Part I: The Broken Path
I have often wondered why Chinese spoke of 5000 years of continuous civilization in China while westerners claimed China only has 3000 years. The difference had usually been attributed to the Chinese for using mythological basis to rack up years for its homegrown civilization while westerners only acknowledged China's civilization for the duration of its written history which had only begun 3000 years ago.
For many Chinese, though hardly the majority, mythological reference serves just as well as true historiography. In Chinese folklore, a sagelike emperor called Huangdi, situated around 5000 years ago, was said to have used military might to pacify barbarians headed by a warlike figure, Chiyou, in order to start the prosperous society of Huaxia peoples, the supposed ancestors of Han Chinese supra-ethnic peoples. Rumour has it that this was the period when the ethnocultural backdrop for the Han Chinese developed since Han Chinese supposedly viewed themselves with prideful regard for achieving distinct nationhood against those less civilized than they.
Therefore the mythology of Huangdi and Chiyou served as a reference for the ideal of "civilizing the barbarian masses". It reasoned civilization in China was created when some men suddenly realized their civilized status by arbitrarily assigning barbarian status for those whom they have deemed necessary to civilize which is another way of saying a superiority complex was key to implementing civilization. By converting this ideal into a parameter for the search of China's ancient civilization, many archaeologists discovering upon the artifactual remains of China's neolithic past began to draw associations between the two.
Where they found the ending phase of one Chinese neolithic culture became perceived to indicate where an ancient battle was lost against some more civilized conqueror. Where they found the beginning phase of a Chinese neolithic culture became perceived to indicate transition towards a more civilized status. In other words they mistook what they discovered through archaeology to necessarily reflect events portrayed in the Huangdi and Chiyou mythology by using the same ideological justification which perpetuated that mythology in the first place. But in this manner, the archaeology was never verified to demonstrate whether ancient Chinese civilization existed at all. Rather, all that had been accomplished was the needless rendition of mythology as truth.
No grave site of Huangdi nor Chiyou could actually be identified since identifying them would entail the required historiography to reveal the locations of neolithic ceremonial burial sites. Needless to say those do not exist. Despite this, efforts were not made to halt early Chinese archaeology from vainfully assigning various grave sites as the final resting grounds of various mythological characters.
To be continued in Part II: Clearing a New Pathhttp://hwyst.hangzhou.com.cn/wmyzh/cont ... 920423.htm
Liangzhu was typified by hallmarks which glorified 5000 years of China.