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Article

Astana  

Henrik H. Sørensen

Site of an ancient cemetery for Khocho, 40 km south-east of Turfan in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China. The burial ground, which contains over 400 tombs, covers a large area and is divided into three sections: a north-western group with the earliest graves, a north-eastern group consisting of later, commoners’ graves, and a later northern group intended for the nobility. A wooden document found at the site indicates that it was in use before ...

Article

Banpo  

Mary S. Lawton

Site of a Neolithic village 10 km east of Xi’an, Shaanxi Province, China, from which is derived the name of the early phase (c. 4800–c. 4300 bc) of the Neolithic Central Yangshao culture. Archaeological excavations began in 1953; within an area of 5 hectares, 45 residences and more than 200 tombs were revealed. Subsequent carbon-14 tests dated the site to soon after ...

Article

Banshan  

Julia M. White

Site in the Tao River valley near Lanzhou, Gansu Province, China. First excavated in 1924 by the Swedish archaeologist johan gunnar Andersson (1874–1960), it gives its name to a phase (c. 2800–c. 2300 bc) of the Neolithic-period Western or Gansu Yangshao culture....

Article

M. Yaldiz

Site in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China, 56 km north-east of Turfan. It is the site of the most outstanding complex of Buddhist cave temples in Khocho and is located in the steep side of an extensive terrace above the Murtuk River. At one time access to the caves was via free-standing timber buildings or terraces constructed in front of them, but by the time the caves were discovered by ...

Article

Chongye  

Henrik H. Sørensen

Site at the north-eastern end of the Chongye Valley south of the town of Tsetang (Zêtang) on the southern bank of the Tsangpo River (Yarlung Zangbo) in south-east Tibet. It is the setting for the royal tombs of the Yarlung dynasty (mid-7th century adc....

Article

M. Yaldiz

Site on the eastern edge of the oasis of Khotan, on the southern Silk Route, in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China. The site, which was investigated by Aurel Stein in 1900–01, contained the ruins of six dwellings and eleven places of worship, probably built between the 7th and 9th centuries ...

Article

Dorothy C. Wang

Site of Buddhist cave sanctuaries located 25 km south-east of the county town of Dunhuang, Gansu Province, China. In the wider definition Dunhuang also includes the Yulin caves at Anxi and the Xi qianfo dong (Western Cave of the Thousand Buddhas). From the 4th century to the 14th, Buddhist cave sanctuaries were continuously carved out in four or five tiers on the cliff face of an alluvial hill that faces east over the Dang River. At its height as a Buddhist complex in the 8th century ...

Article

Ganden  

Henrik H. Sørensen

Site near Dagzê, c. 40 km east of Lhasa, Tibet. It was the principal monastery founded by Tsong Khapa (1357–1419) in the early decades of the 15th century, and it thereafter became a major sanctuary of the Gelugpa school of Buddhism that he established. Formerly an impressive monastery town with several hundred shrines and chapels and a population of over 5000 lamas, Ganden was utterly destroyed during the Chinese Cultural Revolution (...

Article

Molly Siuping Ho

Site in Henan Province, China, east of the city of Luoyang. A complex of five Buddhist caves, dating from the Northern Wei period (ad 386–534), is located on the south side of Mt Mang on the northern bank of the Yiluo River. The ground level along the river is higher than the ground level inside the caves by over a metre because of dirt accumulated from flooding. The construction of the caves, sponsored by the Northern Wei imperial family, took place between ...

Article

Hadda  

E. Errington

Site of numerous Buddhist monasteries, 8 km south-west of Jalalabad, Afghanistan. It flourished from the 1st century bc to the 8th century ad. The ancient site, known as Hilo to Chinese pilgrims of the 5th–8th century, is partially covered by a modern village. The earliest archaeological reports were compiled by ...

Article

Bent L. Pedersen

Site in the southern suburbs of Xi’an, Shaanxi Province, China. A hoard of precious objects from the Tang period (ad 618–907) was discovered in the village in 1970. Two large pottery jars contained about 1000 objects of both Chinese and foreign origin, including jades, precious stones, medicinal minerals such as cinnabar, stalactite, amethyst and litharge, coins and more than 270 silver and gold items. The hoard was buried within the area of the Tang capital, Chang’an, at the site of the mansion of ...

