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Article

T. I. Zeymal’

Buddhist monastery of the 7th century ad to first half of the 8th, in the valley of the Vakhsh River, 12 km east of Kurgan-Tyube, southern Tajikistan. During this early medieval period it belonged to Vakhsh (U-sha in Chinese sources), one of the 27 domains of Tokharistan. Excavations between 1960 and 1975 by the Academy of Sciences, Tajikistan, and the Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, exposed the entire site; most of the finds are on loan to the Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg. The buildings, which covered an area of 100×50 m, were constructed of mud-bricks (c. 490×250×110 mm) and rammed earth, with walls surviving to a height of 5.5 to 6.0 m. The site comprised two square complexes linked by an enfilade of three rooms (see fig. (a)). The south-eastern complex or monastery (b) had domed cells (c) for monks, a hall or refectory (d), service quarters, store-rooms and a small sanctuary (e). An open courtyard in the centre had a fired brick path across it, linking the enfilade to the sanctuary. A corridor around the perimeter of the courtyard was divided into four right-angled sections by a deep iwan, or vestibule, in the middle of each side. One of these vestibules led into the sanctuary, the second into the meeting-hall, the third into the enfilade and the fourth to the monastery exit (j) and also on to a vaulted ramp (k) that originally gave access to the roof and the now lost second storey....

Article

Anyang  

Robert W. Bagley

[An-yang]

Chinese city in Henan Province, near the site of the last capital of the Shang dynasty or Yin dynasty, occupied c.1300– c. 1050 bc. The site is sometimes called Yinxu, ‘Waste of Yin’, an ancient name for the abandoned city.

At least as early as the Northern Song period (960–1127) Anyang was known to antiquarians as a source of ancient bronze ritual vessels. At the beginning of the 20th century archaeologists were led there by the realization that animal bones and turtle shells found by local farmers were carved with inscriptions in a form of Chinese script more archaic than any previously known (for a discussion of the oracle-bone texts see China, People’s Republic of, §IV, 2, (i)). The bones had been used in divination rituals; their inscriptions, which showed the divinations to have been performed on behalf of the last nine Shang kings, secured the identification of the Anyang site. According to historical texts of the last few centuries ...

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 ad 273. From other unearthed written evidence it is thought that Astana ceased to be used in the late 8th century. It appears that most of those buried here were Chinese.

Many tombs contained a couple, or in some cases a man and several wives. A few single burials have also been found. In several cases the exact dating of a tomb is possible owing to memorial inscriptions on clay slates placed next to the bodies. The early tombs were made by digging a vertical entry shaft into the ground with chambers on the sides, while the later tombs have an access ramp sloping down to the burial chamber, sometimes with side rooms and antechambers. The tombs made for the nobility are usually decorated with wall paintings depicting such motifs as birds and flowers, stylized landscapes and figures; many are in the style of the early Tang period (...

Article

Balkh  

City in northern Afghanistan, believed to be the site of Bactra, capital of ancient Bactria, and a major city in the province of Khurasan during the Islamic period. Located on a fertile plain, Balkh commanded trade routes between India, China, Turkestan and Iran. It was already a wealthy city under the Achaemenid dynasty (538–331 bc) and a centre of Zoroastrianism. Following the conquests of Alexander the Great, it became important under the Bactrian monarchies (323–87 bc) and then under the Kushana and Hephthalites, and it was a Buddhist centre. The most substantial remains from the early periods are the mud ramparts, which stand more than 20 m at several places. The circular plan around the citadel (modern Bala-Hisar) may date back as far as the Achaemenid period. The only other monuments to survive from the pre-Islamic period are four Buddhist stupas. That excavated at Tepe Rustam in the south of the city is the most monumental found north of the Hindu Kush (platform 54 m on a side; cylindrical dome 47 m in diameter; total height ...

Article

Banpo  

Mary S. Lawton

[Pan-p’o]

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 5000 bc. The excavations indicate that the settlement was divided into three separate areas, for residence, pottery production and burial. The residential section was surrounded by a manmade moat. Earlier houses were constructed partially underground, but later structures were built at ground-level. Floor-plans varied and could be circular or rectangular (e.g. see China, People’s Republic of, §II, 5, (ii)), but the main building material was mud mixed with straw. The traditional Chinese orientation of the entrance towards the south and the use of wooden roof support frames can be seen already in the architecture of Banpo (...

Article

Banshan  

Julia M. White

[Pan-shan]

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.

