum of China).

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decades of Shang history.6 The highland coalition may also have had a military advantage over the Shang forces thanks to its considerable chariot troops, which appear to have archaeological basis (Shaughnessy 1988; Cao 2014). Not all early sources recounting the conquest story mentioned the capture and transfer of the nine bronze vessels from the Late Shang royal center, as many early texts in Shangshu comprised recorded political speeches rather than historical narratives. The “Ke Yin jie” and “Shi fu jie” chapters in Yi Zhou shu both recounted the events surrounding the conquest, offering the most detailed narratives on the transfer of the vessels. In the “Ke Yin jie” chapter (36.358–80), the nine bronze tripod vessels were among the state treasures the Zhou troops seized from the Shang royal palace. Two Zhou generals, namely Nangong Baida and Shi Yi, were given a royal order to transfer the nine bronze ding vessels and three wu priests.7 The Shiji (“Zhou benji” 4.126–127) account of this event is nearly identical with Yi Zhou shu, except it attributes the transfer of the vessels to Nangong Kuo and replaces the three wu priests with treasured jades, indicating that both texts probably referenced a common source: He enfeoffed Lu Fu, the son of King Zhou of the Yin [Shang], with the remaining people of Yin. Because Yin had just been pacified and [the situation] was not yet settled, King Wu had his younger brother, Guan Shu Xian, and Cai Shu Du assist Lu Fu in governing the Yin [people]. Later he ordered the Duke of Shao to release Qi Zi from the prison, ordered the Duke of Bi to release the people from prison, and to establish a memorial at the gate of Shang Rung’s village. He ordered Nangong Kuo to distribute the wealth in the Lutai [palace] and to issue grain from the Juqiao granary to relieve the poor and the weak, laborers and slaves. He ordered Nangong Kuo and Scribe Yi to exhibit the nine ding tripod vessels and treasured jades. He ordered Hong Yao to add soil to Bi Gan’s grave mound. He ordered the Priest of the Ancestral Temple to offer sacrifices [to the fallen soldiers] at his camp. Then he withdrew his troops and returned to the west. He inspected the districts along the road, kept a record of their administration, and delivered the “Wu Cheng” (the Proclamation on the Military Accomplishments). He enfeoffed the lords, bestowed vessels for ancestral sacrifice upon them, and compiled “Fen Yin Zhi Qiwu” (On Distributing Yin’s Vessels). To commemorate the previous sage kings, King Wu enfeoffed the descendent of Shennong with Jiao, the descendent of the Huangdi with Zhu, a descendent of Di Yao with Ji, the descendent of Di Shun with Chen, and the descendent of the Great Yu with Ji. After this, he enfeoffed the meritorious ministers and advisors. The Grand Tutor, Shang Fu, was at the top of the list. He enfeoffed Shang Fu with Yingqiu, which was the Qi [state]. He enfeoffed his younger brother, Dan, the Duke of Zhou, with Qufu, which was the Lu [state]. He enfeoffed Shi, the Duke of Shao, with Yan. He enfeoffed his younger brother, Lord Xian, with Guan, and his younger brother, Lord

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Du, with Cai. The rest received enfeoffments according to their order of rank. (adapted from the translation of Nienhauser 1994:62–63)

Nangong Baida and Nangong Kuo probably correspond to Bo Da and Bo Kuo named among the eight renowned figures in the service of the Zhou founders in Analects (“Weizi” 18.11). The display of the nine ding vessels was described among other political and administrative affairs in a task list for Zhou state building, which made no reference to their supernatural quality as seen in the wen ding narrative quoted in the beginning of Chapter 1. This has been a coherent pattern associated with all the references to these vessels at the time of the Zhou conquest.The “Shi fu jie” chapter in Yi Zhou shu (40.447–48) mentioned the presentation of ding vessels in a detailed description of the victory celebrations after the conquest: On the day of Xinhai, presentation of the [bronze] ding vessels captured from the king of Yin. King Wu then reverently displayed the jade tablet and the codice, making an announcement to the heavenly ancestor Lord on High. Without changing his robes, the king entered into the temple. Holding the yellow battleaxe, he spoke and regulated the many states. The flutists [played] nine refrains. (adapted from the translation by Shaughnessy 1997:33)

The entry did not mention the number of captured bronze ding vessels for presentation, or their association with past regimes. Nevertheless, the Xia legacy was part of the celebration: “On yimao (day 52) the flutists played ‘Venerable Yu [i.e.Yu the Great] begat [Kai=] Qi,’ three refrains” (Shaughnessy 1997:34). We could infer from these accounts of the Zhou conquest that the bronze ding vessels seized from the Shang royal court figured prominently in the historical narrative about the regime change.Their transfer under the supervision of renowned Zhou military leaders suggests that these accounts were meant to describe actual historical events. Their supernatural qualities and symbolic association with the landscape either did not exist at the time, or were part of public knowledge that was taken for granted. The redistribution of Shang vessels from Zhou military campaigns had been frequently encountered in textual and archaeological sources. Given the magical aura associated with the first metallurgical transformation, the idea of the Shang court curating a set of important bronze vessels from the Erlitou workshops as symbols of religious and political authority is not entirely inconceivable. As seen in Yi Zhou shu, the general tone about their transfer is consistent with a historical description of a political event, without elaboration about the vessels themselves. The archaeological discovery at Liulihe suggests that the authors of Shiji had indeed incorporated credible sources on the Zhou state-building process, because its account of King Wu granting the Yan state to the Duke of Shao was absent from texts attributed to the Zhou period (Li Feng 2006:336).

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Consolidating the Zhou Political Order With Zhou and Shang royal centers positioned more than 800 kilometers apart, coping with the cultural diversity in the broadly defined Zhou society was an important task for Zhou statecraft. To consolidate of the newly developed Zhou political order, King Wu installed Shang prince Lufu as the new leader of the Shang polity in Anyang and appointed three Zhou lords, i.e. Lord Shu Xian at Guan in Zhengzhou, the Lord Shu Du at Shangcai in the upper Huai River Basin, and Lord Shu Chu at Huozhou in the upper Jinnan Basin, to monitor the Shang powers in and around Henei (Chen Pan 1969).8 Soon after the death of King Wu, however, the Shang powers led by Lufu and the Zhou lords rebelled against the Zhou and the newly forged political unity dissolved (Yi Zhou shu, “Zuo luo jie,” 48.544–52; Shiji, “Zhou ben ji,” 4.132). Under the regency of the Duke of Zhou, the Zhou royal forces launched the second eastern campaign to retake the lowland region lost to the pro-Shang uprising. After the second conquest of the Shang heartland and further east, the Zhou state builders addressed the root of the problem with two important measures, namely compulsive relocation of the conquered population from their former settlements, especially elite lineages and artisans, and establishment of military colonies in conquered regions under the leadership of major Zhou lords and their lineages. The population expansion at Zhou royal centers ran parallel with the decline of Yinxu, resulting from a series of compulsory relocations of its population to the Zhou royal centers in the Guanzhong Basin and Luoyang Basin, as well as newly established Zhou military colonies across the eastern plains. The influx of skilled artisans from the conquered Shang royal centers led to a major increase in the scale and quality of craft production at Zhouyuan, e.g. bronze, bone, jade, and ground stone industries (Cao 2014:302–3; Sun 2007).9 As a major political and ritual center for the Zhou state, Zhouyuan’s borders reached Fengxiang and Baoji in the west and Wugong in the east. From the Zhouyuan core area (30 square kilometers) in the east to the Zhaojiatai settlement in the middle and the Zhougongmiao in the west, clusters of architectural foundations, workshops, and lineage cemeteries spread out along the southern slope of Mt. Qi, making the Western Zhou royal center at Zhouyuan an “agglomeration of major religious-cum-residential compounds scattered over an area of perhaps 200 square kilometers, with spacious tracts of agricultural land in between” (Falkenhausen 2006:34). The settlement at Zhouyuan remained prominent through the Western Zhou period until it fell to highland invasion in 771 bce.The long inscriptions on bronzes vessels left behind in dozens of hoards offer rich information on the ritual, political, and economic life of the Western Zhou elite (Hsü and Linduff

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1988; Shaughnessy 1991, 1999; Rawson 1999b;Yang 2003; Falkenhausen 2006; Li Feng 2006; Khayutina 2008). Their content and loci of discovery show a convergence of settlement archaeology, archaeological inscriptions, historical landscape, and textual narratives during the early first millennium bce. Near Xi’an, the royal centers of Feng and Hao supplemented the political power at Zhouyuan. Spanning an area of approximately 17 square kilometers, these two cities were former states that Zhou annexed during its campaigns leading up to the conquest of the Shang. Excavations at the Hao royal center produced dozens of large rammed earth foundations associated with palatial structures of the Western Zhou period (Shaanxisheng 1995). Multiple cemeteries and workshops were excavated at the area around the Feng royal center, spanning the entire Western Zhou period (Zhongguo et al. 2016). The most important discovery was made at Zhangjiapo, where nearly one thousand tombs have been excavated, including the lineage cemetery for several generations of the Lords of Jing. The large double ramp tomb m157 reached an impressive size of 35 meters long and 8 meters deep. The inscription on the bronze bell indicates that the deceased was probably Jing Shu, the first Lord of Jing, a prominent figure in the Zhou state-building narratives (Zhongguo 1999c; Li Feng 2006:40–45, 129). The presence of the catacomb tombs at Zhangjiapo, a western highland ritual tradition, provided compelling evidence for ethnic diversity in these Zhou royal centers (Falkenhausen 2006:205–11). Beyond the Guanzhong Basin, the great challenge for the Zhou state founders was to consolidate a large domain inherently characterized by great cultural and historical diversity. The Zhou kings implemented the fengjian (to assign and establish) system by granting land, people, historical relics, gifts, and titles to members of royal lineages and high elite, making them lords of regional states or domains (Creel 1970; Hsü and Linduff 1988; Yang 2003; Li Feng 2006, 2008; Durrant et al. 2016).10 These lords acknowledged the political and ritual authority of the Zhou royal house by offering military support, services, and tributes in the forms of finished products, raw materials, and local produce. Bound to the Zhou kingship through its ancestral cult, these lords will have had one of their sub-lineages residing in Zhouyuan to attend their ancestral temples and estates. The royal investiture address, the heroic deeds of its founding lord, and the genealogy of its ruling house were likely recited by generations of Zhou elite for each state as touchstones of their classical learning, as seen in the references to them by speechmakers in Zuozhuan. I will return to this point later. This approach may have been attempted by the Erlitou and Shang states during the second millennium bce.The distribution of clan emblems at several outposts and the royal cemetery in Yinxu, for example, suggest that the Shang king likely dispatched junior lineages of the Shang royal clan to guard strategic

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locations (He 2009). The archaeological evidence for the major presence of subjugated populations in and around these outposts, however, remains absent. Archaeological and textual evidence suggests that the Zhou state was the first to systematically implement this policy in its state-building strategy and, as I will argue later, the first to incorporate a historical perspective into this political institution. Some of these regional states replaced the existing rulers of local polities, while others were established as new political entities. The founding of each new state marks a new episode of Zhou military expansion, which came with its own colonial dynamics. Complaisant local rulers were permitted to continue their rule after they had pledged loyalty to the Zhou kingship. Many of them had never been fully incorporated into the Shang domain in the first place. Together, these regional states formed the macro-geopolitical structure of the Western Zhou state (see Li Feng 2006:71 for a comprehensive list of these regional states). The geographic choices for Zhou military strongholds reveal that the Zhou colonial enterprise was established on the basis of sophisticated geopolitical knowledge: It was also evident that the deployment of the regional Zhou states, at least the Ji states in the eastern plain, extending from this power axis and fully integrated with the landscape of the region, was the outcome of systematic planning based on far-sighted geopolitical considerations: not only were they located along the main transportation lines in positions that could effectively control the roads, but they were also situated in the agriculturally most favorable areas in the transitional belt between the mountains and the alluvial plain. It was plausible that the establishment of the regional states was not just a random process to give out land to royal kinsmen and the various local leaders, but was a process through which the Western Zhou state carefully constructed its geographical space, hence strengthening its political foundation. (Li Feng 2006:89)

The five lords of Qi, Lu, Yan, Wey, and Jin formed a network of major Zhou strongholds that flanked the Zhou royal centers in the Guanzhong Basin and Luoyang Basin (Durrant et al. 2016: Lord Zhao 12.11a).11 The inscription on the Yihou Ze gui vessel (jc:4320) excavated from the Yandunshan cemetery in the lower Yangzi reveals the extent of Zhou knowledge of landscape and demography during the Early Western Zhou period (Figure  7.7). The investiture statement incorporated into the inscription described the place of Yi as having more than three hundred river valleys and thirty-five villages.The people granted to the lord were grouped into four categories, i.e. the king’s men in the region were listed according to their lineages, the people of Zheng from where the lord was transferred were described

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7.7. The inscribed Yihou Ze gui vessel from the Yandunshan cemetery in the lower Yangzi River Basin (image courtesy of the National Museum of China).

as a group led by seven chiefs (bo), and those listed as subordinate people and commoners were identified only by enumerating them(Chen Mengjia 2004:15–17; Li Feng 2006:322). This level of detailed understanding highlights the legibility of land, resources, and people in Zhou society, which presents a strong contrast to the general assumptions of premodern statecraft as characterized by James Scott (1998:2): The premodern state was, in many crucial respects, partially blind; it knew precious little about its subjects, their wealth, their landholdings and yields, their location, their very identity. It lacked anything like a detailed “map” of its terrain and its people. It lacked, for the most part, a measure, a metric, that would allow it to “translate” what it knew into a common standard necessary for a synoptic view.

Information on land, resources, and people is often compiled at the onset of state- and empire-building processes. The Spanish Crown, for example, used questionnaires known as the Relaciones Geográficas to gather information about its new territories in the New World from 1578 to 1584 (Mundy 1996). The Zhou leaders may have inherited some of this information from the administrative apparatus of the fallen regime. In the case of the place of Yi in lower Yangzi, which was never incorporated into the Shang political domain, the Zhou state would have had to conduct its own survey. Aside from strategic consideration of transportation and resources, knowledge of the historical landscape and cultural diversity was equally important

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for connecting the newly established Zhou states with the political legacy of the subjugated communities. As dynastic changes involved “kaleidoscopic shifts in the constellation of clans as they regroup around a new royal house” (Falkenhausen 2006:169), past regimes also left behind their legacies in the form of emplaced social memory. The investiture addresses incorporated in Zuozhuan suggest that the major Zhou regional states were deliberately established at the important historical loci known as xu, ruins of the past regimes and confederations (Li Ling 2003; Wu 2012; Li Min 2016). These ruins became the places of memory, the “spots of cultural-historical significance that provided spatial centers and moral touchstones within various oral genres” (Nabokov 2002:130). To highlight the connection with the past, the Zhou king would present the lord of each regional state or domain with named historical relics associated with past regimes, often seized in the course of Zhou military conquest. The granting of these treasures not only provided royal endorsement of these regional states, but also tied these Zhou elite lineages to the historical landscape of their newly conquered places. The Zhou political rhetoric about the state-building process in the ancient Xia domain between the Shang homeland in Henei and Zhou homeland in Guanzhong helps us understand the Zhou notion of Sandai historical geography  in relation to pre-Shang legacy. In Zhou textual sources, the Xia domain primarily consisted of the Jinnan Basin and the Luoyang Basin. While both basins had been deserted for more than two centuries prior to the time of the Zhou conquest, the Zhou leaders attributed great historical and symbolic significance to them, and consolidated the Zhou hegemony by building two great Zhou centers in these basins under the rhetoric of returning to the Xia legacy. A comparison of the archaeological landscape and the Zhou historical rhetoric about these two basins offers information on the Zhou vision of the past as an important source of legitimacy (Figure 7.8).

Rebuilding the Central Plains: Luoyang and the Central Domain In the Zhou state-building narrative, the Zhou leaders used the Luoyang Basin as a forward station for their eastern campaign. As discussed before, King Wu twice gathered the western coalition troops at the river crossing at Mengjin. Soon after the conquest of the Shang royal center, the Zhou king returned to the Luoyang Basin, where he allegedly prayed at Mt. Song on the southern edge of the basin and declared that he would establish a new royal center in the basin, which was considered the center of the Zhou domain. In a statement attributed to King Wu, the Zhou state founder laid out the religious, logistical, and historical considerations for building a new royal center at Luoyang (Shiji “Zhou benji” 4.129):

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7.8. The spatial correlation between important Zhou centers and the important pre-Zhou sites from the late third to the late second millennium bce (squares represent major Zhou political centers and circles represent major political centers of the Longshan and Erlitou periods) (illustrated by Li Min).

