How Lingnan Culture Contributes to China’s Diversity
Chinese President Xi Jinping recently stressed the importance of deepening the study of Chinese civilization to enhance the historical awareness and cultural confidence of the Communist Party of China (CCP) and society, while unswervingly following the path of socialism. Chinese style to achieve national rejuvenation. Xi also spoke of a national research program dedicated to tracing the origins of Chinese civilization.
Whether it’s an expert or an archeology enthusiast, exploring China’s rich history and culture is an interesting journey. This vast land gave birth to the Chinese civilization that we know today, but above all it has established exchanges and mutual learning with various civilizations outside the nation for thousands of years.
A pottery jar found in the ruins of Mabaren in Guangdong Province Photo: VCG
Lingnan culture, also known as Cantonese culture, is an important building block of Chinese civilization. Encompassing Guangdong and Hainan provinces and southern China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, this culture has enriched various aspects of Chinese civilization with its unique characteristics, according to Chinese archaeologist Su Bingqi.
The Lingnan culture converged with Chinese Central Plains cultures during the Qin (221BC-206BC) and Han (206BC-AD220) dynasties, Zhou Xueying, a history professor at Nanjing University, said Tuesday.
Zhou noted that this cultural convergence can be seen from the similarities in customs and rituals between the Lingnan culture and Chinese dynasties based in the Central Plains.
Besides the ties to the Central Plains culture, Zhou pointed out that the Lingnan culture is an “open window” to Chinese civilization. It illustrates the cultural exchanges between China and the West that have taken place since ancient times.
“The architectural relics discovered in the tomb of King Nanyue of the Western Han Dynasty (206BC-AD25) are an example of this, as much of its design was inspired by Central Asian aesthetics.”
As noted by Zhou, the Lingnan culture shows the completeness of Chinese civilization.
“You can see traces of other cultures, such as Indian culture, West Asian cultures, and even ancient Roman culture in the Lingnan culture in China,” Zhou said.
Wang Wei, chief expert of the National Research Program on the Origin of Chinese Civilization, told the Global Times on Tuesday that the Lingnan culture was deeply influenced by the cultures of the middle reaches of the Yangtze River.
The Central Plains culture spread south to the Yangtze River area, and then continued to spread to the Lingnan area after combining with local cultural characteristics. Wang noted that agricultural technology and spiritual beliefs such as the use of certain totems demonstrate this influence.
“The unique characteristics and exchanges with other regions seen in Lingnan culture reflect the pattern of unity in diversity that we can observe throughout the history of Chinese civilization,” Wang noted.
Owl-shaped pottery pots found in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province Photo: IC
Timeline: Evolution of the Lingnan Culture
10,000 to 7,000 years ago
Significant archaeological discoveries in Guangdong Province in recent years have demonstrated that the roots of today’s Lingnan culture date back to the dawn of Chinese civilization.
The Xiantou Ling culture, which dates back 7,000 years, was discovered around the Pearl River estuary. White and colored pottery has been excavated from the site. These relics reveal the influences of ancient cultures along the middle course of the Yangtze River.
6,000 to 5,000 years ago
Another representative of the Lingnan culture is the Guye Ruins in Guangdong Province. Numerous stone tools, wood and shells, as well as 20 fossilized grains of rice still in their envelope were excavated on the site. These finds show influences from the ancient Liangzhu culture located along the lower reaches of the Yangtze River.
5000 years ago
The ruins of Shixia near Shaoguan in Guangdong Province show an even deeper influence of Liangzhu culture.
In Hong Kong, some prehistoric ruins, such as the Sha Ha Ruins in Sai Kung District, produced pottery similar to that of the early Liangzhu culture. Some pottery influenced by the Songze culture near Shanghai has also been discovered in the coastal areas of the Lingnan region.
5,000 to 4,700 years ago
Fired pottery with geometric patterns has been discovered at the Hengling Ruins site in Guangzhou, contributing greatly to research on the influence of the Lingnan culture in northern regions of China.
4000 years ago
Pottery ware with geometric patterns spread northward, entering Jiangxi Province (eastern China), the southern parts of Zhejiang Province and the northern region of Fujian Province. This demonstrates how the Lingnan culture established mutual exchanges with civilizations along the Yangtze River during ancient times.
Pottery relics unearthed in Dongguan, Guangdong Province Photo: VCG