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— Folk Customs —
Changyang Tujia Autonomous County has a long history and a cultural heritage.
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The typical ruins of the early Ba people - the incense burner stone ruins
Bashu culture is one of the regional cultures in ancient China. The masters of this culture are two ancient nationalities, the Ba people and the Shu people. According to historical documents, the Ba people and Shu people have a very long history, which can be traced back to the Bronze Age in China, and then to the end of primitive society. However, due to the limitation of materials in the past, the situation of early Ba and Shu people has not been clear enough. Some even think that early Ba people have disappeared, so it is difficult to investigate them clearly. Until the last decade, the situation of early Ba and Shu people has gradually become clear, and the early Ba culture and Shu culture have not been confirmed because of the continuous acquisition of some important materials from archaeological excavations. That is to say, the regional scope of early Shu culture is a kind of Bronze Age culture centered on the Chengdu Plain in Western Sichuan, while the early Ba culture is a kind of Bronze Age culture centered on the Qingjiang Valley and the Three Gorges of Yangtze River in Western Hubei. Incense Stone Site is a typical site of early Ba people in Qingjiang River valley of Western Hubei. Through archaeological excavation, nearly 10,000 relics were unearthed, which has rich cultural connotations and is representative. After research, it has been named "incense stone culture" and recorded in the history books. The incense burner stone site is located on the North Bank of the Qingjiang River, 0.5 kilometers southeast of Yuxia Kou Town, Changyang Tujia Autonomous County, western Hubei Province, 97 kilometers east of Changyang County Town and in the middle reaches of the Qingjiang River. The site is high in the northeast, low in the southwest and sloping in shape. It faces the Qingjiang River in the southwest and is about 30 meters below the surface of the Qingjiang River. Geographical environment is very unique. It belongs to the typical riverside mountain cultural sites.
The site was discovered in 1983. It covers an area of more than 30,000 square meters, but only 700 square meters are exposed. Later, in cooperation with the construction of Geheyan hydropower project in Qingjiang, Hubei Province, archaeological teams of Geheyan in Qingjiang, Hubei Province were composed of archaeologists drawn from cultural and cultural departments of provinces, cities, prefectures and counties by the Hubei Provincial Department of Culture and Exposition. In 1988, 1989 and 1995, archaeological excavations were carried out three times. More than 400 square meters were excavated in the central area of the site, and stone, pottery, bone and artifacts of the Xia, Shang and Zhou periods were obtained. Nearly 10,000 cultural relics such as bronze ware and a number of early Shang Dynasty Ba people's tombs. A large number of oracle bones of Shang and Zhou dynasties and two pottery seals (seals) of the late Shang and early Zhou dynasties were also found. The oracle bone is the most unearthed place in the south of China so far. The pottery seal is the earliest pottery seal unearthed in China so far. In addition, a large number of animal bones and fish bones as well as some relics of the Eastern Zhou and Qin and Han Dynasties were unearthed.
The pottery unearthed from the incense burner stone site has a unique style, with sandy brown pottery or gray brown pottery as the main decorative patterns. The main decorative patterns are thick and thin rope and square pattern, and the other ones are string pattern, stamp pattern, triangular pattern, rice grain pattern and palindrome pattern. The temperature is generally higher and the quality is harder. The shapes of some main pottery, such as flat-bottomed or flat-bottomed pots, round-lipped flat-bottomed bowls, open-bottomed kettles and luxurious small-bottomed cups, are quite different from those of the Xia and Shang cultures in the Central Plains of North China, but very similar to the unearthed relics of many Xia and Shang Dynasty sites in the Three Gorges region of the Yangtze River nearby. However, the excavations of similar sites in the Three Gorges area are not as many as those of incense stones, so typical and self-contained pottery groups. Therefore, after careful collation and comparative study, archaeologists named it "incense stone culture" according to its unique cultural characteristics. The time limit of this culture, based on the measured data of carbon 14 and combined with the study of stratigraphic relationship and utensil typomorphology, is from the last summer period to the Western Zhou Dynasty, which lasts for more than 1000 years.
According to historical documents, the Qingjiang River Basin in Western Hubei is the area where the Ba people originated and frequently lived in China. The early history of the Ba people should be between 4000 and 3000 years ago. The cultural relics unearthed at the incense burner site have obvious characteristics of Ba culture, and their time coincides with the activity time of early Ba people in China. Therefore, "incense burner stone culture" is the early Ba culture.
From the large number of bone artifacts unearthed from the incense burner site, especially animal bones, fish bones and pottery nets, we can see that people in the incense burner culture period were mainly fishing and hunting economy, supplemented by collecting and planting. From the large number of oracle bones and two pottery seals (seals) unearthed, the civilization process is higher.
According to the geographic environment near the incense burner stone site and the historical records of "Yicheng" in ancient documents, the "Yicheng" has the same geomorphological features as "Mountain Stone Ququ", "Spring Yiqu", "Wangru Cave", "Shore is collapse", "Stage and Majesty multiply" and "Platform on shore", as well as the richness of unearthed cultural relics and the coincidence of the times. In addition, the vicinity also reflects the historical legends of Baihuling, an early Ba story Therefore, some people think that this may be the place where the ancient Ba people first settled in the capital city (i.e. "Yicheng").
In a word, the scientific excavation of incense stones and the discovery of their rich cultural relics are very important for the study of early Ba culture in China. Therefore, they have been regarded as an important discovery in the field of Archaeology in recent years. It not only solves the problem of ethnic origin of Tujia people in China, but also solves the historical mystery of the ancient Ba people's hometown. It is not only of great academic value to the study of the early Ba culture in China, but also of great significance to the study of the ancient history of the Chinese nation, which is influenced and developed by many nationalities in ancient China.
(Originally published in Tiandi, Cultural Relics, No. 2, 2001) (reprinted from Changyang Network of the Three Gorges)
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