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Aspects of Pre-Historic Chinese Culture


The pre- historic period refers to the period from 1, 700, 00 years ago to the establishment of Xia dynasty in the 21st century. The period is called as the Stone Age because people developed the use of stone tools. It is divided into two periods The Paleolithic age and the Neolithic age. The classification is based according to the implements used by the people.

The earliest human civilization in china begins from the Paleolithic period. The age begins with the formation of Homo erectus to earlier Homo sapiens and finally the later Homo sapiens. The people were

hunters and they use fire to keep themselves warm and to prepare meal. Their decorations were made out of rocks, bones, animal's teeth and ostrich eggshells. The decorations were dyed with color. In the middle and the upper Paleolithic period, they began to produce the earliest form of work of art.

Their religion is based on the belief of spirits. The shamans perform the religious duties by witchcraft. They do not have a sense of social progress or idea of human capabilities. Their prayer is performed not on individual interest but for the whole society. Sacrifice of animals, woman and child was performed to please the power of nature .They involve in religious and spiritual ceremonies such as burial and ritual. Their prayer is performed not on individual interest but for the whole society.

They lived in the simplest form of human society based on clan. It is highly prohibited to marry a person belonging to another clan. They do not have a proper form of social institutions with no leadership. Their religion is based on individual experience and family traditions. They depend on hunting as a source to earn their living. They do not have a written law or holy book for guidance.

The clothes of the Paleolithic period are made of animal's skin. Skins of animals are sewn with stripes of sinew or vegetable fibers threaded by needles made of bones. Necklaces and bracelets are made of stones, dental pieces or other objects strung together.

The Neolithic period is an advance stage compared with the Paleolithic period. The period was characterized by the development of settled communities. They no longer consume direct foods from nature. They began to take up agriculture for food and animals were domesticated for food. The society was made of people belonging to different clans and communities. Members of the clan enjoyed the same social status and worked together under a leader. An animal and a plant are generally used as a totem for each clan. Norms of social institutions like marriage takes a new form. Marriage became monogamous. Marriages among cousins were not allowed and juniors were not allowed to marry their elders.

The appearance of handicrafts goods contribute to the enrichment of art and culture. Wares are made from pottery and jade and weaving skills. The pottery was made in attractive shapes of various designs. The beauty is enhanced by decorations and with beautiful colors painted on it. It also marks an advance in the use of tools. Grinding stone and tools with regular shapes were widely used. This marks one of the important features of the Neolithic age.

The Neolithic people no longer wander from place to place. They live in houses made of mud brick and wear clothes made of Hemp. The religious belief were based on worship of natural gods. The Neolithic age marks the cultural and economic development in china. It is the beginning of a new stage of human society.



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