Archaeology in China. Vol. 1: Prehistoric Chinaby Cheng Te-k'un

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<ul><li><p>The Smithsonian InstitutionRegents of the University of Michigan</p><p>Archaeology in China. Vol. 1: Prehistoric China by Cheng Te-k'unReview by: Max LoehrArs Orientalis, Vol. 5 (1963), pp. 298-303Published by: Freer Gallery of Art, The Smithsonian Institution and Department of the Historyof Art, University of MichiganStable URL: .Accessed: 15/06/2014 22:31</p><p>Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms &amp; Conditions of Use, available at .</p><p> .JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range ofcontent in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact</p><p> .</p><p>The Smithsonian Institution and Regents of the University of Michigan are collaborating with JSTOR todigitize, preserve and extend access to Ars Orientalis.</p><p> </p><p>This content downloaded from on Sun, 15 Jun 2014 22:31:21 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p></p></li><li><p>298 BOOK REVIEWS </p><p>out of a doctrinal or sectarian need (which is Dupont's feeling, op. cit., pp. I8I-I84). </p><p>Lines of contact leading away from Thai- land also dominate the study of three other classes of objects which include some of the most handsome and interesting pieces in the exhibition-the Hindu carvings from gri Deb and Vieng Sra, the grivijaya bronzes of Chaiya and elsewhere, the Khmer-style Lop- burn bronzes. To correlate these objects with their historical sources would require a major expenditure of effort and space, and probably for the latter reason the handbook has largely avoided the issues; the Brahmanical and grivi- jaya works are discussed in barely ten lines of text apiece, the Lopburi with somewhat more. But these are among the most vital sectors of the story. </p><p>There are several smaller issues which might be raised here. For example, among the wealth of material in the catalogue, a small Lopburi-style bronze Buddhist trinity is identified as representing "perhaps" a Bud- dhist trikdya, the three "bodies" of the Bud- dha (p. I90, No. 63), a thing which is a priori impossible in view of the conception of the dharmakaya as a metaphysical entity, essentially immaterial, inconceivable, and un- manifest. Similarly unlikely is the tacit ad- mission regarding a lovely Dvaravati-style stone emblem of the dharmacakra with two deer and a small Suirya figure, that it may sus- tain a pious tradition that Buddhism had been introduced into Thailand as early as the reign of Asoka Maurya (p. I84, No. i). </p><p>Also there are some rather awkward lin- guistic problems, inevitable perhaps for an area in which loan words from Sanskrit and Pali have been mixed with Thai, which is structurally incompatible with them, being a monosyllabic and tonal tongue affiliated with South Chinese dialects. The authors have se- lected the more evocative Sanskrit spellings of some place names and discarded the more </p><p>familiar Thai phonetic ones. Sawankalok is now Suvargaloka and Sukkotai is Sukhodaya. But the authors are not consistent. Korat is not changed into Nagara Rajasim(h)a, Chaiya has not been transmuted into Jaya, and Lop- burn remains Lopburi (fortunately a chart of place names has been provided which clarifies the matter). Also it is shown that a stuipa has a dome recalling in shape a punnaghata- mixing Sanskrit and Pali terms. None of this is serious in itself except as an indication of a generally loose control of the Indian and Singhalese elements in the study, whether aesthetic, doctrinal, or linguistic. </p><p>In its generous and ambitious scope, the handbook far exceeds the usual requirements of an exhibition catalogue, but it is not thor- ough enough to stand as a definitive art his- torical survey. Yet having revealed with clarity many of the major issues which remain to be solved before a new integral history of the arts of Thailand could be written, the handbook (together with the exhibition) is a giant step toward that goal. Until then, this book will remain a most useful source for scholars. </p><p>JOHN ROSENFIELD </p><p>Jrchaeology in China. Vol. I: Prehistoric China. By Cheng Te-k'un. Cambridge (W. Heffner and Sons Ltd.), I959, xix+i56 pp., maps, tables, 44 pIs., list of characters, bibliography, and index (pp. I57-250). </p><p>It is close to 40 years now that archeo- logical fieldwork has been going on in China, interrupted by the Japanese invasion, but vigorously resumed under the Communist Government. A summary of the discoveries made during those four decades is highly wel- come. As planned, Dr. Cheng's presentation will comprise several volumes, the first of which deals with the prehistoric remains- from the Lower Paleolithic to late Neolithic </p><p>This content downloaded from on Sun, 15 Jun 2014 22:31:21 