The Majiayao culture was first discovered in 1923 in the village of Majiayao in Lintao County, Gansu Province, hence the name. Mainly distributed in the upper reaches of the Yellow River area and Gansu, Qinghai territory of the Tao River, Daxia River and Huangshui basin and Liangzhou Valley water basin around.
Majiayao culture is the Yangshao culture Miaodigou type westward development of a local type, once called Gansu Yangshao culture. Archaeology believes that the combination of population pressure, agricultural economy and hunting and gathering economy is the main reason for the divergence of the Majiayao culture from the Yangshao culture.
It appeared in the Late Neolithic period, more than 5,700 years ago, and has developed over a thousand years, with four types, including Shilingxia, Majiayao, Hanshan, and Machan.
The Majiayao culture is one of the sources of the Qijia culture.
After the formation of the Majiayao culture, it first spread from the upper reaches of the Wei River to the Tao River, the Daxia River and the Huangshui Basin. The second stage spread from the upper reaches of the Wei River eastward over the Long Mountain into the Guanzhong Plain, southward over the West Qinling Mountains, and downstream of the Bailong River via the upper reaches of the West Han River. The third stage was spread from the lower reaches of the Bailong River through Yinping Road and Fuwen Songzhou Road southward to the upper reaches of the Min River, and from the upper reaches of the Jing River over the Liupan Mountains westward into the Qingshui River basin, a tributary of the Yellow River. The fourth stage from the Huangshui tributary of the lower reaches of the Datong River, the Yellow River tributary of the Zhuanglang River valley, Wulinling to the eastern part of the Hexi Corridor, from the lower reaches of the Tao River successively into the upper reaches of the Tao River and the upper reaches of the Bailong River. The fifth stage continues to expand within the Hexi Corridor and the Bailong River basin.
The Majiayao culture is a late Neolithic culture of the upper Yellow River. It is named after the site of Majiayao, where it was first discovered, and dates from about 3300 BC-2050 BC.
The site of Majiayao is located at the mouth of Maayu Gou in Majiayao Village on the west bank of Taohe River in Lintao County, Gansu Province. In 1924, Anteson (a Swedish geologist and archaeologist) discovered an ancient cultural site in Majiayao Village in Lintao, Gansu Province, and named it the Majiayao Period of Yangshao Culture, and excavated a large number of colored pottery vessels representing Chinese culture in the ancient era in the area. According to the archaeological excavation data, it is known that the Yangshao culture is earlier than the Majiayao culture and most closely related to the Majiayao culture type in the Gansu-Qingdao area.
Although the Majiayao site was discovered earlier, it was named after it in the 1940s. There have been many controversies in the archaeological community about the naming of the Majiayao culture and whether the Hanshan and Mafang types are included, and the opinions have not been fully unified. Antesheng, who first investigated and excavated the site of Majiayao, called the remains of Majiayao in Lintao and the remains of Hanshan in Guanghe together the Yangshao period or Yangshao culture, and also called it Gansu Yangshao culture in order to distinguish it from the Yangshao culture in Henan and Shaanxi. 1944-1945 Mr. Xia Nai (former director of the Chinese Institute of Archaeology) went to Gansu for archaeological work, and in order to determine In 1944-1945, Mr. Xia Nai (former director of the Chinese Institute of Archaeology) went to Gansu to carry out archaeological work, and in order to determine the relationship between the Majiayao period and the burials of the Siwa period, he excavated the site of Lintao Siwa Mountain, and realized that the so-called Gansu Yangshao culture was quite different from the Yangshao culture of Henan Province, and thought that the Majiayao site in Lintao should be taken as a representative and called Majiayao culture. Since then, Majiayao culture has been recognized in academic circles, and it has shown to the world the colorful pottery culture with exquisite patterns, rich connotations and numerous quantities, which has reached the peak of the world, in an independent cultural form.
In 1996, Lintao County of Gansu Province established the first civil professional research society association of Majiayao culture, Lintao County Majiayao Culture Research Association. 2003, Lintao County Majiayao Culture Research Association was upgraded to Gansu Province Majiayao Culture Research Association.
