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WeiWenDi's Henan photoblog

Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 2:41 am
by WeiWenDi
EDIT: CLEAN VERSION

Sadly, I have been somewhat... remiss in posting here these last few days. In part, that is because I am presently in Luoyang with my girlfriend, visiting her family for winter break - and, this being Luoyang, we have done a bit of sightseeing so far.

First, we went to Anyang and visited the Shang Dynasty archaeological site of Yinxu.

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Yinxu is a very important site in China because it is there that some of the earliest known examples of Chinese writing (on turtle shells) have been unearthed. These characters highlight the pictographic origins of the Chinese language quite vividly.

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And a few examples:
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The Shang Dynasty enjoys a rather mixed reputation in Chinese history. Despite several enviable cultural achievements (such as the lost-wax method of bronzecasting, agricultural and hygienic innovations, and naturally the invention of writing), they also sported an incredibly brutal social system based on slavery and human sacrifice, and the last of their kings (Dixin, also known as King Zhou) is synonymous in Chinese culture with tyranny, vice and sadism. There were several pits unearthed at Yinxu which are thought to be the remains of human sacrifice victims, as well as several chariots buried for Shang potentates.

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There was also a very sizeable museum at the Yinxu site, with a number of bronzes on display, some also featuring human remains:

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These two bronze yan 铜甗 feature human skulls within

Also of interest were Shang-era weapons (particularly the ancient halberd, or 戈 ge dagger-axe), as well as various bone tools and cosmetic implements:

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and tools, including casting moulds
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and more bronzes
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and some jade and turquoise jewelry as well!
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And, of course, the piece de resistance of the Yinxu museum, the Simuwu Ding (司母戊鼎), the largest piece of bronzeware ever to be unearthed in China, or anywhere in the world, for that matter, weighing in at nearly 900 kilos and standing 130 centimetres tall:

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The Simuwu Ding 司母戊鼎 in all its (literally) heavy metal glory

Sadly, our time was up before we got to visit the famous tomb of Fu Hao (we had to get back to Luoyang that day from Beijing), but on the whole I was quite satisfied with this leg of the trip. There will be more photos to follow, so please stay tuned!

Re: WeiWenDi's Henan photoblog

Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 2:51 am
by WeiWenDi
EDIT: Cleaned; see above

Re: WeiWenDi's Henan photoblog

Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 2:59 am
by WeiWenDi
EDIT: Cleaned; see above

Re: WeiWenDi's Henan photoblog

Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 3:08 am
by WeiWenDi
EDIT: Cleaned; see above

Re: WeiWenDi's Henan photoblog

Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2012 3:25 pm
by TooMuchBaijiu
Post more, you lucky vacationing bastard.

Also bumping to petition the admins to merge the travel photos into a single thread.

Re: WeiWenDi's Henan photoblog

Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 9:40 pm
by Lady Wu
This is wicked. Shang stuff is so cool. I didn't even know there's a whole museum dedicated to this!

Re: WeiWenDi's Henan photoblog

Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 10:24 am
by WeiWenDi
Sorry I haven't posted more recently - I've been in Kaifeng with very limited internet access. :oops: As it is, I should probably clean up what I've posted so far; all of my photos thus far have been uploaded to Renren, so it may be a little easier on the eyes should I just post the links from thence... :P

Anyway, upon arriving in Luoyang, one of my first destinations was the Imperial gravesite of one of the Zhou emperors, which they had identified as such by the burial of a chariot with six horses (the six-horse carriage being a privilege reserved only for the Zhou emperor - everyone else had to make do with, at most, four). Luoyang is such an old city, and such an important one in Chinese history, that it becomes a bit of a headache for city planners and local officials if they want to get something new built - there's always the chance that their building site might uncover yet another priceless find.

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The entrance to the Zhoucheng Museum

Inside the museum (much smaller than the one at Yinxu, understandably), they had nevertheless an impressive exhibit of Zhou era artifacts. This being a much more generally enlightened era than Shang (read: 'feudal'), there were considerably fewer human remains amongst the exhibit:

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Zhou era bronzework

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Zhou era jadework

And, of course, the Imperial Chariot itself (along with a sizeable retinue, apparently):

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Stay tuned for more pics from Luoyang, along with several from Shaolin Temple (yes, that Shaolin Temple) and Kaifeng!