Good Essay About Chinese Architecture, And Its Culture Relate Art.

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Culture, Pottery, China, Death, Fish, Time, Art, Development

Pages: 6

Words: 1650

Published: 2021/01/24


This research paper is focused on the Chinese architecture, and its culture relate art to the focus of the Yangshao culture that is estimated to have existed in 6000-3000 B.C during the Neolithic period in China. Among the things I hope to gain, are an understanding and more knowledge of the ancient, in particular, the Yangshao culture, its art uses and meanings. The research is based on the Chinese culture and relates art because China is a country rich in archeological material and sites plus museums that display its vast and development of different culture and also its contributions today(Kong, Ching & Chou, 2015).
The research will mainly focus on the development, development and practices on the Yangshao culture by focusing on the past research about the culture. The culture has various distinct elements which are depicted in the way of settlement and its distribution in different villages and faces, the architectural methods used in building and a more great focus on the art of pottery making (Kong, Ching & Chou, 2015). The research will explore making of ceramic bowls that are used as utensils as well as for religious and burial ceremonies. The research will also focus on explaining the meaning of the pottery artwork to the Yangshao culture, where some of the sculptures symbolize the presence of a God and practice of magic in the culture.

The Yangshao Culture in China.

The Chinese culture and its arts dates back many centuries ago. The themes of the early arts in various cultures developed from religion and their supernatural beliefs and other times from the environment and the landscape. The Yangshao culture is said to be the one of the earliest Neolithic culture in China. It was made up of two groups one that was found in the Shaanxi province and the other one in Henan province (Xue, 2005). It existed along the yellow river where they cultivated millet in the extensive field and from time to time they also cultivated wheat and rice. The type of cultivation was slash and burn where they would slash new land and burn to clear the bush to create room for cultivation. It is also presumed that the culture used hemp to make clothes which they cultivated small scale, they also reared dogs, sheep, goats, pigs, cattle and fish and from time to time they hunted as their source of meat. In the yangshao society just like most societies, the roles of men and women were defined differently. Men would mainly hunt and fish while women would go pick wild fruits. Marriages were intertribal with the children associating closely with their mothers. In the later phase however women took up the roles of farming and at the same time, they managed the affairs of the tribe and its economic life while men would marry into a woman’s house, thus it was a very balanced culture in terms of labor division. Everybody had a duty to take thus, poverty could not be an issue in such a society with hard working persons (Kong, Ching & Chou, 2015).
The yangshao culture was composed of three stages over time that were the early, the middle, and the late stages. The early stage was estimated to have existed between 5100-3700 B.C while the middle stage existing around 4000-3700 B.C and the late and final stage lasting from 3500-3000 B.C. The three phases are differentiated by the size of the yangshao settlement from one village to another. The yangshao culture had villages that were built with round, square and oblong shaped houses. The houses were characterized by a single room of an estimated 150 feet square floor with the walls made of clay and the roofs were presumably thatched. At the heart of every village, there was a long house presumed to be a lodge or a ceremonial house with a length of up to six foot long and many inbuilt rooms. During the last phase ground level, houses became a common phenomenon (Kong, Ching & Chou, 2015). The villagers dug up a ditch which surrounded the village, separating it from the land they buried the dead, although during the last phase the villages were surrounded by a wall made up of soil instead of a trench like in the other earlier phases (Bays & Widmer, 2009).  The villages were organized into two distinct area with multiple dwellings where each area had was made of a different shape and size from the other. It suggested that the dwellers of the villages grouped themselves based on the lineage relationships that illustrated that they did not consider themselves as an undifferentiated unit. This idea of a distinct arrangement was also applied on how they buried the dead.
The graves where they buried the dead was segmented just the villages were where the dead were arranged in groups with a small space between the bodies differentiating each group. The graves were shared among different villages with their shapes and clustering symbolizing or representing the social institutions of the households in the culture. Blood ties could be traced through the males and the females or within the clan at large (Kong, Ching & Chou, 2015). The graves were different between males and females with the female graves being richer in artifacts showing evidence of a matriarchal culture. Unlike other graves where skeletons are revealed on digging up a grave in the Yang Shao culture the bodies were buried and then dug up after decomposing and reburied again in a ceremonial way only this time arranging the bones in an orderly manner. The practice is widely known as a secondary burial that is still practiced in some Chinese cultures to the present day. Considerable amount of times and resources was spent in the graves in respect of the dead, where the graves took the form of chambers where the ledges were cut on the walls to create room for placing pottery and valuable objects. The most prominent distinctive form of art in the Yangshao culture is decorated pottery (Kong, Ching & Chou, 2015).

The decorated pottery.

