Home - Travel Blog - China Travel News - Yellow River Culture

Yellow River Culture

By china tour on 6/22/2009 8:16:00 AM | China Travel News

The Hsia Dynasty, 2205-1766 BC According to the Chinese historians, the last of the sage kings, Yu, founded a dynasty of kings, the Hsia. The Hsia began with virtue and wisdom, and ended with the rule of Chieh, who was decadent and cruel. In 1766 BC, after four hundred years of rule, the Hsia dynasty was overthrown by T'ang, who began a new dynasty, the Shang. There is, however, absolutely no evidence, archaeological or otherwise, that supports this account of the early civilization in China; this lack of evidence has led historians to relegate the entire account, from the Cultural Heroes to the Hsia dynasty, to the realm of mythology.
Two things, however, should be kept in mind. In the strictest sense, history is not about facts, it is about cultural memory , which means that what a culture believes its history to be is as important, or even more important, than the "facts" in terms of the lived experience of that culture. Second, the Shang dynasty that the Chinese claimed followed the Hsia, was also believed to be mythological until archaeological evidence appeared in the 1920's. We may yet find a Chinese civilization equivalent to the Shang in even earlier strata of Chinese time. Yellow River also is a top China Travel Guide line...

The Yellow River Valley As in Egypt, Mesopotamia, and along the Indus River, Chinese civilization began within a major river valley. Modern China itself is a huge geographical expanse. Around 4000 BC, this huge area contained an almost infinite number of ethnic groups and languages. The course of Chinese history, however, is in part dominated by a single ethnic group and language. This history, in which a vast area populated by diverse ethnic groups became, over time, a more or less single culture, began in the Yellow River Valley. The Yellow River is the northernmost of the major Chinese rivers. Directly to the south is the Yangtze River; south of the Yangtze is the West River; south of the West River is the Red River, much of which passes through modern-day Vietnam. Sometime around 4000 BC, when the area was much more temperate and forested, populations around the southern bend of the Yellow River began to practice agriculture.
They sowed millet, but some time later, the Chinese began cultivating rice to the south, near the Huai River. These were a Neolithic, tribal people who used stone tools. We know also that they domesticated animals very early on, but they still continued as a hunter society as well. Remains of game animals are almost as common as domestic animals in these villages. We know almost nothing about them, for they left no records, and the life-blood of a people does not flow in the archaeological refuse they leave behind. We believe that tribal warfare was common and that they may have had some form of ancestor worship, but these are mere guesses.