Puzzles of Sanxingdui Through the Ages

Sanxingdui is another source of Chinese civilization. The unique and wonderful Sanxingdui culture civilization tells us that the source of Chinese civilization is pluralistic. There was not only the Yellow River civilization, but also the Yangtze River civilization in China. Sanxingdui represents the Yangtze River civilization. At the same time, a new field of study field has opened up in academic circles. Many important academic problems about Sanxingdui form puzzles through the ages. The puzzles of Sanxingdui and ancient Shu history will hopefully be unlocked in the future.

What is the source of Sanxingdui culture? Is it either from the New Stone Age culture in the upper reaches of the Su River, or from a certain kind of ancient regional culture moving upstream? Is there any relationship between Sanxingdui culture and Longshan culture in Shandong? Is the main part from Shandong? Is Sanxingdui culture the result of a combination of native and foreign culture, or the combination of many kinds of cultures? Maybe it was a purely local culture.

Where was the source of Sanxingdui inhabitants, belonging to Diqiang, Puren, Ba, Dongyi, Yue or Sanmiao (all of these were ancient national minorities)? Was there any close relationship between the stone-buried coffin culture in the upper reaches of the Ming River and Sanxingdui? Is it true that these natives came from Diqiang in the northwest and the upper reaches of the Ming River? Were the Sanxingdui inhabitants descendants of aborigines?

What was ancient Shu Kingdom really like? What were the nature of politics and religion? Was it a loose tribal military league? Or was it a regional kingdom ruled by a dynasty in the central plains? Was the ancient country higher than a stable, relatively independent early country? Was it the native's own kingdom which was founded in earlier time? Which is the main force: a secular or religious authority? Pr was it a combination of both?

The worship problem reflected by Sanxingdui cultural relics was complex, too. Some thought it was totems, while some thought it was nature worship without any totems, But most people believe the religious worship was a complex system involving a mix of many types, including nature worship, ancestor worship and god worship. Sanxingdui reflects a system in which a multi-level political center formed a net-like structure.

How did the miraculous bronze smelting technique and the culture symbolized by the Sanxingdui bronze ware come into being? Are they the results of ancient Shu people's independent developing or affected by nearly countries, especially by the central plains' culture? Or it is the results of adopting foreign cultures, such as those from Western Asia, East, and South Asia? Many scholars thought the bronze ware represented a combination of ancient Shu culture and foreign culture, but with the local factor dominant.

How long did the ancient Kingdom last? Why did it disappear suddenly? Which lasted the longest - the Yufu, Duyu or Kaiming Dynasty? Generally, people thought there was a long development course. It lasted over 1,000 years, and had a close relationship with several ancient Shu dynasties in legends. Maybe it had disappeared by the end of Shang Dynasty. The reason of its disappearance may be the change of regime. Later, the center of politics and culture moved to Chengdu and its nearby areas.

What is the age and nature of the two sacrificial pits? Was it in the period of the Shang Dynasty, Western Zhou, Spring and Autumn Dynasty, or the Warrior States, etc? The tendency in academic circles is to accept the age as being that of the Shang Dynasty. It means No.1 pit was created at about the time of the first period of the Ying Ruins. No.2 pit was equivalent to the second period of the Ying Ruins. Regarding the nature of the pits, some said they were burial pits, while others have suggested they are merely utensil pits. But, the most representative idea is that the two pits were sacrificial pits. The two pits were the places where ancient Shu people offered grand sacrifices. The aim of their worship was heaven, or earth, or the gods, or the ancestors. The choice of aims has a relationship with the change of regimes.

Many unearthed utensils of Spring and Autumn Dynasty, the Warrior States in Sichuan had some designs and insignias, which were called "Ba Shu picture words". Are they tribal words? Are they pictures or some special symbols? Maybe parts of them had the meaning of words. An understanding of the "Ba Shu picture words" is sure to help unlock the puzzles of ancient Shu in Sanxingdui.

The puzzle of Sanxingdui is a puzzle of the ages. but it will be unlocked eventually!

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Sanxingdui Remains
Effect of Sanxingdui in
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Process of Discoveries
and Excavation
Position of Sanxingdui in
Academic Circle
Sanxingdui Museum
Collections of Sanxingdui
Puzzles of Sanxingdui Through the Ages
Main Events of Sanxingdui

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