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p></p></li><li><p>BOOK REVIEWS 299 </p><p>periods-encountered in the territories of present-day China. </p><p>As detailed accounts of the excavated sites obviously cannot be given, the author decided to discuss, period by period, "some of the outstanding results," arranging his material in the order of its geographic dis- tribution and carefully describing the physi- ography and known stratigraphy of the re- spective sites or areas, with the intention to "show the numerous exchanges and diffusions which might have taken place within the Chi- nese boundaries" (p. xix). This limitation is defended by the consideration that "as long as plain archaeological facts are not properly established in their native contexts, any com- parison with distant parallels tends to be far- fetched" (p. xix). In other words, the author's endeavor is to describe rather than interpret and theorize. In fact, he says that he does not wish to "jeopardize further research" by even mentioning speculative interpretations, as though speculation were a methodological danger rather than a necessity. For without theory, the facts remain meaningless. </p><p>The first chapter, Geological foundation (pp. I-I3), which is closely modeled on Teil- hard de Chardin's Early man in China (I 94I), departs from its source by allowing, in ac- cordance with H. L. Movius, Jr., an interval for the Middle Pleistocene (the Sinanthropus stage) and equating the Villafranchian forma- tion with the Lower Pleistocene rather than the Upper Pliocene, so that that formation corresponds with the First Glacial and Inter- glacial phases of the Himalayan sequence. The text is written with clarity, and misspell- ings are few: Chuan-hsaeh (p. i) should read Chuan-hsii; aeorial (p. 4) should read aerial; for Yushe Beds (p. 5) read Yiishe Beds; for palaeartic (pp. 7, 9), palearctic; for Dicero- hines (p. 7), Dicerorhines. </p><p>Chapter Two deals with the fossils and artifacts of the Paleolithic. It seems certain </p><p>now that in South China of the Middle Pleis- tocene period (about 500,000 years ago) there existed-side by side with the giant anthro- poid known as Gigantopithecus-a hominid related to Peking Man designated Sinanthro- pus officinalis, whose lithic industry remains to be discovered (pp. I4-I6). The finds from the Chou-k'ou-tien sites of Sinanthropus peki- nensis are described in some detail and in agreement with older sources. The lithic speci- mens illustrated are mostly well-known pieces from Localities I3, i, and i5. A slightly more advanced phase of the industry is likely to be represented by the material from Localities 3 and 4, which is still unpublished, however. Sinanthroppus, though having mongoloid fea- tures, "has not been identified as the direct ancestor of the mongoloid race," Cheng states (p. i9). Another Middle Pleistocene site dis- covered in the terra rossa of preloessic age along the Fen River (Shansi) in 1954 is Ting- ts'un. Together with stone implements of Lower Paleolithic character, comparable to those from the Chou-k'ou-tien Localities i (upper zone) and i5, Ting-ts'un yielded three human teeth which apparently represent a slightly younger type than Sinanthropus, a type that may stand midway between the lat- ter and Ordos Man of the Middle Paleo- lithic stage (pp. 24-29) .-The only Middle Paleolithic station discussed is Shui-tung-kou (Ordos), discovered by E. Licent and Teil- hard de Chardin in I923.-Of Upper Paleo- lithic stations in North China, two long-known and well-studied assemblages are mentioned: Sjara-osso-gol (Ordos) and the Upper Cave at Chou-k'ou-tien (pp. 32-37). The South is represented with two more recently found instances of Homo sapiens, i.e., a skull from Tzu-yang (Szechwan) which is considered older than the Homo sapiens of the Upper Cave, and a skull fragment from Lai-pin (Kwangsi) of possibly Upper Paleolithic date (p. 37). </p><p>This content downloaded from on Sun, 15 Jun 2014 22:31:21 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p></p></li><li><p>300 BOOK REVIEWS </p><p>The third chapter, entitled The Meso- lithic age, is based on the reports on Shaba- rakh and other Gobi sites (Mongolia, Sin- kiang), Djalai-nor (Heilungkiang), and Ku- hsiang-t'un (near Harbin, Kirin Province), all of which are characterized by the presence of microlithic industries, except that at Djalai- nor there were found, associated with a Late Pleistocene fauna, stone tools of Neolithic cast besides the microliths, which is a puzzling fact (p. 43). A brief note records a faunistic parallel to the Upper Cave observed at Chou- chia-yu-fang (Kirin), a recently investigated but not yet fully published site which yielded "Palaeolithic-looking" implements and human skeletal remains. For Szechwan, the author can rely on his own earlier studies; the basic aspect is that of a surviving Paleolithic