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Yangshao culture (仰韶文化, Chinese: Yāng sháo wén huà, 5000-3000 B.C.)

The late New Stone age culture of ancient China, discovered in 1921 by Swedish archeologist Johan Gunnar Anderson and his team, who unearthed decorated pottery near Yangshao village (仰韶), Henan Province (河南省). Yangshao culture lasted for an astonishing 2000 years, starting around 5000 B.C. Such a span is rather unusual for the New Stone Age era. Ceramics found on the site were decorated with black, white and red markings. Some experts have successfully linked them to modern Chinese language, however the debate continues. Even if we discard Damaidi carvings (大麥地刻,Chinese: Dà mài dì kè) as a too farfetched a theory of the origin of the Chinese logographic script, Yangshao markings could be successfully classified as its beginning. Consequently, it would mean that the history of Chinese calligraphy is at least 7000 years old, 1500 years older than what is generally thought to be the most ancient written language on Earth – Sumerian cuneiform, dated at 3500 B.C. Please click here for more about the history of Chinese calligraphy.

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Page last modified on November 15, 2011, at 06:39 AM