The Origins of Chinese Civilisation—Archaeological Treasures from Henan
Source: Henan Museum Edit: Zrr Time: 2018.11.21 09:00:04

To strengthen the friendship and cultural exchange between China and Luxembourg,"The Origins of Chinese Civilisation—Archaeological Treasures from Henan", sponsored by Henan Provincial Administration of Cultural Heritage and organised by Henan Museum and the National Museum of History and Art (MNHA) in Luxembourg,will be held at MNHA. A total of 145 items/sets unearthed in Henan have been selected under the theme of the evolution of Chinese civilisation with the purpose to highlight how Chinese civilisation came into being, evolved and developed and demonstrate the prosperity, peacefulness, and inclusiveness, in both material and spiritual aspects, of the Central Plains - the cradle of Chinese civilisation.
Henan, located in Central China, is the birthplace of the Chinese nation and the cradle of Chinese civilisation.It remained China's cultural,economic and political center for more than 3 millenia, from the earliest stage of the development of a centralised state until approximately 1,000 years ago. It is on the territory of nowadays Henan province that early Chinese people created and developed Chinese culture, leaving behind a very rich cultural heritage. The archaeological and historical heritage of the Central Plains thus reflects the five-thousand-year long history of the development of Chinese civilisation.Centering on the theme "The Origins of Chinese Civilisation", the exhibition showcases the making of Chinese civilisation and its diversified development in terms of politics, society, economy and culture. It presents over 140 outstanding pieces and sets of archaeological relics unearthed in Henan, spanning over three millennia,from 21st century BC to 12th century AD.Grouped in two sections,"Formation of an Empire" and "Craftsmanship and Handicraft", they present the development of early Chinese civilisation and highlight the splendid cultural achievements made in the Central Plains.
Part 1 Formation of an Empire
In the late Neolithic period, the Yellow River valley began to establish itself as a center of Yangshao culture (5000 BC to 3000 BC), and the first villages were founded. Later, Yangshao culture was superseded by the Longshan culture, which was also centered on the Yellow River, from about 3000 BC to 2000 BC.After over 3,000 years of development in the clan/tribal period, the Bronze Age saw the emergence on the Central Plains of the first states characterised by a central authority.Xia (ca. 2070-ca. 1600 BC), Shang (ca. 1600-1046 BC) and Zhou (1046-256 BC) dynasties can each be seen as early states.These so-called Three Dynasties (san dai)mark the beginning of ancient Chinese civilisation, characterised by a writing system,the practice of divination, the emergence of walled cities, the development of bronze technology and the use of horse-drawn chariots. Private property led to growing social stratification, both legitimised and protected by a centralised public power.

                 White potteryhe

                       Jade pieces of a face cover

Part2 Craftsmanship and Handicraft
Throughout the history of ancient China, the insatiable material pursuit of the ruling class was a direct incentive for the continuous improvement of craftsmanship.From the early times - where artisans and merchants were on government payroll to the rise of an independent handicraft industry, artisans were in most cases engaged in the same trade for generations.Their skills and techniques were passed down from generation to generation, encouraging handicraft proficiency. Scholar-officials provided instructive advice to artisans. Handicraft was thus influenced by literati, the mere activity of production was transformed into a pursuit of beauty and even a process of giving significance and meaning to things created.

                     Mythical creature

                             Yellow-glazed flat hu