Hemudu Culture

This week we covered a few of the main Chinese civilizations and cultures but one of them really jumped out at me, which was the Hemudu cultures.  I really liked how they had adapted their housing to be on stilts, it was really creative.  The Hemudu culture is located on the eastern side of China on the southern end of the Yangtze Valley and south of the Hangzhou Bay.  The culture existed between roughly 5,500 to 3,300 B.C.  The Hemudu culture was like many of the other Chinese cultures in which they domesticated pigs for eating and also domesticated dogs.  They also hunted deer quite a bit, along with other animals that might be near the water such as bison.  Also since their houses were built over water, they practiced fishing quite a bit with their main catch being carp.

The Hemudu were one of the first cultures to begin the domestication and cultivation of rice and building a surplus of it.  This is evident through some of the tools that have been found at the sites of Hemudu cultures, including types of hoes made from deer bones.  They were then able to trade the rice and people with more rice meant they were, “richer” since they had more stuff to trade.  This lead to social stratification and started a new wave in the Hemudu culture.  Also like many other Chinese cultures, the Hemudu were involved heavily in pottery and other crafting of art and they were also very good at it.  The pottery of the Hemudu culture is usually black from the charcoal powder they use when they make it.  However some of the greater crafts that the Hemudu culture created were for decorative purposes.  The Hemudu made crafts with jade, and ivory which included intricate details on them.  One of the greatest finds that have been made at the Hemudu sites was the red lacquer bowls.  This was significant because it is one of the first uses of lacquer in history.

Overall the Hemudu were an interesting culture of people because it showed how much a people could develop with the cultivation of agriculture and what could happen.  The Hemudu showed that the development of the rice industry in China would most likely lead to the social stratification happened to them, in which the rich are much richer than the poor.  Also the Hemudu’s showed that it was possible for people to live over water or marshy types of land that could be used for rice paddies.

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