Xian is a very ancient city with long history and many historical and cultural relics are left. With rapid development of China tourism in recent years, Xian attracts more and more tourists but few of them have visited Banpo Museum.
Banpo Culture, originating from the middle reaches of the Yellow River, is part of the Yangshao Culture of the Neolithic Age. The culture is so named because it was founded in Banpo Village in Xian, Shaanxi Province. The culture lasted from 6,800 to 6,300 years ago and reflects the geographical situation of northern China at that time.
Residents in Banpo lived in villages in clans or tribes. Agriculture, fishing and hunting were their main ways of acquiring food. The dwelling place for a clan was surrounded by a moat as a way to prevent invasion by wild animals. Houses were square or round in shape and were built so that some of the building extended under the ground. In light of many kinds of farm implements and fishing tools excavated, it is inferred that the Banpo people depended primarily on farming and fishing for survival.
Banpo Culture is renowned for its fine painted potteries. The pottery-painting skills displayed here are listed the top among all the cultures at that time. Their earthen wares were uniformly red in color and decorated with black pigment. The craftsmen had their potteries simply decorated, the most striking are the designs of fish that can be seen everywhere. The fish was finished in symbolic pattern. It is concluded that fish should be the totem of ancient Banpo people. Not only are the pottery wares of different kinds but they are also meticulously painted with unusual patterns. Human faces, fish, deer, plants and other geometric figures are commonly seen on the wares, which were usually dyed red with black-lined patterns. The most representative design is a basin with human face and fish patterns found in Banpo, Xian that is the crystal of art and characters of that time. Judging from the patterns painted on the pottery, archaeologists have concluded that the fish symbol was regarded as a good omen by clans that time.
Banpo Culture witnessed the time of matriarchal clan society. Women took a dominant position in everything and there were no permanent couples. After death, adult women and men were buried separately in communal graveyard, having potteries and beads of animal bones as burial objects. Children, however, were not allowed be buried with adults. The mother would put the body of her child into urns and bury it in a pit close to her house. This special burial urn practice reveals that child was still not counted as the member of primitive community. More burial articles were found in girls pit than in that of boys.
Excavated in 1954, the ruin of Banpo Village lies in the east suburb of Xian. In 1958, a large Banpo Museum was built there presenting the production scenes of Banpo people, and social life and artistic achievements to modern people.
If you want to know more about Banpo culture, you can contact with China tour agents.
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