“To secure Heaven’s protection, we must reside near the Heavenly Chamber. We must single out the evil people and remove them as I did to the King Zhou of Yin. Day and night we must reward and comfort the people to secure our land in the west. I shall promote my works until my good deeds are clear to all. From Luorui (the bend in the Luo River) to the Yirui (the bend in the Yi River), the land is easy to settle and without obstructions. Here was the old place of the Xia. If I might gaze south to Mt. Santu and north to the settlements at the foot of the Sacred Peak, if I might look back to the [Yellow] River and look out to the Luo River and the Yi River, this place would not be far from the Heavenly Chamber.” He laid out the Zhou settlement at the city of Luo and then departed. (adapted from the translation of Nienhauser 1994:63–64; the original transliteration has been changed to Pinyin)

With the assistance of the Duke of Zhou and Duke of Shao, King Cheng (r. 1042/35–1006 bce) implemented King Wu’s vision and built the new royal center at Luoyang to complement the existing royal centers in the Guanzhong Basin (Hsü and Linduff 1988:124–26; Falkenhausen 2006:171).12 The inscriptions on the Tianwang gui vessel and the He zun vessel recount the political and ritual activities immediately following the conquest of Shang (Chen Mengjia 2004:3–9; Hsü and Linduff 1988:96) (Figures  7.9 and 7.10). They highlight the royal sacrifice at the Heavenly Chamber to secure the

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7.9. The inscription on the Tianwang gui vessel recounts the grand ceremony held by King Wu at Tianshi, the heavenly chamber, after the conquest of Shang to honor King Wen and to secure the endorsement from the supreme god as the leader of a new political order (image courtesy of the National Museum of China).

7.10. The inscription on the He zun vessel discovered at Jiacun near Zhouyuan recounts the events immediately following the conquest of Shang (jc:6014), which includes the phrase “to settle in the Central Domain” (photo by Fang Hui at the Baoji Bronze Vessels Museum).

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7.11. The four rivers of the Luoyang Basin and the location of Luoyi in relation to Erlitou and the landmarks mentioned in the speech attributed to King Wu. The Shiji passage identified the plains from Luorui to Yirui, a stretch of land spanning approximately 30 kilometers, as the old place of the Xia (illustrated by Li Min).

supernatural blessing, the royal visit to the newly finished capital, the deeds of King Wen, who first received the Mandate of Heaven, and King Wu, who conquered the Shang and laid out the royal plans to reside in and govern from Zhongguo or Zhongyu, the central domain, and the desire for the royal kinsmen to follow the example of their forefathers and serve the court well so that they too would receive the heavenly blessings. The notion of Luoyang as the place of the central domain, therefore, dates to the onset of the Zhou conquest, well before the Zhou political order was consolidated in the broadly defined Zhou domain. The choice of Luoyang as the center of the world appears to have guided the military campaigns that brought the Zhou political order into reality (Figure 7.11). The motivation behind the selection of Luoyang as the site of the Zhou royal center highlighted the aforementioned connection between supernatural endorsement and the “heavenly chamber” of Mt. Song. The Duke of Zhou allegedly built an observatory at Dengfeng at the foot of Mt. Song, where he used a gnomon to measure the shadow of the sun at the summer solstice to define the axis mundi for the Zhou world (Dong 1939; Needham and Wang 1965:272). Its close proximity to the major Longshan center of Wangchenggang (c. 2200–1835 bce) in the Ying River Valley indicates that the siting of the axis mundi by the architects of the Zhou probably incorporated ritual knowledge associated with the Longshan-Erlitou legacy revolving around the sacred landscape of Mt. Song (Henansheng and Zhongguo 1992;

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7.12. As part of a unique palimpsest of archaeological and legendary landscape, the historical monument marking the site of the Zhou observatory was located next to the site of Wangchenggang, one of the largest walled town sites (30 hectares) of the Longshan period and a legendary place associated with the Great Yu (modified from Beijing and Henansheng 2007: Color Plate 6).

Beijing and Henansheng 2007; Liu and Chen 2012:222; Okamura 2003:101–4) (Figure 7.12). The choice of Mt. Song as the axis mundi, therefore, connected the practices of time-mapping for appropriate ritual observance, pilgrimage activities at sacred places, and the definition of a new political order for the Zhou realm. The sources incorporated into the “Zhou benji” chapter in Shiji (4.133) recount a series of political and religious actions associated with the building of the new royal center, which also included the settling of the nine ding vessels in Luoyang: King Cheng stayed at Feng and ordered the Duke of Shao to resume the construction of Luoyi, as King Wu intended. The Duke of Zhou again performed oracle divination and inspected the site. Finally, when they finished construction, [the Duke of Zhou] settled the Nine Ding Tripods there. He said, “This is the center of the world. When people from the four quarters pay tribute, the distance will be equal for them.” So he delivered the “Shao Gao” (the Shao Proclamation) and the “Luo Gao” (the Luo Proclamation). After King Cheng had relocated the Yin people, the Duke of Zhou announced the king’s orders to them and he delivered the “Duo Shi” (The Multitude of Patricians) and the “Wu Yi” (Against Idleness). With the Duke of Shao as the protector and the Duke of Zhou

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as tutor, the king chastised the Huai Yi groups in the east and destroyed the Yan, removing its rulers from Bogu.When King Cheng returned from Yan, he wrote “Duo Fang” (The Various Regions) at Zong Zhou. After he removed Yin’s mandate and attacked the Huai Yi groups, he returned to reside at Feng and wrote the “Zhou Guan” (On the Government of Zhou). He promoted and rectified the ritual ceremonies and music, [so that] the systems were changed at this time, the people were harmonious and the sounds of praise arose. After King Cheng chastised the Eastern Yi groups, the Sushen groups came to present congratulatory tribute. The king bestowed [these gifts] on the Lord of Rung and delivered the “Hui Sushen Zhi Ming” (the Order to Endow the Sushen). (adapted from the translation by Nienhauser 1994:65–66; the original transliteration has been changed to Pinyin)

Although Luoyang was not the sole capital for the Zhou royalty, it defines the spatial armature for the Zhou to perceive themselves as occupying the center of the civilized world. Owing to the great symbolic significance attributed to the new capital, the divinations performed by the Zhou leaders allowed the new capital to be in perfect constellation with the axis mundi for supernatural endorsement. According to the “Zuo Luo” (48.570–71) chapter in Yi Zhou shu, symbolic measures to mark Luoyang as the center of the Zhou world order also included the construction of a grand altar mound using polychrome soil, which represents each cardinal direction with a different soil color surrounding the yellow loess in the center, i.e. black (north), white (west), red (south), and grey (east). At investiture ceremonies for regional states, the Zhou king would remove some colored soil from the direction associated with the regional state, cover it with the yellow soil removed from the center of the altar mound, pack them together inside white reeds, and present it to the lord to symbolize granting Zhou land to the regional states. In addition to the grand altar mound in the city, sacrificial altar mounds were built in the southern suburb of Luoyang for paying homage to the supreme god, Hou Ji, celestial bodies, and the previous Zhou kings (Yi zhou shu “Zuo Luo” 48.568). Through these symbolic measures, the time and space of the Zhou world became structured within a Luoyang-centric ritual order, imbued with historical meaning. I will discuss the symbolic significance of these polychrome earthen mounds in relation to the cult of the Great Yu and its magical earth in Chapter 8. The spatial definition of a center depends on one’s perspective on the geographic extent of one’s world. Given its highland origin, the Zhou could have established a world order centered at its royal centers in the Guanzhong Basin. Instead, the Zhou leaders identified Luoyang as the focal point of their world, such that all roads necessary for tribute missions were equidistant (Falkenhausen 2006:171). The choice of Luoyang as the pivot of the Zhou world represents

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a significant deviation from the configuration of the Shang political landscape during the second half the second millennium bce, whereby the Shang presents itself as Zhong Shang, the central Shang, residing in Zhengzhou and later Anyang (Keightley 2000:84). By highlighting the Xia legacy in the Luoyang Basin, the architects of the Zhou state consciously manipulated the social memory of the pre-Shang regime to resonate with the surrounding physical landscape and a historical notion of axis mundi revolving around the Xia legacy: the Zhou could “legitimize their rule of China by governing from the old home of Xia. These assertions may be interpreted as an attempt to establish a legacy for them in the dynastic succession” (Hsü and Linduff 1988:98). This perception formed the geographic basis for the Sandai narrative in Zhou political ideology. Although there is no mention of the Xia regime in archaeological inscriptions, the Zhou storytellers provided us enough details on time and space in their historical geography to make informed comparisons (Zhang Guoshuo 2006; Chen Longwen 2011). The Shao Kang Restoration narrative, allegedly set in and around the Luoyang Basin, was the first time that the basin emerged as a central stage for the political development of early China (Okamura 2003:69–72). In this celebrated story, the Xia royal house allegedly restored its power under King Shao Kang after a century-long interregnum caused by invasions from the eastern plains (Guben 1997:6).The synopsis of the “Wuzi zhige” (the Odes of the Five Princes) in the Ancient Script version of Shangshu, for example, references the historical landmark of Luorui, the confluence of the Yi-Luo River and the Yellow River, as the place of residence for the Xia princes in exile.13 Numerous entries from the Bamboo Annuals also describe Zhenxun as the center stage where Xia dynastic stories revolving around King Tai Kang,Yi the usurper, and the last Xia King Jie took place (Guben 1997:3, 6). In a speech attributed to Wu Qi (440–381 bce), the Wei general outlines the historical geography of the last Xia king’s royal center, framing Zhenxun within a region south of Taihang, north of the Yique Gourge in the Luoyang Basin, west of the archaic Yellow River and its tributary Ji River, and east of Mt. Hua (Zhangguo ce 1991:782; Crump 1979:374; Shiji, “Sunzi Wuqi liezhuan” 65.2161–70).These landmarks allow us to make a positive identification of the Luoyang Basin with the place of Zhenxun in the historical geography of the Warring States.14 I will further elaborate on this point in Chapter 8. From an archaeological perspective, data from the systematic survey in the Luoyang Basin suggests that the basin was sparsely populated during the last quarter of the second millennium bce, which concurs with the Zhou narrative of using the basin as a forward station before the conquest of Shang.The basin, however, hosted great sociopolitical development during the second quarter of the second millennium bce. Nivison’s (1999:12) estimate of Shao Kang’s

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restoration being in the mid-nineteenth century bce falls within the time frame for the formative phase of Erlitou. The Shao Kang restoration narrative had one critical component that concurs with the archaeological pattern  – the Luoyang Basin emerged as a major political center relatively late in the political history of early China. Its association with the first production of bronze ritual vessels, the first appearance of a ceramic prototype of the square-shaped ding vessels with iconography on their exteriors, and the first Luoyang-centered political order suggests that the rise of Erlitou critically contributed to shaping the political ideology of the Sandai tradition. The convergence of the legendary and archaeological landscapes, therefore, suggests that the Shao Kang restoration was probably an important component in the Erlitou state-building narrative (Tian 1981, 1986; Li Boqian 1986). I will elaborate on this point in Chapter 8. With the construction of Luoyi at the turn of the first millennium bce, the Luoyang Basin reemerged as a major political center from among the ruins of history after the abandonment of Erlitou and Yanshi after the middle of the second millennium bce. The political legacy associated with Erlitou, which is located less than 30 kilometers to the east of the Zhou royal center at Luoyi, may have served as the historical precedent for the Zhou to return to the Luoyang-centric political ideology of the early second millennium bce.15 As the first political power that defined the Luoyang-centered political framework in early China, Erlitou provided a successful model for the Zhou integration of its political base in the west with the conquered territories in the east. This eastward shift in political landscape provides the Zhou with logistical advantage for geopolitical integration: The construction of Luoyi (and/or Chengzhou) as the eastern administrative and military center was clearly a strategy to offset the geographical disadvantages of the Western Zhou capitals being located in the west, far removed from the regions of primary threat and possibilities for expansion. This resulted in the creation of an axis of power that linked the two regions through the difficult mountains of western Henan, providing the Western Zhou states with a crucial stabilizing power. (Li Feng 2006:89)

The geopolitical choice went hand-in-hand with the symbolic claim of the pre-Shang political legacy, which gave Luoyang a clear edge over other strategic places located between Zhouyuan and Anyang. The three royal centers of Zhouyuan, Feng-Hao, and Luoyang formed the major nexus of the Western Zhou state power. The kings and their entourages moved among these royal centers conducting rituals, political gatherings, and planning military campaigns. Luoyang served not only as a symbolic center for the Zhou domain, but also as a major base for the professional, aristocratic warriors organized as the eight Yin divisions and six Zhou divisions, as well as

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a hub where the elite of Shang, Zhou, and other descendant groups coalesced (Hsü and Linduff 1988:125–26). This lasted until 771 bce, when the Zhou lost the Guanzhong Basin to highland invasions, and Luoyi became the sole center of the Zhou political domain. Archaeological discoveries in the Luoyang concur with textual narratives stating that Luoyang served as a major political, economic, and military center for the Zhou world during the early first millennium bce. The urban settlement was concentrated in an area of two by three kilometers on both banks of the Chan River. Several Western Zhou cemeteries have been excavated in Luoyang, where some inscribed vessels from the elite tombs were associated with renowned historical figures in the early Zhou court (Zhongguo 1959a; Hsü and Linduff 1988:125, 311–18; Luoyangshi 1999; Falkenhausen 2006:170– 73, 177–86; Li Feng 2006:62–66). Bronze inscriptions also provided the names of palaces for royal audiences, temples for ritual occasions, administrative offices for state bureaucracy, storage facilities for tribute goods, and various workshops attached to the Zhou royalty, which generally concur with the textual references of the Zhou period (Li Xueqin 1985; Hsü and Linduff 1988). Outside the Luoyang Basin, inscriptions on bronze vessels discovered in the regional states offer accounts of royal audiences in Chengzhou, where gifts were exchanged and appointments renewed (Shaughnessy 1991:165; Khayutina 2010). The Beiyao bronze foundry (20 hectares) was the most important Early Western Zhou metalworking workshop east of Zhouyuan (Luoyangshi 1999). Massive numbers of furnaces, crucibles, slags, bone and bronze tools, and tens of thousands of fragments of elaborate clay molds were found there. The workshops produced bronze vessels of all categories known in Western Zhou archaeological records, as well as weapons and chariot accessories. Multiple attributes of ritual practice associated with the Shang tradition were observed here – e.g. oracle bone divination and sacrificial pits with human and animal sacrifices – indicating the involvement of Shang artisans in the Zhou metal workshop, who were relocated to Luoyang from Anyang by the Zhou state. The conquest of Anyang and the relocation of its metalworking artisan lineages itself did not result in an immediate change in artistic representation. These early Zhou period workshops operated by Shang artisans produced bronze vessels with the most fantastical décor in early China, e.g. the bronze you vessel from tomb m4 at the Yangzishan cemetery of the È state, which was very different from later Western Zhou bronze wares (Figure 7.13 No. 1). Bronze vessels produced by the post-conquest workshops in Yinxu and later in Beiyao were commissioned either by the Zhou royal court as gifts granted to the elite participants of the Zhou coalition or by the elite lineages to commemorate their participation in the campaign, often paid for with royal gifts of strung cowries as stated in their inscriptions.

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2. Kazuo Hoard, Inner Mongolia

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1. Yangzishan Cemetery, Hubei 4. Zhuwajie Hoard, Sichuan

5. Zhuwajie Hoard, Sichuan

7.13. The Early Western Zhou period bronze vessels excavated in the middle Yangzi, Inner Mongolia, and the Sichuan Basin, which were likely produced by workshops operated by Shang artisans after the Zhou conquest of Anyang (No. 1, photo by Yang Zhishui at the Capital Museum, Beijing; Nos. 2–5, after Lang Jianfeng 2016: Figure 2).

These inscribed vessels served not only as touchstones for understanding the Western Zhou historical narrative and political representation but also as centerpieces in ancestral rites and ritual feasting sponsored by their descendants. Nearly identical bronze vessels found in the hoards at Zhuwajie, approximately 10 kilometers from Sanxingdui, in the Sichuan Basin, in Kazuo ritual deposits on the northeastern highland, and in the tombs of the Zhou lords granted to the Zeng state in the middle Yangzi were likely centrally produced by Zhou state workshops for the expanding demands of elite exchange, ritual pilgrimage, and alliance building at the time of Zhou state building (Figure 7.13, Nos. 2–5).The discovery of an Eastern Zhou copy of this vessel from the tomb (No. 2) of a Jü elite at Liujiadianzi in Yishui, Shandong further attests to the broad distribution of this vessel type across vast regions in Zhou society (Gao and Shao 2005:503, Figure 8.4–26). Zhou’s return to a pre-Shang definition of axis mundi is important for the wen ding narrative, as it defined the symbolic significance of the Luoyang Basin as the event place in the wen ding story. A speech attributed to the Lu noble

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Zang Sunda in Zuozhuan (the second year of Lord Huan, 710 bce) shows that the possession of nine vessels had become a symbol of legitimacy in the Zhou political discourse: For the cauldron of Gao to be in the temple – what demonstration could be more extreme than this! Even when King Wu conquered Shang and moved the nine cauldrons to the settlement at Luo, there were nonetheless some men of lofty principles who criticized him. How much worse is it to place in the Grand Ancestral Temple a vessel won as a bribe for showing disobedience and disorder! (translated by Durrant et al. 2016: Lord Huan 2.2, pp.78–79)

This comment on the contested notion of legitimacy associated with the Zhou transfer of the nine ding vessels was the first entry about these potent symbols in the chronicles incorporated into Zuozhuan. Even though the Zhou invested enormous efforts in projecting a historical claim to the Mandate of Heaven to justify its regime change, there were still people who did not fully endorse its usurpation of the Shang overlord.The historical narrative about the Zhou relocation of the bronze ding vessels to the Luoyang Basin marked the return of these symbolically charged vessels to the place where the first bronze ding vessels in early China were created in the second quarter of the second millennium bce, as seen through the archaeological lens. For the wen ding narrative, the reemergence of the Luoyang Basin as the center of the political domain brought together these critical attributes for the temporal and spatial definition of legitimacy, namely the Xia as the first dynastic regime of the Sandai civilization and the Luoyang Basin as the pivot of the Zhou political order. The political rhetoric of returning to the Luoyangcentric geopolitical order allowed the Zhou to tap into the emplaced social memory shared by diverse memory communities in the honeycomb of the Late Shang world. This historical claim provided Zhou leaders with the ideological basis for building a broad-based coalition against the Shang hegemony.

