Ba & Shu Culture

Cruising up to the upper reaches of the Yangtze River, you will find yourselves submerged in the distinct Ba & Shu culture. Sichuan Province and the Chongqing Municipality in the southwest of China inherited this indispensable part of Chinese culture. You should not be surprised that locals proudly distinguished themselves as the descendants of the ancient Ba Kingdom and Shu Kingdom, each having individually created a brilliant civilization in the primeval times.

According to historical research, the Ba and Shu nations founded their kingdoms around the upper reaches of the Yangtze River around the 11-16th century BC and formed their own culture. In fact, the Ba Culture and Shu Culture are two different entities in terms of archaeological research since they had their own distributions. However, they both originated from the late Neolithic Age, though the Shu Culture was rooted in the Sichuan Basin while the Ba culture originated from the Three Gorges region.

Mysterious Ba Culture
However, records of the Ba Kingdom and its culture are so limited that only remains that existed during the Warring States Period could be found. This is intriguing; especially if one considered that the Ba Kingdom was defeated by the powerful Qin Kingdom in the mid Warring States Period. During those times, the Ba Kingdom was in turbulence and the Ba people were exiled. Thus presumptions and legends saw a rise which made the Ba Culture much more mysterious. It was only from the excavation of ancient tombs that we could unravel the confusing but enchanting Ba Culture. Unique aspects of the Ba culture include tiger designs and the centre of the palm lines which were commonly painted on vessels. Enginery with distinct Ba style was unearthed during excavations as well as swords and tomahawks etc.

Influential Shu Culture
As for the Shu Culture, the Sanxingdui Site in Guanghan City of the Sichuan Province symbolizes its splendor. Relics excavated from the Sanxingdui Site proved that ancient Shu people created an advanced civilization, which was a leader in the manufacture of bronze vessels and jade articles. At the same time the excavations also raised many enigmatic issues, puzzling archeologists even now. Some of these questions include, for instance, how could the Shu people have mastered such an advanced technology in smelting bronze and whether the signs on the unearthed vessels represented the prevailing language or the religions symbols?

Communion of the Two
Without clear boundaries between the two nations, exchanges between the two cultures were quite frequent. Through thousands of years, these two cultures therefore ended up with a great deal in common, thus merging into the Bashu Culture during the late decades of the ancient Ba and Shu Kingdoms. In the process of communion between two, the two cultures had exchanges with various nations in the middle part of China as well for thousands of years. The culture was gradually assimilated by the Han nation and integrated with the Han Culture as a whole.

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