The research activities of Majiayao culture take a large number of Majiayao pottery distributed in Gansu and Qinghai areas as the unique research foundation, and carry out in-depth research on the pattern of the pottery ornaments, expand the research of Majiayao culture to many fields of the origin of Chinese civilization, and carry out excavation from many disciplines such as ethnology, folklore, philosophy, art, anthropology and sociology, with a view to finding many issues of concern to mankind and expecting to be solved The cultural origins of the The research activities of the Majiayao Culture Research Association have filled the academic gap in the interpretation of ornament patterns in historical and cultural research, and the president, Wang Zhi’an, has become a leading figure in this research activity. His interpretation and research of Majiayao culture has brought Majiayao culture to a new historical stage of deep and cross-regional dissemination and identification, and more and more people are recognizing the magic and brilliance of Majiayao culture.
A research fever and collection fever for Majiayao culture is forming.
Types and Stages
The Majiayao culture includes three cultural types: Majiayao, Hanshan and Machan. From the superposition of the relevant strata that have been discovered, the Majiayao type predates the Hanshan type, and the Hanshan type predates the Machan type. From the information found in the past, we can see that there are many inherited and similar factors and close relationships between the Hanshan type and the Machan type.
The Majiayao type and the Zhongshan type, limited to too little information in the past, were considered to be very different from each other, so some people had advocated that the Majiayao type be called the Majiayao culture separately from the Zhongshan-Maquan culture.
The pottery excavated in Kangle Bianjialin and Lanzhou Guanmiaoping complements the missing middle ring in the development of the Majiayao to the Hanshan type. These potteries have some relics of the Majiayao type in both shape and pattern, and also reflect some features of the Hanshan type, and the transitional characteristics are very prominent, thus indicating that the Hanshan type evolved from the Majiayao type.
The important sites of the Majiayao culture include more than 20 sites such as Dongxiang Linjia, Lintao Majiayao, Guanghe Di Baoping, and Qinggang Branch, Huazhazi, Tugutai, Baidogouping and Yongchang Yuanyang Pond in Lanzhou and Liuwan in Ledu, Qinghai, etc. In 1988, the Lintao Majiayao site was announced by the State Council as the third batch of national key cultural relics protection units, and in 2001, it was rated as one of the “100 major archaeological discoveries in China in the 20th century”. One of the “100 Archaeological Major Discoveries in the 20th Century”.
The Majiayao culture is mainly distributed in the south-central region of Gansu, centering on the Loess Plateau in Longxi, starting from the upper reaches of Weihe River in the east, reaching the Hexi Corridor and northeastern Qinghai Province in the west, reaching the southern part of Ningxia Autonomous Region in the north, and reaching the northern part of Sichuan Province in the south. The main rivers in the distribution area are the Yellow River and its tributaries Tao – River, Daxia River, Huangshui, etc.. Majiayao type is mainly distributed in the south-central Gansu and northeastern Qinghai, southern Ningxia area of Jing, Wei water upstream, as well as the Bailong River, Huangshui, Tao River, Zhuanglang River and Qingshui River basin. Half Mountain type distribution range is basically the same as the Majiayao type, but has gradually moved west. The distribution of the Machan type is more westward.
The village sites of the Majiayao culture are generally located on the terraces on both sides of the Yellow River and its tributaries, close to water sources and with well-developed soil. Most of the houses are semi-cavernous, and some of them are built on flat ground. Square houses are semi-cavernous, larger, generally in 10 square meters – 50 square meters or so, with a round fire pit, often digging a square cellar outside the door to store food. Round houses are mostly built on flat land or by digging a shallow pit, with a fire pit at the entrance and a central pillar in the middle to support the slanting pillar, the houses are conical in shape, and the least divided into houses, mainly in Dongxiang Linjia and Yongdeng Jiangjiaping, generally with a fire pit in the middle of the main room and compartments on the side.
There are more than 2,000 burials of Majiayao culture, which have been excavated. The cemetery is generally adjacent to the residence, and public cemeteries are popular. There are rectangular, square, and round burial pits. The burial style varies according to the period and region, generally with supine straight limbs, lateral flexed limbs and secondary burials. Burials are generally accompanied by burial goods, mainly production tools, household utensils and decorations, etc. A few burials are accompanied by food and domestic animals such as pigs, dogs and sheep. In some cemeteries, the burial objects include stone axes, stone adzes and stone chisels for men, and spinning wheels and daily pottery for women, reflecting the division of labor between men and women. There are differences in the quantity and quality of burial goods, and the more advanced the differences are, some burial goods amount to more than 90 pieces, while some have nothing. This increase in the difference between rich and poor marks the gradual disintegration of primitive society and the dawn of Chinese civilization.