Rebuilding the Central Plains: Jinnan and the Ruins of Xia Like the construction of Luoyi in the Luoyang Basin, the establishment of the Jin state in the Jinnan Basin also involved the building of a major Zhou stronghold on vacant land in the name of its historical legacy. In a debate on the lineage seniority attributed to 506 bce in Zuozhuan, invocator Tuo (Ziyu), the chief priest of the Wey state, recounted the colonizing missions associated with the founding lords of three major Zhou states, i.e. Wey, Lu, and Jin. The royal investiture addresses incorporated into Tuo’s speech instructed these lords to govern the local population according to the historical legacy specific to their domain.

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Like the Luoyang Basin, the founders of Zhou considered the Jinnan Basin as an ancient place imbued with memories of the past. The Lord of Tang (also known as Shu Yu, Tang Shu, or Tang Shu Yu) was joined by some officials of the royal government and the highland lineages to settle on the legendary landscape of Tang and Xia: To Tang Shu was allotted a grand chariot, a Mixu drum, Quegong armor, a Guxian bell, nine ancestral lines of the Huai clan, and five regulators for overseeing official duties. He was given his command in the Tang Proclamation and enfeoffed at the Mound of Xia. He led his people by means of Xia regulations and surveyed the land in accord with Rong models. (translated by Durrant et al. 2016: Lord Ding 4.1e, pp.1748–49)16

Since both Tang and Xia were protohistoric regimes of the late third millennium bce, this founding narrative of the Jin state in the Zhou political history became the touchstone for evaluating the connections between the historical, legendary, and archaeological landscapes. Later, Lord Xiefu, Shu Yu’s son, changed the name of the Zhou state from Tang to Jin, after the river next to its early capital, and thus it became historically known as the Jin state in transmitted texts and archaeological inscriptions (Zhu 2007).17 Through the first millennium bce, these investiture addresses were well studied by the Zhou nobles as the cornerstones of their political and historical knowledge. Another passage in Zuozhuan (527 bce, Lord Zhao 15.7b) offered revealing insights into the historical and symbolic significance of these royal gifts presented at Lord Shu Yu’s investiture. The Mixu drum was seized from the highland state of Mixu to the north of Mt. Qi, which was the first target of King Wen’s eastern campaigns against the Jiubang (nine states) in the Xia land (Li Ling 2003). The grand chariot (Dalu) was a ceremonial vehicle with bronze fittings, which has the grand banner with intertwined dragon decorum displayed on the carriage (Durrant et al. 2016: Lord Ding 4.1d, e). King Wen allegedly used the Mixu drum and the Dalu chariot for his grand military muster. Quegong was the armor used by King Wu in the conquest of Shang. These important relics associated with Zhou state-building history would otherwise be kept at the Zhou royal ancestral temple. On ceremonial occasions, their display likely accompanied the performance of odes like “Huang yi”皇 矣, which celebrated Zhou’s predynastic campaigns (Maoshi, 16d.1071-73). Their transfer to Lord Shu Yu highlights the focalization of Zhou military history in the Jin state investiture narrative. The detailed attention to historical places and named historical relics highlights “the ways and contexts in which stories are told and the ways that memories of places, peoples, and things are created” (Pauketat 2007:203).

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The investiture address for the Lord of Tang reveals that historically significant places provided the basis for the Zhou king to grant land, people, regalia, and titles to its lords. The “Jin shijia” chapter in Shiji (39.1635) placed the region of Tang in a geographically well-defined region: 唐在河、汾之東, 方百里,故曰唐叔虞 “[The place of] Tang is located to the east of the Yellow River and the Fen River, approximately one hundred square li in area, thus [Lord Shu Yu] was called Tang Shu Yu.” In the historical lore from Zhou transmitted texts, Tang was an important predynastic power active in the Jinnan Basin prior to the rise of the Xia regime, thus a critical toponym for our study of social memory (Li Min 1985; Zou 1996). Through the first millennium bce, stories about the legendary rulers of Tang,Yu, and Xia of the late third millennium bce were woven together into a list of sage kings that was frequently referenced in political rhetoric  and philosophical treatises. Depending on the genealogy of knowledge and perspective of the storytellers, the nature of regime change between Tang,Yu, and Xia was portrayed very differently, ranging from violent take-over to peaceful abdication (shanrang), whereas the latter became the prevailing narrative of the legendary era following the canonization of Confucian ideology in early imperial China (Allan 1981, 2010; Lewis 1989; Sukhu 2005–6). Although the political interpretations of this predynastic legacy constantly changed through history, the basic temporal and spatial framework of these legendary regimes remained consistent – these events unfolded during the late third millennium bce within the Jinnan Basin. During the second millennium bce, there were still polities in the Jinnan Basin assuming the ancient place name of Tang. An astrological lore presented by Zheng statesman Zichan suggests that the Tang state was active in Xia and Shang times before it was annihilated by the Zhou state and granted to Shu Yu (Zuozhuan Lord Zhao 1.12a).Tang as a place name was also mentioned in Yinxu oracle inscriptions, which placed it adjacent to the hostile highland groups of Gongfang and Guifang where it was visited by the Shang king during the early phases of Late Shang (HJ:10998, 40353; Zheng 1994:292–93; Tian 2004). The discovery of a large Western Zhou settlement at the site of TianmaQucun (1,100 hectares) on the north bank of the Fu River in the Quwo Basin offers a critical link between the early Jin political center and the legendary landscapes of Tang and Xia that were granted to Lord Shu Yu (Zou 1996; Li Boqian 1998, 2001). Nearly a third of the size of Yinxu, Tianma-Qucun was one of the largest Western Zhou political centers. The pottery associated with the settlement and its cemeteries displays the diagnostic traits of the Western Zhou ceramic assemblage common in Zhou military colonies and the Zhou homeland in the Guanzhong Basin. The lineage cemetery for nine generations of Jin lords was found at Beizhao at the center of this large Zhou settlement (Beijing and Shanxisheng 1993,

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7.14. The lineage cemetery for the lords of Jin at Qucun in Quwo, Shanxi (the plan view of the cemetery after Zhongguo 2004:87 Figure 3–7; photos of a chariot pit and a mortuary context by Li Min at the Qucun Jin State Museum).

1994, 1995, 2001; Shanxisheng and Beijing 1994a, 1994b; Shanghai 2002) (Figure 7.14). Organized as nine groups in three rows, these nineteen tombs exhibited the single or double ramp layout characteristic of the mortuary tradition of the Shang-Zhou high elite. Inscriptions on bronze objects and the spatial configuration of the cemetery indicate that these tombs belonged to the second to the tenth generation of Jin lords and their spouses (Liu Xu 2014:263). The earliest pair, m114 and m113, likely belonged to Lord Xiefu,

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7.15. The Shu Yu tetrapod ding vessel from Qucun m114 and its inscription (after Zhongguo 2004:95 Figure 3–14).

the second generation Jin lord active at the time of King Kang, and his wife (Beijing and Shanxisheng 2001). Like the royal cemetery in Yinxu, these burials are surrounded by horse and chariot pits, sacrificial pits filled with horse, cattle, sheep, and companion tombs for inner elites (Zou 2000). Inscribed bronzes from elite tombs at Tianma-Qucun yield critical information on the political dynamics of the early Jin state. The inscription on the Shu Yu tetrapod fangding vessel from Qucun m114 commemorated the ritual assembly hosted by King Cheng for the lords and their representatives from the Zhou regional states at the newly established royal center in Luoyang (Beijing and Shanxisheng 2001:9) (Figure 7.15): On the 14th month, the king held the grand ritual assembly for blessing at Chengzhou. Having completed the ceremony, the king had audience with the subjects and bestowed upon Shu Yu clothing, chariot, horse, and thirty strings of cowries [to send him off]. Shu Yu appraised the great deed of the king, and had this treasured ding vessel cast to commemorate the gift from the king.

Such a grand gathering renewed the political and religious ties between the Zhou kingship and its network of military colonies. Participants from other states also commemorated this great event with their inscribed bronze vessels (Li Boqian 2001:40; Li Xueqin 2001:67–69).

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Other inscriptions on bronze objects commissioned by the Jin lords highlight their participation in royal military campaigns. The inscriptions on the sixteen bronze bells commissioned by the Lord Su in Tomb m8, for example, report that Su accompanied the king in his southern and eastern campaigns, and was rewarded by the king for his military achievements. The impressive horse and chariot pit associated with Lord Su’s tomb included up to fifty chariots, some heavily armed with bronze plates, and more than 105 horses. Clues from multiple textual sources suggest that Lord Su was likely Lord Xian (d. 812 bce) described in Shiji, and the military campaign probably took place in 794 bce under King Xuan of Zhou (Ma 1996). The archaeological evidence from Tianma-Qucun suggests that the place of Tang, spoken of in the Jin state-building narrative in Zuozhuan, Shiji, and other historical sources, was located in the strip of the Feng River Basin spanning from Mt. Huo in the north to Houma in the south, which was known as Pingyang during the Eastern Zhou period and as Linfen today (Okamura 2003:22; Li Feng 2006:86–87; Liu Xu 2014:257). A speech attributed to Zhou noble Zai Kong in Guoyu, for example, characterized the Jin political landscape in the seventh century bce as 景霍以為城,而汾、河、涑、澮以為渠, 戎、狄之民實環之 “taking Mt. Huo as the city wall, using the Fen River, the Yellow River, the Su River, and the Hui River as its moats, and surrounded by [the] Rong and Di groups” (Guoyu 1978:301).18 The description presented an accurate insight into the physical and cultural landscape around the Jin state center in the Jinnan Basin, as seen through the archaeological perspective (Zou 1996, 1998). The configuration of the archaeological landscape around Mt. Chong and the Quwo Basin as seen from systematic survey and excavations suggests that the early Jin capital at Qucun was built on and surrounded by some of the greatest ruins of the highland Longshan society (Beijing and Shanxisheng 1992; Shanxisheng and Quwoxian 1996; Shanxisheng 1996; Zhao 2008; He 2013) (Figure 7.16). Within this well-defined place, spanning approximately 30 kilometers, the juxtaposition of the major highland Longshan centers, the early Jin state center, and the legendary landscape in commemoration of the predynastic polity of Tang of the late third millennium bce presents an increasing convergence of social memory and archaeological landscapes. From its early center in Quwo to the later center in Houma, the numerous relocations of the Jin political centers had not moved beyond the distance of a day’s journey (Shanxisheng 1996; Zou 2000; Liu Xu 2007; Shanxisheng and Quwoxian 2009).19 The place of Tang, therefore, likely refers to the Circum-Chongshan region, consisting of Quwo and Yicheng on the southern slope of Mt. Chong, and Linfen on the north. The Jinnan political landscape can be characterized as a Zhou enclave surrounded by highland immigrants inhabiting a region endowed with layers of

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7.16. The archaeological landscape of the Quwo Basin in Jinnan. The dashed line in the Quwo Basin outlines the area of high concentration of the Taosi period settlements (Longshan site size and location based on Zhao Baojin 2008, He Nu 2013, Shanxisheng and Quwoxian 1996, and Shanxisheng 1996) (illustrated by Li Min).

the past. The nine lineages of the Huai clan granted to Shu Yu were associated with the highland groups labeled as Guifang in Late Shang and predynastic Zhou oracle bone inscriptions (Wang Guowei 1922; Chen Gongrou 1989). During the Late Shang period, they were active in the loess highland region centered in Ordos, and had sustained military conflicts with the Late Shang regime (Li Feng 2006:54; Cao 2014:314; Xie 2014:26). After it had settled in Zhouyuan, the predynastic Zhou state also campaigned against these highland groups (Guben 1997:11). The royal investiture address to Shu Yu suggests that these groups had submitted to Zhou military supremacy and were relocated from the loess highlands to the Jinnan Basin as part of the state-building efforts for the Jin state (Li Feng 2013:135). Similar statements have been found on the inscriptions of bronze vessels from the tomb of the founding lord of the Yan state at the Liulihe site, while Lord Ke was granted six tribes of highland groups for similar purposes (Li Feng 2006:335). While the discovery of the Jin lord cemetery attests to the Zhou colonization of the Jinnan Basin, several settlements and cemeteries associated with the highland elites were discovered in the hinterland of Tianma-Qucun,

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presumably members of the Huai lineages mentioned in the Jin investiture narrative incorporated into Zuozhuan (Hsü and Linduff 1988:193; Cao 2014:315; Liu Xu 2014:314–16). The elite mortuary rituals observed in the cemeteries at Hengshui in Jiangxian (approximately 40 kilometers south of Qucun) and Dahekou in Yicheng (approximately 20 kilometers east of Qucun) offer clues for cultural resilience among these memory communities of the highland Longshan legacy (Shanxisheng et al. 2006a, 2006b; Shanxisheng 2011; Shanxisheng et al. 2014). The “tombs and their contents,” argues Rawson (1999a:48), “express some fundamental views about the structure of the world and the sources of power.” The mortuary syntax of the Lord (Bo) of the Ba state from the Dahekou cemetery, for example, displays hybridization of the highland Longshan and Shang mortuary traditions (Shanxisheng 2011). While its use of ledge and waist pit shares common traits with Shang elite tombs, the multiple niche construction in the tomb chamber for a Lord of Ba (tomb m1, c. eighth century bce) closely resembles the elite cemetery at Taosi and Shimao during the late third millennium bce. The number of niches (eleven) around the chamber of Dahekou tomb m1, in particular, is identical with that of the great tomb m22 at Taosi (Figure 7.17; compare with Figure 4.10). Outside the Jinnan Basin, such niche construction was only seen at the Shigushan cemetery and the Daijiawan cemetery in Baoji, where highland lords incorporated into the Zhou state resided during the Western Zhou period (Dai 1976; Shaanxisheng et  al. 2014; Liu Xu 2014:299). The burial syntax and the set configuration of inscribed grave goods suggest that the Lord of Ba and his ritual specialists were well acquainted with the nuances of Shang and Zhou elite ritual tradition. The resilience of these highland ritual traditions in close proximity to the Jin political center, therefore, represents a deliberate choice, wherein aspects of Shang and Zhou high culture were incorporated into a distinctively highland notion of ritual propriety. This is significant in understanding the diverse claims to the legacy of the past in Zhou society. Although these highland polities in the Jin hinterland left little or no trace in the transmitted texts, archaeological and epigraphic evidence reveals their impressive wealth and active engagement with prominent Zhou elites. References to battles against the Rong highland groups by the lords of the Ba state in bronze inscriptions from Dahekou indicate their military strength and relative autonomy (Li Jiansheng 2014).20 The Dahekou tomb m2002 featured a coffin cover decorated with more than 20,000 cowries, highlighting the wealth and extensive trade connections of these highland lords (Xie 2014:23; Shanxisheng et al. 2014:118). Numerous inscribed bronze vessels from the Dahekou cemetery commemorated the official visit to the Ba state by prominent nobles on behalf of the Zhou king, e.g. the Lord of Jing, the Lord

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7.17. The niche construction of the burial chamber of elite tomb m1 at the Dahekou cemetery (after Shanxisheng 2011: Color Plate 3-1), a gold zhang scepter (upper right, after Shanxisheng et al. 2014:79), and a bronze ding tripod vessel (lower right, after Shanxisheng et al. 2014:41).

of Rui, and Bo Kao, who presented the Lord of Ba with royal gifts of hide, cinnabar, tiger skins, horses, bronzes, and jades (Shanxisheng et al. 2014:50–52). Besides the high-profile visits and royal gifts, political marriages between these highland groups and the prominent Zhou elite lineages helped consolidate the Zhou social order in a culturally diverse society (Xie 2014). The discovery of an inscribed dowry bronze gui container commissioned by the Lord of Ba for his daughter in the tomb of a female elite at Quncun (m6195) suggests a marriage alliance between the elite lineages of the two neighboring states. Dahekou m1 also produced a set of inscribed drinking vessels commissioned by Lord Zhi, the second-generation ruler of the Yan state, as dowry for his aunt, the daughter of the Duke of Shao (the Grand Protector) (Shanxisheng et al. 2014). The discovery of dowry vessels from the Lord of Bi, in the cemetery for the lords of Peng at Hengshui, reveals that such marriages between important Zhou nobles and highland lords were a common occurrence across Early Western Zhou society, which contributes to diverse perspectives on the past legacies. These elite weddings were always associated with the exchange of sumptuous gifts, feasting, and recitation of lineage glories. The inventory of grave goods

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7.18. Longshan-style bronze objects from elite tomb m113 at the Qucun cemetery: (1) a bronze cong cylinder, (2) a bronze miniature pouch-legged tripod weng pot, (3) a bronze double loop handle jar, and (4) a Longshan double loop handle jar from Taosi for comparison (Nos. 1–3, photos by Wang Yi at the Qucun Jin State Museum; No. 4 after Zhongguo and Shanxisheng 2015:585 Figure 4–103).

from the undisturbed burial of m113, presumably the tomb of Lord Xiefu’s wife and the daughter-in-law of founding lord Tang Shu Yu, included not only vessels commissioned by the Lord of Jin, but also bronze objects outside of the Zhou ritual tradition (Beijing and Shanxisheng 2001). The distinctive bronze double loop handle vessel, for example, displays a remarkable resemblance to its painted ceramic counterparts from Taosi and Shimao. Likely brought in as the dowry of a highland elite woman, the bronze vessel was either a Longshan heirloom or a replica made in the shape of a ceramic vessel that played a prominent role in highland Longshan society (Chen Fangmei 2002, 2005; Falkenhausen 2006:211–12; Tian 2011) (Figure 7.18). In either case, this distinctive highland form provided a tangible connection between the Zhou elite culture in Jinnan and the highland Longshan legacy from a thousand years before. If it were indeed a curated Longshan heirloom, the double handled vessel would be the oldest bronze vessel from early China, predating any bronze vessels produced at Erlitou by a few centuries (Tian 2011).

