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Hemudu Cultural Area

Hemudu Culture (5000 BC to 3300 BC) was a Neolithic culture that flourished south of the Hangzhou Bay in Jiangnan (modern Yuyao, Zhejiang Province). The site at Hemudu, about 22 km north-west of Ningbo, was discovered in 1973. Hemudu sites were also discovered on the islands of Zhoushan.

Hemudu Relics is a Neolithic cultural site representing Hemudu Culture. It was located in the lower reaches of Yangtze Valley. Its name was given after that of Hemudu Town in Yuyao City of Zhejiang Province where the site was initially discovered.

Hemudu Cultural Area

Hemudu Culture represents the civilization of Yangtze Valley in the south China as another major thread going through the development of ancient Chinese culture. The discovery of Hemudu Relics has proved the fact that Neolithic culture situated in lower reaches of Yangtze River also serves as a principal origin of Chinese civilization.

Hemudu Culture

Looking at agriculture, the Hemudu culture is one of the earliest cultures to cultivate rice. Rice was planted to facilitate the possibility of storing up surplus grain, which led to the discrepancy between the rich and poor. Most of the artifacts were discovered at Hemudu Relics consist of animal bones and exemplified by hoes made of shoulder bones. They were used for cultivating rice.

The remains of various plants were found at Hemudu, including water caltrop, Nelumbo nucifera, acorns, beans, Gorgon euryale and bottle gourd. The Hemudu people went fishing and hunting. They also domesticated pigs, water buffalo and dogs.

Hemudu Culture produced thick and porous pottery. The distinct pottery was typically black and made with charcoal powder. Plant and geometric designs were commonly painted onto the pottery. The pottery was sometimes also cord-marked. Hemudu Culture also produced carved jade ornaments, carved ivory artifacts and small, clay figurines.

The making of bone wares reaches certain height in Hemudu Culture. Some are even carved with exquisite patterns to be featured in both practicability and aesthetics. Hemudu Culture also produced lacquer wood. The red-lacquered bowl uncovered in Hemudu Cultural Area, with a history of 7,000 plus years, is the earliest lacquer ware in China. Music instruments, such as bone whistles and wooden drums, were also found at Hemudu Culture. Besides, the primitive spinning wheels, bone needles and ceramics engraved with cloth lines have been unearthed, which reflect the progress of weaving skills in that period.

Hemudu Culture bowl

Hemudu Cultural Area boasts the earliest stilt houses ever. The inhabited areas in the age of Hemudu Culture were in the form of all-sized villages. Plenty of house foundations have been found at the relics, which deliver the message that the architecture at that time was mainly in stilt style.

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