The pottery making industry of Majiayao culture is very developed, and its colorful pottery inherits the bright style of Miaodigou type of Yangshao culture, but the performance is more refined, forming a splendid and elegant artistic style, which has further development than Yangshao culture, and the artistic achievement has reached the height of the peak. Most of the pottery is shaped by the clay strip disc construction method, and the pottery is orange-yellow in color, and the surface is polished very finely. Many of the remains of the Majiayao culture also include kilns and pottery kilns, pigments, stone plates for grinding pigments, and color mixing pottery plates. In the early period, the color pottery of Majiayao culture was mainly painted with pure black color; in the middle period, pure black color and black and red color were used to paint the pattern; in the late period, black and red color were used to paint the pattern. The pottery making process of Majiayao culture has begun to use the slow wheel to repair the billet. And use the wheel to draw concentric circle pattern, string pattern and parallel lines and other ornaments, showing a skillful painting skills. The mass production of colored pottery indicates that the social division of labor in pottery making in this period has long been specialized and specialized pottery makers have appeared. The development of painted pottery is a distinctive feature of Majiayao culture, which has the highest proportion of painted pottery among all the painted pottery cultures found in China, and its internal color is also particularly developed, with distinctive period characteristics of the patterns. Since the late 1950s, with the accumulation of a large amount of new excavated materials, the study of Majiayao culture painted pottery has received more and more attention from the academic circles and has gradually become a hot spot in the study of prehistoric culture.
After the decline of the Yangshao culture pottery in the Central Plains, the Majiayao culture pottery continued to develop for hundreds of years, pushing the pottery culture to an unprecedented height. The Majiayao culture is represented by the colorful pottery, which is the most splendid culture created by the ancient ancestors of mankind and the pinnacle of the development of colorful pottery art, with its rich and colorful shapes and patterns. It is not only the source of industrial civilization and agricultural civilization, but also the origin and development of Chinese culture and art, and its magical and brilliant art charm still shocks our hearts.
The inhabitants of this cultural group were mainly engaged in dryland agriculture, with corn and millet being the main crops grown in the fields. The remains of these two kinds of grains have been found in the cellar caves of the Linjia site in Dongxiang, Gansu, and the house site in Qinggangji, Lanzhou, respectively. In addition, in many burials in the Liuwan Cemetery in Qinghai, corn was also found in coarse ceramic urns, indicating that this crop was the main food for people at that time. A large number of agricultural production tools were found in the burials at the house sites of various clan camps and public cemeteries. The stone shovel used for turning the ground is flat and thin, slightly rectangular in shape, and highly efficient; there are many agricultural tools for harvesting, mainly stone sharpening and claw scythes made of modified pottery shards, with rectangular perforated shapes and two types of notched ones on both sides. There is a special form of scythe, which is also rectangular in shape, but with serrated teeth carved at one end, unique to the inhabitants of Majiayao culture. Grain processing tools include stone grinding wheels, stone grinding rods, stone pestles and stone mortars.
The clan ancestors of Majiayao culture also raised pigs, dogs, sheep and other domestic animals in their daily life, and some clan graves were buried with whole pigs, dogs or sheep. This phenomenon is the proof that the livestock breeding industry is more developed, and its economic development level and funeral customs are somewhat similar to the Dawenkou culture in the lower Yellow River. At that time, only one kind of poultry was kept, and the number of chickens was not yet large.
Although the agricultural economy was relatively advanced, gathering and hunting activities were still important aspects of economic life. Most of the sites found stone arrowheads, bone arrowheads, stone balls, etc. The more wild animal bones found are deer, wild boar, etc.
In social production there has been a fairly clear division of professional and technical work, primitive handicrafts are mainly pottery, stone tool manufacturing, carpentry work, textile industry several.
Ware type representatives
There are three main types of pottery in the Majiayao culture system, namely Majiayao type, Hanshan type and Machan type, and colored pottery is the most representative. These three types of painted pottery are developed in a lineage, and have their common features in terms of shape and decoration, but also have their own characteristics.