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The double loop handled vessel was not the only bronze object of archaic form in this tomb. Other bronze representations of highland Longshan forms in m113 include a pair of bronze cong cylinders and a bronze miniature pouchlegged tripod weng pot.21 Their presence in the Jin elite mortuary context represents a case in which the symbols associated with the ancestral groups of the highland Longshan tradition were incorporated into the material culture of the ruling lineage of the Jin state. It fulfilled a similar role to that of the historical relics that the founding lord Tang Shu Yu received from the Zhou king on his investiture ceremony: as objects of remembrance, they symbolized the ancestral claim to this ancient place by the elite lineages. The representation of the past with objects reveals the tensions in the Zhou colonial dynamics. On the one hand, the display of important historical relics associated with major campaigns in the Zhou conquest of Shang highlighted Zhou military might. Reference to the Tang and Xia regimes, on the other hand, recognized the legitimate highland claim to the legacy of past political traditions as part of the emplaced social memory. Although the textual sources did not explain the nature of the connection between the Xia legacy and the highland confederations under the labels of Rong and Di, the investiture narrative suggests that the Zhou leaders recognized the latter’s geographic and political affiliation with the Xia tradition. Based on this recognition, Zhou leaders observed that the best approach to manage the highland groups was to assess taxation using Xia regulations (Durrant et al. 2016: Lord Ding 4.1e). Participated in by elites from an extensive network, the ritual occasions of weddings and funerals provided the important performative context for the enactment of the highland legacy to insert claims to the ancestral landscapes, either with the display of distinctive highland objects or with the unique construction of tomb chambers. Like the construction of a new royal center in the Luoyang Basin under the name of Xia, the creation of a major Zhou state in the Jinnan Basin has its logistical consideration. From an archaeological perspective, these highland groups were closely associated with the political network of hilltop fortresses seen at Xinzhuang, Lijiaya, Gaohong, and Shilou, which were never fully incorporated into the Erlitou and Shang political frameworks. The predynastic Zhou’s alleged highland sojourn and its highland campaigns would put the Zhou leaders in close encounters with these memory communities of the highland Longshan tradition. While these highland groups were connected with the highland Longshan legacy of Taosi, they were displaced from their ancestral place in the Jinnan Basin during the second millennium bce. During the Late Shang period, much of the Jinnan Basin had become a no man’s land, presumably from prolonged military campaigns in the region (Liu and Chen 2003; Li and Huang 2013; Liu Xu 2014). With the establishment of the Zhou enclave at Tianma-Qucun and

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the immigration of highland groups from the loess highlands, the Zhou leaders transformed the sparsely populated basin into a major stronghold in the Zhou political framework, nearly one thousand years after the collapse of Taosi. The material culture and ritual traditions associated with the immigrants suggest that they were likely descendants of the highland Longshan communities, who took themselves off to the loess highlands after the great centers in the Jinnan Basin dissolved at the end of the Longshan period.The Zhou statebuilding process in the Jinnan Basin correlated with a demographic decline on the loess highlands and the highlands were only gradually repopulated after late Western Zhou period (Cao 2014:310). Organized immigration, however, was not restricted to the Zhou and Di groups.While the Jinnan Basin had few communities during the Late Shang period, the presence of Shang-style ceramics at Tianma-Qucun suggests the Jin state-building process also involved the participation of Shang subjects, probably brought from outside the basin (Liu Xu 2014:288). The incorporation of the elite of highland descendants into the Jin state contributed to the  cultural diversity in the Jin political arena. As the many passages in Zuozhuan show, the Jin nobles often traced their lineage to the legendary past of ancient Jinnan to support their political arguments. Some of these storytellers considered the legendary Tang state as their own ancestral legacy, e.g. the prominent Jin statesman Fan Xuanzi of the Spring and Autumn period (770–476 bce) claimed to be the heir of the Tao-Tang polity: Long ago, before the reign of King Shun, my ancestors became the Taotang lineage; under Xia, they became the Yulong lineage; under Shang, the Shiwei lineage; under Zhou, the Tangdu lineage; under Jin, which presides over the covenant of the central domains, the Fan lineage. (Durrant et al. 2016: Lord Xiang 24.1, pp.1124–25)

The scribe Mo of Cai also recounted this lineage story in a Zuozhuan passage (Lord Zhao 29.4a). Both passages highlight that the Taotang lineage became dragon-handlers during the Xia period, indicating that the story has been part of ancient and recondite lore shared among Zhou storytellers. The ruling lineage of Tang was allegedly relocated to the place of Du after the ancient Tang state was annexed by Zhou and granted to Lord Tang Shu Yu (Shiji, “Jin shijia,” 39.1635). A  bronze xu container bearing the inscription of the Lord of Du from the late Western Zhou period has been identified in the collection of the Palace Museum in Beijing (jc:4450). Jin nobles of Zhou descent highlighted the notion of the Heaven’s Mandate bestowed upon the Zhou regime,which rose above the historical and ancestral claims by the highland descent groups. For example, the inscription on the bronze vessel, Jingong pen basin (jc:10342), sponsored by a Lord of Jin, recounts the story of the founding lord: 晉公曰,我皇祖 (唐)公, (膺)受天命,左右武王

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“the Lord of Jin said: my august ancestor Lord of Tang, receiving the Mandate of Heaven, assisted King Wu” (Chen Pan 1969:35–37). Here the storyline deviated from the classical sources that portray the Lord of Tang as a younger brother of King Cheng. Instead, he was represented as a leading figure in the court of King Wu, who led the conquest of Shang. These stories, each asserting its ancestral claim to the Jinnan Basin under Zhou colonization, highlighted “the history of the gathering process that emplaces pluralism and diversity in either singular centers or nexuses of early cities” (Pauketat 2007:198). “When the sacred has spatial boundaries,” Leach (1961:124) argues, “it also has temporal ones. Sacred time is periodic, punctuated by appropriate ritual observance and visits to sacred places.” The influence of this Xia legacy on the Zhou political order in the Jinnan Basin ripples through historiography from the second half of the first millennium bce. The systematic discrepancies between the chronicles of the Jin and other Zhou states incorporated in Zuozhuan, for example, suggest multiple systems of time-keeping were adopted in the Zhou realm. Lu and other states used the Zhou calendar, which started the annual cycle at the month of the winter equinox, while the Jin state used the Xia calendar, which started the year two months later (Chunqiu 1990:1539–40; Pines 2002:19–20; Liu Xu 2007:222–23).22 While a unified time scheme constitutes an important aspect of state order, a deliberate choice to use different schemes of reckoning time reflects the importance of the Sandai legacy in the Zhou state-building strategy. Resembling multiple time zones in contemporary society, this plurality in time-keeping lasted until the unification of the Qin Empire in the late third century bce, which replaced the Xia and Zhou calendars with a single Qin calendar. Given the layered historic legacy and diverse cultural make-up of the Jinnan Basin, the Jin investiture narrative in Zuozhuan about ruling “by means of Xia regulations and surveyed by means of Rong models” (Durrant et al. 2016:  Lord Ding 4.1e) was consistent with the historical circumstances of the Jinnan Basin observed archaeologically (Tian 2004). The reference to the place of Tang and the Ruins of Xia in the founding narrative of the Jin state, therefore, likely refers to the Longshan legacy associated with Taosi and the cluster of large settlements around Mt. Chong. The political relationship between the highland groups and the Jin state was diverse and fluid. Some were on friendly terms with the Zhou lords and actively involved in Zhou politics before being absorbed into the Jin state. Others were more independent, and their military conflicts with the Jin and other Zhou states were an ongoing theme throughout the first half of the first millennium bce. Jin emerged as a great center of Zhou bronze production after it successfully seized the Zhongtiao copper mines from the highland Di groups during the seventh century bce.

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The construction of Luoyi and the Jin state was important for reconstituting the regional society in the Luoyang Basin and the Jinnan Basin, which had been depopulated or abandoned for at least two centuries before the Zhou conquest of Shang. From an archaeological perspective, these two basins hosted the most important political developments from the late third to the early second millennium bce. By the time of the Zhou conquest, however, Taosi and Erlitou, two great centers for Longshan and Erlitou political development, had been in ruins for more than half a millennium. With a combination of historical rhetoric and the notion of the Mandate of Heaven, the Zhou transformed these two sparsely populated basins into major centers of Zhou military colonization. In both basins, the Zhou’s claim of Xia legacy evoked the social memories of the major Longshan and Erlitou centers, which survived in the honeycomb of Shang hegemony. The consolidation of these two empty basins in the Xia land brought back the notion of the Central Plains as the center of political gravity and closed the vast gap between the Zhou and Shang political bases in Guangzhong and Henei. The Zhou leaders gradually assumed the vantage point of the central domain in their political rhetoric, which was surrounded by alien groups at four borders (Chunqiu 1990:249). The notion of Sandai, therefore, not only denoted time, but also represented a political space in the Zhou conception of its world. I will address the relationship of the dual legacies of the Xia in Chapter 8. During the second half of the first millennium bce, the so-called Xia Route connected the two basins, traversing Zhongtiao and Taihang mountains through the Yuanqu Basin, and extended south from Luoyang to the Nanyang Basin and the middle Yangzi, where the Zhou established a series of regional states collectively known as Hanyang zhuji, the numerous states of the Ji clan on the north bank of the Han River (Zuozuan Lord of Xi 28.3f; Liu Xu 2014:301–4, 320–21). The cemeteries for the lords of the Ying state granted to a sublineage of King Wu and of the Zeng (Sui) state granted to the lineage of a Lord Nangong have been excavated in Pingdingshan and Suizhou along this route (Henansheng and Pingdingshanshi 2012; Huang and Hu 2014). Given the history of prospecting and mining operations in the middle Yangzi, knowledge of the route was probably part of the Erlitou political legacy, if not that of Longshan.

The Reconfiguration of the Shang Political Landscape From the Zhou perspective, the lowland plains to the east of the central domain in the Luoyang Basin were divided into the Minor East (Xiaodong), consisting  the Shang heartland of Henei between Taihang and the archaic lower Yellow River, and the Major East (Dadong), consisting the coastal regions

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of Shandong to the east of the Yellow River. From the perspective of the Zhou state builders, the political legacy of the Shang was the most recent in date, the most distant in space, and the most powerful to reckon with within the Sandai geopolitical tradition. Yinxu itself operated as a major settlement for some time after the first Zhou conquest (Tang and Wang 2004). Bronze workshops were in full operation to cast new vessels commissioned by lords and generals participating in the historic campaign. The deurbanization of Yinxu came after the second conquest led by the Duke of Zhou, who implemented a policy of forced relocation of Shang elite and artisan lineages to Zhou royal centers in Guanzhong and Luoyang, as well as the newly established regional states. From the archaeological perspective, the end of Anyang bronze production coincided with the rise of the great bronze workshop in Luoyang and the rapid expansion of craft industries in Zhouyuan. The Shang royal tombs were systematically plundered during the Early Western Zhou period, probably as a punitive measure after the Duke of Zhou’s forces suppressed the rebellion led by the Shang prince Wugeng and his Zhou co-conspirators (Jing 2010; He 2014) (Figure 7.19).23 The Zhou state of Guan in Zhengzhou, which was initially established to monitor the Shang communities, was also annihilated in retaliation for its involvement in the proShang rebellion (Zhongguo 2004:111–12). Yinxu and Zhengzhou, therefore, no longer served as major urban centers in Western Zhou society. The center of political  gravity shifted to the Guanzhong-Luoyang-centered framework established by the Zhou state, which laid out the armature for the political landscape of imperial China. To consolidate Zhou control in the newly conquered Shang territory, the Zhou political leaders implemented a strategy of military surveillance and colonization by granting a series of regional states in the Shang heartland, each ruled by an important Zhou prince or general. The Zhou regional states in these far-flung places operated as enclaves in a sea of communities with diverse cultural and historical backgrounds.They also provided the Zhou elite access to the social memory of those communities in and beyond the Shang heartland. For the Minor East, invocator Tuo’s recount of the investiture address for Lord Kang Shu suggests that the political mission for the Wey state was to monitor the Shang population in and around Yinxu: To Kang Shu was allotted a grand chariot, a Shaobo flag, a bright red flag, pennants plain and decorated with feathers, a Dalü bell, and seven houses of Yin people, the Tao, Shi, Po, Qi, Fan, Ji, and Zhongkui lineages. Borders were set for his territory, stretching from Wufu in the south as far as the northern frontier of Putian. Some of the lands of Youyan were set aside for sharing royal duties, and the eastern city at Xiangtu was set aside for joining in the king’s eastern musters. Nan Ji bestowed the lands, and Tao

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7.19. Early Western Zhou looting tunnels into the Late Shang royal tombs at Xibeigang in Yinxu (after Jing 2010:78–83 Figures 1, 2, 3).

Shu bestowed the people upon him. He was given his command in the Kang Proclamation and enfeoffed at the Mound of Yin. Both Boqin and Kang Shu led their people by means of Shang regulations and surveyed the land in accord with Zhou models. (Durrant et al. 2016: Lord Ding 4.1e, pp.1748–51)

The six lineages of Shang subjects were craftsmen of various trades, e.g. potters, flag makers, bridle makers, knife smiths, fence makers, and awl makers, whose assignments provide clues to the logistics of the Zhou state-building enterprise.The king also issued two royal speeches with the investiture of Kang Shu, namely “Kang gao,” the Kang proclamation, and “Jiu gao,” the proclamation on drinking, which were preserved in Shangshu. The textual narrative concurs with the inscriptions on the Kanghou gui bronze vessel (jc:4059), which opens with the line 王朿(來)伐商邑, 徙(誕)令康侯鄙于衛 “the king came from attacking the Shang city, and went on to command the Lord of Kang to be enfeoffed at Wei”(translated by Shaughnessy 1997:104). The Xincun cemetery in Xunxian, from which the vessel and other bronzes bearing the name of Lord Kang allegedly came, is located approximately 40 kilometers southeast of Yinxu and 10 kilometers from Qixian, where the Late Shang royal center Chaoge was historically attributed.

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One of the great tombs at Xincun produced the double-ramped construction for high elite (m21), presumably associated with the founding lord of the Wey state (Guo 1964; Zhongguo 2004:108–10). Kang Shu’s state was flanked by other Zhou regional states such as Xing, granted to a son of the Duke of Zhou, and Yan, granted to the Duke of Shao, both located in Henei. The cemetery of the Xing lords was found at Gejiazhuang in Xingtai, approximately 120 kilometers north of Yinxu (Zhongguo 2004:110–11). The inscription on the Xing hou gui vessel in the British Museum documents the investiture of Lord Ju, who made the vessel to honor the Duke of Zhou (Li Xueqin 1990). This information concurs with the two entries in Zuozhuan (the twelfth and the twenty-fourth year of Lord Xiang), which describe Xing as one of the states granted to the sub-lineages of the Duke of Zhou. The modern place name of Xingtai, meaning the Mound of Xing, therefore, retained the legacy of the Zhou state. At the northern end of the Henei Basin, the state of Yan monitored the northern gateway connecting the Shang heartland and the Mongolian Plateau (Beijingshi 1995). The discovery of the lineage cemetery of the early Yan lords at Liulihe near Beijing reveals that the northern state was indeed granted to the Duke of Shao, as described in Shiji. The inscriptions on two bronze vessels from the tomb of an early Yan lord (m1193) at Liulihe commemorated the investiture of the Yan state to Lord Ke, to honor the “Grand Protector” (the Lord of Shao), whose mission was to monitor a series of six highland and Shang groups in the region (jc:935 and 2628)(Zhongguo and Beijingshi 1990): 王曰:太保,隹乃明,乃鬯,享于乃辟。余大對乃享,令克侯于 匽。使羌馬皻雩馭微克 匽,入土眾厥 。用作寶尊彝。 The king said: “The Grand Protector, you serve your king with virtue and fragrant wine. I greatly respond to your offering. I grant Ke as the Lord of Yan, administrating the Qiang, Ma, Zha[?], \,Yu,Yu, and Wei lineages.” Ke arrived in Yan, governed the land and established the administrative apparatus. [Ke] commissioned this treasured ritual vessel [to commemorate this event]. (translation adapted from Li Feng 2008: 241–42)

Some of these named highland polities colonized by the state of Yan were mentioned in the Anyang oracle bones (Zheng 1994). By starting with the phase “the king said” the inscription preserved the attributes of a royal investiture address. Its similarity with the investiture address incorporated in the speech of invocator Tuo in Zuozhuan suggests that the Zhou elite would recite these statements from their classical learning to lend credibility to their argument. Although the great tomb lost most of its grave goods to looting, its four ramps construction, its early date in the Western Zhou cemetery, and the inscriptions on two bronze vessels that survived the plunder collectively suggest

