Kingdoms - Ancient Cultures
|For those following the
development of this complex subject in this new section
for June 2010, please know that we are now able to offer
a better structure:
Ancient cultures - those in existence during the last
ice-age - this page
Neolithic cultures - 10, 000 to 3, 000 BC
Contemporary cultures - those occupying a different
part of what is now China, and contemporary with the
earliest recorded Han Chinese Dynasty's and Empires.
This page deals with ancient cultures, and we begin
with two 'Chinese' ones dated from 20, 000 years ago.
Other contemporary cultures are either included already,
or being researched - so expect this page to grow over
the coming months.
* Bon Culture
* Pre-Ba Kingdom
* 'Outside of the Box' - Dropa and Ham tribes
We feel visual representation is vital to aid explanation,
so have referenced a superb set of maps produced by
our friend Thomas Lessman:
The Eastern World 600 BC
Courtesy Thomas Lessman:
Certainly the Bon Culture of modern Tibet, that previously
came from perhaps Tajikistan and the Northern Kashmir
region was immensely important. However, The Bon Culture
gives rise in later years to a religious divide that
crosses ethnic boundaries. The Ba Kingdoms of Chongqing
remained outside of mainline Chinese history for millennia.
Both Bon Culture and Ba Kingdom trace their ancestry
back to around 20, 000 BC; and to West and East of the
Tibetan plateau and Taklamakan dessert respectively.
Millennia later, as these two Kingdoms move and consolidate
Pre-Ba Kingdom of ChongQing
Whilst historians focus on the modern view of Chinese
history, let us not forget that one of the very earliest
Chinese cultures was in fact based around modern Chongqing,
and archaeology dates this community back 20, 000 years
to the Old Stone Age. As this culture is not from the
Yellow or Yangtze Rivers, it is ignored by historians
as being a predecessor of modern China. However, it
is in the geographical centre of modern China, and I
am sure it deserves consideration within Chinese history.
There is little evidence of the Ba Kingdom itself flourishing
before 2000 BC, however this does not preclude other
kingdoms and civilizations that were their documented
forerunners. This is mainly due to the fact that there
are no written records, and evidence comes solely from
Were the Ba People Aboriginals of the Three Gorges?
Through years of salvaging excavation, great progress
has been made in archaeological research of the Ba
people, but it is still not decided whether the Ba
people were natives of the Three Gorges or immigrated
from other places.
Historical materials show that the Ba people originated
According to History of Eastern Han, Wuxiang, chieftain
of the Ba tribe, "was born in the Wuluo Zhongli
Mountains (near Changyang, Hubei Province)."
He became the leader of the Ba people because of his
bravery and wisdom. He was the legendary "Linjun".
In 1989, about 10,000 Ba relics, including tortoise
and oracle bones, were unearthed in an area of 400
square meters in Xianglushi, not far from the Wuluo
Another saying holds that the Ba people came from
Yunmeng area of the Jianghan Plain. Ren Naiqiang,
a famous archaeologist and Tibetologist, wrote in
his book Huayang Guozhi Jiaobu Tuzhu [Records of the
States South of Mt. Hua Collated, Supplemented with
Illustrations and Annotations]: "The capital
(of the Ba) is Baqiu, which is located north of today's
Yueyang, Hunan Province."
However, archaeological findings in recent years could
not rule out the possibility that the Ba people were
original inhabitants of the Three Gorges area. According
to Wang Fengzhu, deputy director of Three Gorges Office
of Hubei Provincial Cultural Relics Bureau, some kettles
and round-bottom pots have been dug out in dozens of
Xia and Shang ruins in the Xiling Gorge (one of the
Three Gorges), and they are from the same time and of
the same size with that unearthed in Xianglushi. Most
of them feature local Ba flavours. If these ruins are
proved to belong to the Ba people, archaeologists can
conclude that they were aboriginals living in the area
between the Qingjiang River and the Three Gorges.
Deng Hui, deputy director of the Wuhan Cultural Relics
Research Institute, believes that the small area of
Xianglushi might have been the centre of the Ba community,
but their activities should have extended to a wider
area. Deng said the legendary story about the war between
Linjun and the Goddess of Salt probably reflects the
transition of the Ba society from matrilineal to patriarchal.
We will return to the Ba people again when looking at
the first millennium BC.