The Majiayao culture is the late Neolithic remains, but there are traces of Yangshao culture influence in the Majiayao culture type faience, which is more and more obvious the earlier it is. The most common types of painted pottery in Majiayao culture are rolled-edge pots and painted bowls, which are all related to the Miaodigou type of Yangshao culture. No matter the shape or the decoration of Majiayao type pottery is higher than the previous pottery, it has obvious uniqueness. It represents the peak of faience with its large number of fine products, exquisite production and elaborate decoration.
There are pots, jars, basins, bowls, bottles and spoons in the Majiayao type, and there is no tripod vessel like tripod, no pottery cooking and no kettle with a round bottom, but bottles with a pointed bottom account for a certain proportion, mostly flat-mouthed or lavish-mouthed pointed bottles; bowls, bowls and basins have shallow abdomens, and the abdominal curve is rounded. The shape is balanced, angular, smooth lines, mostly of fine clay red pottery, hard texture, high fire, orange or beige base, generally polished smooth. Among them, small-mouthed bottles, thin-necked pot, large mouth and long-bellied urn, as well as clay plus sand pottery basin, bowl and pot with mouth, etc., make steep novel and chic, the most typical. This modeling obviously with the aesthetic pursuit, it laid the foundation for the creation of the corresponding decoration. Some researchers believe that the Majiayao type pottery, from the shape, in addition to the half-slope, Miaodigou Sisi basin, bowl, appearing, bottles, pots, urns and other large vessel shape ‘which is likely to be people mastered the two hemispheres were built and then together pinch, smoothing, and finally add the neck, the bottom of the advanced molding technology.
In 1975, a bronze knife was unearthed from the Linjia Majiayao culture site in Dongxiang, Gansu (about 3000 BC), which is the earliest bronze found in China and is a proof of China’s entry into the Bronze Age.
Culture is a microcosm of history and a mirror of the times. The high development of Majiayao culture is the most gorgeous haze in the morning sun of Chinese civilization in the Neolithic period, reflecting the many cultural achievements achieved by Chinese ancestors in the ancient times. Majiayao culture not only contains many mysterious social and cultural information in the prehistoric period, but also creates the earliest form of Chinese painting. In the painting of Majiayao culture pottery, the brush is used as a painting tool, the line is used as a shaping tool, and black (the same as ink) is used as the main tone, laying the historical foundation for the development of Chinese painting and the basic form characterized by line drawing. The Majiayao culture has pushed the development of prehistoric culture to the highest level and created many new forms of painting expression.
The Majiayao culture was produced in the distant prehistoric era. The diversity of its patterns, the richness of its subjects, the exquisiteness of its patterns, and the subtlety of its ideas are incomparable to any other ancient culture in prehistory. Its magical animal patterns, magnificent songs and dances, contrasting geometric shapes, and strong dynamic gestures are like the thousand and one forms of the rushing Yellow River, which are everlasting and swirling. It is like the water droplets on the tip of the Yellow River, the waves rise and fall, and it becomes the peak of pottery art. The extremely rich world of patterns it leaves behind will always be an inexhaustible treasure house of art for human beings. The appreciation value it gives us cannot be replaced by any modern art. The more distant a culture is, the more it can become the most precious collection of ornamental items in modern life. The appreciation value of Majiayao culture painted pottery is being recognized by more and more people.
To see the collection value of an item, we have to look at its historical value, cultural value, ornamental value and value-added value, etc. All ancient pottery has historical value, but the cultural value and ornamental value of the ancient colored pottery of Majiayao culture are incomparable to other ancient pottery of ancient culture types, especially its great potential for appreciation, which will be further recognized with the improvement of people’s living standards and the rapid expansion of the collection team. the price of Majiayao culture colored pottery has doubled every year since 2000, becoming A very bright new star in the collection world.
The Majiayao culture is a late Neolithic faience culture distributed in Gansu, and its faience accounts for 20%-50% of the whole pottery system, and up to 80% of the burial goods, and the molding and decoration technology is also developed. Since the discovery of such cultural remains by the Swedes in the 1920s, the Majiayao culture has been the subject of lively academic debate. Research on the question of whether ancient Chinese pottery was indigenous or imported from the West has led to a growing reputation, and artists have been fascinated by its rich and mysterious patterns and varied forms. But whatever the interpretation of these questions, the exquisiteness of the Majiayao culture’s cooking utensils will be enough to make future generations covet them.