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that the deceased at m1193 was probably the founding lord of the Yan state. The discovery at m1193, therefore, represents the first case in which the bronze inscription documenting the initial granting of a Western Zhou regional state was found in a tomb of its state founder (Li Feng 2006:335). The ceremonially destroyed weapons, bronze horse gear, strung cowrie horse harness, bronze masks, lacquered shields, bronze plaques bearing the inscription of “Lord of Yan, Dance,” and the bronze spear with the inscription of Chengzhou offer important clues on the social construction of elite persona in the Zhou colony (Zhongguo and Beijingshi 1990). The inscriptions on the Jin ding vessel (jc:2703) from a lower elite tomb (m253) at the Liulihe cemetery indicate that the rulers of the Yan state maintained close ties with the Grand Protector and his chief lineage based in the royal centers of the Guanzhong Basin (Beijingshi 1995).The vessel was cast to commemorate Jin’s visit to the Grand Protector in Zongzhou (Feng-Hao) on behalf of the Lord of Yan, when the Grand Protector presented Jin with strung cowrie shells as gifts. The inscriptions on other vessels in this tomb suggest that Jin participated in the grand gathering at Chengzhou and received the gift of cowrie shells from the Zhou king (Li Xueqin 2001:69). It was likely the same event attended by Lord Tang Shu Yu as commemorated in the inscriptions of the Shu Yu fangding vessel from tomb m114 at Tianma-Qucun. The material culture from the Yan state displayed a mixture of Zhou (foldingcylinder construction), Shang (Yinxu tradition), and highland traditions associated with the Lower Xiajiadian material culture of the second millennium bce, consistent with a colonial dynamic expected from the geopolitical circumstances of the northern state (Liu Xu 2014:288). The distinctive shape of the lidded pottery urn with three pouch legs from tomb m54 closely resembles the bronze miniature vessel discovered in the tomb of Lord Xiefu’s wife (m113) at Qucun (Beijingshi 1995:99 Figure 69, No. 8). This similarity reveals that the lords of Yan and Jin interacted closely with their highland neighbors. The richly furnished tombs at Baifu, approximately 80 kilometers north of Liulihe, present evidence for a highland community active along the porous border of the Yan state during the Western Zhou period. Located near the historical Juyong Pass, the Baifu cemetery (c. 900 bce) was positioned at the southern end of a strategic trans-Yanshan corridor connecting the Henei Basin and the Mongolian Plateau (Beijingshi 1976). The best-preserved tomb at the Baifu cemetery featured a female elite warrior (m2) wearing a bronze helmet and boots, with a northern-style knife and stone mace-head along the body, which probably represents a highland chiefly figure incorporated into the Yan state (Linduff and Yang 2012:184–85). The use of a waist pit with a sacrificial dog, characteristic of the Shang cultural tradition, the frequent use of horse trappings, and the mixed inventory of northern and Central Plain-style objects in the outer space of the chamber

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highlight the hybridity of material culture along the northern borderland of the Shang-Zhou society. In many ways, the female “Amazon” warrior at Baifu resembles the role attributed to Fu Hao in Wu Ding’s court as well as the role of female warriors on the Eurasian steppes (Linduff and Rubinson 2008). This resemblance suggests that the Yan state may have been practicing a political strategy of building highland alliances that was already perfected by the time of King Wu Ding. Some bronze vessels in the ritual deposits at Kazuo north of the Yanshan mountain range bear the inscriptions of the Lord of Yan, indicating that the Zhou state renewed the ritual engagement with the sacred landscape in the broadly defined Zhou world at the onset of its regime. From the north to the south, the states granted to the Duke of Shao, the Lord of Xing, and the Lord Kang Shu formed a chain of Zhou military colonies along the Shang heartland in the Henei Basin. Their role as military strongholds established by a new power to put the fallen regime in check closely resembles the function of the Yanshi fortified city at the final phase of Erlitou (Chapter 6). The discovery of inscribed bronzes, elite cemeteries, and settlement sites associated with the Zhou lords in Henei attests to the general accuracy of the Zhou textual narratives (Li Feng 2006). In most cases, the Zhou regional states were established near the site of a major Late Shang political center, indicating a sophisticated knowledge of the Shang political landscape. Previously, we observed this pattern in the Erlitou-Erligang tradition in the middle of the second millennium bce (Chapter 6). The Zhou state, however, did not eliminate the Shang royal lineage altogether. Instead, the Zhou king granted the state of Song to Wei Zi Qi, a junior member of the Shang royal lineage who defected to the Zhou state shortly before the conquest of Shang, which allowed the ancestral cult of the Shang royal lineage to be maintained (Falkenhausen 2006:72). According to historical narratives, the Song state essentially served as a cultural reserve, where aspects of the Shang cultural tradition were preserved, including the succession of leadership among brothers and the practice of human sacrifice (Shiji “Song Weizi shijia,” 38.1626). Sandwiched between major Zhou regional states, the Song state was located at the historical place of Shangqiu, the Mound of the Shang, between the Henei Basin and the Huai River Basin.The archaeological discovery of the impressive cattle deposit at Shantaisi from the turn of the second millennium bce suggests that this legendary place may have indeed played an important role in the Shang ancestral landscape (Chapters 4 and 6). An Eastern Zhou city (10 square kilometers) discovered in modern Zhangqiu under the thick flood sediment from the Yellow River was likely the Song capital (Zhang and Zhang 1997). The discovery of a great tomb at the Taiqinggong mound site in Luyi, approximately 60 kilometers south of Shangqiu, attests to the presence of high elite associated with the Shang tradition (Henansheng and Zhoukoushi 2000).

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7.20. The layout and orientation of the Chang Zi Kou tomb at the Taiqinggong site in Luyi, Henan (after Zhongguo 2004:114 Figure 3–23).

Dating to the turn of the first millennium bce, its four-ramp layout was consistent with the royal privileges of the Shang and Zhou periods (Figure 7.20). Besides its impressive inventory of bronze vessels and other grave goods, the elite tomb was unique in early China for having an altar mound built in its central chamber. The elite occupant of the tomb, identified as Chang Zi Kou by bronze inscriptions, was probably Wei Zi Qi, the founding lord of the Song state (Wang Entian 2002; Falkenhausen 2006:72).24 Whether it was the tomb of the founding lord of Song or the tomb of a complaisant lord of the Chang state, the great tomb and its mortuary syntax highlight the presence of Shang elite in the broadly defined Shangqiu region at the turn of the first millennium bce. Among more than ninety bronze vessels placed in the Chang Zi Kou tomb in Luyi, over fifty lidded containers were still a quarter to half full of liquid (McGovern et al. 2004). The large volume of alcoholic beverages placed in the tombs attests to the emphasis on alcohol consumption by the Shang elite, consistent with the descriptions of Shang elite practice from Zhou leaders. The investiture of the Song state to the royal lineage allowed aspects of the Shang social memory to remain connected with its ancestral place and

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its ancestral rituals. In the inscriptions on bronze vessels they commissioned, members of the Song ruling lineage frequently traced their ancestry to Tang, the Shang dynastic founder. The inscriptions on a pair of dowry vessels sponsored by Lord Jing of Song for his younger sister, for example, start with the lord addressing himself as the “descendent of [founding king] Tang of the Yin [state]” 有殷天乙唐(湯)孙宋公欒乍(作)其妹句敔夫人季子 媵𠤳(簠). (Gushi 1981; jc:4590). Excavated from an elite woman’s tomb in the Huai River Basin approximately 300 kilometers south of Shangqiu, the tomb features as many as seventeen human retainers, evidence of a ritual practice consistent with the Shang tradition but not embraced by the Zhou elite. Aside from the Song state, a series of small states in northern Henei was also granted to members of the Shang royal lineage under the close military surveillance of the Yan state, e.g. Guzhu, Zhongshan, Dai, and Kongtong as referenced in the ode “Han yi” 韓奕 (Maoshi 18d. 1226–40). If one of these Shang lords on the northern periphery paid a visit to a Zhou royal center in Guanzhong or Luoyang, he would have encountered a chain of Zhou strongholds in the former Shang heartland along the narrow Henei Basin. The presence of these major Zhou military strongholds governed by the inner elite of the Zhou kingdom consolidated Zhou’s control on its eastern territory. For the Major East, the states of Lu and Qi anchored the Zhou political order in the coastal region of Shandong. The Duke of Zhou’s eastern campaigns were commemorated in several inscribed bronze vessels (Chen Mengjia 2004:17–29). The Lu state, granted to the lineage of the Duke of Zhou, was the most important Zhou stronghold east of the Luoyang Basin. The investiture address incorporated in Zuozhuan indicates that the colonial mission for the Lu state granted to Lord Boqin, a son of the Duke of Zhou, was to monitor the pro-Shang communities of Shangyan: To the Lord of Lu was allotted a grand chariot, a grand banner, the jade half disk of the Xia ruling line, the Fanruo bow of Fengfu, and six houses of Yin people, the Tiao, Xu, Xiao, Suo, Changshao, and Weishao lineages. These six houses were made to lead those who shared their ancestral lineages, to gather together their collateral houses, and to guide their many dependents in following the Zhou Duke’s models. With that, the Lord of Lu assumed his command from the Zhou ruling house, and in this way he was appointed to take up his duties in Lu, in order to display the notable virtue of the Zhou Duke. To him were allotted lands and fields and dependents, invocators, ancestral attendants, diviners, scribes, regalia, statutory documents, officials, and sacrificial vessels. Taking over the people of Shangyan, our lord was given his command in the Boqin and enfeoffed at the Mound of Shaohao. (translated by Durrant et  al. 2016: Lord Ding 4.1d, pp.1748–49)

Lord Boqin was to establish the Lu state in the ancient place of Shaohao, a legendary coastal confederation of great antiquity, possibly associated with the

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7.21. The Qin gui vessel commissioned by Boqin, the founder of the Lu state (image courtesy of the National Museum of China).

Dawenkou-Longshan society of the third millennium bce (Tang 1977; Shao 1987). Because of its connection with the Duke of Zhou, the architect of the Zhou political framework, the Lu state had special privilege among Zhou regional states.25 The textual narrative concurs with the inscriptions on the Qin gui vessel (jc:4041) commissioned by Lord Boqin, which open with the line: 王伐蓋侯,周公謀,禽 ,禽有振 ,王錫金百鋝,禽用作寶彝 “The king attacked the lord of Gai. The Duke of Zhou planned with Qin to make entreaty. Qin offered?? [sic] entreaty. The king awarded [Qin] one hundred measures of bronze, and Qin herewith makes [this] treasured vessel” (translated by Shaughnessy 1997:106) (Figure 7.21). The lord of Gai was generally held to be the political power of Shangyan, which the Lu state was to colonize (Hsü and Linduff 1988:188). The palace foundations, workshops, city walls, and elite cemeteries with inscribed bronze vessels from Lu nobles have been excavated at Qufu, where the walls of Lu city still stood (Shandongsheng et al. 1982). A mixed society with Shang lineages under Zhou military surveillance likely accounted for the dual ritual tradition in the Lu city at Qufu (Falkenhausen 2006:173–77, 186– 200). Our geomorphological survey in the southern suburb of the city identified Early Western Zhou agricultural fields cut directly into the Dawenkou deposits of the fourth and early third millennium bce, which serves as critical evidence for the initial settlement of Qufu by Zhou communities (Rosen et  al. 2015:1645). Inscribed bronze vessels with Suo (cord) clan emblems have been discovered at the Ligongcun site in Yanzhong, approximately 20 kilometers west of Qufu (Guo et al. 1990).They were probably associated with

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the lineage of Shang cord-markers granted to Lord Boqin in the investiture address incorporated in Zuozhuan. The cultural space of this new political landscape remained highly porous and malleable, where memories of the recent past became the building blocks for constructing identities in new circumstances. The forced relocation of Shang elite lineages, for example, worked into the Qin state-building narrative in the western highlands (Li Xueqin 2011b). The Xinian manuscript from the fourth century bce attributes the Qin royal ancestors to a Shang lineage that was relocated to the area of Zhuyu in the western highlands after its participation in the rebellion (Li Xueqin 2011a:141, slip 15): 成王纂伐商邑,殺 子耿,飛廉東逃于商盍(蓋)氏。成王伐 商盍(蓋),殺飛廉,西遷商盍(蓋)之民于邾圉,以御奴虘之 戎,是秦先人。 (世)乍(作)周 (肱) King Cheng conquered the City of Shang, killed the Shang prince Lu Zi Geng. Fei Lian fled to the polity of Shang-gai. King Cheng attacked Shang-gai, killed Fei Lian and relocated the people of the Shang-gai to [the place of] Zhuyu, to defend the Rong groups of Nuqie. [They] became the ancestors of the Qin, guarding the Zhou for generations.

The archaeological assemblage from the early Qin sites at Maojiaping and Liya in the western highlands closely resembles the technical and stylistic tradition from the Shang heartland, which had never appeared beyond the Guanzhong Basin during the Shang period (Zaoqi 2012; Liu Jiaxing 2014; Zhao 2014;Teng 2014; Liu Xu 2014:222, 288; Pines et  al. 2014b:12–13). The discovery of this distinctive archaeological assemblage beyond the Late Shang territory concurs with the textual narrative that the Qin state was founded on a hybrid tradition comprising the pro-Shang migrants relocated from the eastern lowlands and the highland Rong inhabitants (Liang 2017). The predynastic Qin legend, therefore, may represent another episode for the reconfiguration of historical knowledge in Zhou society. To the northeast of the Lu state, the state of Qi on the coastal plains of the Bohai Gulf was granted to the Grand Lord. In historical narratives, the early Qi lords had to fend off waves of attacks from the coastal coalition forces from the Shandong Peninsula further east (Chen Pan 1969; Wang Xiantang 1983). From an archaeological perspective, a major elite cemetery at Sufutun indicates the presence of a powerful Late Shang lord or a native ruler during the late second millennium bce (Gao and Shao 2005:239–47). The bronze inscriptions from those coastal sites indeed suggest a close association with the Shang cultural tradition (Li Feng 2006:315–16). On the east coast, the material culture displays the strong resilience of the Yueshi cultural tradition well into the first millennium bce (Beijing and Yantaishi 2000).

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The discovery of a rammed earth fortress (3 hectares) and an elite cemetery (including two tombs with single ramps) with inscribed bronzes associated with the lineage of Taigong, the Grand Lord, at the Western Zhou site of Chenzhuang (9 hectares) in Gaoqing, offers compelling evidence for Western Zhou military presence in the coastal plains (Shandongsheng 2010, 2011). The polychrome altar mound discovered inside the Zhou fortress closely resembles the same spiritual-architectural technique as prescribed by the Zhou definition of axis mundi for the Grand Altar at Luoyang in the “Zuo Luo” text in Yi Zhou Shu (48.534-37). I will return to the symbolic significance of this ritual structure in the next chapter. The narratives associated with the Zhou state-building process highlight their conception of geopolitical space and regional society. From Zhouyuan to Yinxu, Zhou leaders established an archipelago of Zhou military strongholds strategically placed in the great basins of Guanzhong, Jinnan, Luoyang, and Henei. Knowledge about the historical legacy of the local subjects in these great basins provided the basis for Zhou governance. Based on the temporal and spatial frame provided in their stories, we can observe that the Zhou historical geography described in texts generally mapped on to the archaeological landscape from the late third millennium to the end of the second millennium bce. Such historical knowledge served as the roadmap for Zhou military colonization and its state-building enterprise.