Four sites make up Banshan: Waguanzui, Banshan proper, Bianjiagou and Wangjiagou. Excavations in the region have shown that the Banshan cultural phase includes a range of sites extending north from Lanzhou to Wuwei and Yongchang in Gansu Province and as far west as the Guide Basin in Qinghai Province. Banshan was the source of a large number of painted ceramic vessels, many now in the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, Stockholm. Since the major archaeological excavations of the 1970s and 1980s, museums and research institutes in China, particularly the Gansu Provincial Museum in Lanzhou and the Qinghai Provincial Museum in Xining, have acquired large collections of Banshan pottery. Initial finds of Banshan ceramics were exclusively funerary wares, leading experts to believe that the painted designs, especially the black, swirling ‘death pattern’, were associated with ritual burial practice. Later, vessels with an identical serrated pattern were found in habitation sites as well, and the designs are no longer interpreted only in connection with death....

Article

Baoji  

Li Liu

[Pao-chi]

Chinese city in Shaanxi Province, where several important sites from the Neolithic to Eastern Zhou periods (c. 6500–256 bc) have been discovered. A Neolithic village site was excavated in 1958–60 and 1977–8 at Beishouling. The cultural deposits found belong to the Laoguantai culture and the Yangshao culture, dated by radiocarbon analysis to c. 5000–c. 2500 bc. The ceramics are reddish in colour, and some vessels are painted. Major pottery types include the pointed-bottom vase, flat-bottom jar, round-bottom bowl and suantou hu (garlic-head) vessel (for illustration of shapes see China, fig.). The most elaborate ones are a boat-shaped vessel with a net design and a garlic-shaped vessel with a design of a bird pecking at a fish.

At Rujiazhuang, Zhuyuangou and Zhifangtou, three cemeteries of the Western Zhou period (c. 1050–771 bc) were excavated in 1974–81. They belonged to the state of Yu, a Western Zhou feudal state not recorded in ancient texts. The excavations uncovered 27 tombs, two sacrificial pits containing chariots and horses, and four pits containing only horses. More than 2600 grave goods, including bronze, jade, stone, bone, shell and ceramic objects, were unearthed. The findings provide evidence of a culture combining a unique local style with influences from the Western Zhou, the Siwa culture in Gansu Province and the Shu culture in Sichuan Province. Many stone and jade ornaments and bronze vessels are decorated with animal motifs, and bronze figurines depict details of dress and hairstyles suggesting that the Yu people were culturally closely related to the Di and Qiang peoples in north-western and south-western areas....

Article

Stephen Hill

(Margaret Lowthian)

(b Washington, Co. Durham, July 14, 1868; d Baghdad, 11/July 12, 1926).

English archaeologist and architectural historian. The first woman to achieve a first-class honours in modern history at Oxford University, she travelled widely in Europe, Japan and especially the Middle East in the 1890s, achieving fluency in a number of European languages as well as in Persian, Turkish and Arabic. She developed an interest in archaeology and architecture that was reflected in an authoritative set of articles on the Early Byzantine churches of Syria and southern Turkey, based on her travels in 1905. Her first major travel book, The Desert and the Sown, contains a mixture of travellers’ tales and archaeological information, as does her Amurath to Amurath. Between 1905 and 1914 she made archaeological studies of the Early Byzantine and Early Islamic monuments of Turkey, Syria and Mesopotamia (now Iraq). In 1905 and 1907 she surveyed Binbirkilise with Sir William Ramsay; their book, The Thousand and One Churches, remains the authoritative account of this important site. The architectural recording by survey and photography at Binbirkilise was carried out by Bell and is a lasting monument in its own right. Bell’s interest in Anatolia was inspired by Josef Strzygowski and his book ...

Article

M. Yaldiz

[Bazaklik]

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 Albert von Le Coq at the beginning of the 20th century these were largely in ruins. In type the caves conform to those in the Kucha region (see Kizil; see also Central Asia, §II, 2).

The cave temples contained sculptures made of unfired clay, but it was mainly the wall paintings (removed by von Le Coq for safekeeping, few survive; see below) that in their unsurpassable diversity provided evidence of a flourishing Buddhist community. The most impressive were the paintings depicting consecration of a ...

Article

J. Edward Kidder jr

Japanese site in Shinbohon-machi, Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture. It flourished during the Jōmon period (c. 10,000–c. 300 bc). It is a wooden circle site and served as the centre of a vast residential area, apparently rebuilt for thousands of years and finally abandoned in the Latest or Final Jōmon period (c. 1000–c. 300 bc).

The Chikamori site lies on a plain near the Tedori River, 7 m above sea-level and 4.5 km south-west of the Kanazawa railway station. Other Middle (c. 3500–c. 2500 bc) to Late (c. 2500–c. 1000 bc) Jōmon sites are near by. The site was identified in 1909, partially dug in 1954 and surveyed fully in 1974. About 7000 sq. m were excavated by the archaeologist Hisakazu Minami in 1980. At the centre there was originally a circle of standing pillars (now restored to a height of 2 m), a row of paired pillars, and another, smaller, circle. The main circle remained consistently 6–7 m in diameter, ringed with about ten posts of old logs, each ...

