Ritual in Ancient China: Remains of the Mid-Shang Dynasty
A talk by Song Guoding (Henan Provincial Institute of Archaeology, & Visiting Scholar at the UCLA Center for Chinese Studies)
Thursday, November 13, 2003
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
A222 Fowler Museum
Fowler Musuem of Cultural History
Archaeology of the Shang dynasty (BC 16th – 11th century) — one of the most important periods of China’s Bronze Age — has yielded many fascinating finds that are crucial to understanding the origins of Chinese civilization.
Excavations in recent years led by Song Guoding in the province of Henan have unearthed what may be one of the capitals of the Shang, complete with temple foundations, altars, and bronze vessels. The contents of these sites are remarkable for their purity and for the fact that they were accumulated over a very short period: 30 years or so. The artifacts that Song Guoding and his team have uncovered reveal to us the centrality of ritual in the lives of the Shang nobility and tell us much about the concrete nature of that ritual — including human sacrifice.
Among the artifacts Song recently discovered were several ceramic vessels that bear what is believed to be the earliest Chinese writing.
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Song Guoding is Director of the Research Group of the Shang and Zhou Dynasties at the Henan Provincial Institute of Archaeology and Director of the Archaeological Center of Zhengzhou City (Henan).
Since 1985, Mr. Song, who was educated at Beijing University, has directed a number of important excavations of sites dating from the Xia dynasty (BC 21st - 17th century) through the Zhou dynasty (which ended in 221 BC). He also was the local director in a cooperative survey of Xia dynasty sites along the upper Ying River valley (Henan) in conjunction with the Department of Anthropology of Washington University (St. Louis). In 2001, Mr. Song was a visiting scholar at the Institute of Archaeology at the University College London. He has been a visiting scholar with the UCLA Center for Chinese Studies since December 2002.
For more information please contact
Tel: 310 825-8683
Sponsor(s): Center for Chinese Studies