It started with the shooting of a movie “The Liberation of the Great Northwest”. In 1996, a filming team of 7,000 people came to Lintao, the ancient cultural city where the Majiayao culture site was sleeping. They found that the Majiayao culture with profound cultural value lay dormant here without being studied, promoted and utilized. Under their promotion, Zhi’an, a dedicated person who was deeply influenced by Majiayao culture, founded the Majiayao Culture Research Association together with some other folk who loved Majiayao culture. Their research and dissemination through hard work and hardships have made Majiayao culture famous. The president of the association, Mr. Gong Zhi’an, has raised funds to open exhibitions and set up dissemination windows in Beijing, Zhejiang, Shanghai, Shandong and Tianjin, etc. He has also conducted extensive academic exchanges with experts and scholars at home and abroad, and founded the journal “The Source of Majiayao Culture” (ten issues have been published).
In 2003, approved by the provincial government, the Lintao County Majiayao Culture Research Association was promoted to the Gansu Provincial Majiayao Culture Research Association. As the president of the research association, Mr. Wang Zhi’an is the founder and leader of this research association, and also the most obsessed person in researching and promoting Majiayao culture. He personally financed the publication and website to publicize and promote the Majiayao culture nationwide and even worldwide.
In 2004, he raised funds to hold the “80th anniversary of the discovery of Majiayao culture” and built the Gansu Majiayao Culture Research Association Pottery Museum, hoping to bring Majiayao culture from books into society and into the public.
In December 2005, the Gansu Pottery Research Association co-organized the “2005 Chinese Pottery Seminar on Majiayao Culture”, and in January 2006, the president went to Shanghai to hold a lecture on Majiayao culture.
He was reported several times in the Shanghai Collector’s Journal under the title of “The First Contemporary Researcher of Majiayao Culture in China”.
The Wen Wei Po published his article “Also on the Origin of Chinese Dragon”. He was invited by the Shanghai authorities to prepare and guide the establishment of the Shanghai Institute of Majiayao Culture. After more than 10 years of dedicated research, the president himself has become a well-known expert in painted pottery.
In July 2005, the chairman was invited to Shenyang to participate in the construction of the Lanzhou Garden of the World Expo, braving the scorching heat of the sun to design, compose and draw the colors himself, and to stand a huge and exquisite piece of Majiayao pottery sculpture artwork in the World Garden Expo to show the world the Majiayao culture. After the opening of the Expo, his carefully designed and produced pottery won seven prizes at the 2006 Shenyang World Horticultural Expo (the main sculpture of the “Pottery King” water feature won the gold medal in the category of architectural miniatures, the pottery garden won the silver medal in the comprehensive category, the silver medal in the design category and the silver medal in the construction category, and the entrance pointed-bottom pottery vase and frog god” won the gold medal in the category of architectural miniatures. (the combination of colorful pottery won the silver award in the category of architectural miniatures, and the leisure colorful pottery pavilion won the bronze award in the category of miniatures). This should be the best reward and affirmation for the research association’s work in research, dissemination and development of Majiayao culture.
In May 2006, CCTV’s “Exploration-Discovery” program, produced a six-episode TV special “Mysterious Chinese Painted Pottery”, which was presented by President Wang Zhi’an as the advisor and the main speaker of the interpretation of painted pottery literary decorations. After the broadcast, it aroused great attention and interest in Majiayao culture nationwide.
In April 2009, the research association’s relying unit, Linbaozhai Business General Association, was evaluated as one of the first “Gansu Province cultural industry demonstration bases” by four departments, including the Propaganda Department of the CPC Gansu Provincial Committee, Gansu Provincial Department of Culture, Gansu Provincial Radio, Film and Television Bureau and Gansu Provincial Press and Publication Bureau, etc. In September 2009, the research association, together with the CPC Lintao County Committee and Lintao County People’s Government together hosted the first “China Majiayao Culture Seminar”, which further promoted the research and dissemination of Majiayao culture. For more than ten years, the research association and President Wang Zhi’an have created nearly a dozen firsts in the research and dissemination of Majiayao culture in China, and the research association has put forward many unique views and assertions through the study of a large number of painted pottery patterns, and a number of academic papers have been published in key national publications, attracting the attention of the academic circles.