Article

Chongye  

Henrik H. Sørensen

[’phyongs rgyas; Qonggyai]

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. 9th century).

Estimates of the number of tombs vary between ten and thirteen. Buried on this site were Songtsen Gampo (reg c. 620–49), Mangsong Mangtsen (reg 649–76), Tride Tsugten (reg 704–55), Trisong Detsen (reg 755–c. 794), Mune Tsenpo (reg 797–800), Tride Songtsen (reg c. 800–15), Ralpachen (reg 815–36), Langdarma (reg 836–42), Ö Sung (843–905), Lhe bön (d 739) and Chögyi Gyalpo. Trisong Detsen’s tomb lies away from the other tumuli behind a low ridge to the north. The tombs consist of massive mounds of earth. Songtsen Gampo’s and Mangsong Mangtsen’s are huge: the former, which dominates the site, rises to a height of more than 15 m and has rectangular sides measuring 250×70 m. The other tumuli are considerably smaller, although Ralpachen’s tomb is also on an impressive scale. None of the tombs has been fully excavated, but a reconstruction of ...

Article

M. Yaldiz

[Dandan-uilik; Dandan-uiliq]

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 ad. Finds include two manuscripts (both London, BM)—a canonical text of Mahayana Buddhism, the Prajñāparamitā (Skt: ‘Perfection of wisdom’), in an East Iranian language, and a Vajracchedikā (‘diamond-knife’; sharp as a diamond) version in Sanskrit—as well as wall paintings and small wooden painted panels (?8th century; London, BM) with various motifs. One of the latter shows two riders, one above the other surrounded by a halo, the one above on a horse, the one below on a camel; each holds a dish in his right hand (Yaldiz, pl. 117). On another small wooden panel are two figures facing each other, surrounded by almond-shaped haloes: on the left a fan-bearer, on the right a figure with an animal-like head (Yaldiz, pl. 118). Stein believed this to be an illustration of the rat legend recorded by the Chinese pilgrim ...

Article

Christopher Fung

[Ta-wen-k’ou]

Chinese Neolithic site in Taian, Shandong Province. It gives its name to a Neolithic culture that stretched across Shandong, western Henan, northern Anhui and Jiangsu provinces c. 4300–c. 2400 bc. In the core area, Shandong, the Dawenkou culture developed from the Beixin culture and was succeeded by the Longshan culture.

The beginnings of many of the characteristic features of Longshan pottery may be seen in the ceramics of the Dawenkou culture: the use of the potter’s wheel, elaborate ritual vessels and polished blackwares and whitewares. There is evidence in the pottery produced from c. 3500 bc that on some vessels the rim was retouched on a slow potter’s wheel. Smaller vessels that seem to have been turned on a fast wheel also appeared at the same time. The amount of wheelmade pottery increased towards the end of the period. Although most Dawenkou pottery was undecorated, styles of surface treatment changed significantly on those vessels that were decorated. Early Dawenkou (...

Article

Daxi  

Christopher Fung

[Ta-his]

Chinese Neolithic culture of the middle Yangzi River basin, dating from c. 4400 bc to c. 3300 bc; it is named after the type-site at Daxi Wushan, Sichuan Province. Other important sites exhibiting this culture include Guanmiaoshan Zhijiang, in Hubei Province, Honghuatao, Yidu, in Hubei Province and Sanyuangong, Li xian, in Hunan Province.

The Daxi culture is characterized primarily from burials, although square, clay-plastered house floors have been discovered at a handful of sites. Burials were generally single. Many graves contained few or no grave goods, a smaller number contained as many as 30; several were accompanied by dog sacrifices. The most distinctive artefacts are the ceramics, which are predominantly hand-built red wares. Small numbers of red-ware vessels have grey or black interiors, and some grey and black wares have also been found. Daxi ceramics are generally plain, although some have a red slip. The most common surface treatments are painting, stamping, incising, cord impressions, appliqué and openwork. Painted designs were executed primarily in black on red. Decorative elements include chevrons, intertwined curvilinear designs, flower-petal designs and curvilinear triangular designs. The most important vessel forms are upright vessels such as deep-bowled ...

Article

Henrik H. Sørensen

[Teng-feng.]

County in Henan Province, China, east of the city of Luoyang. The presence of Mt Song (also called Mt Xiaoshi, Mt Songyue or Mt Songgao) means that the county is primarily known as a centre of Buddhism. Mt Song was a Buddhist sanctuary as early as the Three Kingdoms period (ad 220–80). When Emperor Xiaowendi (reg ad 471–99) of the Northern Wei (386–534) moved the dynastic capital from Datong in north-western Shanxi Province to Luoyang, the mountain was selected as an ideal place to establish Buddhist temples.

