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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



an archaeological Painted Pottery culture that was widespread in the fourth and third millennia B.C. in North China, in what are now the provinces of Honan, Shansi, and Shensi and along the middle course of the Huang Ho (seePAINTED POTTERY CULTURES). It was identified in 1921 by J. G. Andersson, after a number of finds were made near the village of Yang-shao (Honan).

The Yang-shao settlements, including Panp’o, were situated on river terraces; in the center was a public building, which was surrounded by square and round semisubterranean dwellings, with clay-covered walls, conical roofs, and hearths (seePANPO). Children were buried in large vessels beside the houses, while adults were buried in burial grounds near the settlements. Pottery shops with kilns were located outside the settlements. The pottery included cups and bowls decorated with polychrome designs, settlements depicting zoomorphic and anthropomorphic themes, and pointed-bottomed pitchers. The economy was based on the hoe farming of foxtail millet; typical finds included stone and clay reaping knives. Hogs and dogs were domesticated. Hunting, fishing, and gathering also played an important role in the economy.

In addition to a hypothesis about the autochthonous development of the Yang-shao culture, there exists a theory about the influence of other Painted Pottery cultures on the process of transition to a producing economy among the Yang-shao tribes. Yang-shao was replaced by the Bronze Age Lungshan culture (seeLUNGSHAN).


Kriukov, M. V. “U istokov drevnikh kul’tur Vostochnoi Azii.” Narody Azii i Afriki, 1964, no. 6.
Vasil’ev, L. S. Problemy genezisa kitaiskoi tsivilizatsii. Moscow 1976.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.