The pottery in the yangshao is said to be one of the most beautiful art which also make up the largest artifact categories of the ceramics. The yanhshao culture did not use wheels to make their potteries like the longshan culture did. Instead, the pottery was hand carved by various potters in the culture each being different from the other. The pottery contained aspects that presented symbolic aspects because it saw made up of animal forms that were both realistic and also presented the potters fantasy. The pottery had curved masklike faces with a fish shape whispering in their years. The designs of the pottery had different marks that identified one potter from the other. The designs of the pottery also differed from one village to another which depicted an order of a time frame from one village to the other and within the culture as well. The oldest painted pottery was discovered at the Banpo site and which was made up of geometry and natural designs. The most common feature of all pottery was the presence of a fish. It is a clear indicator that the fish had a symbolic meaning to the yangshao culture (Kong, Ching & Chou, 2015).
The designs of the pottery changed and differed from one group to another within the culture over time. The pottery was different in designs, and its intended purpose with some potteries containing flower designs and others were spiral shaped. The most common type of pottery found in the yangshao culture was ceramic bowls, dishes, open jars and round vessels.

The uses and the meaning on the artifacts in the yangshao culture in China.

The ceramic urns were mainly used to bury infants and small children and the bowls were used as lids to cover the urns. The bowls were crafted with features of human and fish shapes. The fish shapes varied in number from one bowl to another and they were presumed to have been put there to act as a source of food for the child in their next life (Kong, Ching & Chou, 2015).
The pottery was also used for religious practices. The human faces crafted on the pottery was said to represent a shaman and the fish carvings represented his/her familiars. This indicated that the yangshao culture was associated with magic practices which was also indicated by the art of skeleton arrangement into mythical creatures like dragons (Rujivacharakul, 2011). The dragons were which was placed to the left of the dead body and it was made of clamshells. It was said to be guiding the dead to a mythical land where they believe life continued after death. Sometimes there were more than one body in a tomb which were presumed to be accompanying the owner of the tomb. This meant that the yangshan culture practiced human sacrifices as the accompanying bodies were evidently slit on the throat. The tomb owner was buried at the middle of the tomb, the human sacrifices were presumed to be the protectors of the dead person and were supposed to serve him/her in the afterlife.
The pottery was also used as water bottles especially during religious functions. The pottery was also buried in the graves with the dead people. They were distributed unevenly with each grave having either less or more artifacts than the other. This distribution indicated the difference in wealth and the status of the person buried in the grave. Those who were wealthy and had higher social status in the yangshao society were buried with more beautifully decorated pots, fine tools and different ornaments, which were large in numbers. This was an indication that the dead person had a commanding position in the society and played an important role in the yangshao culture, among other pottery found in the graves were flaring bowls, tall rounded jars and a three footed bowls resembling a certain type of a bronze pot, and had to be paid respect depending on their status in the community at large (Rujivacharakul, 2011).
The pottery was also used as utensils for their daily use which were highly valued to be of great cultural importance. The pottery was made using fine clay which resulted into the red art crafts and also by the use of fine mud which they mixed with fine grains of sand producing the reddish brown ceramics. The ceramics were then decorated in black and red colors. Some of the three legged vessels were also used for cooking and was decorated with string patterns and heated quickly (Rujivacharakul, 2011). The pottery was also used to differentiate the different phases of the yangshao culture ranging from the bampo phase, miadigou phase, majiayao, banshan and mchang phase.
Different shapes and sculptures on the pottery had different meanings in the yangshao culture. The fish that was encrypted in the ceramic bowls that was used as rids for the urns that the children were buried in symbolized that the yangshao culture had knowledge or believed in a god who they believe watched them from the sky. It also symbolized that the fish held a specific meaning the both the ritual and subsistence practices in the yangshao culture. The decoration in the pottery in the form animal drawings and other mysterious representational figures meant that there was a presence of magic in this culture (Kong, Ching & Chou, 2015).
In conclusion the Yangshao contributed greatly to the development of the longshao culture. The practices of the culture, like pottery is still practiced largely in some rural areas of china. The culture was also a source of China’s transition to bronze and also the source of the elaborate kinship structure of the later developed Chinese society which contributed greatly to civilization. Thus, the Chinese civilization can sometimes be reflected back to the existence of Yangshao and the development of Longshao, and also the pottery practice experienced in large parts of the Chinese country. Not forgetting their culture of paying respect to the dead depending on their status or wealth in the community.


Xue, C. Q. L. (2005). Building a revolution: Chinese architecture since 1980. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.
Kong, L., Ching, C., & Chou, T.-L. (2015). Arts, culture and the making of global cities: Creating new urban landscapes in Asia.
Bays, D. H., & Widmer, E. (2009). China's Christian colleges: Cross-cultural connections, 1900-1950. Stanford, Calif: Stanford University Press.
Rujivacharakul, V. (2011). Collecting China: The world, China, and a history of collecting. Newark [Del.: University of Delaware Press.
The Jesuits: 2. (2006). Toronto [u.a.: Univ. of Toronto Press.

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