The Fawang Temple (Fawang si) is the oldest Buddhist sanctuary on Mt Song, supposedly dating to ad 234. It features a large, square, brick pagoda of the mid-8th century ad, 15 storeys and 40 m high, built in the same style as the Xiaoyan ta (Small Wild Goose Pagoda) in Xi’an. Other buildings in the Fawang Temple, including the Precious Hall of the Great Hero (the main hall), the Hall of the Four Heavenly Kings and the Ksitigarbha Hall, date from the Qing period (...

Article

Dorothy C. Wang

[Tun-huang.]

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 ad, the complex is believed to have comprised more than 1000 caves. A total of 492 caves with wall paintings and sculptures survive, the earliest of which date to the early 5th century ad. A hoard of old and rare manuscripts was also found at Dunhuang, including the world’s oldest complete printed book (see China, People’s Republic of, §XIV, 3).

Dunhuang was first established as a garrison town in the ...

Article

Erlitou  

Susanne Juhl

[Erh-li-t’ou.]

Early Bronze Age Chinese culture (first half of the 2nd millennium bc) distributed throughout Henan Province and surrounding areas, named after the village of Erlitou, situated in Yanshi County, Henan Province, near the modern city of Luoyang, where the largest site pertaining to the culture was found. The distribution and dating of the Erlitou culture largely corresponds to information in historical texts about the Xia dynasty, said to be the first dynasty in China, and some scholars identify the Erlitou culture at least partially with the Xia.

Excavation began at Erlitou in the 1960s, revealing a cultural layer 3–4 m thick divided into four chronological periods, each lasting c. 100 years, beginning c. 1900 bc and terminating c. 1500 bc. The site covers 3 sq. km. In the centre are the remains of two palatial structures (gongdian), and in the south a bronze manufacturing area. Specialized workshops for ceramics and bone implements, pottery kilns, small house foundations, storage pits, wells and human burials have also been excavated....

Article

J. Edward Kidder jr

Japanese tomb in Ikaruga-chō, Nara Prefecture. Excavated in 1985, it was probably a late 6th-century ad keyhole-shaped mound (zenpōkōenfun; see Japan, §III, 2, (ii)), in which the stone passageway and chamber were orientated south-south-east. The mound had been built of soil from earlier tombs. The burial chamber is unusually high (4.1 m); this is a feature of tombs of the Nara and Kyoto areas. It contains a large, red-painted, house-shaped sarcophagus (iegata sekkan) made of Mt Nijō tufa; the Mt Nijō quarry provided stone for many sarcophagi in the region. The body and lid are each one slab, and the shape of the sarcophagus—wide and raised at the north-eastern end to accommodate head and shoulders—follows an old Chinese style that was quite rare in Japan. It is now thought that the coffin was installed after the floor of the tomb was laid and before the wall slabs were erected (it is only 800 mm from the back wall). In ...

Article

Mimi Hall Yiengpruksawan

[Fujiwarakyō; Fujiwara no miya; Shinyaku no miyako]

Japanese site, south of the city of Nara in the city of Kashihara, Nara Prefecture, in what was once Yamato Province. It is traversed by the Asuka River and surrounded by mountains in the north, east and west. Historical sources such as Nihon shoki (Chronicle of Japan; ad 720) and Shoku Nihongi (Chronicle of Japan, continued; ad 797) record that Fujiwara was the seat of the ancient Japanese monarchy and central government from ad 694 to 710. Empress Jitō (reg 686–97) ordered the construction of a new capital at the site of Fujiwara in 690, in part to fulfil an earlier desire expressed by her husband Tenmu (reg 672–86). The site chosen was an area in northern central Yamato Province that was bounded by four ancient regional highways. The word Fujiwara is not a variation on a royal or palace title (or on the ideographs thereof), as was usual in the Asuka-Hakuhō period (552–710). Scholars therefore believe that it was either adapted from a local place name—Fuji ga hara—or assigned in connection with burgeoning Fujiwara family influence at court. In 694 Jitō moved her government north to Fujiwara, abandoning the old capital at nearby Kiyomigahara in Asuka....

Article

Ganden  

Henrik H. Sørensen

[dga ’ldan]

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 (1966–76). The monastery is still largely ruined, though some reconstruction has begun. The buildings that stand today all date from after 1980.

Ganden was built on the slopes of a hill with the buildings constructed in descending layers in a crescent shape. The heart of Ganden and its most important structure is Tsong Khapa’s Golden Tomb, the Ser Dung. This consists of several interconnecting buildings with high, tower-like superstructures and a courtyard; the inward-sloping walls are painted brown-red. This sanctuary contains several chapels with golden images of Buddhas and guardian deities. In the central chapel in the upper storey is Tsong Khapa’s tomb, a replica of the large stupa made of silver and gold in which the master was originally enclosed. Other main buildings include the Tri Dok Khang, where the abbot of Ganden lived. In a chapel on the second floor is kept a set of the ...