The Appraisal and Collection Committee of Gansu Provincial Majiayao Culture Research Association was registered by the Gansu Provincial Department of Civil Affairs in 2007, and is a professional organization for the research association to appraise Majiayao painted pottery, with several university professors and domestic famous experts, who have done professional Majiayao painted pottery appraisal in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Zhejiang, Hong Kong and other places, as well as some museums and collectors in cities and counties in the province, with several professional appraisal papers published, and in 2009 On February 28, 2009, during the China Majiayao Culture Seminar held in Lintao, Gansu Province and China Appraisal Magazine held a free special appraisal meeting to identify Majiayao pottery, which was reported by the world collection, Gansu TV, Dingxi TV and other media. In the long-term appraisal work always adhere to the appraisal professional ethics, adhering to the purpose of removing fakes and keeping the truth, fake goods will never be issued appraisal certificate, if there is a repair must be indicated in the appraisal certificate, to avoid a lot of painted pottery collection enthusiasts to be deceived, has been recognized by the domestic painted pottery collectors and museums.
Gansu Majiayao Pottery Museum located in Lintao, the site of Majiayao culture, was initially an internal academic research library of Gansu Provincial Majiayao Culture Research Association, and later opened to the public at the request of many visitors, and the museum successively invested more than 25 million yuan to collect collectibles. Now has developed into a national museum to show the culture of Majiayao. The museum has been approved by the Gansu Provincial Bureau of Cultural Relics to establish. The museum collects and exhibits more than 700 pieces of colorful pottery, dozens of exhibits are the only top treasures at home and abroad, with a total collection of more than 5,000 pieces. The establishment of the museum has played a positive role in preventing the serious exodus of rare local ancient cultural relics and has prepared sufficient physical materials for the academic research of the research association. The museum was built in the Linbaozhai Culture Building in Lintao County, where the Majiayao culture site is located, and is divided into two exhibition halls with an exhibition area of about 400 square meters. The cultural connotation of the collection is colorful. Among them, there are painted pottery with the shape of figures in which the ancestors began their farming activities in the late Neolithic period, which proves that the earliest form of Chinese figure painting had been produced as far as 4,600 years ago; there are painted pottery with the original form of the earliest dragon totem, which proves that the Chinese dragon already had its prototype in prehistory; there are “frog gods” series of painted pottery imagined by the ancestors in order to overcome floods; there is a series of “frog gods “There is a series of “frog god” pottery, which was imagined by the ancestors to overcome flooding; there are pottery cards used by the prehistoric ancestors for entertainment; there are ancient stone inkstones and polishers used by the ancestors to make pottery; there are pottery painted with primitive characters, which provides new evidence for the homologation of Chinese calligraphy and painting; there is ancient pottery reflecting the earliest origin of the swastika symbol from the sun worship; there are pottery painted with the cult of human reproduction and religious culture; there is a series of pottery painted with the original form of the dragon totem. There is a mysterious pottery that reflects the existence of the philosophical thoughts of the ancestors by combining the worship of human reproductive culture and religious culture. The pottery in the museum systematically and clearly provides sufficient physical evidence for the research results of the Institute. It outlines the trajectory of the ancestors’ thought and spiritual development from the worship of water to the worship of land, and then to the worship of the “frog god” who overcame floods. It deeply reflects that in the primitive obscurity and difficult and dangerous environment, the ancient ancestors were in the obscure stage of totem worship with no distinction between subject and object on the one hand, and had amazing wisdom and ideas on the other, thus creating these amazing ancient civilizations. Looking at these precious relics reflecting the prehistoric culture, one will know that the origin of Chinese civilization is there.
Since the opening of the museum in December 2003, it has received more than 1,000 leading comrades and experts and professors from all walks of life at all levels, including Nie Dajiang, former Vice Minister of the Propaganda Department, Zhou Heping and Zhao Weisui, Vice Ministers of Culture, and more than 30,000 visitors from all walks of life. The museum is open to the whole country and welcomes researchers, enthusiasts and friends from all walks of life to visit and conduct academic exchanges.