History and the Mandate of Heaven Zhou political rhetoric frequently connected the Sandai dynastic fortunes with their major landmarks:  昔伊、洛竭而夏亡,河竭而商亡 “In the past, when the Yi-Luo River dried up, the Xia regime failed. When the Yellow River dried up, the Shang regime failed” (Guoyu 1978:26–27). In this historically configured landscape, every political group and memory community manipulated their narratives about the past to advance their political claims. On the other hand, their political manipulation of the past was framed within the Sandai historical narrative, which served as the foundation of Zhou political and historical thought. The historical outlook of the Zhou presents a significant departure from the Anyang-centric ideology of the Shang. As seen in the oracle bone inscriptions from Anyang, the Late Shang rulers focused their attention on the veneration of deities and their own royal ancestors.The Great City of Shang, Dayi Shang or Zhongyi Shang, in Anyang represents the axis mundi of the Shang world, around which the outlying polities and the fang enemies were organized (Keightley 2000).The Shang was the only supreme power in its inscriptions.There was no mention of the past in a historical sense, or of the notion of dynastic change. This Anyang-centric perspective may reflect the religious function of the royal

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oracle bones, as the ritual apparatus for coping with the immediate concerns of the Late Shang kings and their inner elite. Nevertheless, it reflects the Shang outlook on the political order – it was the one and the only civilization. Its perspective on the past was genealogical rather than historical. In contrast to the Shang tradition, the Zhou leaders acknowledged that regional powers and their elite lineages were each associated with their historical legacy. Their assumption of dynastic changes in the Sandai conception of history and landscape laid the foundation for the notion of the Heavenly Mandate in Zhou political ideology. This concept allowed the Zhou’s claim to legitimacy to rise above that of the descent groups of the great powers in the past. The Zhou, therefore, marked the beginning of a multi-civilizational view of political tradition, which had the potential to hold together a society with diverse historical traditions. The historical conception of the landscape in the frame of the Three Dynasties made the colonial subjects, who built and lived in these cities, embrace the notion of the Heavenly Mandate, thus legitimizing the regime change. As described in the “Luo Gao” (the Luo proclamation) and the “Shao Gao” (the Shao proclamation) texts in Shangshu, the Shang population under Zhou occupation made up the bulk of the workforce for the construction of Luoyi. Through the rhythmic body techniques for the construction of the city walls and palatial foundations with rammed earth, their participation in the construction of the Zhou royal center served as a reenactment history: these Shang lineages under Zhou occupation were building a royal city in the very basin that their ancestors took from Erlitou approximately six centuries before (Chapters 5 and 6). These Zhou cities, therefore, became living monuments for the interconnectedness of past and present political orders. By acknowledging the shift of the Heavenly Mandate, the descent groups of the past regimes found themselves a historically legitimate place within the Zhou political framework. For example, the inscriptions on the bronze bell commissioned by Shu Yi (jc:272–79, 285), a descendent of the Lord Mu of the Song state, embraced the notion of the Mandate of Heaven in his appraisal of his Shang royal ancestor: I Shiyi search for the august ancestor for models of leadership. Those ancestors with glories, the king Tang of Yin sincerely stood by the side of Di,Tang received the Mandate from the Heaven, terminated the ancestral altar of the Xia after the campaign. With the assistance of Yi [Yiyin], [the King Tang] ruled all the nine regions and settled on the Yu tracks … Yin’s offspring Lord Mugong of Song. (Li Xueqin 1985:130)

Shu Yi commissioned the bell to commemorate his appointment by the Lord Zhuang (r. 553–548 bce) of the Qi state. His inscription indicates that the

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Shang legacy was regarded as a source of pride among these memory communities in the Spring and Autumn society. In the Zuozhuan account, the last glory of the Shang civilization came with Duke Xiang of the Song state. When he engaged with the Chu troops in 638 bce, the exchange between his top aides was still embroiled in the discourse of the fallen regime. When the Duke of Song was about to engage in battle, for example, the grand supervisor of the military insistently remonstrated: “It has been a long time since Heaven abandoned the Shang. If you, my lord, try to revive it, Heaven simply will not be able to forgive it”(translated by Durrant et al. 2016: Lord Xi 22.8, pp.356–57). The narrative about the duke’s decision to fight the battle in accordance with the archaic notion of fair warfare also referenced the Shang legacy associated with the Song ruling lineage: “Although I, the unworthy one, am but a remnant of a fallen domain, I do not bang the drum to urge an attack upon those who have not formed their ranks” (translated by Durrant et  al. 2016:  Lord Xi 22.8, pp.356–57). Although the Shang had lost its mandate, the Lord of Song tried to adhere to his pride in his royal descent in the declining Zhou world order of the Spring and Autumn period. SOCIAL MEMORY AND THE RITUALIZATION OF THE PAST

The broadly defined Zhou society closely resembles the honeycomb structure that Keightley (1978, 2000) proposed for the Late Shang – many small states from the Shang era were left in place or relocated intact by the Zhou regime, while some of them had never been fully incorporated into the Shang political system in the first place. The transmission of historical knowledge through memory communities offers diverse perspectives on the history of the previous millennium, which would potentially differ from that of the ShangZhou mainstream. The Zhou endorsement (instead of erasure) of historical legacies further created a social context for the emergence of storytellers, for whom ancestral legacy became political capital to be manipulated on a far easier scale than labor-intensive bronzes or large earthworks. How was social memory transmitted in the broadly defined Zhou society during the first millennium bce? How was the issue of authenticity evaluated? Knowledge of the past was embodied and selectively transmitted through oral and textual transmission, material culture, performance, and historical landmarks in the cultural landscape. The different processes and channels for the ritualization of the past each had their own characteristics. With many texts and inscriptions purporting to be written records of oral speech delivered in ceremonial contexts, these different characteristics became inevitably juxtaposed in the Zhou repertoire of knowledge, which connected orality, literacy, tangible objects, and the historical landscape.

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Orality and Literacy Before they were put in writing, many of the stories incorporated into Zuozhuan may have been orally transmitted for centuries (Schaberg 2001; Pines 2002). Record keeping, teaching, speaking, compiling, and transmitting were the major social practices “in which commemoration and interpretation of the past were made to serve present needs” (Durrant et  al. 2016:xxxix). Texts like Zuozhuan show that many statesmen of the Zhou states were great storytellers. A competence in Sandai historical knowledge provided the basis for political discourse in the Zhou world. Among those stories told and retold in Zhou society, the narrative of the Zhou conquest of Shang had its enduring aura, particularly within the elite lineages of the Zhou founders. Odes like “Jiang Han,” “Han Yi,” and “Song Gao” in Shijing, for example, represent the oral transmission of the social memory of the Zhou state-building enterprise (Hsü and Linduff 1988:154–55, 183; Shaughnessy 1991:73–74). These poems record a similar ritual to that seen from bronze inscriptions: reciting the merits of the ancestors and the bestowal of gifts as encouragement to serve the Zhou court (Hsü and Linduff 1988:183). These inscribed bronze vessels were curated at the ancestral temples in Zhouyuan and in the newly established states through the Western Zhou period (Kern 2009; Allan 2012). While the odes were probably recited aloud in ancestral ceremonies, vernacular versions of the Zhou state-building narrative were probably animated by the sagas of epic wars and the genealogies of its heroes. For the heirs of the Zhou founders, these stories would run in the lineage as the cornerstone for their noble pedigree. The inscribed bronzes sponsored by elites from the Nangong lineages provide a compelling example for understanding the transmission of historical knowledge within Zhou society. Although the story of their transfer and display of the nine bronze ding vessels from the Shang royal center cannot be independently verified on archaeological grounds, the inscriptions associated with the prominent figures of Nangong lineages lend credence to the reliability of their involvement in the conquest. The investiture address incorporated into the inscription on the Larger Yú ding vessel (jc:2837) closely resembles the Zuozhuan (fourth year of Lord Ding) passage for the granting of the Jin, Wey, and Lu states (Figure 7.22). The inscription starts with the date and location of the royal audience, followed by the investiture address presented in the form of royal speech recorded by court scribes. After highlighting the diligence of Zhou’s founding kings, the royal speech blamed the Shang’s failure on the indulgence of alcohol among its elites, which concurs with the statements on this matter in royal proclamations attributed to the early Zhou kings in Shangshu. The king went on to detail the responsibilities of Lord Yú, asking Yú to model himself after his

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7.22. The Larger Yú ding vessel and its inscription (image courtesy of the National Museum of China).

ancestor, a Lord Nangong, for his service to the Zhou kings.This was followed by a list of royal gifts, regalia, and lineages of subjects granted to Lord Yú for his new estate: 錫汝鬯一卣,冂衣、韍、舄、車、馬; 錫乃祖南公旂,用狩; 錫汝 邦司四伯,人鬲自馭至于庶人六百又五十又九夫; 錫夷司王臣十又 三伯,人鬲千又五十夫,亟或遷自厥土。 [I] award you a you-jar containing wine, a cap, a jacket, a pair of knee pads, a pair of shoes, and a chariot with horses. [I] award you the flag of your grandfather Lord Nangong; use it in hunting. [I] award you four bo who are officials of the bang units, with 659 slaves from chariot-riders to commoners. [I] award you thirteen bo of the “barbarian” officials who are the royal servants, with 1,050 slaves. Order them to immediately [also] move from their land. (translated by Li Feng 2006:127)

The inscription ends with the addressee appraising the deeds of the king and commissioning the treasured vessel cast to honor the founding Lord Nangong. The detailed accounts of the royal gifts, lineages, and land in both bronze inscriptions and transmitted texts suggest that this information was integral to state-building narratives in Zhou society, and thus figured prominently in the diplomatic speech portrayed in Zuozhuan.

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Approximately one meter in height, the extraordinary size and remarkable craftsmanship of the Larger Yú ding vessel suggests that its owner was a member of a prominent Zhou noble lineage. Scholars have argued that Yú’s grandfather was likely Lord Nangong Kuo, mentioned in the “Jun Shi” chapter of Shangshu as one of the chief advisors to King Wen, who stayed on to assist King Wu after King Wen’s death (Hsü and Linduff 1988:131–32, 157; Li Feng 2006:127). Like the Zuozhuan passage on the investiture of the Jin, Wey, and Lu states, the inscription highlighted the historical association of the relics, e.g. a flag used by the famed grandfather of the appointee, meant to be commemorated for many generations to come in Nangong Yú‘s lineage. The incorporation of these details into ritual vessels reveals the type of political accomplishments celebrated through the ancestral rituals within the Nangong lineages, both within the Western Zhou court and in the regional states granted to them (Huang and Hu 2014). Reportedly found together at Licun in the core area of Zhouyuan, the Larger Yú ding vessel and the Smaller Yú ding vessel (jc:2839) were cast during the reign of King Kang (r. 1005/ 3–978 bce), approximately a half century after the Zhou conquest, and were probably curated in the ancestral temple associated with a prominent Nangong lineage residing in Zhouyuan. During the Early Western Zhou period, the Zeng (Sui) state was granted to a Nangong lineage to secure the Zhou access to the middle Yangzi. From the early generations of Zeng lords buried at the Yejiashan cemetery to the last generations buried at Wenfengta and Leigudun, the resting places for the lords of Zeng state were found within an area of approximately 10 kilometers in Suizhou, which controlled the strategic Sui-Zao Corridor linking the Central Plains with the copper-rich regions of the middle Yangzi (Hubeisheng 1989; Hubeisheng et al. 2013; Hubeisheng and Suizhoushi 2014a, 2014b). Spanning an area of 143 square meters, 10 meters in depth, the tomb of m111 at Yejiashan is disproportionally larger than those tombs for the early lords of Jin,Wey,Ying, and Yan, which range from 30 to 40 square meters (Zhang Maorong 2016:74). This impressive size attests to the grand stature of the early Zeng lords. The bronze inscriptions suggest that the deceased, Lord Kang, was an heir of an eminent Lord Nangong in the Zhou state-building narrative (Hubeisheng et  al. 2013). With the construction of a waist pit, the adoption of east–west orientation, and the use of day names in the inscribed bronzes commissioned by the lords of Zeng, the mixed mortuary context of the Zeng lords deviates from the classical Zhou traditions, which highlights the flexibility in the social construction of elite persona during the period of dramatic political change – the Nangong lords were likely heirs of a defected Shang elite lineage granted membership in the Zhou royal clan (Han 2007, 2014). Dating to the middle of the first millennium bce, the inscriptions on the bronze bells from the tomb of Lord Yǔ of the Zeng state from the Wenfengta

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cemetery in Suizhou recount the ancestral glory in the conquest of Shang and for governing the lowland communities in the Huai River Basin and the middle Yangzi (Hubeisheng and Suizhoushi 2014b:13–14; Li Xueqin 2014:68): 隹(惟)王正月,吉日甲午,曾侯 (與)曰:白(伯) (适)上 (庸),左(佐)右(佑)文武,达(挞)殷之命,䍢 (撫) (定)天下。王譴命南公, (营)宅 (汭)土,君 (庇)淮尸(夷), (临)有江 (夏)。 Jia-Wu, the first day of the first month during the year of the Zhou calendar, Lord Yǔ of Zeng said: Bo Kuo was at the service of the supreme god, assisting King Wen and King Wu. [They] defeated the mandate of the Yin and pacified the world under heaven. The King [Cheng] ordered Nangong to settle on the confluence of the [Yangzi and Han] river, governing the Huai Yi groups, and ruling [the southern regions] of Jiang [Yangzi] and Xia [Han River].

They went on to glorify the protection extended to King Zhao of Chu by the great Lord of Zeng, when the Wu state nearly annihilated the Chu state in its 506 bce invasion. The beginning section of the inscription has four characters in each line and is rhymed at the end of every other line, which closely resembles an ode to be chanted at important ceremonies to commemorate the Zeng ancestor Lord Nangong (Li Xueqin 2014:69). These narratives are consistent with the important roles played by the lords of the Nangong lineage as presented in Zhou textual sources, including the Analects (18.11), which refers to Nangong Kuo as Bo Kuo.The claim of being “the descendent of Ji [Hou Ji, the legendary ancestor of the Zhou]” on the inscribed bronze bells commissioned by Lord Yǔ, in turn, highlights the claim to membership in the Zhou royal clan by the Nangong lineage (Han 2014). Like the lineage of Lord Tang Shu Yu in the Jin state, the inscribed bronze sponsored by the lords of Zeng highlights the transmission of social memory associated with major players in the Zhou statebuilding enterprise that ran parallel with historiographic accounts about these founding lords of the Zhou state. With the Zhou expansion and colonization, stories associated with the founding lords of the Nangong lineage were brought to far-flung regions of the middle Yangzi. Even with the fall of the Zhou ancestral place in the Guanzhong Basin to highland invasion in 771 bce, the performance of ancestral rituals with the presence of these inscribed bronze vessels and bells persisted in the Zheng state, which kept the stories of their founding lords alive well into the time period when the major components of classical works like Zuozhuan and Analects were developing. This has significant implications for the genealogy of knowledge for Zeng’s neighboring state of Chu in the wen ding story, which I will elaborate later in this chapter.

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In addition to stories of the dynastic leaders, political speeches in Zuozhuan frequently referenced stories and songs about the legendary rulers of Yao, Shun, and Yu from the late third millennium bce. In the Zuozhuan passage attributed to Zichan quoted earlier in this chapter, for example, the Zheng statesman declares that the heirs of the former dynasties were treated as guests in Zhou society under the political system of sanke, three respected lines, which honored the heirs of the pre-Zhou regimes with land and ancestral altars (Durrant et al. 2016: Lord Xiang 25.10a).26 The Zhou established small legacy states for those alleged heirs of the predynastic regimes of Yao, Shun, and Yu to honor their legendary ancestors (Li Feng 2006:76, 292). Their presence under the Zhou state’s auspices lent credibility to the Zhou’s historical narrative about the Mandate of Heaven. Instead of granting them their ancestral places in the Jinnan Basin, the Zhou placed these legacy states within the lowland plains of the upper Huai River Basin, so that they could be monitored by the neighboring Zhou powers. With the decline of the Zhou political order, however, such ancestral association with a legendary sage no longer carried much weight. Although Zichan acknowledged that the Chen state was granted to the heir of the cultural hero Shun, this had little bearing on his decision to attack Chen. In addition to oral transition, an important corpus of the Zhou texts, e.g. Shijing and Shangshu, also contained fragments of past knowledge. Both the “Yao Dian” passage in Shangshu, attributed to the predynastic sage Yao from the late third millennium bce, and Shanhaijing, a bestiary transmitted from the first millennium bce, contained names of winds associated with the four cardinal directions, which also appeared on the Anyang oracle bone inscriptions during the late second millennium bce (hj:14295 and 14294; Hu 1944; Keightley 2000:70). The incorporation of these phrases in oracle bone inscriptions and the use of these names for scribal training suggests that the name list of wind deities was already common knowledge in the late second millennium bce, if not earlier (Smith 2011). The mention in Shanhaijing of the god Jun, the Shang ancestral deity only seen in Shang oracle bone inscriptions, also suggests that this bestiary incorporated ritual knowledge from the second millennium bce. The Zhou divination text Yijing, the Book of Changes, contains references to King Wu Ding’s campaign against Guifang, which was mentioned in oracle bone inscriptions from Yinxu (Zou 1980:278). Clearly, aspects of Shang and pre-Shang knowledge were preserved in Zhou classical tradition, either orally or in written form.

The Configuration of Things and Their Performative Context “The visual impact” of ancient ceremonies, argues Rawson (1999a:20), “plays an important part in proclaiming and reinforcing social ordering.” In addition to storytelling, social memory was embodied and transmitted through

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configurations of things, which concurs with the Zuozhuan narrative about the legendary bronze tripods as relics of Sandai political history.The “Gu ming” text in Shangshu, for example, provided a detailed account on the court scene where King Cheng announced his political will for the lords to assist his young successor (Shangshu 494–515; Karlgren 1950:69–74). The text described the spatial configuration of named jade objects, historical relics, and royal treasures displayed in each palace hall, which closely resembled the layout of the palatial foundations excavated at Erlitou and Zhouyuan (Okamura 2003:134; Li Ling 2007:27). One’s movement through this awe-inspiring space resembled a journey through Zhou history, structured by the display of things and associated performances. Today, most of the meaning, set configuration, and historical significance associated with these named jade objects and historical relics are lost. Their classification scheme, however, suggests that at least some were named after historical places and past regimes, indicating that they were symbolic objects of history. This pattern is consistent with the description of the named relics in investiture addresses incorporated into transmitted texts like Zuozhuan, as well as in bronze inscriptions from the Western Zhou period. For the intended audience of the “Gu Ming” text, the detailed account of the royal display highlighted the aura of history associated with the solemn occasion. Beyond the Zhou royal centers, the investiture addresses for the states of Jin, Wey, and Lu also highlighted the redistribution of named historical relics associated with past regimes, often seized as war trophies in the course of Zhou military conquest. The granting of these treasures not only provided royal endorsement of these Zhou regional states, but also tied these Zhou elite lineages to the history and landscape of their newly conquered places. Together, these historical relics served as lieux de memoire, sites of memory, which anchored the Zhou network of regional states in place (Nora 1989:7, 12). Rawson (1999a:37–41) outlined the process through which these archaic jades acquired their embodied social memory: At first, simply the use of a rare and beautiful material or resources expressed and created rank and status.This link with rank and status gave the jades associations with the supposed powers of their owners, often presumably with known individuals. When handed down through the generations, as they sometimes were, such jades carried references to the identities and authorities of their past owners … When jades were employed in much later rituals, fragments of the earlier associations would have been known to the audiences through an ever-growing body of literary and ritual writing that influenced their actions and reactions.