Article

Hemudu  

Robert E. Murowchick

Site of a Neolithic village in Yuyao County, Zhejiang Province, China. It was excavated in 1973–4 and 1977–8. Of the four cultural layers identified, the upper two layers (1 and 2), radiocarbon dated to c. 3700 bc, correspond to the neighbouring Songze culture. The lower two layers (3 and 4), radiocarbon dated to the late 6th millennium ...

Article

Jincun  

Bent Nielsen

Site in Henan Province, China, c. 115 km north-east of Luoyang. Eight tombs of the late Warring States period (403–221 bc) were discovered there. Lavishly furnished with objects of jade, glass, gold, silver, bronze and similar materials, the tombs were looted by local people from ...

Article

Jizhou  

Peter Hardie

Site in central Jiangxi Province, China, and former centre of ceramic production. Jizhou is the Sui- to Song-period (581–1279) name for modern Ji’an, a town on the Ganjiang River, which flows northwards into the Yangzi Basin. Ceramic kilns operated from at least the Tang period (...

Article

Henrik H. Sørensen

Site of a major fortress–town and frontier post of the Xixia state (1032–1227) of the Tanguts, near Ejin Qi (Dalain Hob), in the Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region of China. The circumstances of the founding of Karakhoto remain unclear. From archaeological findings, however, it is evident that it was a flourishing centre of culture and trade with a multinational population of Tanguts, Chinese and Tibetans. Karakhoto was visited by the Venetian Marco Polo in the 13th century. Significant portions of the city walls and remains of lesser structures can still be seen....

Article

Khocho  

M. Yaldiz

Site 47 km south-east of Turfan in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China. The most important complexes of monasteries in the Khocho area are Idikutshahri, Lenger, Senghim and Bezeklik. To the west of the town is the Chinese necropolis of Astana. The earliest evidence of settlement in the area is that a ruler of the Tujue dynasty, probably of Turkish origin, had an inscription placed on a temple of Maitreya, the Future Buddha, in Khocho in ...

Article

Kizil  

M. Yaldiz

Site of Buddhist monastic complexes c. 40 km north-west of Kucha on the upper reaches of the Muzart River in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China. So far 227 caves have been uncovered. They are in a wall of rock pierced by a ‘Great Gorge’ in the western third of the complex and two ‘small’ gulleys to the east. At the end of the main terrace of the complex of caves a narrow path below the Devil’s Caves (nos 198 and 199 in the Chinese numerical system) leads north-east along the edge of the mountain to the ‘second’ and ‘third’ complexes....

Article

Kumtura  

M. Yaldiz

Site of Buddhist monasteries c. 25 km south-west of Kucha in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China. The monasteries were built on both banks of the Muzart River, spread out over three gorges, and comprised both cave temples and free-standing buildings. The architecture is the same as that at ...

Article

Liyu  

Robert W. Bagley

Site in Hunyuan County, northern Shanxi Province, China. A tomb or hoard of Eastern Zhou (771–256 bc) bronzes was discovered at the site in 1923. The bronzes (mainly Shanghai, Shanghai Mus.; Paris, Mus. Guimet; Washington, DC, Freer; New York, Met.) include one vessel decorated in red inlay with a turbulent hunting scene and another textured with a repetitive pattern of tiny interlocked dragons in rectangular units. The majority, however, are decorated in low or high relief with horizontal bands of large-scale dragon interlace and are often further embellished with intaglio sketches or modelled figures of such creatures as fish, ducks, and water buffalo. In Western writings about Chinese bronzes the name of the site has been attached to designs of this last type. A large bronze ...

Article

Longmen  

Molly Siuping Ho

Site of Buddhist cave temples located 12 km south of Luoyang, Henan Province, China. From the end of the 6th century ad to the mid-8th century many caves were excavated into the low limestone hills that run along the northern and southern banks of the Yi River. The sculptures and reliefs they contain, also carved from the living rock, range in size from the small to the colossal. Work was begun under the patronage of the Northern Wei dynasty (...