chop- ping-tool tradition (p. 47f. ). A probably con- temporary pebble industry found by P'ei Wen- chung in Kwangsi shows close resemblances to the Hoabinhian and Bacsonian of Indo- China (pp. 48-5o). The clear division be- tween the Steppe and Desert north and the wooded south goes back, Cheng assumes, to the early Holocene some 25,000 years ago (p. si). Oschotonoides (p. 45) should read Ochotonoides. </p><p>The Gobi culture is further discussed in a short chapter (pp. 5 2-5 9) devoted to its Neolithic aspect. Since virtually all the Gobi finds are surface finds and stratified series are missing, the dates, about 5000 to I500 B.C., are suggested with the similarity of the ma- terial in Okladnikov's Baikal sequence in view. It should be borne in mind, however, that the final Neolithic in the Baikal area (Kitoi) is assumed to have ended around 2000 B.C., and that the following aeneolithic phase (Glaz- kovo) began soon afterward, about I700 B.C. (Cf. Henry N. Michael, The Neolithic age in eastern Siberia, Trans. Amer. Philos. Soc., vol. 48, pt. 2, I958, p. 33.) Sinkiang, the western extension of the Gobi and culturally </p><p>related to it (microlithic sites), remains an archeological puzzle (pp. 6o-63). </p><p>The Neolithic of China proper is treated in the remaining chapters, of which chapters 6 to 9 are given to the Huang-ho basin, chap- ters IO and i i to the Yangtse and South China, while the I2th and last concerns Man- churia. </p><p>What Andersson termed the "Neolithic hiatus," that is, the absence of early Neolithic stations, is still valid today. "So far there is hardly any site that can be definitely recog- nized as early Neolithic in date," Cheng ad- mits (p. 68), naming Tou-chi-t'ai (Pao-chi- hsien, Shensi) as the only site that yielded a more primitive pottery than the painted pot- tery of the later Neolithic. Sixteen pre-ceramic sites with microliths and chipped-flake tools in eastern Shensi representing what is usually referred to as the "Sha-yiian culture"-a name which is not introduced in the book-may go back to a late Mesolithic phase rather than early Neolithic (cf. pp. 68-69). Yet, chipped tools do continue to be made by the Neolithic villagers, as at T'ai-p'ing-kou, near Lan-chou (Kansu) (p. 69). </p><p>From the point of view of universal his- tory the late Neolithic cultures known as Yang-shao, Lung-shan, and Hsiao-t'un are of surpassing interest. The mere existence (and sequence) of the red and painted, black, and gray wares named after those type-sites forms so compelling a parallel with Neolithic west- ern Asia and Europe that it seems almost arbitrary to omit its discussion. Another ques- tion that may trouble the reader's mind is whether the entire late Neolithic complex of northern China does not basically represent one culture rather than three cultures; it seems to this reviewer that the sharp distinc- tions made by Dr. Cheng on the basis of dif- ferent potteries may as well be explained as technical, regional, and evolutionary varia- tions. In fact, the apparently most primitive </p><p>This content downloaded from on Sun, 15 Jun 2014 22:31:21 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p></p></li><li><p>BOOK REVIEWS 301 </p><p>ceramic assemblage known (Tou-chi-t'ai, men- tioned above) already combines red, gray, and black wares, so that a division of subsequent "cultures" in accordance with potting tech- niques and the colors of pottery has no basis in any primordial diversity. A shift from red to black and gray and a change of shapes that went with it may not indicate the dominant position of particular cultures or groups but evolutionary trends in the whole domain of North China, local differentiations notwith- standing. </p><p>What may be the only major misapprehen- sion in Cheng's Yang-shao chapter (pp. 73- 86) is the evaluation of the Hou-kang site (near Anyang, N. Honan) as "early Yang- shao" (p. 74), which, of course, strongly af- fects the judgment of the painted pottery development at large. Compared with Kansu in its flourishing phase, Hou-kang represents a decline, as do other find-spots in northern Honan. The excavator of the Hou-kang him- self, Liang Ssu-yung, had recognized in the end that he was in error when placing that Yang-shao level relatively early (cf. Liang Ssu-yung k'ao-ku lun-wen-chi. Archaeological Monograph, Ser. A, No. 5, Peking, I959, p. 97). The early date of Hou-kang is noth- ing but a sensational theory, to use Cheng's phrase applied to the theories about Western connections of the painted pottery (p. 82f.), and his assumptions on early and middle Yang-shao remain accordingly insecure. This is apparent also from the observation that "The position of the Ma-ch'ang group in the Kansu sequence has yet to be determined, because, stratigraphically, Andersson's Yang- shao is not followed by Ma-ch'ang, but by Hsin-tien" (...</p></li></ul>