The aura of these named relics provided the source of political authority for these Zhou regional states, and their display at important state ceremonies helped to animate the Zhou state-building story.

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7.23. The Longshan-style bronze vessel with Shang-style clan emblem in the Xiqing gujian (vol.18), an eighteenth-century catalog of the imperial collection of antiques, and the inscription on a Kang ding vessel documenting a transaction of a valuable jade cylinder (photo by Ding Yao at the Shanghai Museum).

Archaeologically, grave goods interred in the early Zhou elite tombs provide ample examples of these curated historical relics. Longshan jade objects are frequently incorporated into the mortuary assemblage of the Zhou elite. For example, Longshan jade disks with inscriptions added during the Late Shang period for royal presentation were incorporated into the Western Zhou elite burials (Zhongguo 1959c). On occasions of royal audience and investiture ceremonies, lords often presented these jades to the Zhou king and received royal gifts in return. Some heirloom pieces may have been reproduced in this context to support the ancestral claim, e.g. a Longshan-style bronze vessel with Shang-style emblem in the Xiqing gujian catalogue (Gao and Shao 2005:139) (Figure 7.23a). Whether heirloom or Zhou reproduction, its stylistic resemblance to Longshan vessels from the late third millennium bce suggests the resilience of Longshan social memory in the Zhou world. The inscriptions on the Kang ding vessel in the Shanghai Museum collection reveal that a Zhou noble patron paid a significant sum of cowries to acquire a valuable jade cong cylinder (Figure 7.23b). Based on our archaeological knowledge of the Zhou jades, such a jade cylinder is likely a highland Longshan heirloom. While individual objects like the Liangzhu cong cylinders may have lost their original meaning over time, continuity in set configuration and ceremonial

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context suggests the preservation of social memory in the ritual use of objects. Jades are the mediums for engaging with the sacred and ancestral world in Zhou ritual contexts (Sun 2008). While the majority of the six ritual jade forms described in the Zhouli text (put into writing in the second half of the first millennium bce) had roots in the third millennium bce, the highland Longshan society presents the first context where archaic jade forms from diverse regional origins were incorporated into a single ritual tradition (Chapter  4). Their ritual use among Zhou states and in the Sichuan Basin indicates the resilience of the highland Longshan tradition in the first millennium bce. With the presence of these ritual assemblages, the Zhou elite developed an increasingly formalized setting for social and religious interactions. Besides bronze vessels, the setting also included the display of alligator skin drums, sets of suspended chimestones, and sets of bronze bells. The singing of the odes, storytelling about the past, musical performance, ritual dance, feasting, investiture address, and exchange of gifts were all part of these ceremonial occasions in Zhou society. Many of the decorative objects displayed and odes performed in these ceremonial settings referenced the legendary society of the late third millennium bce. Commentaries on classical music and musical instruments during the Eastern Zhou period frequently attributed them to the predynastic polity of Tang in the Jinnan Basin. At a concert of the odes presented in his honor at the Lu court in 544 bce, for example, the Wu prince Ji Zha made a historical comment upon hearing the ode “Airs of Tang” sung for him to musical accompaniment: “Profound longing indeed! Do they not have the people remaining from those ruled by the Tao-Tang lineages! Otherwise, why would their concerns reach so far back? If they were not descendants of those of exemplary virtue, how could they be capable of this?” (Durrant et al. 2016: Lord Xiang 29.13b, pp.1244). The Tao-Tang lineages referred to in this passage imply a relationship with the cultural hero or the thearch Yao, who was allegedly enfeoffed at the ancient place of Tang (Durrant et al. 2016: Lord Xiang 29.13b). This association of the place of Tang with great antiquity concurs with the Jin state-building narrative discussed earlier in this chapter.27 The chimestone and bronze bell sets from Lord Zeng Hou Yi’s (c. fifth century bce) tomb at Leigudun and from Zhao Yang’s tomb at Jinshengcun provide some of the best-preserved archaeological contexts for the performance of these odes not long after Ji Zha’s time (Figure 7.24). An earlier example is observed at a Western Zhou palatial foundation adjacent to Fengchu palatial compound A, where fragments of large chimestones with elaborately engraved design were found mixed among the Late Western Zhou debris on the floor of its main hall, indicating their presence in the Zhou ceremonial context (Yin 1981). During the

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7.24. The bronze bell–and-chimestone set from the tomb of Lord Yi of Zeng (c. fifth century bce) at Leigudun in Suixian, Hubei (after Zhongguo 2004:392 Figure 9.18).

second millennium bce, these chimestones had been used as elite instruments from Erlitou to Yinxu (Chapters 5 and 6). The first material record of a musical set involving chimestones and alligator skin drums and the first recorded metal bell in early China appeared in the elite tombs at Taosi in the Jinnan Basin during the late third millennium bce (Chapter 4). Although these prototypes appeared rudimentary in comparison with the sophisticated Zhou musical set, they laid the foundation for the continuous elaboration of this musical tradition through the second and first millennia bce (Zhongguo and Shanxisheng 2015). The innovation developed at Taosi and other Longshan centers during the late third millennium bce, therefore, became the fountainhead for Sandai musical tradition. The same statement can be made of food as well, as all the inscribed bronze vessels referenced in this chapter are food vessels and their culinary syntax also dates back to the pre-Shang era. The intricate knowledge associated with the use of these food vessels and musical instruments, as seen by the meticulous instructions in Zhou ritual manuals, became a central component of the classical tradition. The Zhou adoption of the bronze ding vessel as the primary symbol of kingship allowed this highland group to align itself with the

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Erlitou-Zhengzhou-Anyang legacy, thus placing itself within the stream of tradition that was historically known as the Sandai civilization.

Emplaced Memories and their Displacement “A striking landscape” provides the armature for storytelling and the construction of “socially important myths” (Lynch 1960:4). Zuozhuan, for example, frequently mentions ancient ruins (xu) or mounds (qiu) in the Zhou landscape as historical landmarks connecting the past and present historical narrative. The study of toponymy pertaining to these ancient places was an important aspect of elite knowledge in Zhou society (Chen Pan 1969). Interstate meetings were often held at these politically neutral and historically significant places. The Zhou rhetoric of returning to the place of Xia at Jinnan and Luoyang highlighted the importance of historical landscapes in its state-building process. By controlling these places, the Zhou established a historically oriented political enterprise that articulated itself into the local schemes of cultural order and historical memory. The city is a legitimizing mechanism for forging new relationships. The distribution of Zhou-fortified settlements and elite cemeteries with inscribed bronze vessels wove together a network of Zhou political strongholds spanning a diverse historical landscape. Textual traditions are often associated with the assertion of universal rather than local values. For the descent groups of these past regimes, however, emplaced social memory was an important legacy for projecting their social identity in the broadly defined Zhou society. Some may have been inventing their narrative through ritual elaboration, creating a ritual context that significantly deviated from the Shang-Zhou elite tradition, as seen in the mortuary context of the Dahekou cemetery in the Jinnan Basin and the Shuangdun cemetery in the Huai River Basin (Chapter 8). While the creation of Song and small legacy states within the Zhou domain provided avenues for transmitting Shang social memory, the forced relocation of the Shang lineages contributed to its displacement. The preservation of the lineage structure of Shang subjects in the Zhou military and civilian services, however, ensured the transmission of Shang social memory in Zhou society. The diaspora of memory communities across the landscape helped spread knowledge of the past in unlikely places, creating an extraordinarily complex historical landscape. The most renowned Shang elite lineage serving the Zhou court in Zhouyuan was the Wei Shi family, who may have been the descendants of Wei Zi Qi (Hsü and Linduff 1988:114–16; Shaughnessy 1991:3–4, 167, 183–92). The inscriptions on the Shi Qiang pan vessel (c. tenth century bce) from the Zhuangbai hoard discovered in the core area of Zhouyuan indicates that five generations of the Wei Shi family had served as royal chroniclers since the Zhou conquest

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7.25. Plan view (1) and reconstruction (2) of Fengchu architectural complex A (after Zhongguo 2004:58 Figure  2–8), (3)  a Longshan jade mask once curated in the building complex (after Gu Fang 2005 vol. xiv:27), (4) a turquoise inlay bronze chariot axle cap from the elite tomb attached to the compound (photo taken at Zhouyuan Museum), and the stone stele (5) and stone altar (6) in the courtyard complex 2014zyiic4f3 (after Zhouyuan 2015: Figures 13 and 15).

(Falkenhausen 2006:36–50, 70–73). They represented part of the organized immigration of the Shang population into Zhouyuan (Liu Xu 2014:222, 288). Zhuangbai was only one kilometer southeast of Licun, where the bronze ding vessels commissioned by Lord Yú of the Nangong lineage was discovered. Approximately one kilometer northeast of Zhuangbai, an architectural complex at the Fengchu site offers important insights on the preservation of ancestral knowledge within an elite lineage at Zhouyuan. Constructed in the Early Western Zhou period, Fengchu compound A consisted of front and back courtyards, each surrounded by buildings with roof-tiles (Figure 7.25). A large collection of more than 17,000 pieces of oracle bones and turtle shells was deposited in a pit (h11) in the second room in the western chamber (Shaanxi 1979a, 1979b). Another pit (h31) from the same building complex produced another 700 pieces.These finds suggest that the Fengchu complex likely represents the ancestral temple for a prominent elite lineage where the inscribed oracle bones from the founding era of the Zhou state were once curated for centuries (Zhouyuan 2015). The inscriptions on these divination records attest to intense religious and political activities right before the conquest of Shang (Zhouyuan 2002). Many

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names mentioned in these divination records concur with the important figures involved in the Zhou state-building narrative from transmitted texts, e.g. Taibao, the Grand Protector, Bigong, the Lord of Bi. The inscriptions also referenced the Shang royal ancestors, indicating that the elite patrons may have been closely affiliated with or maintained intense interactions with the Shang royal lineage (Cao 2002). The building’s orientation, however, is consistent with the Erlitou palatial complex instead of the Shang tradition (Figure 7.25 No.1; compare with Figures 5.6 and 6.6). A ceremonial complex (2014zyiic4f3) featuring a large rectangular-shaped courtyard surrounded by rammed earth foundations on all sides is located immediately south of compound A, where ritual gatherings once took place around a stone altar at the center of the courtyard (Zhouyuan 2015). Built in the Early Western Zhou period, Fengchu ceremonial complex f3 suffered a major fire around the Middle Western Zhou period, and was eventually abandoned during the Late Western Zhou. Carved from limestone brought in from a quarry on the north slope of Mt. Qi, a stone stele once stood next to a low platform constructed with natural stone boulders in the middle of the f3 courtyard.28 The section of stele above the ground surface was deliberately broken, with its fragments scattered over the pebble surface with Late Western Zhou shards, which may be result of the destruction at the end of the Western Zhou period. Hundreds of burnt cowries were excavated from a large pit between the No. 3 and No. 4 foundations, presumably from the fire of the Middle Western Zhou. Other remains of elite activities included gold foil fragments, turquoise tesserae, lacquer, jade, and shards from glazed stone wares imported from the middle or lower Yangzi. Further to the south, a ritual dedication pit in which were buried four horses and a ceremonial wagon with turquoise mosaic inlaid bronze fittings, a large elite tomb with a single access ramp, and a lineage cemetery probably also belonged to the elite lineage associated with Fengchu building A  and f3. Elaborately decorated grand wagons like this were important relics in the Zhou state-building narratives, being portrayed as war treasures seized by Zhou campaigns against the highland polity of Mixu, and they were used by King Wen for grand musters (Chunqiu 1990:1372, 1536–40). The presence of such a wagon at the Fengchu complex is consistent with Zuozhuan accounts about their redistribution in Zhou investiture addresses.The bronze inscriptions from one of the small intact tombs (m11) in the lineage cemetery suggests that the deceased noble was rewarded with cowrie shells and horses for his service to a Zhou royal woman in dealing with the Lord of Han, a noble title that appeared in the ode “Han Yi” in Shijing. Together, the architectural compounds, the stone altar, the great tomb, the bronze wagon, and the oracle bone hoard at Fengchu represent the key components of a powerful elite lineage residing at Zhouyuan, if not the Zhou

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royal lineage itself. The curation of the inscribed oracle bones from the predynastic era highlights the preservation of historical information at Zhouyuan through the Western Zhou period. Although the oracle bone collection in the Fengchu compound was not meant to be a library, its short distance from the Zhuangbai hoard suggests that five generations of royal chroniclers from the Wei Shi lineage could have had access to some of the primary records concerning Zhou political history dating back to the predynastic era.The influx of elites of diverse cultural background into Zhouyuan, therefore, made the place a new center for the creation and transmission of historical knowledge. These Zhou and Shang elites residing in Zhouyuan would have been well informed about the life and times of King Wu Ding who reigned less than two centuries before Zhou’s conquest of Anyang.29 References to his extended silence in early Zhou speeches, therefore, may not be a literary elaboration (Chapter 6). Zhougongmiao and Baoji in the broadly defined Zhouyuan area also became important loci of social memory. Approximately 20 kilometers west of the core area of Zhouyuan, excavations at the Zhougongmiao site yielded a walled elite cemetery containing three dozen high elite tombs, ten of them featuring the four-ramp construction associated with the Shang-Zhou royal privilege, on the slope behind the historical temple dedicated to the Duke of Zhou, the architect of the Zhou political tradition (Xu 2006).30 The high elite tombs at Zhongongmiao dated through the Western Zhou period, and probably represented the lineage cemetery for the chief descendants of the Duke of Zhou (Zhouyuan 2006) (Figure 7.26). Around the Zhougongmiao cemetery, a predynastic period bronze foundry, seven cemeteries, a rammed earth palatial foundation, pottery and brick kilns, and more than 8,000 oracle bone pieces were excavated. Of the 780 pieces of inscribed oracle bones, some pieces dating to the Shang-Zhou transition period mentioned the names of Zhougong, the Duke of Zhou, and Wang Ji, predynastic King Ji Li and King Wen’s father, as well as place names like Xinyi, the “new settlement” (Liu Xu 2014:312–13).This discovery indicates the increasing convergence of archaeological landscape and historical landmarks at the turn of the first millennium bce (Li Feng 2006:21). Besides the prominent Zhou and Shang lineages, elite lineages of Zhou’s highland allies were also given the privilege of residing in or near Zhouyuan. These highland polities active on the fringe of the Shang political network had their own perspective on the past. Archaeological evidence suggests that the highland elite cemeteries concentrated in Baoji, approximately 50 kilometers west of the core area of Zhouyuan (Lu and Hu 1988; Li Feng 2006:48–49; Liu Xu 2014:299; Shaanxisheng et  al. 2014).31 Several elite tombs from the Shigushan cemetery and the Daijiawan cemetery in Baoji feature distinctive niches dug into the tomb shaft for placing bronze vessels, cowrie shells, and painted wares.This layout closely resembles the elite graves at Taosi and Shimao

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7.26. The plan view of the Zhou elite lineage cemetery at Zhougongmiao and the close-up image of the phrase “the Duke of Zhou divined” on an inscribed oracle bone from Zhougongmiao (image courtesy of Sun Zhouyong).

during the late third millennium bce, indicating the resilience of highland ritual tradition reaching back through the second millennium bce. The presence of high-collared li vessels with pouch legs in the mortuary assemblage offers important clues to the cultural identity of the Shigushan elite (Figure 7.27). In contrast to the wide distribution of the li vessels produced with the folding-cylinder construction technique in Zhou royal centers and major Zhou military colonies in the east, the distribution of these high-collared li vessels with joint pouch construction was restricted to the western Guanzhong Basin and its adjacent highland settlements north of Mt. Qi (Zou 1980:322–23 Falkenhausen 2006:201–2). This association suggests that the occupants were likely highland allies of the Zhou confederation, living alongside members of the royal Ji clan and the inner elite of the Zhou polity.The emblems on bronze vessels appear to represent many lineages, often with day names associated with Shang lineages. These were probably war treasures redistributed among Zhou and highland nobles participating in the eastern campaigns, a widespread phenomenon observed in mixed bronze assemblages in elite burials across Early Western Zhou society. Approximately 10 kilometers west of the Shigushan cemetery, the excavation of three lineage cemeteries associated with the Lord of Yu offers archaeological

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7.27. The mortuary context and grave goods of highland lords buried in Baoji during the Early Western Zhou period. Top, a Liujia-type high-collared li vessel from tomb m3 at the Shigushan cemetery and a bronze gui vessel placed in niches of tomb m4 (after Shanxisheng et al. 2014:98 Figure 19, 177 Figure 45); middle, the niche construction of tomb m3 at Shigushan (after Shanxisheng et al. 2014:118–19); bottom, the bronze vessel set from the Daijiawan cemetery in Baoji (image courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art).

insights on the social networks of the highland lords incorporated into the Western Zhou political system. The tombs of a Lord of Yu yielded a pottery double loop handled beaker associated with the Siwa culture (bzm1:4) of the western highlands, Liujia-type pottery li vessels associated with the ceramic tradition of the loess highlands, as well as bronze figures, bronze weapons, and ceramic vessels associated with the Sanxingdui-Jinsha material culture in the Sichuan Basin and the Baoshan culture in the Hanzhong Basin. These connections concur with the textual narrative about the participation of the