Modern Tibet cannot be disassociated from the Bon Culture
of 20, 000 years ago. It is impossible. However, the
Bon Culture originated outside of modern Tibet, to the
north and west, and ... Uh-ho! we end up somewhere near
to northern Kashmir and the skirting the Badakstan pass
into modern Tajikistan. Perhaps looking at this from
through the eyes of non-aggressive peoples, you could
consider their personal choice was to avoid bloodshed
and subjugation by moving to less hospitable climes?
This is a Culture, and not any specific tribe, so lets
start again with what we know of their beliefs and heritage.
The centre of the Bon world is Mount Kailash, which
is located to the northwestern edge of the Tibetan Plateau.
This mountain represents the actual centre of the eastern
or male world, as the Temple of the Sun within Lake
Titicaca (Border of Peru and Bolivia in the High Andes)
represents the female antipodes of the world - at least
according to the most very ancient of beliefs (that
are not pagan in origin).
Mount Kailash is a modern pilgrimage for most eastern
religions, and sacrosanct in its dominance of eastern
religious thinking. It is set at very high altitude,
the base being around 4, 500 meters above sea level
(14, 760' in British English). At this altitude normal
people can journey there, but it remains at the outer
extremes of average human endurance (Collectively around
4, 100 metres; and increasing exponentially with height
above sea level). The mountain is also quite spectacular
Returning to human demographics, we note the Bon Culture
eventually moved south and eastwards, growing as it
did so. Therefore it has become synonymous with the
Tibetan Plateau as a whole; although in fact its sphere
of influence probably gave rise to the earliest forms
of Christianity in the Middle East, and Hinduism to
the South. Later it is directly related to Buddhism,
and has a profound impact on that of Chinese Buddhism,
and especially analogous Taoist (Daoist) beliefs.
So what we are essentially dealing with here is an ancient
doctrine that probably spawned such diverse religions
as Christianity, Hinduism, and any religion or system
of governance that purports support for 'One God, or
'One Ruler of heavenly authority'. Certainly many Christian
and Hindu fables are contained within Bon doctrine ...
but this it not an aggressive religion, as most of its
counterparts have proved over millennia to be. Comparably,
most eastern religions are styled as non-aggressive
lights along the path of life.
The Bon religion is still followed to this day in parts
of Tibet, and we will pick up their more recent history
in another section. This item is simply to let you know
they have been around for a very long time!
Vietnam’s lush northern river valleys presented the
perfect backdrop for civilisation to blossom. Archaeological
digs reveal the existence of Stone Age man 300,000 years
ago, and cave dwellers and agriculture appeared by 10,000
Patches of civilisation popped up prior to the 1st millennium
BC around the Red River, central Vietnam and the Dong
Nai River Delta. These were the ancient Viet people,
who began paddy farming, irrigation projects and developing
handicraft skills in the area that evolved into the
Van Lang state. more...
Dropa and Ham
In 1995 China released the following news report::
"In the province of Sichuan, which lies on the
eastern border of the Baian-Kara-Ula mountains, 120
people of a previously ethnologically unclassified tribe
have been discovered. The most important aspect of this
new tribe is the size of its people: No taller than
3 ft. 10 in., the smallest adult measuring only 2 ft.
1 in! This discovery might be the first hard evidence
on the existence of the Dropa/Dzopa - a people whose
predecessors are said to have come from the stars."
Today, the isolated area between Tibet and China
is inhabited by two tribes of people who, in fact,
call themselves the Dropa and the Ham. Once enemies,
these two tribes now co-exist peacefully. Anthropologists
have been unable to categorize either tribe into any
other known race; they are neither Chinese nor Tibetan.
Both tribes are of pygmy stature, adults measuring
between 3-foot-6 and 4-foot-7 with an average height
of 4-foot-2, and body weights of 38 to 52 pounds.
They are yellow-skinned with thin bodies and disproportionately
large heads, corresponding to the skeletal remains found
in the caves in 1938. They have sparse hair on their
bodies and have large eyes that are not Asian in aspect,
but have pale blue irises. The Dropa people and their
talking stone disks remain as mysterious today as they
did in the late 1930s. Many researcher feel that the
Dropa stone disks are definitive proof of an alien race
that "came from the stars."
You may take this with a pinch of salt, but can find
the full article here
information is as supplied by Wikipedia, as dated March
2009 or later, and/or other reliable sources.
Maps (Unless stated otherwise)
are provided in association with Thomas Lessman
Please check this information yourself as it may alter
without notice, and whilst we try our best to ensure
it is correct, please do not hold us responsible for
any errors - this is intended as a simple guide only
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