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Ba and the Shu forces from Sichuan in the Zhou military campaign against the Shang. The inscriptions on bronze vessels indicate that the lords of Yu maintained close interactions with prominent lineages in the Zhou court, e.g. marriage ties with the Xing lineage and exchange relationships with a Nangong lineage (Lu and Hu 1988:411; Falkenhausen 2006:118). The co-presence of elite from diverse political groups and memory communities in the broadly defined Zhouyuan region collapsed the vast geographic distance that set their polities apart, and provided the Zhou rulers access to diverse sources of historical knowledge. As many of these highland lords lived in Baoji through the Early to the Middle Western Zhou period, Zhou royal chroniclers would not need to travel far to learn about the legacies of Taosi, Shimao, and Sanxingdui-Jinsha along the highland axis. Although the stories about the past were likely recounted in multiple and sometimes conflicting variations at Zhouyuan, they were nevertheless framed in their general time range and geographic perimeter. The ritualization of the past through oral and textual traditions, as well as through the configuration of things and places, contributed to the formation of a shared system of cultural values, which embraced diversity within the Sandai historical framework.32 The fall of the Guanzhong Basin to highland invasions in 771 bce, however, dealt a huge blow to the Western Zhou political framework, and had significant implications for the transmission of historical knowledge at Zhouyuan. The turmoil and the eventual abandonment of Zhouyuan inevitably led to the displacement of social memory associated with elite lineages of diverse cultural backgrounds residing there. Although the Zhou royal court managed to relocate to the Luoyang Basin, the fabric of knowledge and the social network associated with these prominent lineages at Zhouyuan for many generations were broken. Many texts, historical relics, and ancestral temples, which had served as loci of social memory, were left behind or destroyed. From an archaeological perspective, this crisis contributed to the discovery of many important bronze hoards from Zhouyuan. These inscribed ritual vessels would have been curated in ancestral temples for prominent lineages. While their inscriptions offer us critical insights on Western Zhou history, society, and politics, their abandonment at the time attests to the displacement of social memory associated with them and their ritual contexts at a time that the preservation and transmission of knowledge shows an increasing reliance on writing.33 In contrast to the fall of the Zhou ancestral place in Guanzhong, however, many Zhou regional states maintained their cultural and political continuity through much of the first millennium bce. While the Jin state granted to the lineage of Lord Shu Yu was split into three in the late fifth century bce, the Jinnan legacy was inherited by the Wei state taking its place. The Lu state

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granted to the lineage of Lord Boqin was annexed by the Chu state in the middle of the third century bce. The Yan state granted to the lineage of the Lord of Shao fell to the Qin in 222 bce. The Wey state granted to the lineage of Kang Shu outlived the First Emperor of Qin and was only incorporated into the Qin Empire in 209 bce. Before their final demise, the heroic deeds of their founding lineages would be celebrated in veneration rituals performed at their ancestral temples. By the mid-first millennium bce, scholars in Zhou society were already concerned with the loss and deterioration of the early Sandai legacy. Confucius allegedly visited the legacy state of Qǐ, granted to the heir of the Xia royal lineage, to study the rituals of the first dynasty. He complained that much of the Xia ritual heritage was already forgotten by the heirs designated by the Zhou state (Analects 3.9). Sima Qian similarly visited historical sites and sorted out local storytellers in order to verify the textual accounts of the Sandai legacy. By the time of Confucius, the political authority of Zhou kingship and the historical legacies of past regimes had both faded, whereas competition for hegemony by powerful regional states had become the central theme of Eastern Zhou political history. THE CENTRAL DOMAIN UNDER SIEGE: CHALLENGING THE ZHOU POLITICAL ORDER

The Luoyang Basin represented the pivot in the Western Zhou historical configuration of its political landscape. Following the fall of the Western Zhou and the deurbanization of the Guanzhong Basin after the highland invasion in 771 bce, the number of Zhou royal centers was reduced from three to one and Luoyang Basin became the only royal domain during the Eastern Zhou period (Li Feng 2006:143). In this section, I examine the sources of disorder, namely the highland infiltration into the central domain and the rise of Chu in the middle Yangzi. Following the footsteps taken by the Lord Huan (d. 643 bce ) of the Qi state, the first hegemon during the Spring and Autumn period, the Chu military action against the highland Rong interlopers in the Yi River Valley revealed King Zhuang’s ambition of pursuing hegemony. The infiltration of the royal domain by both the southern power of Chu and the northern power of Rong serves as the backdrop for the wen ding story, which highlights the imminent threat to Eastern Zhou royal power. The historical claim to legitimacy by Zhou kingship, as symbolized by the royal possession of the nine bronze ding vessels in Luoyang, was truly tested during this period of deteriorating Zhou royal power. This shaking of the very foundation of Zhou legitimacy provoked the Zhou prince to make his now-famous statement that the Zhou kingship still retained its Mandate of Heaven.

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The Highland Infiltration of the Luoyang Basin Traditional historiography has portrayed those highland groups under various labels of Rong, Di, Guifang, or Xianyun as cultural others on the margin of the idealized Sandai world order (Wang Guowei 1922). Social archaeology reveals that the Zhou were part of a close-knit highland exchange network developed since the late third millennium bce, which was rendered invisible by the later canonization of the Sandai cultural tradition. Although these highland groups were never fully incorporated into the Sandai political hegemony based in the Central Plains, their role as intermediaries in the North and Middle Asian exchange networks was critical for Zhou political economy. Royal gifts listed in the inscriptions on Zhou  bronze vessels frequently included strung cowrie shells, copper ingots, aromatic wine, weapons, armor, clothing, and livestock. The distribution of strung cowries from the Zhou kingship, and the commemoration of the royal gifts by the commission of inscribed bronze vessels, bonded the political relationship with two important representations of value in early China, i.e. cowrie shells and copper ingots. The widespread use of cowrie shells in Zhou society in East Asia and ScythoSiberian society in North Eurasia suggests the resilience of a long-distance trade arrangement at the intersection of the East, North, and Middle Asian Interaction Spheres established since the Longshan period (Chapter 4). Although the structure of societies involved in the Eurasian trade had significantly changed from that of the Longshan period, participation in the extended exchanges of cowrie shells tied economic and political development in Zhou society with the Eurasian exchange networks that operated through the second millennium bce. Access to large quantities of cowrie shells in the Western Zhou royal court coincided with a sudden and relatively large-scale spread of pendants made of cowrie shells through Scythian society in the southern parts of Eastern Europe and in Iran during the early first millennium bce (Reese 1989; Bruyako 2007; Gotlib and Podol’skii 2008:184). In Iran, for example, more than 600 cowries (Cypraea annulus) from the Persian Gulf represent the third commonest species among the 7,698 marine shells found in the Hasanlu IVB assemblage dating to the end of the ninth century bce (Reese 1989). The Zhou society, herders on the Mongolian steppes, and southern Siberian communities associated with the Karasuk material culture (and later the frozen Scytho-Siberian tombs at Pazyryk) probably shared the same trade connections leading to coastal trade centers along the Persian Gulf. This suggests that we should approach the antagonism between Zhou and its highland rivals in the so-called Northern Zone as a process of increasing divergence within the cultural and economic continuum of a Bronze Age society.34 Since the predynastic period, the Rong, Di, Qiang, and Guifang tribes had operated as rivals, allies, or dependent groups to the Zhou state.35 In the Zhou

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origin story, the Rong and Di attacks allegedly forced the predynastic Zhou polity to abandon their settlements on the loess highlands and to relocate in Zhouyuan. After the Zhou conquest of Shang, the defeated Rong groups were pushed to the western end of the Guanzhong Basin. The inscriptions on the Smaller Yú ding vessel (jc:2839), cast by Nangong Yú two years after the Larger Yú ding vessel, commemorated Yú‘s great victory in leading the Zhou campaign against the highland Guifang, which resulted in 4,812 enemies killed, 13,081 captives taken, as well as the capture of vehicles, cattle, sheep/goats, and horses (Wang Guowei 1922:586–87; Li Feng 2006:54).36 The exacting details in the inscriptions of the Smaller Yú ding vessel and the Yihou Ze gui vessel attest to the extent of record-keeping in the Western Zhou court. Military leaders from the Nangong lineages, therefore, fought in Zhou conquest wars as well as in campaigns against enemies in the north and south. The Zhou effort to establish itself as the legitimate heir of the Central Plains powers, however, increasingly shifted from its political base in the highland basin. As the center of political gravity moved to the east, the royal centers in the Guanzhong Basin remained vulnerable to highland groups that were never fully incorporated into the Zhou political domain. The uneven configuration of the Zhou political landscape made it difficult for Zhou forces to respond to the highland invasion of the Guanzhong Basin, which led to the crisis and downfall of the Western Zhou in 771 bce (Li Feng 2006). After taking the Guanzhong Basin, the highland campaigns against the Zhou essentially followed the routes of Zhou state-building enterprise, i.e. attacking Yan, Qi, and Wey states on the eastern plains, and infiltrating the Luoyang Basin, where the last Zhou royal center remained. From the seventh century bce onward, their advances to the Henei Basin led to the conquest of the major Zhou states of Wey and Xing, where the Di groups established their own states in the Shang homeland (Li Feng 2006:290). From a terrain-based perspective, the highland infiltration into the Yi-Luo River Basin from the eastern Guanzhong Basin was not at all unexpected – this was the same route by which the Qijia communities contributed to the rise of Erlitou (Chapter 5). From the perspective of the Zhou political ideology, however, the presence of these cultural others at the heart of the Central Plains and the hinterland of its sole royal center seriously violated its notion of political order. According to Zuozhuan, these Rong tribes were relocated to the Yi River Valley from the Hexi Corridor by the Jin and Qi states in 638 bc (Durrant et al. 2016: Lord Xi 22.4, pp.352–53). A Zuozhuan passage (533 bce) related to resolving a territorial dispute between Jin and the Zhou royalty highlighted their threat to the Zhou political order in the central domain: The king sent the Zhan Liege Huan to make a case to Jin. He said, “Since Xia times Weì, Tai, Rui, Qi, and Bi have been our lands to the west because of Lord Millet. When King Wu conquered Shang, Pugu

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and Shangyan became our lands to the east; Ba, Pu, Chu, and Deng became our lands to the south; and Sushen, Yan, and Bo became our lands to the north. How could we have any frontier nearer than these? Kings Wen, Wu, Cheng, and Kang set up their younger full brothers to serve as defensive barriers for the Zhou to forestall decline and collapse. Are hereditary lands like a jet-black cap or the first clippings of an infant’s hair, and therefore something to be thrown away? The former kings settled Taowu among the four external lineages to confront the beasts and demons, and for this reason the miscreants of the Yun clan were settled in Guazhou. When our elder uncle, your Lord Hui, returned home from Qin, he lured them to Jin, causing them to crowd in among the many members of the Ji clan, and even to enter the outskirts of our city, and that is how the Rong came to take these lands. Whose fault is it then that the Rong hold territory among the central domains? Is it not distressing that although Lord Millet cultivated all-under-heaven, the Rong now exercise control there? (Durrant et al. 2016: Lord Zhao 9.3a, pp.1446–47)

While the Eastern Zhou royal power in Luoyang could not offer strong resistance, the regional states intervened and their victory in repelling these highland threats contributed to the successive claims to the title of hegemon by the lords of the Qi, Qin, and Jin states during the seventh and sixth centuries bce. The success of these hegemonic lords, at the same time, eroded the symbolic authority of the Zhou king as the overlord of these Zhou regional states.37 While these Rong groups did not “accommodate themselves fully to the Zhou ritual system” (Falkenhausen 2006:283), their leaders were fluent enough with the classical tradition to lay their claims to the legacy of the legendary era. In a Zuozhuan passage attributed to Juzhi in 559 bce, the Rong chief defended the rights of his tribes with reference to the venerated books and the odes: Formerly, the men of Qin, relying on their numbers and covetous of territory, expelled us, the various Rong tribes. Lord Hui, making manifest his great virtue, said that we, the various Rong tribes, were the descendants of the chiefs of the Four Peaks, and that we were not to be cut off and abandoned. He bestowed on us the lands of Jin’s southern marches, where foxes and wild cats made their lairs, and where jackals and wolves howled. We, the various Rong, removed and cut down their brambles and drove away their foxes and wild cats, jackals and wolves, and became subjects of the former lord. Neither aggressive nor rebellious, we have been unwavering in our allegiance until now … Our drink, our food, our clothing, and our regalia are all different from those of the central domains. We do not exchange gifts with them, and our language and theirs do not allow communication. How can we possibly harm you? Not to participate in the meeting will be no cause for grief.” He chanted “Blue Fly” and withdrew. (Durrant et al. 2016: Lord Xiang 14.1b, pp.1008–11)

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In the “Yao Dian” text in Shangshu, the “lords of the Four Peaks” were associated with Yao, the legendary ruler of the Tang polity in the Jinnan Basin during the late third millennium bce. As a diplomatic gesture, Chief Juzhi’s claim of the predynastic legacy associated with Yao and his reciting of the odes indicates an effort to place the highland group within a broad notion of civilization shared by the Zhou states (Durrant et al. 2016: Lord Xiang 14.1b and notes).38 From an archaeological perspective, the cultural make-up of these highland groups was rather complex, likely involving significant population movement and hybridization. Their material culture, associated with the elaborately decorated chariot, precious metals, head-and-hoof dedication, and other rituals of the agropastoral economy, can be observed in their elite burials at the Chongpingyuan cemetery in the loess highlands, the Majiayuan cemetery in the western highlands, and the Xuyang cemetery in the Yi River Valley (Li Yanfeng et al. 2015; Wu 2015). At least some of these agropastoral communities on the loess highlands would be part of, or closely associated with, the memory communities of highland Longshan society.39 Chief Juzhi’s appeal to the legacy of Yao, therefore, was consistent with the Zhou frame of historical knowledge represented in the Jin state-building narrative. The ritual practice of head-and-hoof dedication observed in the Xuyang cemetery in the Yi River Valley offers critical archaeological evidence for the presence of highland groups in the Yi-Luo River Basin during the Spring and Autumn period (Wu 2015) (Figure  7.28). Located approximately 40 kilometers south of Luoyang, the elite tombs in the cemetery featured impressive horse-and-chariot pits. The ritual deposit of large numbers of head and hoof bones from cattle and sheep connects the elites of Yichuan with the highland agropastoral groups in the western highlands and the Eurasian steppes (Qinghaisheng 1985:15–17; Anthony and Brown 2000). Given their close proximity to Luhun Rong settlements in historical geography, these elite burials probably belonged to the leaders of the Rong groups active in the hinterland of Luoyang before they were annexed by the Jin state in 525 bce. Ritual deposits of animal heads and hooves are also reported from Eastern Zhou cemeteries at Gujun in Xingtang associated with the Zhongshan state in the Henei Basin, established in 507 bce by highland Di groups (Hebeisheng et al. 2018). The presence of head-and-hoof ritual deposits in the hinterland of the historical Central Plains attests to the extent of highland infiltration into the Zhou domain and the porousness of Bronze Age society. Beyond the highland regions, these agropastoral communities bordered with the “Scythian continuum” of the Eurasian steppes and taiga forest, from which mounted nomadism evolved during the first millennium bce (Di Cosmo 1999:891). The inventory of Eastern Zhou material culture in the frozen tombs of Pazyryk in northern Altai (c. fourth to third century bce) suggests that highland groups served as critical intermediaries for linking Zhou society

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7.28. Chariot burials at the Xuyang cemetery in the middle Yi River offer archaeological evidence for the presence of highland groups in the Yi-Luo River Basin during the Spring and Autumn period (image courtesy of Li Zhipeng).

with the North Asian exchange networks (Rudenko 1970). It was through these well-established networks that cowrie shells, carnelian beads, glass vessels, glass and faience beads, gold objects, silver ware, and iron daggers made their way into the Zhou elite context from the early first millennium bce (Bunker 1993; So and Bunker 1995; E’erduosi 2006; Bruyako 2007; Rawson 2010). Their ritual consumption of psychoactive cannabis, as described by Herodotus, concurred with the discovery of footed metal censers and cannabis seeds in the frozen tombs of Pazyryk (Rudenko 1970; Herodotus 1998; Russo 2007) (Figure 7.29). Again, the discovery of a psychoactive strain of cannabis in the so-called shaman’s tomb (m90, c. 700 bce) in the Yanghai cemetery in Turfan, attests to the widespread use of cannabis in ritual context in the western highlands and eastern Central Asia (Xinjiang 2004; Russo et al. 2008).40 The broad range of distribution of these goods was consistent with the comment of Jin noble Wei Jiang that these highland agropastoral groups valued trade and mobility (Chunqiu 1990:939; Durrant et  al. 2016:  Lord

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7.29. Metal censers with stones for ritual burning of  cannabis seeds in the frozen tombs of Pazyryk in northern Altai (redrawn by Sun Mingxia from photo taken by Wen Chenghao at State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia, lines indicating regional contributions to the mortuary assemblage at Pazyryk).

Xiang 4.7b). The expansive scope of the highland exchange network presents a great contrast to the Zhou definition of civilization, which almost exclusively focused on its notion of Sandai historical geography. Of the four great basins that anchored the Zhou political framework, however, the highland groups took the Zhou homeland of Guanzhong and